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Showing posts from December, 2012

Tourism Challenges Continue

It has been a while since I said anything about the travel and tourism industry in the Caribbean.  The reason is relatively simple – not much has changed and at this juncture, it is unlikely that there will be any radical change in 2013.  Despite the importance of the sector to the region’s economy, for the most part, the English speaking region continues to demonstrate a lack of dynamism or innovation with regards to both its product and its destination marketing.  Spanish speaking destinations on the other hand, continue to demonstrate both and push ahead.
Southern Caribbean destinations tend to depend more on European visitors while northern Caribbean destinations tend to depend more on North American visitors.  In 2012, there was a 6% decline in UK visitors to the Caribbean region.  Brits make up most of the European visitor numbers to the southern Caribbean region.  Predictably, a December 17th 2012 press release by the Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO), took the standard lin…

2013 Focus

It is common knowledge that when the coalition government came into power in 2010, the Security Intelligence Agency was given special focus.  As is the established pattern, Reshmi Ramnarine was put in charge not necessarily because of her technical competence and extensive experience but perhaps because she was considered trustworthy given her close relationship with the political elite.  What is not commonly discussed is that within the administration there were those who openly voiced concerns that the coalition government’s actions were systematically weakening the national security infrastructure.  I am reliably told these concerns were voiced and they were subsequently dismissed as it is common knowledge that the weakening of the national security infrastructure continued.  The most recent instalment in this ongoing saga is the $1 billion hole left by the apparently mishandled OPV deal.
In 2010 and 2011, there were sensational drug related headlines in Trinidad and Tobago.  Most…

A New Beginning

One of the most frequent criticisms I receive weekly is that I do not pay enough attention to politicians.  Many of us love seeing a writer give a politician or better yet, a political party, a good ‘beat down’.  I have said many times in the past and I will continue to say that politicians were not, are not and will never be; the source of any problem.  A population gets the government it deserves and if there is need for any focus, the focus should be on the ill-informed electorate who install into positions of trust, individuals who fail to live up to unrealistic expectations time and time again.  All too often we seem to forget that the great advances of mankind do not come from governments but from ordinary men and women.
My fellow fans of the HBO series ‘The Newsroom’ are probably saying in their minds that a similar comparison can be levied upon a media that competes to satisfy the needs of a Jersey Shore hungry audience rather than inform.  Left to the mainstream media and to…

Towards December 21st 2012

We are now within days of the December 21st date.  I first became aware of the apparent significance attached to this date in 2009 when I encountered the work of the late Dr Terrence McKenna, the American philosopher who popularized the notion of Timewave Zero.  Timewave Zero is a complex concept but underlying it, is the idea that time is cyclical.  For me the basic principle of there being wider / longer cycles of time indicated by planetary movement makes sense because we already calculate shorter cycles in the form of hours, days, certain religious observances, seasons, months and a year based on this principle.
Some observers point to the previous sensationalism around the year 2000 (Y2K) and suggest that this is a just another media fuelled public panic.  Engineer, Maurice Cotterell, who is credited by many as the guy who first brought the Mayan calendar into the mainstream in the late 80s and early 90s, tells the story of when he first tried to get his book on the subject publ…

Unconventional Energy

One of the bigger news items in the last month has been International Energy Agency forecast that the United States will pass Saudi Arabia as the world's biggest oil producer by the end of this decade -- and would achieve near energy independence by the 2030s.  I know that many have challenged this pronouncement and even the Agency that made this statement pointed to certain assumptions behind its analysis but it still a trend worth noting.  The key game changer is of course, the process known as ‘fracking’ which is forcing open rocks by injecting fluid into cracks.
Needless to say, the United States appears to be committed to a future where fossil fuels underlie its energy policy.  Interestingly, the US vision stands in stark contrast to the United Kingdom.  Here in the UK, the government intends to remake the country’s electricity market and inject some £110 billion into new energy infrastructure, particularly of the low carbon kind.
Energy rates here in the UK are about four t…