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henriques20rachelThe recent changing of the guard at the highest level of government in Jamaica – with further possible changes on the horizon as the country awaits elections - has sparked debate among Jamaicans at home and in the diaspora.

The Oct. 23 swearing in of Andrew Holness, the youngest prime minister ever in Jamaica’s history is the “second” of two “firsts” for the country. Bruce Golding’s resignation as the country’s leader led the double billing as no prime minister had ever had to walk away from the job, especially with the political and social upheaval left in his wake.


You have to be fairly observant to make it in a business that’s affected by such fickle and hard-to-control phenomena as weather, bugs and human population trends.

Florida famers have seen what’s happened recently to counterparts in Georgia and Alabama and they’re scared — not about locusts, fruit flies or droughts, but rather politicians.

The Obama administration continues to deport Haitians despite knowing many will be illegally jailed and risk cholera exposure upon arrival.

The United States has deported more than 250 Haitians since January knowing that one in two will be jailed without charges in facilities so filthy they pose life-threatening health risks. An investigation by the Florida Center for Investigative Reporting found that the Obama administration has not followed its own policy of seeking alternatives to deportation when there are serious medical and humanitarian concerns.

One deportee who arrived in April suffered from asthma, hypertension, diabetes, bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder and head trauma, among other ailments. That same month, the U.S. government deported a mentally ill immigrant whose psychiatric medications were lost by Haitian authorities after his first day in jail.

Suzanne 'Africa' Engo and actress Manie Malone attend the United Nations Celebration of Africa Day and International Year for People of African Descent at United Nations on May 31, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Dario Cantatore/Getty Images for The New African Empower)The mainstream media has largely ignored the year. I have yet to see any serious coverage by US television, radio or print media on IYPAD. The black press in the U.S. has also barely covered any of the issues, events and programs associated with IYPAD. Therefore, the level of the awareness of the Black Diaspora in the U.S. has also been negligible. Main stream media coverage in the Caribbean, Africa and Latin America has been equally minimal.

The United Nations clearly did not promote the year as it should. It made, in my opinion, no serious effort to raise the funds necessary to support the kind of events and programs that would align with their grandiose proclamations. The OHCHR (The Office of the High Commission for Human Rights) at most provided logos for print media. They were no radio or television spots produced. Consequently, the year has gone by quickly without much consequence.