Christmas in the Caribbean is truly special and this year I managed to make it to Barbados to spend Christmas Day with my parents, sister and my extended family. Getting up to frigid temperatures on Christmas morning was not easy, but warm thoughts of sunny skies, and more importantly some sumptuous Christmas cuisine, motivated me to make the effort. After a lengthy journey which started at LaGuardia Airport in New York, and continued to Barbados from Miami, gloomy skies and a heavy downpour greeted my arrival - rare for Barbados which seldom experiences precipitation on Christmas Day.
The Caribbean Connection comes from Toronto, Canada this week where I went for a change from the New York scenery - a break from the bustle of the city. Unfortunately, I also had to contend with even colder temperatures - quite the adjustment for this warm-blooded West Indian, but change is always good. Travel shouldn't be a privilege for those who can afford it - but a right, especially for our young people. As I approach almost four decades on terra firma, I continue to appreciate the benefits of experiencing new things, meeting new people, while continuing to shape my world view and seeing life from new and illuminating perspectives.
May 9, 2011President Barack ObamaThe White House1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NWWashington, DC 20500Dear President Obama:I am writing to you on behalf of my Miami-Dade constituents to appeal to you on the issue of the current United States policy of Haitian Deportation. The current policy has been very inconsistent with the United States offering to "stand with the people of Haiti until they can stand on their own two feet," while simultaneously resuming deportation of Haitians in January of 2011.
Concerns about the upcoming Diaspora Convention have been fully ventilated in the media as it ought to be in a democratic country enjoying all its freedoms. Hopefully, this will generate more interest and participation, as reports from different Diaspora regions are now indicating. To set the record straight, I wish to make the following comments. The process of planning the Convention and designing the Agenda continues to be dynamic and interactive. The 2008 Conference was very successful. One of the positive developments was the decision for the greater involvement of young people.
With all that is going on in the world - like the death of Osama bin Laden and massive devastation in the South from tornados - one can be excused for not knowing that a number of states have passed or are considering passing important educational reforms. This comes at a time when the Congress is considering an overhaul of the much-disdained Bush education law, the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLBA). The overarching question facing American education policy is whether centralized planning in education works better in the United States than it did, let's say, when the Soviet Union manufactured tractors.