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In the Blink of an Eye …

By Arlene J. Schar and Dr. David Leffler

Another deadly attack, this time in Eastern Afghanistan. The target: a wedding party. The toll: 63 dead and almost 200 injured. Ironically, the invitations to the Kabul wedding read "… we celebrate … with a world of hope and desire …" And, in the blink of any eye, their hopes and desires were laid to ruin. There are no words to express the insanity of such a cowardly act. Saturday's blast was the second major attack in the capital this month and, in the words of the groom who survived: "I know that this won't be the last suffering for Afghans; the suffering will continue."
In the aftermath of such a despicable act, people become disheartened and lose all hope for the future, feeling the futility of even having hopes and desires which in the blink of an eye can be so utterly destroyed. Does this mean that there no hope for Afghanistan's future?
Fortunately, no. There is a powerful tool for change available to everyone who is tired of living in a world of unpredictable violence; a tool which anyone can access. This tool, a ground-breaking and effective means for ending conflict and violence, is Invincible Defense Technology (IDT): a proven method for defusing terrorism before it arises.

Invincible Defense Technology: A Non-Religious, Humane and Beneficial Approach

The practical components of IDT are the non-religious Transcendental Meditation (TM) and the more advanced TM-Sidhi programs. When large groups of experts practice these programs together, a powerful field effect of coherence and peace is generated that spills over into the surrounding population, thereby raising the collective consciousness to come up with more humane solutions to social problems.

Extensive peer-reviewed scientific research repeatedly confirms measurable decreases in war deaths, terrorism, and crime when IDT is utilized. A recent study published in May 2019 in Studies in Asian Social Science, 6(2), 1-45, found that IDT implementation by students was associated with a 96.2% decline in sociopolitical violence in the war-torn country of Cambodia as compared to violence in the preceding three years.

Due to the extensive research, the non-profit organization Global Union of Scientists for Peace (GUSP) advocates IDT as a simple and cost-effective approach for reducing the societal stresses thought to be the underlying cause of such social problems (see:

Invincible Defense Technology is Cost-Effective

Any military is capable of training and maintaining groups of experts in the advanced IDT strategy. This Prevention Wing of the Military would practice IDT programs twice a day in large groups, defusing social tensions. The collective consciousness of all populations would rise through the influences of greater harmony and peace. Those who have engaged in violence will no longer do so. Studies have shown repeatedly that this method works – and will continue to work as long as the peace-creating groups are maintained.


IDT is not restricted to the military. Any large group of experts trained in the advanced IDT techniques can accomplish the same goals of alleviating terror and violence by practicing this approach in groups twice a day. These groups could be comprised of congregations at places of worship, prisoners, the elderly in retirement homes, even students such as documented in Studies in Asian Social Science. The important factor is for the advanced IDT techniques to be performed by trained experts consistently in groups twice a day. Simply by doing this, violence and conflict would be eradicated, according to the numerous peer-reviewed scientific studies summarized on the GUSP website.

Time To Act Now

Currently, there are militaries worldwide utilizing IDT training for their personnel, with positive societal results for their countries. Now is the time for Afghanistan to follow suit, especially as foreign support is withdrawn. A minimum of 600 trained experts practicing the IDT strategy twice a day would be enough to alleviate terrorism in Afghanistan once and for all and restore to its people hope for the future. Afghanistan cannot afford to wait any longer.


When Adam woke up that first day in paradise, as his eyes, hears, nose, and all of his body senses began to be activated; that must have been an unbelievable experience. But I am sure that once he saw the birds flying and enjoying the sky’s breeze, he would have wanted to become a pilot. Yet, most of the people of the Caribbean don’t realize that they are in paradise, until they leave and come back or listen as others describe the exceptional radiance, kind people, and levels of relaxation that the Caribbean provide.

The world celebrates the Caribbean as one of the must visit vacation locations. Today we can make an estimate that over 60 percent or more of the Caribbean citizens who leave the Caribbean do not return. The literacy level of the Caribbean people is at an average of 80 percent based on the UNESCO ratings, however, that number can be evaluated by some as being a bit too high seeing that there are no way to truly measure all of the Caribbean islands’ literacy levels, and as a principled fact the majority of the people of the Caribbean would love to return home to the Caribbean but lack a proper motivation to do so. When Adam realized that the Caribbean was 70 percent reliant on airlift and that it was going to cost him a whole lot of apples to fly between the islands, he decided to relax on the veranda instead. As a region the Caribbean is a victim of multiple centuries of natural disasters, colonial practices, strategic NGO involvements, multinational and corporate international banking and oil industry approaches that have not had any true or lasting benefit for the Caribbean people. Once we consider the expressions of Caribbean regional international aid and the lack of true regional preparedness strategies and any valid structured planning and support for the return of our Caribbean diaspora; it therefore, seems finally necessary to no longer simply give word play to our joint regional and local disaster and social preparedness.

Adam had to first realize that he was alive; after that it was important to understand what and why he was made to be alive. Now that we know that we are a Caribbean people what will be our next steps forward how will we begin our journey into the future together. Some questions that can come to mind as we forge an alternative positive future are the following. Why must we continue living in a Caribbean context with mediocre airlift and inactive protection from key natural disasters? Why must we continue to live without a clue of what our next generation will inherit as a legacy? How many more geniuses are we going to trigger and set assail in the seas of our many international harbors of knowledge and development? It is time to draw in the net. We as a people are faced with a seemingly big challenge, yet we are all graced with the necessary tools to all help uncover the great masterpiece that is called the Caribbean - islands working together with each their own intrinsic qualities and character facilitating a unique blend of social expressions as they work towards a series of common goals.

We live in a time were the Caribbean is seen as a paradise and nothing more; however, interestingly enough paradise speaks to the idea of having God’s presence or being in the presence of God. Wow, if that’s true, that the Caribbean is considered to be paradise, then creativity must abound. The great Dr. Myles Monroe often said that God did not give us a table; He hid it in a tree. I believe that the Caribbean has the potential to become one of the foremost leaders for innovation and scientific breakthroughs in the twenty first century. The worlds top institutions and nations has fostered and provided a fire bath of experiences that has molded the people and young leaders of the Caribbean for this moment in history. Everyone within this region weather governments, individuals or family members can think of a brother or sister, a son or daughter that they have sent off into the world; into the stables of hope, with the one main concern being, by doing this I hope my child will have a good future and be able to provide for his or her self and their family. We have had much success, as a Caribbean people to the point where we now have top international writers, robotic specialists, aeronautical experts, architects, engineers, sports icons, film celebrities, musical geniuses, and top character individuals on all levels of society.

When we consider that God had already prepared Eden and put Adam in it, with all of its divergent facets and features, must have been a great sense of adventure. Some areas that we can frame as target goals to make sure that the Caribbean can continue to be called home by its people, a place for its people to capture the energy from its natural environment of thermal, sun, aquatic, and hurricane, and natural winds. A place that provides for a level of recreation, elite services, yachting, culinary diversity, entertainment, security, innovative passive energy airlift, and drone applications, technology, AI, robotics, holographic, nanotechnology, and satellite development, and services, bio and agricultural diversity and sophistication. What will it take for our next generation of Caribbean business leaders and entrepreneurs to get to this next level of existence; the funny thing is, it is already being done; it is time now for those individuals to expand on the business venture activities that they are already busy with and open different international, regional and local support platforms.

Forever etched in the sands of the Caribbean beaches will be the lasting words of the legendary Dr. Myles Monroe, “Your existence is evidence that this generation needs something that your life contains.” We, the people of the Caribbean, need to define a point of departure, a starting point. We need to choose a path forward or the choice will continue to be made for us. But one thing is sure, if Adam were here in the Caribbean, in the 21st century with us, he would want to take Eve on an island hopping tour in their personal drone.

ir. Damien Richardson



Subject: After 156 years of slavery-abolition-law Dutch cabinet officially recognize and regrets being accomplice but denies decolonization and right to self-determination to the descendants.

Honorable Parliamentarians,

We commend your cabinet’s recent historical declarations on July 1, 2019, in commemoration of July 1, 1863, 156 years after your government’s proclamation of the abolition law, finally a sign, a sprout, of compassion and humanity towards the descendants, the diaspora of our dehumanized ancestors, victims of your criminally inhuman economy.

The Minister of the Interior and Kingdom Relations Mrs. Ollongren stated “that the government cannot turn back time, but deeply regrets that slavery is part of our common history” and the Minister of Social Affairs Mr. Koolmees confessed: “..that is not only the stories about the past that hurt, but that today's indifference can do that just as well”. These declarations have lit a flame of hope again in this deepest everlasting dark historical tunnel of Dutch unconsciousness about the racism part of their economy.

We all know that the abolition law of slave trade in 1814 and the1818 law that made participation a criminal offense led up to continued discussions in your parliament. For more than half a century, they debated not the humanitarian beliefs or feelings of shame about this form of commerce, but a defense of
the Dutch rationale of economic pragmatism, condemning slavery in theory, but allowing its continuation in practice up to 1863 and beyond. And up to now all your governments have kept yourselves and yours and our peoples in a state of cognitive dissonance through cultural, educational, legal, and colonial manipulation, denying the fact that your government was one of the cruelest colonizers in the world’s history.

In the light of the cabinet’s official recognition of the crimes against our ancestors and thus accepting the responsibility of being the continuation of your predecessors’ racist and economic crimes committed against us, the descendants of the victims, we would like to kindly request you the following:

As it took almost two (2) centuries for your government to recognize and regret that what you did to our ancestors was wrong, criminal and inhumane, we are afraid it may take a similar time-span, another two (2) centuries for your government to apologize, a natural logical human deed.

That as your government seems not to be in the state-of-mind to apologize due to the reasons mentioned above and we would not like to start a discussion with you on reparations as that is impossible in the current colonial occupation you hold us, we would like to ask you and your government that same simple question as your first chair of your first national assembly, during the Batavian constitutional debate, Pieter Paulus asked in 1796: “In which way all human beings can be considered equal?”.

Yes, the same question remains today 222 years later : “In which way – Are we, your so-called “Kingdom partners”, who were as recent as October 10, 2010, annexed, re-occupied, re-colonized, and embedded in your constitution under unequal rights against the our free will, - considered equal human beings?


We truly hope that the two honorable Ministers, same as Pieter Paulus was called “apostle of humanity”, they will be called the “apostles of decolonization” and not yet another modernized version of Piet Hein personified by colleague state-secretary and ex-military Mr. Knops who could be portraying Piet Hein, but now by terrorizing us all in the Caribbean with his WIC-VOC mentality and approach and who abuses his powers by unilateral legal actions with your approval.

We wholeheartedly feel that our wish to decolonize is not unrealistic and is as real as Mrs. Ollongren realization that time cannot be turned back as she declared. Born in the former Dutch colony Sumatra to Finnish-Swede parents, she possesses a diluted Dutch-ancestral-colonial DNA and her M.A. in history gives her all the possibilities to understand colonialism and its only cure: decolonization. The same miracle we expect from Mr. Koolmees with his doctoral degree in social and institutional economics and as researcher at The Dutch Economic Institute he surely must understand that the major part of the riches and wealth which he and his government inherited and benefit today, was acquired through the colonial-slavery-criminal-economy tainted with the blood, sweats, and tears of our ancestors. No wonder he clearly admitted that the indifference today is as cruel and painful as the past because as an expert he indeed knows.

Finally, we herewith kindly request you to cease being an accomplice to the continuation of Dutch colonialism, declared a crime against humanity by the United Nations and to follow up on your recent brave declarations. Our King Willem-Alexander, as a non-political symbol of Dutch colonial legacy, could lead the reconciliation and healing process by apologizing with humanitarian compassion and not matter-of-factly based on Dutch economic rationale. In this process, we advise you to reevaluate the role and actions of Mr. Knops. The damage he has done so far to your carefully fabricated humanitarian philanthropic world image can hardly be undone other than through a genuine declaration of remorse followed by an immediate resignation.

To summarize all the above: if you indeed recognize that colonialism is a crime and regret that your government is participating in and supporting it, then please follow up and respect our Bonerian 2015 and Sint Eustatius 2014 referenda, expressions of the voice and free will of our people that legally and democratically rejected the imposed colonial structure. And please, comply with your UN Charter obligations and resume the decolonization process by respecting and restoring our inherited and acquired sacred and fundamental human rights of self-determination and self-governance.

We thank you for your attention and look forward to your compliance, as hope is all we need, that, “one day, we shall overcome”,

Respectfully yours,
James Finies


A Call for Caribbean Governments to Tax Cruise Sector More and Tax Air Passengers Less.

Can tourism-dependent Caribbean governments learn something from oil producing countries? When relatively small and poor oil-producing governments sought to get a fair price for oil – their main source of national revenue – they banded together to negotiate more effectively with the multi-national oil companies and the larger developed nations, which were the major consumers of their oil. In 1960 five of these countries came together to found OPEC – the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries – and were later joined by nine additional member states. As a result of their joint stronger bargaining power, oil prices have risen relatively steadily from US$1.63 per barrel in 1960 to an average of around US$77 during the last ten years.
The weak negotiating position of individual Caribbean governments versus the massive cruise line corporations, relative to port taxes, poses similarities to OPEC’s situation sixty years ago and the same potential “rebalancing” strategy should now be pursued in the Caribbean. If governments across the whole region, including Central America, come together and form OTEC – the Organization of Tourism Economy Countries – they can negotiate as a cartel from a position of greater strength with the cruise lines. Currently, when individual countries try to increase port taxes, they are threatened with being dropped from cruise itineraries and can be picked off one by one by the powerful cruise lines.
From a better bargaining position, state or national governments with single destination cruise itineraries – Alaska, Bermuda, and Hawaii – have already negotiated higher cruise port revenues than those in the average Caribbean country. Cruise ships stay two nights in Bermuda and pay at least US$50 per passenger. For mainland United States and Canada cruise itineraries, an average of 33% of the cruise ticket price goes to port taxes, compared to an average 14% for a Caribbean itinerary. By negotiating together, governments in the Greater Caribbean region can achieve similar results to these destinations with higher port taxes.
A recent statement from the Government of Antigua & Barbuda summarized the history and current situation of regional cruise taxes, as follows. In 1993 Caricom countries initially agreed to impose a minimum US$10 port head tax for cruise passengers but this was never implemented because of internal disagreements. A range of today’s head taxes in the Caribbean is as follows: US$18 – The Bahamas and The British Virgin Islands, US$15 – Jamaica, US$13.25 – Puerto Rico, US$7 - Belize, US$6 – St Kitts & Nevis, US$5 – St Lucia, US$4.50 – Grenada, US$1.50 - Dominican Republic.
Imagine the economic benefit, if these cruise tax rates could be increased and standardized across the region at the higher levels listed. One directly relevant and current challenge could be addressed – the current sky-high airport and air ticket taxes in the region could be reduced to help increase the volume of stay-over visitors in the Caribbean.
Stay-over travelers, whether intra-regional or from outside the Caribbean, spend very much more than cruise ship passengers and generate considerably more local employment than today’s cruise ship business model, which is now highly exploitive of Caribbean countries. An increase in stay-over visitors drives the development of more hotels and marinas, as well as many other forms of real estate and tourism infrastructure investment. Reduced air ticket prices keep intra-regional airlines, like LIAT, flying and increase the number of airline seats into Caribbean destinations from the rest of the world.
The cruise industry business model has changed radically and aggressively in the last fifteen years and should no longer be viewed as an ideal “partner” for the countries of the Caribbean. There is a growing sense in the islands with the highest cruise ship volumes, like St Thomas and Sint Maarten, that today’s port taxes are not adequate compensation for the overcrowding of down town areas, the pollution from the burning of heavy fuel oil and the minimal spend ashore of today’s cruise ship passengers. The mega-ships now have multiple shops, casinos, restaurants, and bars offering all-inclusive packages that totally distract passengers from spending ashore. In the last twenty years, ships’ commissions on shore excursions have risen from 10% to 50%, discouraging passengers from going ashore at all and squeezing any possible profit margin for local tour operators. Today, over 80% of a cruise ship passenger’s DISCRETIONARY spend is on board.
Most cruise ships enjoy a double high season – Caribbean for less than six months and the balance of the year in Alaska or the Mediterranean – operating virtually free of corporation taxes and with very low wage bills. The largest ships cost less than US$300,000 per cabin to build, while new hotel rooms in the Caribbean cost double that figure per room to develop and have only one high season. The cruise ship’s highly competitive business model and the further recent growth of cruise tourism in the region might be viewed as a direct disincentive for resort investment and re-investment in the Caribbean.
The total number of cruise ship passengers was over 27 million worldwide in 2018, up nearly 10% from two years earlier. In the next ten years, 106 new ships are expected to enter service and, currently, over 50% of the world’s cruise fleet is based in the Caribbean for the Winter. The hugely profitable cruise industry can afford to absorb higher port taxes in the Caribbean and will do so, once faced with a stronger negotiating entity.
Do not believe any cruise line threats that they can pull out of the region altogether. The Caribbean is the only archipelago with natural beauty and sophisticated tourism infrastructure, located directly between the established feeder cruise markets of North America and Europe and the growth feeder market of South America.
Is it not now abundantly clear that, at the very least, there is an absolute logic to rebalance the tax burden between the Caribbean’s stay-over visitor and the cruise ship passenger?

Robert MacLellan
Managing Director
MacLellan & Associates

A shameful display by Sarah.

Dear Mr. Editor,

I wonder sometimes if politicians really wake up every day thinking that they lord over a community of fools. In some ways I understand why they could feel this way because the same “fools” keep electing them over and over again. But there are times when these politicians say and do things that literally make you feel ashamed for them.
Sarah Wescot-Williams put on a shameful and miserable display in defense of her Minister Emil Lee as he was being fired on Tuesday night during the budget debate. She got up and chastised members of Parliament for their “double standards.” I had to laugh at this point, and loudly. If there is anybody who should stay away from standing on the “double standards” soapbox it’s Sarah Wescot-Williams, she of the multiple breaks in government including the most recent William Marlin government in which she and her DP was a coalition partner.
You cannot be a politician of over 30 years and use the term “double standards” to disparage other politicians and then say this is the main problem in Parliament, as if you haven’t contributed vastly to such a reality. Really Sarah? Double standards are totally new to you? And you have never engaged in such behavior? Like….ever? Don’t insult us when your moral conscience appears to be largely dictated by your political loyalties, not your aversion to the double standard.
Even more shameful was her injection of race and xenophobia in her so call defense of Lee. She implied ever so slyly and indirectly that the MP’s voting to dismiss Lee was doing so with racial undertones. In other words, Lee was being fired in part because of his ethnicity. Sarah says this in defense of a man who has never associated himself with St. Maarten people via actions or initiatives.
Other than his business ventures and the luck of the devil to remain as Minister while Sarah maneuvered herself in every government, Emil Lee has always been about Emil Lee. He doesn’t attend local events, he doesn’t participate in anything cultural, and keeps to his people in his bubble. In five years as Minister of VSA we still have the same issues if not worse and he doesn’t have a single major accomplishment to show that benefits the people of St. Maarten. Not one.
And the best Sarah can come up with are double standards and accusing the MP’s, indirectly, of being racist. A Shameful performance from someone who should have said: “ok Minister, you had enough time, you failed my people, thanks for your service, next!”
She wrapped up her poor defense by saying that double standards in Parliament will “come back to bite us.” Well, yes. It finally bit you on Tuesday and now the DP has no Minister in the Council of Ministers. The better term to use is karma.

Raoul Nicholaas

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