Trump hijacks Barbados coronavirus ventilators, other news

This 4 April 2020 video from the USA says about itself:

Andrew Cuomo thanks China for ventilators as New York prepares for coronavirus peak

The New York [governor] has said the Chinese government will facilitate a donation of 1,000 ventilators to arrive into JFK airport on Saturday as the city prepares to hit its coronavirus ‘apex’. Andrew Cuomo said: ‘This is a big deal and it’s going to make a significant difference for us. We’re not at the apex so we’re still in the stage where we have the luxury – if you will – of gathering as much as we can’,

The ventilator shortage, capitalism and the fight for socialist planning. By Jerry White, 6 April 2020. Millions are asking why is there a shortage of breathing machines and what must be done about it.

By Steve Sweeney in Britain:

Monday, April 6, 2020

US accused of ‘modern piracy’ after seizing ventilators bound for Barbados

BARBADOS is seeking answers after the US seized a consignment of ventilators destined for the country in its battle to fight the global coronavirus pandemic, prompting accusations of “modern piracy”.

The Caribbean country’s Health Minister Jeffrey Bostic confirmed that the shipment had been barred from export by Washington for unknown reasons.

“They were seized in the United States. Paid for, but seized, so we are trying to see exactly what is going to transpire there,” he said on Sunday.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain, 6 April 2020:

GREECE: The Malakasa refugee camp north-east of Athens was placed in quarantine yesterday after a resident tested positive for Covid-19, the second migrant facility in the past four days.

Last Thursday the Ritsona camp was placed on lockdown for 14 days after a woman in labour tested positive for the disease.

No cases have yet been recorded on the Greek islands, where thousands of refugees live in squalid and overcrowded camps.

Refugee camps are a tinderbox for the spread of the coronavirus.

Coronavirus and the war on the working class. Capitalists and the ‘concerned billionaires’ of the world are clamouring to ignore the health professionals and restore the accumulation process immediately, says ZOLTAN ZIGEDY.

Ontario warns of more than 10,000 COVID-19 deaths as pandemic spreads rapidly across Canada. By Roger Jordan, 6 April 2020. The figures presented are horrifying, but likely an underestimation of the catastrophe threatening the province and country unless urgent counter-measures are taken.

Indian medical staff speak to WSWS on COVID-19 pandemic. By Yuan Darwin and Nanda Kumar, 6 April 2020. Indian medical staff are struggling to fight COVID-19 under conditions of a run-down public health system and high-population densities without basic facilities.

Australian Committee for Public Education holds successful online meeting on pandemic crisis: here.

New Zealand school at centre of escalating COVID-19 outbreak. By John Braddock, 6 April 2020. At 72 cases and still rising, Auckland’s Marist College contains the country’s biggest cluster of COVID-19 infections.

Barbados ‘wild boar’ were peccaries

This April 2016 video says about itself:

The collared peccary is a mammal that ranges from SW United States all the way down through South America. Though sometimes referred to as wild pigs, these mammals are actually not in the pig family. They have a very versitile diet, eating everything from roots to small animals.

From Simon Fraser University in Canada:

True identity of imposter ‘pigs’ on 17th century map overturns early colonial history of Barbados

May 16, 2019

Which came first, the pigs or the pioneers? In Barbados, that has been a historical mystery ever since the first English colonists arrived on the island in 1627 to encounter what they thought was a herd of wild European pigs.

A recent discovery by an SFU archaeologist is shedding new light on the matter. Christina Giovas uncovered the jaw bone of a peccary, a South American mammal that resembles a wild pig, while researching a larger project on prehistoric animal introductions in the Caribbean.

“I didn’t give it much notice at the time, but simply collected it along with other bones,” says Giovas, the lead author of a study just published in PLOS ONE. “It was completely unexpected and I honestly thought I must have made a mistake with the species identification.”

Giovas and collaborators George Kamenov and John Krigbaum of the University of Florida radiocarbon-dated the bone and conducted strontium isotope analysis to determine the age and whether the peccary was born on Barbados or had been imported from elsewhere.

The results showed the peccary was local and dated to 1645-1670, when the English wrote their account of finding wild European pigs on the Caribbean island. The researchers were not only able to show there had been a previously undetected historic peccary introduction but that the region’s earliest celebrated maps depicted peccaries that had been mistaken for pigs by the English.

Giovas says the findings upend Barbados’ accepted colonial history and reflect how quickly Europeans began to alter New World environments by altering species distributions.

“Checking historical and archaeological records, we determined the most likely source of peccary introduction was from Spanish or Portuguese ships passing the island in the 16th century — and most likely left as a source of meat for future visiting sailors,” she says.

Vote fraud in Barbados?

This video says about itself:

Voting irregularities

5 May 2018

The Barbados Labour Party says it has received hundreds of complaints from voters about irregularities on the voters’ list.

Caribbean-British poet Peter Blackman’s book published at last

This is a video of the poem Stalingrad by Peter Blackman.

By Chris Searle in Britain:

Books: Atlas For Working People

Thursday 17th October 2013

CHRIS SEARLE pays tribute to Peter Blackman, whose collected poems have just been published

Born in 1909, Peter Blackman was the son of a quasi-illiterate stonemason and a laundress in St John’s parish, Barbados – one of the poorest parts of the island.

He was given a scholarship to an exclusive colonial school by an Anglican church eagerly seeking “native” recruits to the priesthood.

Despatched to Durham University, he became a priest in 1933 and was sent to Gambia as a missionary. There he very soon discovered that black priests like himself were on a lower stipend than their white colleagues.

He protested to the Anglican hierarchy and left the church when no notice was taken.

After returning to Barbados, he re-emigrated to England in the mid-1930s and joined the Communist Party.

He also took leading roles in black progressive groups of the time such as the Negro Welfare Association, the League For Coloured People – he became editor of its journal The Keys – and the Committee For West Indian Affairs.

During WWII he helped build Wellington bombers and when it ended he began working as a mechanic for British Rail in north-west London. He was proud that as one of its few black workers, he was the only man on the shop floor who could speak and read Latin and Greek.

All through the postwar years, Blackman wrote poems with a beautiful and incisive grasp of Standard English, honed from his readings of the King James Bible, John Milton, William Blake, William Wordsworth and Walt Whitman as well as African history. He contributed articles for English journals and in French too for Le Monde and the negritude-inspired journal Presence Africaine.

He also made occasional broadcasts for the BBC until the organisation banned him during the cold war and became a close friend and travelling companion of Paul Robeson.

Yet despite the power and beauty of his writings, Blackman is one of the great neglected poets of the Caribbean during a period when the region’s poetry was reaching a fullness of expression in the popular Creole vernaculars.

Like the output of contemporaries such as the poets Edward Kamau Brathwaite – also a Bajan – the Jamaican Louise Bennett, George Lamming’s novels or CLR James’s histories, Blackman employed the instilled sublimity of the standard language. Yet it was the language of the coloniser and was frequently dismissed as such.

Even so, during the poison of the cold war, Blackman’s great poems – My Song Is For All Men, Stalingrad, London – or his tribute to the pioneering black communist Claudia Jones were passed over by the university literary elite, even though they were 20th-century paeans to human unity, peace and loving solidarity with all the working people of the world.

Blackman died 20 years ago and during his lifetime his poems were never published in collected form. That’s now been rectified with the publication of Footprints by Smokestack Books.

For Blackman, poetry was truly the universal meeting place. In 1976 he came to my cosmopolitan Poplar classroom in London where he joined in lessons with the 14-year-olds and read his poems, among them the short About London, an affectionate tribute to the city of Blake, Milton and other great writers and poets “tireless to find some common ground where men could meet.”

That was a starkly optimistic and different kind of vision to that in his 1948 poem London, which tells of a black immigrant couple arriving in the city. The wife is pregnant yet they’re turned away from lodgings they seek by a racist white landlady cuddling her pet dog.

While Blackman certainly wrote of the cruelty of the world he also created works embracing its immense human potential and internationalism, ia wide-flung diversity that would destroy all racist and reactionary barriers. “I grasp this hand wherever I find it,” he wrote in My Song Is For All Men. “Look! This is a white hand, it is my hand. I am the black man.” Such lines are deeply prophetic of the multicutural city London has become.

Footprints includes a speech by Blackman at an Art Against Racism And Fascism event held at the old Half Moon Theatre, a converted synagogue in Stepney. A rousing evening, it numbered in its audience composer Alan Bush, who had set parts of My Song Is For All Men to music, dockers’ leader Jack Dash and Robert Wyatt, Soft Machine’s singer and ex-drummer, who was to record Blackman reading his great poem Stalingrad on the flip side of one of his records.

Blackman emphasised that his poetry was written about and for ordinary people. “We do not pay enough attention to our exploration of the ordinary,” he said. “Yet it is of such stuff as we that human society is made. What we must try to do is get at the ordinary and out of the ordinary we bring excellence without elitism … The ordinary people, the men and women who go to work every day – out of them comes excellence.”

Blackman saw this every day too in his Willesden workplace and all over the world in his unbridled imagination. His poems are like great verbal atlases of the working people of the world, expressed with moving and beautiful wordscapes.

Read Footprints and you’ll know exactly what I mean.

Footprints is available at £7.95 from Smokestack Books, and there is a launch event for the book at 6.30pm tomorrow night at the Institute Of Race Relations, 2-6 Leeke Street, London WC1, telephone: (020) 7837-0041.

CLR James, the Ferguson Rebellion, and Radical History: here.

World’s smallest snake discovered on Barbados

This video is called Barbados parrot attack at Graeme Hall Nature Park.

From the BBC:

World’s smallest snake discovered

By Jennifer Carpenter
Science reporter, BBC News

The world’s smallest snake, averaging just 10cm (4 inches) and as thin as a spaghetti noodle, has been discovered on the Caribbean island of Barbados.

The snake, found beneath a rock in a tiny fragment of threatened forest, is thought to be at the very limit of how small a snake can evolve to be.

Females produce only a single, massive egg – and the young hatch at half of their adult body weight.

This new discovery is described in the journal of Zootaxa.

The snake – named Leptotyphlops carlae – is the smallest of the 3,100 known snake species and was uncovered by Dr Blair Hedges, a biologist from Penn State University, US. …

Dr Hedges thinks that the snake eats termites and is endemic to this one Caribbean island. He said that, in fact, three very old specimens of this species were already in collections – one in London’s Natural History Museum and two in a museum in Martinique.

However, these specimens had been misidentified. …

Researchers believe that the snake – a type of thread snake – is so rare that it has survived un-noticed until now.

But with 95% of the island of Barbados now treeless, and the few fragments of forest seriously threatened, this new species of snake might become extinct only months after it was discovered.

Smallest of the small

In contrast to other species of snake – some of which can lay up to 100 eggs in a single clutch – the world’s smallest snake only produces a single egg.

“This is unusual for snakes but seems to be a feature of small animals,” Dr Hedges told BBC News.

By having a single egg at a time, the snake’s young are one-half the length of the adult. That would be like humans giving birth to a 60-pound (27kg) baby

Dr Hedges added that the snake’s size might limit the size of its clutch.

“If a tiny snake were to have more than one offspring, each egg would have to share the same space occupied by the one egg and so the two hatchlings would be half the normal size.”

The hatchlings might then be too small to find anything small enough to eat.

This has led the researchers to believe that the Barbadian snake is as small as a snake can evolve to be.

See also here.

Only Americas little egret colony in Barbados in danger by ‘developers’

In this video, a little egret in Breskens, the Netherlands.

From BirdLife:

First New World Little Egrets under threat on Barbados


The first colony of Little Egret Egretta garzetta in the New World, and its home, the last significant red and white mangrove swamp in Barbados, are at risk from deteriorating habitat quality and threatened development.

Marshlands within the Graeme Hall Swamp –a Ramsar wetland of international importance which holds the last significant mangrove woodland and largest lake in Barbados- were recently put up for sale for potential “environmentally appropriate commercial operations”.

Conservationists have expressed concern at the sale, and are urging priority be given to buyers with ecologically sound credentials and intentions; rather than sale for a “monoculture theme park” as some fear, that has little consideration for species conservation.

More than 85 bird species have been found at Graeme Hall Swamp, including Caribbean Coot Fulica caribaea, and the mangroves and environs of the swamp harbour the highest density of the endemic race of Yellow Warbler Dendroica petechia on Barbados. Three other Lesser Antilles endemic species occur (Antillean Crested Hummingbird, Green-throated Carib and Barbados Bullfinch). The permanent wetland is also critical habitat for migrant and vagrant waterbirds.

“The Graeme Hall Swamp and Chancery Lane Swamp Important Bird Areas [IBAs] are critical to the conservation of the Little Egret in the New World,” states the lead story in the new issue of Birds Caribbean, the newsletter produced by BirdLife International for the Society for the Conservation and Study of Caribbean Birds. “The Little Egret is an Old World species that naturally colonised the Western Hemisphere when it began nesting in Barbados in 1994. The population now numbers about 24 birds.” But in recent years, Birds Caribbean reports, the numbers found in annual Christmas Bird Counts have been declining.

AMAZONA (Association des Mateurs Amicaux des Z’Oiseaux et de la Nature aux Antilles) has published the Caribbean’s first national language Important Bird Area (IBA) directory. Les Zones Importantes pour la Conservation des Oiseaux en Guadeloupe represents the culmination of a collaborative effort by the island’s biologists and birders to gather all available knowledge about their birds, habitats and biodiversity to determine international priority sites for conservation: here.