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COMMENTARY: Rescue boys from gender and societal war

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Dominica under 15 Men’s Football squad

Are our black men losing face? Should we have bumper stickers with colorful slogans such as ‘SAVE OUR MALES’? The problem of lack of progress of black boys and young men has become evident, not only in Dominica and the rest of the Caribbean but also in Europe and North America. Most social scientists and gender researchers will tell you that they are worried about this new Y-chromosome (male) crop. Due to modern-day dynamics and other more complicated issues, a frightening and alarmingly large percentage of our young men, unfortunately, are losing and have lost their way.

.While we are aware that there needs to be a larger forum and a new sense of order for exploring the broader strategies for dealing with this massive and disturbing issue, we should be practical and realistic. But we can all agree that one of the first places to start in reversing this trend is the home. Fathers (nurturing and supportive daddies), not ‘baby daddies’; need to be at the forefront of this larger discussion and solution.

Therefore, our strategy should be, to begin with, a project that is hands-on and results-oriented that fulfills and mitigates that call to action in Dominica and the region. The hope is that this project will lead to broader collaborations and cooperation among artists, business personnel, scholars, law enforcers, educators, writers,  activists, civil society and governments.

It is a fact that our girls and young women (X- Chromosomes) are winning; boys and young men are losing. The Y-chromosome crop desperately needs to be saved. The fact of the matter is that in recent years, girls and young women have moved ahead in every field, category and discipline.  Even in the sports arena that lead young men enjoyed for so long is rapidly changing.

Today, a much larger percentage of women in our communities are thriving, happy, well-adjusted and are making huge and deserved strides. Increasingly, boys and young men have slipped (and are slipping) through the cracks. The societal costs of this time bomb will be and is monumental. This trend should not only be of concern to law enforcement and policymakers, but also to parents with young daughters. How often have you heard a young beautiful, focused and alluring ‘sistah’ say, “There are no (eligible) men, or in the dating game there are ‘slim pickings and things are rough.”

According to some experts who are studying this vexing issue, one poignant and very important reason why girls are outperforming boys is male alienation in school systems. This contributes to social problems and adverse consequences. They point out that if more young males were better educated then the negative trends and habits such as violence, irresponsible sexual behavior and other anti and unproductive habits and lifestyles, would be much less.

Regardless of which side of the issue you fall on, it is fair to say that an alarmingly increasing number of our men (fathers) have neglected some of their basic responsibilities. But the sisterhood and motherhood should not give up on the ‘brothers’, at least, not just yet. Their failures, shortcomings and weaknesses are also their failures. The task of getting our men and boys ‘in line’ belongs to all of us. ‘Lock em’ up and throw away the keys and ‘take them out’ should not be one size that fits all approach.

Despite it all, I find it exciting to reflect on the varied, interesting, exciting and controversial currents that swirl around the lives of girls, young women, married moms as they balance professional and family responsibilities and look to challenges and tasks. That includes transporting their kids to piano lessons and Football games, serving on PTA and church committees among other community-related commitments.

It is unwise for anyone to conclude that increased successes of our women and girls could mean the disempowerment and marginalization of their male counterparts. On the contrary, our men and boys should embrace, appreciate and encourage women and girls more and should strive to be more of an integral part of their personal lives. In order to do so, they will to step it up to work harder and be more disciplined.

It is no fun for the ‘sistahs’ to face these exciting, challenging and often discouraging times alone. Indeed, we need the sisterhood and motherhood to be patient and to be on the brother’s sides. But all things considered and at the end of the day, it has to be a shared responsibility of the highest magnitude and urgency. It is incumbent on us men of all stripes, persuasions, professions, affiliations and convictions to get it together.





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Dominica

Dominican manufacturers urged to put all hands on deck to advance manufacturing

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Dr. Peter Alfred

Dominican National, Dr. Peter Alfred, has called on all manufactures to work together for the advancement of the Dominica Manufacturers Association (DMA).

Alfred was the keynote speaker at a DMA national symposium held on Thursday at the Goodwill Parish Hall.

“We are no doubt aware of the fact that for manufacturing and by extension, exports, to advance in our homeland, all hands need to be on deck including the public sector, the private sector [and] the multilateral agencies,” he stated.

Alfred said given the relatively small size of the vast majority of manufacturers and businesses, it is advisable to broaden the membership of the DMA in order to benefit from having a louder and more widely supported voice.

He said that there is also a need to have a vibrant and dynamic member’s organization.

“The DMA should strengthen its organization and strive to present a compelling value proposition that will serve to attract, keep, mobilize and stimulate its members,” he advised.

Alfred further urged manufactures to see DMA as their “campaign” and “mouthpiece” adding that the DMA should also deliver on the expectations of its members.

Meantime, Minister for Trade and Commerce, Ian Douglas said that the manufacturing sector holds tremendous potential to address food security concerns and reconfiguration of Dominica’s import and export dynamics.

“My vision places manufacturing at the core of the new ministry and as the minister for trade and commerce I’m happy to share this new vision of increase production for sustainable employment and export,” Douglas stated.

He said this new direction should spur sustainable growth in the production and manufacturing sector.

“I am certainly in agreement with this vision since it is in sync with the ministry of trade and commerce to be the driver for export development,” the minister remarked.

Douglas commended the members of the DMA for what he referred to as a progressive theme: “To step up production for sustainable employment and export.”

Minister for Trade and Commerce, Ian Douglas





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Police report slight drop in crime in Dominica for 2019

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A total of eight hundred and thirty-five (835) serious crimes were reported in Dominica in 2019 and according to Police Chief, Daniel Carbon, this was slightly lower than the figure of 906 which was reported in 2018.Carbon said during a recently held press conference that in terms of minor crimes, three thousand, five hundred and one (3501) offenses were reported in 2019.

“For minor offenses in 2018, 3856 minor crimes were reported to the police and in 2019, 3501 minor offenses were reported to the police and we realized a reduction by 355 minor crimes in 2019,” he noted.

He said ten (10) murders were reported in 2019, compared to eleven (11) in 2018.

“I have a concern with the number of murders that are being committed as we all know one murder is one too many,” Carbon stated.

He noted, however, that out of the 10 murders that were reported in 2019, six were gun-related and eight were detected.

There were also twenty (20) firearm offenses in 2019, according to Carbon, an increase from the sixteen which were reported in 2018.





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Dominica

More funds needed to complete renovation of Roseau Cathedral

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Newly-renovated cathedral roof

His Lordship, Bishop Gabriel Malzaire, has revealed that the renovation work at the Roseau Cathedral has not moved at the rate as expected and will need an additional 3 to 4 million dollars for its completion.

The Roseau Cathedral, which is over 150 years old, represents historical, cultural and religious significance for the people of Dominica and its renovation is being done in phases. The project started back in 2013 and has encountered several delays.

In July 2019, Dean of the Roseau Cathedral, Fr. Nigel Karam, said that the Cathedral was completely covered but there were still finishing touches to be added to the roofing and that is expected to be completed by the end of July.

He added that although the damage caused by Hurricane Maria was “fairly extensive”, most of the work is already done and what is left is mainly the cleaning and redoing of the floors which were completely damaged by the weather conditions. He said the majority of the tiles on the roof remained in place and proved to be resilient.

“The Cathedral, unfortunately, has not moved at the rate that we expected,” Bishop Malzaire told Dominica News Online (DNO) in an interview.

“But right now we are at the stage of working on the flooring,” he said. “We would need at least 3 to 4 million dollars to complete; right now, the monies that we have will only finish the floor.”

According to the Bishop, when one is doing renovation work, it’s almost difficult to gauge exactly what is needed, “because as you go along, you realize you have more than you expected.”

“Initially a project that should be a $2.5 million project has gone to $12million,” Malzaire stated.

Meantime, he said the roof is finished.

“After that, we have, of course, the windows and doors. Then, we have the choir loft; then we have to finish the ceiling…,” Bishop Malzaire explained. “After the floor, the last major work we have to do is the ceiling. So, I think we are on our way.”





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