Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Guyana's Taking Hi-tech-steps to protect vast forestry resources

Guyana is a land rich in all kinds of mineral and natural resources. Wood is one of those. Until recently it had left monitoring of the forest up to Brazilian equipment but Guyana has now gone hi-tech and will be monitoring its own forest using satellite equipment. There has been illegal logging within the forest. This new system will help authorities to keep a lid on things. Guyanese authorities say they also plan to embark on a 'plantation forest' pilot project, focusing on species that are in high commercial demand as well introduce new exotic species like teak, while at the same time examining the prospects for reforestation in July this year.
Deforestation has a negative impact on wildlife population and it is another reason that this matter needed to be seriously addressed.

Guyana's forestry sector contributes at least 5 percent to the country's Gross Domestic Product and employs a total of 20,000 people directly and indirectly.
Major species include greenheart, mora, baromalli, purple heart, crabwood, kabakalli, womara found in Guyana’s rich forest.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Spiritual Diversity Care

Do you know that the Health Sciences Centre in Winnipeg offered a quiet space in the hospital to meditate or just to think about things in whatever language or religion you choose. There is no discrimination here. It's the hope room. Sometimes patients and their families receive very bad health news from their doctors and need this time to clear their heads or connect to their source of strength. They can do so in a respectful way in the Hope Room.

This room is a sanctuary for Muslims in the hospitals wishing to observe their prayer times, a place for the Aboriginals to do their pipe ceremonies of healing, Christians to pray and meditate. This is a wonderful idea and a very useful place for people of all faiths and for those with no faith to connect to something when their spirits are at their lowest. The Director of the Centre is Patricia Frame and the phone number is 787-3884.
If you need to find out more of the services this Hope Room offers call her and find out.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Hello Everybody!

UNPAC's Annual General Meeting is just around the corner...

The AGM will be held Thursday, May 29 at 6:30 pm in room 2M73 at the University of Winnipeg. We hope you can join us as we announce our upcoming project entitled: "Women's Economic Participation Mentorship Project."

Light snacks and refreshments will be provided.

Following the AGM, beginning at 7:30 pm, we will be screening the documentary film "View from a Grain of Sand" by Meena Nanji.

View From a Grain of Sand is a journey through the last 30 years of Afghanistan's history as lived by three Afghan women. Shot over the last three years in Pakistan and Afghanistan, a doctor, teacher and social activist tell how their lives were violently affected by wars of international making and three different regimes in Afghanistan. Yet through all their loss, and the destruction of their homes and country, these women have endured.

For more information about the film, visit:


Mandy Fraser, Co-Chair
UN Platform for Action Committee Manitoba (UNPAC) 60 Maryland Street Winnipeg, MB R3G 1K7 Canada

Thursday, May 15, 2008

The Canadian Committee for UNIFEM
Winnipeg Chapter
Invites you to our Annual Meeting

Special presentation by

Jane McBee & Enid Butler
Grands ‘N’ More, Winnipeg

Jane will speak on her experience in Africa as part of the
Grandmothers to Grandmothers Campaign
Sponsored by the Stephen Lewis Foundation
Easing the pain of HIV/AIDS in Africa

Tuesday, June 17th, 7:00 pm
University Women’s Club, 54 West Gate

All are welcome!
Time to renew your membership and
thank everyone for support of Local to Global 2008

Focusing on: Women’s Economic Empowerment; Governance & Leadership & Human Rights
See more at &
Winnipeg Announcement
Winnipeg Citizens’ Coalition

Public Service Announcement. Please distribute widely
The Winnipeg Citizens’ Coalition is holding their Founding Meeting on Monday, June 16th, 2008 at 7:00 pm at the Millennium Library, Carol Shields Room, 251 Donald St.
Shellie Bird, from People for a Better Ottawa Municipal Coalition, will be the guest speaker.

Come out and hear how, together, we can make changes at City Hall.
The Winnipeg Citizens’ Coalition is a broad based progressive group of citizens who want to improve the quality of life in Winnipeg.

- 30 –

For further information:

Another scam by clever Africans
When I first read in the Nation that there was a chartered flights of Africans landed in BIM, I mentioned it to my Nigerian friend, who is a solicitor here in Ontario. He smiled and said that his pastor's cousin was on that journey. He was one of the Ghanian with the group. So, when I learnt that the plane had not returned to pick them up, I mentioned it to him again. He said, "Yes, I know! It was never intended to return". He also said that, the Africans intentions were to find work in Barbados and, once they were granted a work permit in Barbados, it would then make immigration to Canada and the USA easier for Immigration Lawyers in USA & Canada to negotiate on their behalf. Canada and the USA were their ultimate destination. It was all a hoax.

This was all told to me prior to the news that the plane would not return. You can imagine my dismay when I learnt this to be true. Shock!!




NAME: Osa Agbon Itota
SEX: Female
AGE: 32
ADDRESS: #30 Uwa Street
New Benin,
Benin City, off New Lagos Road
Edo State, Nigeria
MOBILE: +234-80-23521045


I am a businesswoman who deals with clothes, shoes, bags and jewelry. In the course of my business, I have been to Switzerland, Holland and several African countries.

On January 20th, 2008, I read about the direct Inaugural flight from Accra (Ghana) to Barbados in a daily newspaper publication, "The Guardian and the Punch", in Lagos, Nigeria.

Consequently, I flew from Lagos, (Nigeria) to Accra (Ghana) to purchase the ticket. ($2,000. U.S.) in order to explore the numerous business opportunities as well as vacation in the Caribbean. This was a round trip ticket.

Thus, on the 31st of January 2008, I left Accra (Ghana) on board Ghana Air Internationa1 with about 148 other passengers, comprising mostly Ghanaians and about 30 Nigerians.

It was a 9 (nine) hour flight and we arrived in Barbados at exactly 3:45a.m. on the 1st of February 2008. We spent a few hours at the airport due to some initial hotel reservation matters before we were eventually cleared by the Barbados Immigration.

We each were given 15 days entry. I and a group of others checked into "Kingsland Palace" Guest House at St. Patrick, Christ Church. I spent one week at the hotel, paying $20 U.S. daily.

At this point, however, we were already getting conflicting statements from our tour agent in Ghana, Seasons Travels and Tours, about the probable date of our departure from Barbados. Our inquiries confirmed that the return flight might be delayed a little due to circumstances beyond their control.

Then I made a call to my brother in Canada, telling him about the situation. He made an arrangement for me to come over to Canada and spend some time with him and his immediate family, because he has been away for a long time and he wanted to use this opportunity as a re-union between his immediate family and myself. He then sent an electronic e-ticket dated 6th to the 14th of February 2008.

This decision was based on the fact that I already had a Canadian visa in my passport. Unfortunately, when I got to Air Canada desk at the Grantley Adams International Airport on the 6th of February 2008, the lady on duty asked me about my nationality and I told her I was a Nigerian. She then asked me to wait and I waited for almost 30 minutes. Thereafter she asked me the following questions:

1. Whom are you going to see in Canada?
2. What is his name?
Where does he stay in Canada?
What is his phone number?
What does he do for a living?

I provided accurate answers to the above questions.

Then she went inside again and later came with an Immigration Officer. This time around my passport was seized by the Immigration Officer who ordered me to follow him and I obeyed. I was then taken to an interrogation office where I was stripped searched. The officer eventually told me that I can not travel because my Canadian visa was faked. I argued based on the fact that I had other visas in my passport, that I got through the same medium, but the Immigration Officer paid deaf ears.

Then they locked me up at the airport detention facility (a windowless cell of about 6 by 8 feet) for 2 ½ months. In one of the nights, the fire alarm went-off and we shouted and banged on the door for help but nobody came to our rescue! I was not allowed phone calls for a month and a half. I was also denied medical facility during this period of incarceration. When I was eventually allowed to make a phone call, I called my elder brother in Canada, who in turn spoke with the Immigration Officer who was on duty asking him to release me. The Immigration Officer refused saying I had breached the Barbados Immigration Law and I must be kept in confinement until orders are given by a higher authority.

My elder brother made a contact with a lawyer to come all the way from Canada to bail me out. The lawyer was not allowed to see or talk to me. My brother also pleaded that he wanted to pay my ticket to return to Nigeria. They also refused his request. They said that we came in a group and therefore we must leave in a group.

During this period of incarceration I was subjected to inhuman treatment; especially when they were giving me food. They presented it to me, as if they were giving it to an animal. Oftentimes, I had to buy my own toiletries and during my menstrual period they refuse to give me any sanitary pads they told me that I should rather make-do with "tissue paper!". I was tormented and traumatised daily because I could not sleep until the early hours of the morning (3:00 or 3:30am) ; hence I did not know whom to trust. I had to be very, very alert. I did my laundry in the same confined room so that I would not smell. The only time I did not do my laundry in the sink of this confined room was when a kind Immigration lady took my laundry home and do it for me.

All this frustrated my brother because he did not know what to do any more about my situation. Since this whole issue was suppose to be a 2 week holiday that has turned into an unpredictable nightmare. Given the fact that I left behind at home a 16 months old baby and a 3 year old son and my husband. During this period of incarceration my business has suffered tremendously and I have lots of outstanding bills waiting for me back at home.

My extended family has been very worried about my health and welfare and have made frantic efforts to contact me to no avail. On the 8th of April 2008, the Chief Immigration Officer directed everyone to assemble at the Immigration Office in Bridgetown for a briefing. They all went, only to be arrested and taken to Paragon Military Base in Christ Church, after collecting their passports from them.

It was after this incident that they came for me at the airport detention on the 11th of April, 2008. They took me for medicals and after that the Chief Security Officer "Mr. Jordan" said I had to go back to the airport cell because they do not have facilities for females yet at Paragon. Then I cried my eyes out, pleading with him to allow me to stay with some church members. He refused and sent me back to the airport cell.

Then on the 17th of April, 2008, they came for me again, and the said Mr. Jordon took me to the Chief Immigration Officer who ordered him to release me. It was at this juncture, that I met with a kindhearted Barbadian (Mr. John Howell) who volunteered to take me to his home.

However, on the 21st of April 2008, the Immigration Authority asked all the ladies in the group to report to their Bridgetown office, from where they took us to join our male compatriots at the Paragon Military Base, where we are currently being housed as at the time of this writing.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Flo is a Canadian R&B phenomenon from Manitoba. Strong and intelligent, her chocolate-honey alto sends audiences soaring. She is emotion and truth juxtaposed. Firmly rooted in R&B, with infusions of jazz, soul, and pop, she sings in a style reminiscent of the great voices of our times. She evokes the velvety-sensitive forthrightness of Sade, and the integrity and social awareness of Lauryn Hill. Embodying a pure desire to write, to sing, and to inspire, Flo travels into realms of soul that some artists never tap into… and this is only the beginning
I heard her talking to Beverley Watson on CBC a couple Sundays ago and she spoke eloquently about this longing to sing. She admits to being a task master. Professionally she is a physiotherapist. She said she had to do the "parents" thing which is to get a good, sensible education. For many immigrant parents that good education means being a doctor, lawyer, engineer, teacher something stable that could provide a good living. Flo always had the longing to be a singer but she said she is shy and never thought she was good enough. Her confidence was cracked open after she was given the chance to sing "joyful, joyful" while in Grade 12. "I fell in love with the stage", she said. She recived many positive feedback that gave her the confidence she needed to try out for the Canadian Idol. While she did not make it in the Canadian Idol top 10, her confidence was unleashed and she proceeded full speed ahead to satisfy what her soul was calling her to do.

.PHONE: work204-297-5893
Flo website

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Fyxx in the Exchange Another disappointment
Fyxx has great food, let me say that upfront. It's not about the food, but the staff and their food handling practices which leave a lot to be desired. Today I visited their and one of servers/food preparers had a cold or something but she was coughing without covering her mouth and sniffling and sneezing wiping her nose and then wiping it on her apron. I feel perhaps the young people who work in some of these establishments are not properly trained. In these days when we are more conscious of germs and there are signs everywhere to wash your hands it is disconcerting to see this kind of unhealthy behaviours happening in front of our eyes. What happens when we do not see in the kitchen. I am reaching a stage where going out to eat will be something of the past. I don't want to trust my health to irresponsible establishment.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Check Out Canada's New and Improved Food Guide in the Different Languages

Health Canada’s Office of Nutrition Policy and Promotion (ONPP) has released Canada’s Food Guide in 10 languages in addition to English and French. Translated directly from the 2007 Eating Well with Canada’s Food Guide, these resources are available in Arabic, Chinese, Farsi (Persian), Korean, Punjabi, Russian, Spanish, Tagalog, Tamil, and Urdu. These languages reflect the nation’s top 10 non-official languages spoken in the homes of recent immigrants.

Providing access to healthy eating information for Canadians who are new to the country, or less familiar with English and French, is important to Health Canada. The translated Food Guides are a practical complement to existing Food Guide resources, including Eating Well with Canada’s Food Guide, the resource for educators and communicators, and the Food Guide Web site. Canada’s Food Guide integrates the latest science on nutrition and health into a practical pattern of eating, and acknowledges the changing ethnic makeup of Canada by including a range of foods from a variety of ethnic cuisines. The Food Guide Web site features interactive tools, such as My Food Guide Online, which allows individuals to create a customized printout in the same 10 languages, as well as in English and French.

ONPP invites you to share this information and hopes that you will find it valuable. For more information please visit
The Fyxx Coffee Shop on Broadway
I was there today for a sandwich. There was only one worker and he was handling cash and making food at the same time. Whenever I see that nine out of ten times the worker goes from money to your food without washing their hands. I had to stop the young man and tell him to please wash his hand before handling my food. I felt bad because I know it is partly not his fault. It is the employer who expect these young kids to do so much. They try to cut corners.

I think we all should be vigilant in ensuring that our food is not contaminated by cooks and servers. I know it is hard to be washing your hands all the time. The employer can provide the staff with adequate resources to deal with these situations.
The bottom line is there should always be two staff members in these restaurants like Fyxx, one to handle the food and one to handle coffee and money and to serve stuff where one does not have to use their naked hands.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Congratulations Sgt. Monica Brothers

Monica Brothers is a stellar role model for women and especially black women and girls because of her continued success and leadership in the community. She is a woman who was not expected to become a Police Officer because she was so skinny but she set her goal worked towards it and achieved it. This is the importance of believing in oneself. Monica Stothers believed she could accomplish whatever she wanted and she has.

She has performed her role as a Police Officer in a manner in which all Blacks and Caribbean people could be proud. She has lifted the race up to another level with her accomplishment.

She has created history by becoming the first Black Female to rise to the rank of Sgt. A 20 year old veteran of the Force she is now a Patrol Sgt Monica Brothers.
Writing Our Past Building Our Future

The Lieutenant Governor of Manitoba, the Honourable John Harvard and his wife Her Honour Lenore Berschied on May 6, 2008 sponsored a reception at Government House to celebrate the work of the Councils of Women of Manitoba, one of the oldest women's organization in the Province.
The Councils of Women two years ago undertook the task to put the records of their organization which covered more than 100 years, in order and to present this to the Provincial Archives of Manitoba. The project was fittingly titled Babs Friesen Councils of Women Archival Project because it originated when Babs, a local historian of sorts (she volunteered for umpteen years with the YM-YWCA organization, as a Librarian and record keeper). While Babs worked for the Y she represented the Y on the Council and kept her membership to this date as well as all her records. Now that she is of mature years and can no longer take care of herself she had to go into a home where her basic needs would be taken care of. Well she could not take all that stuff into a one-room place and since she was the storer of all these fantastic records the Council Women as usual pulled up their sleeves and got to work.
They did a lot of the preliminary work of sorting through boxes and boxes of paper and got rid of what could be gotten rid of and left the meat of the records for a professional archivist with funds they received from several non-Government sources but especially from YMCA-YWCA Women of Distinction fund. They had records dating back from 1894 to 1984 and from 1949-1980. The records consisted of text, photographs and bound scrap books. This represent a key part of Manitoba history and women's history in particular. These women contributed a lot to our rich mosaic. They lobbied for betterment of women, for families, for marginalized groups in all contexts, historical, personal, political, social, sexual, economic and institutions. This is such important information for the generations of women to come.
I am personally proud of these women. In additon to the text, the project consisted of a oral history component of the voices and experiences of women who have longstanding membership within the council. This was made possible by a grant from the Margaret Laurence Endowment in Women's Studies. The women interviewed included Elaine Adam, Donna Blight, Murdina Brownlee, Joan Butcher, Monika Feist, Eira "Babs" Friesen, Eleanor Gibson, Beverley Goodwin, June Menzies, Leonore Saunders, Monica Singh, Muriel Smith and Donna Mae Yeo. Sally Papso coordinated The oral history, she did all the interviews and ensured the integrity of the project

The evening was rounded off with some delicious baron beef on buns and some fabulous singing by one of Winnipeg's great songbirds, Deborah Romeyn, singer and songwriter. She is going to be releasing her Third Album soon so, watch for that.
Congratulations to the Councils of Women by ensuring that the work of a good number of women has been preserved properly for posterity.