carib repFourteen Caribbean nations are suing the governments of the United Kingdom, France and the Netherlands for reparations over what the plaintiffs say is the lingering legacy of the Atlantic slave trade.

During a United Nations General Assembly, Prime Minister of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Ralph Gonsalves said the European nations must pay for their deeds. “The awful legacy of these crimes against humanity – a legacy which exists today in our Caribbean – ought to be repaired for the developmental benefit of our Caribbean societies and all our peoples,” Gonsalves said. “The                                                                         European nations must partner in a focused, especial way with us to execute this repairing.”

The lawsuits – which are likely to amount to a lengthy battle – are being brought by The Caribbean Community, or Caricom, a regional organization that focuses mostly on issues such as economic integration. They will be brought to the U.N.'s International Court of Justice, based in The Hague in the Netherlands. It is not immediately clear when court proceedings will begin.

The countries will focus on Britain for its role in slavery in the English-speaking Caribbean, France for slavery in Haiti and the Netherlands for Suriname, a Caricom member and former Dutch colony on the northeastern edge of South America. They have hired British law firm Leigh Day, which waged a successful fight for compensation for hundreds of Kenyans who were tortured by the British colonial government as they fought for the liberation of their country during the Mau Mau rebellion of the 1950s and 1960s.

According to Martyn Day, a lawyer from the firm, the first step will be to seek a negotiated settlement with the governments of France, Britain and the Netherlands along the lines of the British agreement in June to issue a statement of regret and award compensation of about $21.5 million to the surviving Kenyans. "I think they would undoubtedly want to try and see if this can be resolved amicably," Day said of the Caribbean countries, speaking to The Associated Press in July. "But I think the reason they have hired us is that they want to show that they mean business."

Caribbean countries Jamaica, Antigua and Barbuda already have national commissions on reparations, and each country that does not have a commission has agreed to set one up. The 14 Caricom nations voted unanimously to wage the joint campaign, saying it would be more ambitious than any previous attempt.

In the United States, the idea of reparations has surfaced and disappeared numerous times. After the end of the Civil War, about 400,000 acres of land along the Florida, Georgia and South Carolina coasts was taken from former slave owners and set aside for freed slaves, who would each be granted a 40-acre plot of land to farm and make a living. It was the first attempt in the U.S. at reparations, and was reversed by President Andrew Johnson after President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated in 1865. Most recently in 2008, then-candidate Barack Obama said he did not support reparations for the descendants of slaves, which put him at odds with the NAACP, The Urban League, the SCLC and about two dozen members of Congress who sponsored legislation to create a commission on slavery. The House issued an apology for slavery in July 2008, and the Senate followed suit in 2009, but neither mentioned reparations.

Caribbean officials have not specified a monetary figure for the lawsuits, but Gonsalves and Verene Shepherd, chairwoman of the national reparations commission in Jamaica, both mentioned the fact that Britain at the time of emancipation in 1834 paid 20 million pounds – the equivalent of 200 billion pounds today – to British planters in the Caribbean. "Our ancestors got nothing," Shepherd said. "They got their freedom and they were told ‘Go develop yourselves.'"

Source: Repeating Islands

For full original, see

The World Bank issued a report, “Africa’s Tourism Set to Boost Economic Growth, Create New Jobs, and Now Outpace Other Regions for New Tourism Investment.” While the full report may be accessed via its main entry portal , ETN reports on sections of africa jshown below for ease of reference.

Sub Saharan Africa’s tourism industry is set to spur more economic growth for the continent and directly employ 6.7 million people by 2021, according to a new World Bank report released today.

The report—Tourism in Africa: Harnessing Tourism for Growth and Improved Livelihoods—says that tourism accounted directly or indirectly for one in every 20 jobs in Sub Saharan Africa in 2011, and is one of the few industries on the continent in which women are well represented as employees and managers. Sub Saharan Africa is outpacing other regions in tourism growth.

The report examines the potential of African countries to improve and expand their tourism sector, and suggests that 33 of Sub Saharan Africa’s 48 countries currently have the capacity for tourism success through establishing strong political support for developing the industry and attracting increased private investment to help finance and sustain it.

The report cites successful examples of countries including Cape Verde, Kenya, Mauritius, Namibia, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania and others, who have simplified their tourism policies, liberalized air transport and diversified tourism while protecting their communities and environments, which created a positive investment climate for tourism development.

“Africa’s private companies are increasingly attracting regional and international investment and the returns on investing in Africa are among the highest in the world,” says Makhtar Diop, World Bank Vice President for Africa. In close alliance with the private sector, governments must also do their part to create better transport, electricity, infrastructure, and other key services to develop tourism for more broad-based growth and improved livelihoods.

Tourism is increasingly attracting regional and international investment, and returns on investments in the sector remain among the highest in the world. Global hotel chains are expanding across Africa, recognizing investment potential and committing millions of dollars in new projects over the next few years to meet increased demand from both international tourists and the continent’s own fast-growing middle class. 

seychelles 75Seychelles President James Michel has been conferred with the “African Development Excellence Award” during the African Investment and Development Awards Ceremony held in New York to coincide with the holding of the United Nations General Assembly. The award was collected by Vice President Danny Faure on behalf of President Michel and the people of Seychelles. The award was presented by Dr. Ken Giami, the CEO of African Leadership Magazine and founder of the Centre for Economic and Leadership Development, an NGO with consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).

President Michel conveyed the following message through the Vice President on the occasion of the ceremony: "I am deeply honored to receive the African Development Excellence award. I accept it on behalf of the people of Seychelles and I dedicate it to them. I consider the con ferment of this prestigious award as recognition of our achievements as one of the best governed countries in Africa, stemming from the hard work and commitment we have put in a human centered approach to development."

In his keynote remarks on the occasion of the ceremony, the Vice President shared some of Seychelles’ experiences in terms of development and economic reforms that helped transform the Seychelles economy in 2008. He also highlighted Seychelles confidence in the power of intra-African investment as a driver of development. He noted the positive trends in terms of African tourism and stated that Seychelles is committed towards enhancing Africa's potential in terms of tourism development through the African Union.

In terms of future perspectives, the Vice President stressed that sustainable development must be embraced as an opportunity for African nations. He cited renewable energy and the potential of the blue economy as being catalysts for the development of Seychelles as well as the wider region.

The Vice President also stated that while Seychelles was a small state, it had shown that it could make a big contribution, and was thus also positioning itself for a bid for a non-permanent seat of the UN Security Council for the year 2017- 2018:

"While we are a small nation, we believe that all voices count. Our experiences in establishing viable maritime security provides a template for wider international cooperation in stabilizing our region, and we look forward to strengthening our contribution through this bid."

The Vice President said that Seychelles small size could be a source of strength rather than weakness, and that Seychelles was determined to ensure this was the case.

"We are the smallest nation in Africa, but we are determined to ensure that our small size is not a weakness but a strength. Our flexibility, our unity of purpose, and our development of a harmonious and united society have given us tools that have allowed us to continue to progress and ensure that we sustain the political will for often difficult governance decisions."

Source: Seychelles Ministry of Tourism and Culture
ETurbo News

jessejacksonA Reuters article by Marc Frank says that U.S. civil rights activist Jesse Jackson arrived in Cuba, where he is staying (at Havana's Hotel Nacional); he has various items on his agenda—all in the hope of facilitating improved relations with the United States. His visit to the island is hosted by the Roman Catholic Church. Jackson, who has visited Cuba several times and met with former President Fidel Castro, said "The church is concerned about peace ... and Cuba's relations with the United States and the rest of the Caribbean. I hope we can facilitate that."

Asked if he would meet with imprisoned U.S. contractor Alan Gross, Jackson said, "I don't know, but I would like to." Gross has been jailed in Cuba since December 2009 in a case that has put the brakes on a brief improvement in long-hostile U.S.-Cuba relations. In a March 2011 trial, Gross was sentenced to 15 years in prison for installing internet networks for Jewish groups under a secretive U.S. program the Cuban government considers subversive. The United States insists Gross was merely helping the local population get connected as part of a democracy-building project. According to the article, in an open letter to Castro in March 2011, Jackson said, "I appeal to His Excellency President Raul Castro to release Mr. Alan P. Gross on humanitarian grounds."

Jackon was in Colombia earlier this month where he urged Colombia's FARC rebels to free former U.S. Marine Kevin Scott Sutay, whom they kidnapped in June. At the moment, Cuba is hosting peace talks between the Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, and more than 30 of the guerrilla organization's commanders are in Havana. The article suggests that Jackson may meet with some of them while in Cuba.

For original article, see

Source: Repeating Island

Accra CityThe Pan African award committee of the Africa Travel Awards with members from all across Africa have announced the winners  of the 2013 edition of the awards.

Accra the capital city of Ghana was chosen as the most friendly African city for African visitors, Kruger National park in South Africa is the clear winner of the best National park in Africa while Obudu mountain Resort in Nigeria won as the best Resort in West Africa.

For organising the best UNWTO world congress ever with attendance from over 120 countries despite sanctions against Zimbabwe the Ministers of Tourism from Zambia Hon. Sylvia Masebo and Walther Mazembi of Zimbabwe will be honoured with  The prestigious  African Legend Award for 2013. Mrs Anita Baptist of Nitaconsult Ghana a world class Travel consultant will receive the Balafon Award of excellence along with Movie maker Amaka igwe of Nigeria. She is credited with  introducing destination promotion into nollywood movies through the training of movie makers on the Tourism impact of movies. Nollywood have been credited for the increase in arrivals to Nigeria as Africans now perceive Nigerians in a differrent light because of the popularity of the movies.
Oliver Tambo international Airport of Johannesburg is the winner of the best Airport in Africa while Ethiopian Airline was chosen as the best airline in Africa. Arik airline was chosen as the best airline in West Africa. Rwandair won in the category of the best short haul Airline in Africa. Emirate Airlines won the category of the best international Airline into Africa.HRG was selected as the best Travel management Company in Africa.The awards will be presented on the 27th of october at the award ceremony of the 9th Akwaaba African Travel Market taking place in Lagos.

For other winners and more information:

Africa Travel Association and New York University-Africa House present
Africa Tourism Day


8th Annual Presidential Forum on Tourism

Featuring African Ministers of Tourism and Senior Statesmen

Thursday, September 26th, 2013

10:00 am - 2:00 pm (Doors open at 9:30am)

Eisner & Lubin Auditorium, Kimmel Center, New York University

60 Washington Square South (Between Thompson and LaGuardia), New York 


 3rd Annual Young Professionals Program Tourism Roundtable

In Partnership with ATA Media Partner, Applause Africa

Thursday, September 26th, 2013

2:30 pm - 4:00 pm

Room 802, Kimmel Center, New York University

60 Washington Square South (Between Thompson and LaGuardia), New York

RSVP at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AP) - Ethiopian Airlines has made a record profit, the company's chief executive officer said this week Tewolde Gebremariam partly credited the profitability of Etethiohiopian Airlines to Boeing's problematic 787 planes. He said the company's operating profit between July 2012 and June 2013 is 2.7 billion birr ($143,137,098) from a billion birr ($53,013,740) the previous financial year.

Citing unaudited company accounts Tewolde said that the company's net profits also surged during the period to 2.03 billion birr ($107,617,892) from 734 million birr ($39,230,167) of the previous year, a 178 percent increase. Tewolde said the performance is a result of "exceptionally dedicated employees" and the Boeing 787 planes he described as super-efficient. He said the planes helped the company save on fuel costs. In January, Dreamliner's around the world were grounded because of overheating lithium batteries.

Ethiopian Airlines was the first to get the plane back in the air, on April 27. In early July one of the company's 787 planes was damaged by a fire while parked at London Heathrow airport. The plane had been parked for about 10 hours when a worker in the control tower saw smoke coming out, and activated a crash alarm. British air safety officials have subsequently recommended that emergency transmitters on Boeing 787s should be disabled after finding that one of the squat orange boxes was the only thing with enough power to start a fire in the scorched tail section of the 787. Tewolde said Ethiopian Air would have been even more profitable, if it had not been for incidents involving the 787 planes. "Definitely the incidents and grounding have some impact. We were very fortunate that coincidentally the grounding of the planes were in what we call slack season . it's a slow demand season. So were able to minimize the level of the impact," said Tewolde. He insisted the Dreamliner's are "the future of the aviation" and his company is sticking with plans to buy five more of the planes and lease three others.

"Whenever we introduce the aircraft in any route, the load factor immediately increases, which means our customers love the plane, they are enjoying its features," Tewolde said. He said the incidents with the Dreamliner are part of a natural teething period "which is not unusual for a technologically game- changing aircraft such as the Dreamliner."

Ethiopian Airlines operates an all-Boeing fleet with some 1,330 weekly flights. The airline flies to 76 international and 17 domestic destinations.


Source : African Quarterly Magazine




CrockwellHAMILTON, Bermuda - Bermuda's government-run Department of Tourism will be abolished and replaced by an independent, newly created Tourism Authority. Tourism Authority legislation will be sent to Parliament when it resumes sessions in midmonth, and passage of the Tourism Act is expected quickly, according to Minister of Tourism Development and Transport Shawn Crockwell. "The transition will begin once the act is passed, and the transition is anticipated to be completed by the end of March 2014," Crockwell said.

The move to an independent authority grew out of the Tourism Plan, which launched last year and which called for the creation of a Tourism Authority to revitalize Bermuda's tourism industry, stimulate the economy, create a welcoming environment for hospitality investment and create jobs for Bermudians, according to Crockwell. Since he assumed his post in December following elections, Crockwell has endeavored to reverse Bermuda's sagging tourism numbers and facilitate long-range planning through an independent authority managed by industry professionals. In January he named David Dodwell, owner of the Reefs Hotel & Club in Bermuda, as chairman-designate of the Tourism Authority.

In a meeting on Aug. 27 with the Department of Tourism staff, Crockwell said that no current staff would be dismissed and that all employees would have the opportunity to apply for positions within the new Tourism Authority. "Should employees not be hired by the authority, employment opportunities will be made available within government ministries and departments," Crockwell said. Meanwhile, current staff will continue with their work until activities are transitioned to the new authority. "The government's election platform promised to remove the day-to-day running of tourism away from the political realm and to transition to an independent authority, a mammoth task that involves a multitude of issues," Crockwell said.

A CEO who will report to a board of directors will head the new Tourism Authority. During the interim period that will end once a CEO is in place, an executive steering committee headed by Dowell will run the operation. Bermuda's tourism numbers have plummeted in recent months, dropping 12% in the second quarter compared with the same period in 2012. Air arrivals in Q2 were similar to last year's figures of 75,013, but cruise and yacht arrivals fell 17%, to 133,676, due to 22 fewer cruise calls.


Photo: Minister Shawn Crockwell




arts voodoA new exhibit, “Remembering Ginen: Haitian Vodou Bottles, Flags and Vèvè,” opened Sept. 20 in the Museum of American Glass at WheatonArts and continues through Jan. 5, 2014. This exhibition is one of a series of major presentations of Vodou arts at arts and cultural institutions around the world that aim to overcome the misconceptions and misinterpretations of the Haitian arts and culture and to inspire understanding and appreciation of Haitian creativity and artistic expressions. Vodou arts reflect the memories of Ginen, the African homeland and the spiritual abode of the ancestors, thus creating a sense of cultural identity, shared aesthetics and social cohesiveness among the Haitian people.

Vodou arts are integrated into the Vodou ceremonies, but the Vodou lwa (spirits) also serve as muses inspiring Haitian artists to create vivid art works that relate to universal human values and join us all in a dialogue about the meaning of the past in the present, harmony and balance, life, hope, and possible future. The exhibition’s major focus is the artworks of contemporary Haitian artist Kesler Pierre, who creates the sacred bottles that adorn Vodou altars, the ceremonial rattles (ason) used in Vodou performances and the elaborate vèvè designs that derive from cosmograms traced on the floors during Vodou rituals. Each of his bottles is designed to incorporate the physical representation and/or the vèvè associated with the individual lwa for whom it is intended. Pierre uses paint to present a contemporary artistic vision of the traditional beaded bottles. But he also uses glitter to achieve a sparkling effect similar to that provided by the use of beads.

The exhibition also includes displays of traditional beaded Vodou bottles that offer a comparison of techniques and designs. Some are created by the Haitian artist Lina Michel. Others came from the private collections of Lois Wilcken and Angus Kress Gillespie. The displays showcase several painted-on-glass sacred rattles (ason) created by Pierre. Ason (sacred rattle) and bells (klochèt) are also used in rituals. Ason is traditionally made of gourds and adorned with beads. Like to the bottles, the painted-on-glass sacred rattles (ason) present contemporary interpretations of this art form as deemed appropriate by the artist. They were created in partnership with the WheatonArts Glass Studio where the glass rattles (ason) were made and later painted by Pierre in preparation for this exhibition. Pierre’s vèvè designs are symbolic representations of individual lwa (spirits).

The shape of the vèvè reflects the character of the lwa for whom it is created. Displays of Haitian Vodou flags (drapo) complete the exhibition design thus providing a more comprehensive understanding of the Vodou ceremonies and their meaning as reflected in the art works of the Haitian flag makers. The flags in this exhibition are a valuable part of the private collection of Nancy Josephson and Ted Frankel.
Pierre’s photographs of Vodou rituals and additional explanatory panels provide the necessary cultural context for symbolism and artistry thus contributing to the overall experience of the Haitian culture and artistic expressions.

Additional programs being offered in conjunction with the exhibit: ■ Haitian Vèvè Designs Workshop with Kesler Pierre. November 9 from 2 to 4 p.m. Pierre will demonstrate and teach Vodou vèvè designs, while explaining their meanings and significance in the Haitian traditional culture. He will interpret the story of the vèvè designs as symbolic representations of individual lwa (spirits), who are a part of the Vodou pantheon and will explain the meaning of the Vèvè as a sacred sign drawn on the floor either at the foot of the altar or around the center pole in a Vodou temple. Participants will learn how the vèvè’s shape reflects the character of the lwa for whom it is traced, create their own vèvè designs, and learn how to understand both the meaning and the artistry of the vèvè in the context of other Vodou arts.

Additional visual works will be provided as well as handouts for future practice. ■ Spirits in Sequins: Vodou Flags of Haiti. A Special Presentation by Nancy Josephson. Nov. 10 from Noon to 1 p.m. Josephson will share her experiences with this unique art form. She will focus on flag making techniques while interpreting the cultural beliefs at the core of the flag designs and a folk lore expressed in the outstanding works of the Haitian artists. ■ “Remembering Ginen: Traditional Music and Dance of Haiti” featuring La Troupe Makandal of New York. Nov. 10 from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Haitian people remember and celebrate their history through the arts, and these include music and dance. Makandal's work also derives from Vodou, an Afro-Haitian spiritual practice that honors and serves the ancestors and the forces of nature. The Troupe’s presentation features a suite created from the dances, songs and drumming styles brought to Haiti from West Africa and the Congo region. The program tells the stories of the various peoples who survived enslavement, struggled for and won independence, and established the modern state of Haiti.

The program also includes an interactive music and dance workshop for audience members.
For additional information about the Museum of American Glass and/or WheatonArts call
800-998-4552 or 856-825-6800 or visit WheatonArts is open Tuesday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Open Labor Day. Closed Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. WheatonArts strives to ensure the accessibility of its exhibitions, events and programs to all persons with disabilities. Provide two weeks notice for additional needs. Patrons with hearing and speech disabilities may contact WheatonArts through the New Jersey Relay Service (TRS) 800-852-7899 or by dialing 711.

Funding has been made possible in part by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts, the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, the New Jersey Cultural Trust, and the Cumberland County Urban Enterprise Zone. WheatonArts receives general operating support from the New Jersey Historical Commission, Division of Cultural Affairs in the New Jersey Department of State and is supported in part by the New Jersey Department of State, Division of Travel and Tourism. For the original report go to



obama israelThe first Ethiopian Jewish woman to become Miss Israel, Yityish Aynaw, will tour America during the last week of September. Hosted by the National Juneteenth Christian  Leadership Council (NJCLC), her U.S. tour will be followed by a Israel Juneteenth Reconciliation Tour to the state of Israel in 2014.


"We are excited about Miss Israel's visit and the opportunity to build closer relationships with the state of Israel through our connection with the Ethiopian Jewish community," states Rev. Ronald V. Myers, Sr., M.D., Founder & Chairman of the National Juneteenth Observance Foundation (NJOF) and host of the National & World Day of Reconciliation & Healing from the Legacy of Enslavement. "We, as Americans of African descent, share a common historical bond of going from enslavement to freedom with our Ethiopian Jewish brothers and sisters. We look forward to having a historic Juneteenth Freedom Day Celebration in Israel next year."

Rev. Dr. Myers, who leads the Campaign to Make Juneteenth a National Holiday, believes that the annual celebration of Juneteenth affords America a great opportunity to bring reconciliation and healing to one of nation's darkest moments in history. He also believes it is the time to address the need for reconciliation and healing from the legacy of enslavement for not just America, but the entire world, especially Africa.

Rev. Dr. Myers, the first ordained and commissioned medical missionary to America's poorest region, the Mississippi Delta, in the history of the African American church, wants to bring awareness of the needs of Ethiopian Jews.

"There are a number of Ethiopian churches, pastors and ministers in the U.S. that we are working with concerning Miss Israel's visit," states Dr. Myers. Our prayer is to be a blessing by raising money and other resources to help meet the needs of Ethiopian Jews in Israel and in Ethiopia."

"Miss Israel's visit will also bring awareness of black people in the Bible as we acknowledge the African and Jewish lineage of the descendants Ms. Black Israelof King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba, who are the Ethiopian Jews," states Dr. Walter McCray, President of the National Black Evangelical Association (NBEA) and author of "The Black Presence in the Bible," an important resource on the subject of black Biblical history. "Our 2014 NBEA Convention in Kansas City next year will continue to celebrate black Bible history. We continue to support Rev. Dr. Myers by our plans to hopefully join him in Israel next year to celebrate Juneteenth."


"Together, Jews, Christians, and peoples of African-descent celebrate this occasion by nurturing the shared values of freedom, reconciliation, cultural awareness, and historical ties. Ethiopian Jews trace their lineage to King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba. Understanding the African roots of Hebrews and early Christians during Bible times ties it all together, " explains Dr. McCray.

Aynaw, is an immigrant orphan from Ethiopia who became the first black Miss Israel. She arrived in Israel at the age of 12 years old after both her parents died. She went to live with her mother’s parents who were among thousands of Ethiopian Jews living in Israel.  She had to learn Hebrew from scratch. After finishing high school, she joined the military like most other Israelis. She later worked as a manager  for a shoe shop before becoming Miss Israel.


Aynaw  says that it is a great honor not just for her, but the other people that she represents. She hopes her victory will "achieve the acceptance of everyone in Israel." Aynaw was invited to a state dinner by President Obama upon his first visit to Israel.


For information on the U.S. tour of Miss Israel during the last week of September, with stops in Washington, DC, Fairfax, VA, Chicago, IL, Los Angeles, CA and San Diego, CA, from September 23-30, 2013. For schedule, contact Dr. Myers at 662-392-2016; e-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . Web sites:, (Donations for the expenses of the tour through the Myers Foundation are greatly appreciated.)


BritishAirwayspILOTBritish Airway's pilot Simon Wood is feared to be one of UK's most prolific child sex offenders. Investigators in Africa say they fear there could be hundreds of victims BA now faces a lawsuit by victims who claim the airline failed to protect them A British Airways pilot used his position to abuse hundreds of vulnerable children in African schools and orphanages, the Daily Mail can reveal. First Officer Simon Wood, 54, claimed he was carrying out charity work for the airline while molesting scores of young girls during his stopovers in Africa.

Dressed in a bogus captain’s uniform, he would use the airline’s good name – and even BA branded toys and colouring books – to lure children out on day trips and to five-star hotels used by the airline, where he would abuse them. British Airways is now facing a hugely damaging lawsuit brought by his victims, who say the company failed to protect them from his horrific abuse. After abusing children for 15 years, the £100,000-a-year pilot was finally stopped when he was charged with separate child sex offences in the UK. Days after appearing in a court in London last month charged with the offences, Wood threw himself under a train. Prosecutor Peter Zinner said: ‘The prosecution say that Mr Wood was a deeply depraved and corrupt individual who had used his ability to fly to other parts of the world to commit sexual offences against children.’ Officials in Kenya have identified at least 15 children, all believed to be girls aged five to 11, that Wood abused – and say they fear there are hundreds more.

As British Airways launched an international investigation into the ‘shocking’ claims, questions were asked over why the pilot – who was arrested after indecently assaulting an eight-year-old girl in 2000 – was ever allowed to work near children.' Prosecution sources said they feared the pilot could prove to have been among Britain’s most prolific sex offenders. During his 16-year career with British Airways, Wood chose unpopular routes in and out of East Africa, using his stays there to prey on vulnerable children in the slums. Wood’s first known contact with children in Africa came in 2001 when he began visiting the Nyumbani orphanage in the Karen area of Nairobi, the Kenyan capital.

It was the first centre of its kind in Kenya to accept only children infected with HIV, and managers said they had received no complaints of abuse against any of their children.

At Easter 2002, he was among 20 crew members from two BA flights who volunteered to spend the holiday period with the Kenyan youngsters, showering the orphanage with presents, medicines and donations raised at home. He told the UK news agency the Press Association, which covered the trip: ‘We play, sing, organise activities and generally entertain them. We become very close to the children.’ In fact Wood was using the prestige of his pilot’s uniform to gain access to children for the purposes of abusing them. Much of the most recent abuse happened during stopovers in Uganda, his normal flying destination, from where he would cross the border to Kenya to target slum children and orphans. Officials in Kenya say, he claimed he was a member of ‘BA’s community relations programme’ when approaching orphanages and schools. If managers complained about his behaviour, Wood made official complaints to the police that the staff involved were stealing from the children’s homes, and at least two managers were arrested over his allegations.

Wood first came to the attention of police when he was accused of an indecent assault on an eight-year-old girl. He met the girl while volunteering for Diabetes UK, escorting young children on a trip to North Yorkshire in 2000. Wood was arrested over the sex attack, but – in an echo of the Jimmy Savile scandal – the Crown Prosecution Service ruled there was insufficient evidence to charge him. He was allowed to keep his job at BA and, in an indictment of the vetting system, continued his charity work with children.

The mother of one young victim told the Mail her daughter was abused at a five-star hotel used by BA crew in Nairobi. She said that after loaning her money Wood duped her into letting him take the five-year-old girl to the Nairobi Intercontinental. ‘I trusted him completely because he seemed so good and so kind. I trusted him with everything, even with my daughter,’ she said. The girl, now 14, is struggling at school and has become tearful and withdrawn. She has threatened suicide to escape the shame and misery Wood inflicted. When suspicions arose about Wood in Kenya, one local school contacted a British law firm, whose staff travelled to Kenya with a view to beginning legal action against both Wood and British Airways. But when they realised the extent of Wood’s sexual offences against the children they passed the matter onto British police. Following a tip-off, UK officers re-arrested him on July 18 in the BA staff car park at Heathrow over the 2000 assault. When they searched his laptops, they found explicit images of African youngsters. During a police search of Wood’s car several school uniforms were found, Westminster Magistrates’ Court was told.

Prosecutor Mr Zinner said: ‘His computer was seized and evidence was obtained to show that he had visited various paedophile websites.’ Wood appeared at theBritish-Airways-pILOT3 court on August 16 charged with possessing indecent images and indecently assaulting an eight-year-old schoolgirl. He was granted bail on the condition he surrender his passport but two days later he threw himself under a train near his home in Potters Bar, Hertfordshire. Prosecutors announced last Wednesday that as a result of his death, they were halting the case. Jennifer Swiddon, representing Wood, said that her client intended to deny all offences against him prior to his death. It was revealed in court that police suspected Wood had abused more than 100 African children. A well-placed legal source said it was now feared that Wood had targeted hundreds of girls during his BA career. Before his death, Wood had transferred £64,000 to his legal representatives in Africa. Detectives suspect he was planning to use it as ‘hush money’ to buy off his victims or to open an orphanage in Uganda where more youngsters could be targeted.

The families of Wood’s brothers Nicholas, 52, and Anthony, 51, said it was ‘a difficult time for the whole family’ and declined to comment. UK-based law firm Leigh Day have confirmed that they are acting for the alleged child abuse victims of the late Simon Wood in Kenya and are working with the police to determine quite how many children were abused and the extent to which this extended to victims in the UK as well as Kenya and Uganda. Martyn Day from Leigh Day said: 'We are currently investigating how Mr Wood was allowed to have such access to these Kenyan children and also the extent of the allegations against Mr Wood in relation to his actions in the UK.'


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Slum-tourismDoes it mean that slum tourism tend to turn poverty into entertainment for tourists ? Its quite evident that the local mass are not impressed that tourist groups from America, Asia and Europe visit their small houses with a roof that is ripping apart and taking pictures of their dirty children playing near sewage water. There might be no difference in thinking that tourists come to invade on their privacy as they regard them as monkeys in a zoo!Tourists who visit slums do walking safaris, through the many footpaths, with the help of a tour guide who is mostly a person from the slum area. During these tours they like to take photographs of everything they see as they are amazed by this other kind of life that they have probably ‘never seen’. One would wonder whether they are enjoying taking pictures of poor people who are struggling in order to make ends meet!


Slum tourism is a special kind of tourism that for a long time has been looked at as an exploitative kind of tourism whereby tourists travel all the way from their home country to have fun taking pictures and looking at poor people struggling to make ends meet. Promotion of this kind of tourism tends to portray Africa as a pitiful continent whereby those that visit the continent are convicted to donate money to the people. Africans tend to be looked at as a helpless people who cannot develop themselves without receiving aid either from China, US, Russia or the UK….This is a perception that certainly has to stop!!! There is something that slum tourism does not show to the visitors….how hard many of the slum dwellers work to be able to make an honest living because some of those who live in the big houses and drive expensive cars are involved in illegal activities to be able to maintain their expensive lifestyles.

With time, the local people will start to see the benefits of having visitors coming to stay with them, learning things from one another hence be able to embrace them as friends and not people that come to take pictures of them like monkeys in a zoo.




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