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November 2016

Issue 40


It was always my intention to visit Cuba before the last icon of communism, Fidel Castro died. Sadly, this did not materialise and, in many ways it has saddened me and that of his passing.

Contents World Food Day p.3 Space Exploration p.5 Kamala Sahadeo, Guyana’s Emerging Artist p.7

Many people felt that when Castro handed the reins of power to his brother Raul, Cuba would shun the communist’s stronghold and proceed to a democratic process. However, this did not happen and Cuba has maintained its Communist status.

Labelling the Caribbean as a Tax Haven p.8 25 Years of the World Wide Web p.10 MacFarlane’s Cazabon - The Art of Living, ignites controversy p.17

Cubans in the diaspora have often seen Castro and the Trojan standing in the way of progress for Cuba and its economy. Despite economic sanctions levied against Cuba, the Caribbean island was one of western envy and a destination craved by many.

Black Poppies, Remembering Black Soldiers p.22 Malawi Presidents & Their Naïve Preference for Press Rallies p.33 When Will Asia Finally Have Same-Sex Marriage p.37 Caraili: Bitter but Good p.40

Whatever direction Cuba takes, one thing is certain, the legacy of Fidel Castro will live forever with Cubans and revolutionaries the world over.

No Tears Left to Cry p.46 Production and concept: D.T. Kalloo

While we bid farewell to one comrade Culturepulse would like to welcome another comrade to its pages, Omardath Maharaj from Trinidad and Tobago. Mr Maharaj is an agricultural economist working to promote food production and healthy living in Trinidad and Tobago. We look forward to many more informative contribution from Mr Maharaj in the future.

Culturepulse is designed and produced by Cashewmedia ltd and published online through Copyright 2016 Views and comments expressed by contributors are not necessary those of Culturepulse but of the author/s.

For all enquiries, please contact: 07738864335 D. Kalloo


Culturepulse list of contributors’ to making the magazine a success. Natalie Alicia Dookie Lyndon Brathwaite, Ansel Wong, David Wears, Chris Boothman, Nasser Khan, Malaika Crichlow, Amos Armstrong, Soshina Stephen, David Rudder, Jimmy Kainja, Paul Ade, Akilah Holder-Stewart, Michael La Rose, David Rudder, Dr Michelle Yaa, Dr Juanita Cox-Westmaas, Dianne A Kalloo, Shabaka Thompson, Ron Ramdin, Rhianna Kalloo, Angelique, Dorothy Scott, Memory Pincheck, Erica Williams-Connell, Darren Lewis, Tessa Robinson, Cindy Mollineau, Omardath Maharaj and Afridiziak.


World Food Day 2016 - Change Starts with Choice October 2016, Trinidad Given the current social and economic issues facing the average household, as a country, we need to implement the right measures and support to preserve food and nutrition security so that none of our citizens fall below a minimum living standard, strengthen our producers – farmers, fishers, entrepreneurs – of produce and products, stabilize sentiment about the local food industry and build consensus to move forward.

and tourism stakeholders are also witnessing warmer oceans which affect weather patterns, cause more powerful tropical storms, and can impact many kinds of sea life, such as fishes and corals, from which they obtain a livelihood. We need to look at building the resilience of farming and fishing communities to strengthen their adaptive capacity and reduce their vulnerability.

World Food Day is celebrated every year around the world on October 16th in honour of the date of the founding of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations in 1945. The 2016 theme is “Climate is changing. Food and agriculture must too.”

The resistance to change by all of us including policymakers, administrators and consumers keeps some farmers on a treadmill of wanting to bring crops in sooner, more abundant because of the environmental issues, economics of agriculture, and social issues such as praedial larceny. In that routine, many have moved away from tree crops such as cocoa and coffee and a deep-rooted commitment towards short-term ‘cash’ crops and may use more inputs such as fertilizers as their coping strategy but certainly not sustainable. Wasting food, waste produced by the food industry (organic and inorganic) and food losses are serious indictments for which we, as a country, need to address.

Climate change continues to affect local food production in several ways. The duration and intensity of our seasons are changing among other challenges and opportunities. Firm policy positions are needed to directly foster production, to build comparative and competitive advantage in value addition, but as well to regain trust and goodwill among the stakeholders of the sector. Acknowledging and respecting the circumstances of rural and coastal communities and targeting limited resources in an optimal manner must be reciprocal in the struggle for national food and nutrition security.

Climate smart agriculture aims to tackle three (3) main objectives: sustainably increasing agricultural productivity and incomes, adapting and building resilience to climate change and, reducing and/or removing greenhouse gas emissions, where possible.

In agricultural production, for example, farmers grapple with dry spells and floods. Their capacity to respond is often constrained as that response incurs a cost, relying on the State for relief. Fisher folk 3

households through appropriate targeting; destroying the sanctity and humanity in the provision of food for the least fortunate among us. Unfortunately, as well, as he majority of this State support is spent on imported foods at the supermarkets.

It is possible that consumption patterns of rural and economically distressed areas are highly vulnerable to national declines in agricultural production and households may fall easily from borderline to poor consumption, both in food and nutrition, in the wake of natural hazards and economic distress. At the same time, an acceptable consumption pattern is difficult to reach and hard to maintain. The lack of household food stocks, either packaged or home-grown, plays a key role in this vulnerability. Due to the paucity and now questionable national data reporting, as alleged against the Central Statistical Office (CSO) in the Parliament this week, it is not possible to assess livelihood change against related variables.

Local food production is therefore not without its own challenges but we must find creative, innovative and attractive methods to get greater local content into the national diet. We need to bring back food production as an old-time religion. Educating on, and understanding the food industry will bring people closer to the land and encourage greater respect for the men and women who feed the nation. Given the greatness of the sector to promote economic growth, environmental protection and poverty alleviation there remains a need for greater public education, awareness and engagement on the local food industry as a significant cornerstone in the prosperity of our people and our country. This was one of my views put forward to the UWI’s Conference on the Economy 2016 “Addressing the Diversification Challenge” since at this time we do not have the policy commitment or the signals that the economy or country will consider or rely on agriculture as a cornerstone of the diversification thrust and thus it lingers on the national development agenda.

In Trinidad and Tobago, we have established the Targeted Conditional Cash Transfer Programme (TCCTP) or the “Food Card” as it is commonly called. Appearing in the budget documents as the “People’s Card” with an allocation of $6 million in the current fiscal period, down from $33 million last year. The development component for recipients is $1 million. It is outrageous to hear the allegations of corruption and misuse of such a facility which is intended to provide short-term basic food assistance to vulnerable

We can make conscious decisions around consumption, reducing, reusing, and recycling. When we consume food that was grown locally, we make choices that promote true sustainability; while directly supporting those, who are supporting us – farmers, fishers and entrepreneurs - not foreign franchise capitalism. Omardath Maharaj Agricultural Economist, Trinidad & Tobago 4

Space Exploration Investment And, How It’s Working For You. By David Kalloo

The Super Soaker, Ribbed Swimsuits, Water filters and Artificial Limbs which now enable amputees numerous task with relative ease, including running.

For decades developed nations have been spending billions on space exploration and travel. We have seen the landing of man on the moon (allegedly), the installation of an international space station and the fantastic photographic results from the Hubble telescope, but is space exploration worth the billions invested? There are a great majority of people who believe that the billions spent on Space exploration can be better spent elsewhere.

There are over 63,000 patents submitted by NASA since its Space exploration programme began and now with all focus being Mars we are sure to find many more inventions becoming part of our daily lives. So, is space exploration expenditure worth it? Many would say yes and, I am sure an equal amount may be against it. Whatever the percentage for or against, we cannot argue that the advent of space travel has enriched our daily lives tremendously.

Think what we may, looking to Space have certainly enhanced our lives over the years. Casting our minds back to when Neal Armstrong uttered those famous words. “One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” Our daily lives have been enriched because of space exploration. NASA’s space programme has played a major role in modern day inventions such as; MRI and CAT scanners. These two inventions were originally developed for finding imperfections in space materials. Today they are widely used in the medical profession. Cordless tools were also a result of space exploration. The battery-operated tools were invented for gathering moon samples. Black and Decker was the company that gave us the first cordless rotary hammer drill back in 1961, it was used on the Apollo programme. Among other inventions were; Freeze-dried Food, Computer Microchips, Memory

NASA currently identifies 1,800 spinoffs from space exploration which is named in its Technology Utilization Program report published in 1973 and an update colour version in 1976. The report was published to dispel the argument that NASA was wasting the taxpayers’ dollars. There were also scathing reports that a $2.5 billion investment on Mars was allegedly wasted. According to NASA, the money was spent on ‘Earth’ supporting jobs for some 7000 workers in 31 states.

Foam, Joysticks, Invisible Dental braces, Home Insulation, Teflon Non-Stick, Foil Blankets, Biro pens, Smoke detectors, Solar energy, Long distance Phone calls, 5

Similar accusations were labelled at the European Space Agency for their spending, however, the agency defended their spending saying that ‘during the period 2014-2020 over 12 billion euros will be invested in Space programmes.’ The European space programme is expected to create industrial growth and jobs that will employ nearly 32,000 people across the EU.

Space exploration have led to improvement in crisis support using satellite mapping and assessments. Security is another area where investment in space have been widely in preventing cross-border organised crime are just a few of the areas that has benefited from space technology. Mars may be a long way away, some 34 million miles at its closest point in orbit and even out-going US President, Barack Obama hinted that they are working on sending the first humans to Mars by the 2030s. For all you know, we are already using some of this technology in our digital sphere. So, the next time you pick up a bit of shopping chances are it is a result of space exploration.

Apart from the everyday products that we already benefit from through space exploration, there are other sectors that are reaping the benefits of space technology. This technology is already helping to increase efficiency in agriculture and fisheries also providing knowledge and information through telecommunications satellites.


Guyana’s emerging artist, Kamladeo Sahadeo The future of Art in Guyana appears to be in sound hands thanks to the premier art institution, the ER Burrows School of Art. One of the young talented painter and ceramist artist to emerge from the institute is Kamladeo Sahadeo have recently had her works displayed at an art exhibition at the Umana Yana. Kamladeo spent 3 years at ER Burrows School of Art and majored in painting and ceramics. Most of her work is an expression of devotion and centred around her cultural heritage and her collection is aptly titled ‘Expression of a Devotee’. Kamladeo in an interview spoke about her main piece at the exhibition. “My major task was done with rice and beads. I chose the colours based on the chakras and Peacock feathers were used because it is said peacock feathers safeguard positive energy.” The young artist is aspiring to have her own studio on the West Coast of Demerara where she’s enthusiastic about making an impression on the Guyanese art community. She also expressed concerns that to be an artist in Guyana is difficult because “people don’t really appreciate art much.” However, the young artist feels comfortable and has set her sights on forging ahead in the art industry. 7

PM Gaston Browne on labelling of the Caribbean as a tax haven correspondent institutions to maintain an ongoing and open dialogue with the respondent institution(s), including helping them understand the correspondent’s antimoney laundering/counter financing of terrorism policy, engaging with them to improve their controls and processes”. The guidance note argues that the process of dialogue and engagement “can help to avoid unnecessary restriction on or termination of a relationship without a thorough assessment of the risks associated with the specific customer”.

Antigua and Barbuda October 2016 Senior representatives of international financial institutions, regulatory bodies, commercial banks, central banks and ministries of finance met in Antigua and Barbuda on 27 and 28 October 2016 to seek solutions to the troubling issues of the withdrawal of correspondent relations from Caribbean respondent banks, de-risking and the labelling of the Caribbean as a tax haven. The provision of correspondent banking services is a lifeline to Caribbean economies without which the region would be excluded from the global finance and trading system with grave consequences for maintenance of financial stability, economic growth, remittance flows and poverty alleviation.

The Conference endorsed the FATF-FSB guidance note and welcomed it as a vital platform from which both correspondent and respondent banks can engage in constructive dialogue leading to a permanent solution. In this connection, the Conference called on international banks to continue their provision of correspondent banking relations while all parties implement the guidance of the FATF and the FSB.

The region would also be prevented from achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals 2030 with the result that the achievements of Caribbean countries would be reversed and future progress thwarted.

Noting that clarity in regulatory expectations is vital to compliance, the Conference also urged acceptance by regulatory authorities of the FATF Guidance on Correspondent Baking Services, and further encouraged acceptance of the four-point Financial Stability Board’s Action Plan to assess and address the decline in correspondent banking which was presented to G20 Leaders last November.

On the eve of the Conference, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and the Financial Stability Board (FSB) issued a document that provided guidance for Correspondent Banking Services in which it was stated that withdrawal of correspondent banking relations “is a serious concern” to them “to the extent that de-risking may drive financial transactions into nonregulated channels, reducing transparency of financial flows and creating financial exclusion, thereby increasing exposure to money laundering and terrorist financing risks.”

In this regard, the Conference called on member states of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the European Union to align their individual transparency criteria in the framework of the Global Forum standards which are approved by 137 jurisdictions.

In this connection, while the withdrawal of correspondent banking relations has grave consequences for Caribbean economies, it also poses serious threats to global financial stability and security.

Caribbean governments, regulators and banks, participating in the Conference, committed the regional jurisdictions to redouble their efforts to achieve full compliance with the international standards

The Conference welcomed the timely and valuable guidance report from the FATF and the FSB which states that “it is important for 8

set by the FATF, the FSB and the OECD Global Forum. In this respect, the sum of 4.5 million euros committed by the European Union to Cariforum/CFATF was welcomed by the Conference as a means to address such deficiencies as exist. The Conference urged other countries to follow the lead of the European Union.

evaluations by international agencies. This calls for them to establish Frameworks for National Risk Assessments, National Action Plans and National AML/CTF committees, as a matter of urgency to help identify the areas of weakness within their systems, including client information systems. In that regard, data systems have to be improved and the Action Plan for Statistics approved by their Heads of Government last July should be implemented.

With regards to the unfair and unfortunate branding of the Caribbean as a tax haven, the Conference noted that it is grounded more in perception than reality. Caribbean jurisdictions participating in the Conference resolved to launch a targeted and focussed campaign aimed at eliminating this false characterization. The Conference noted that the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes, which is the authority on this issue, does not refer to the Caribbean as a tax haven.

All these initiatives are intended to strengthen the financial reporting systems and provide greater transparency which should raise the level of comfort of correspondent banks. The Conference agreed that Caribbean banks should also work with correspondent banks to developing pro-forma model agreements which incorporate the principles enshrined in the FATF guidance note as a basis for negotiating the provision of correspondent banking services in the future.

Caribbean jurisdictions participating in the Conference acknowledged that some jurisdictions have been tardy in passing legislation for the common reporting standards, and this is a key criterion used by the Global Forum in assessing jurisdictions. They also agreed that harmonisation of legislation and regulation needs to be pursued. Furthermore, they recognised that efficiencies can be gained from a regional perspective. They highlighted the fact that the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union countries have decided to consolidate their national AML/CFT work into one regional operation under the purview of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank.

Honourable Gaston Browne, Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda

One of the areas of concern for the international community, is the Caribbean’s perceived lack of enforcement action. It is an issue that must be addressed by dedicating more resources to Financial Intelligence Units and other relevant agencies including the CFATF to perform their functions more effectively. The Caribbean jurisdictions agreed that they have to prepare themselves adequately for 9

25 Years on, the World Wide Web is Ubiquitous By David Kalloo Twenty-five years ago, the World Wide Web (www) changed the way we interact with each other on a global scale, thanks to Tim Berners-Lee. It may prove debatable that the personal computer and the internet revolutionised our lives. However, there is no other living person that comes to mind that has shaped our lives more than Tim BernersLee. While the personal computer and the internet was the work of many scientists, the World Wide Web was the work of solely Mr Berners-Lee and built for neither profit or power, but free for all to have access to.

World Wide Web while working at the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN) in Switzerland. Arthur C Clarke may have had the vision where one day the world would communicate through ‘personal computers’ but it wasn’t until Tim Berners-Lee creation that the world was able to realise this vision. It was through Berners-Lee frustration with scientists at CERN who all had vast amounts of data but couldn’t share information because they had different computers that ran incompatible programs. Berners-Lee describes the next step as “an act of desperation” when he began putting together ‘the building blocks’ of the online universe - the shared information transfer protocol of HTTP and the URL conventions that have become commonplace in almost all our everyday communication. It was not an easy road for Berners-Lee, his paper presented to the World Hypertext Convention in Texas in 1991 proposing the Web was rejected. In a further demonstration, delegates walked away unimpressed. However, Berners-Lee boss believed in him and allowed him the room to be creative and it was through this persistence that the World Wide Web was launched.

Had it not been for World Wide Web, Mark Zuckerberg would not be able to create the world’s most popular social network platform, Facebook. Let’s face it, we cannot imagine life without the World Wide Web and the internet. Many people regard the internet and the World Wide Web as one, however this is not so. The internet is the network through which ‘computers transfer information’ the World Wide Web however; is one of the ways ‘information is accessed and, the main one we use is for emailing and instant messaging. It can be somewhat confusing for when we say the internet transformed our communication system and media, what we mean is; the World Wide Web. The internet was developed by the US military in the Fifties and remained largely redundant until a modest genius from south-west London created the 10

10: Watch Movies; download films at your convenience

What was extraordinary about the World Wide Web is that Berners-Lee wanted to keep it free. He has fought ever since to keep the Web free despite opposition and indifference from people with private agendas. Tim Berners-Lee built the web with the conviction that ‘great things are possible when people can communicate freely, without barriers.’ Today, the Web is ‘ubiquitous’ and one can easily forget that it is part and parcel of our everyday values in this digital age. It is difficult to imagine life without the Web today and, though the Web is under scrutiny from Governments where we are under constant surveil and censor we owe a magnanimous gratitude to Tim Berners-Lee who gave us the World Wide Web.

11: Catch up Radio and TV; Never miss a TV or radio programme again. 12: Facebook; the Social Media network that is now a world phenomenon. 13: Google; giving us access to almost everything. 14: 24 hr Pornography; Online porn has become problematic 15: Video Calling; a technology that has helped many friends and family keep in touch. 16: eBay; here everyone became a expert. 17: Email addresses; without the WWW this would not exists.

25 Things we now have as a result of the World Wide Web

18: Street View; allowing us to see the world differently.

1: Online Banking; no more queuing in banks.

19: YouTube; bringing music, films and making personal videos available to all.

2: Online Dating; you no longer have to socialise to find a date.

20: Self Diagnosing; www has made us doctors, virtually

3: Booking Holidays; browsing 1000s of holidays from anywhere in the world

21: Selfies; a new phenomenon in egotism

4: Weather Information; accessing weather information the world over.

22: Smartphones; miniaturising the personal computer.

5: Live Streaming; Watch live events as they happen from anywhere.

23: Online Gambling; taking gambling to a new level.

6: Remote Access; allowing troubleshooting and repairs to be carried out online to PCs etc.

24: Virtual Travel; allowing us to virtually explore places. 25: Twitter; news sharing on the go 24/7

7: File Sharing; share huge complex files without waiting hours for it to upload or download.

There are hundreds of other products that we use daily because of the World Wide Web and as technology improves with super velocity the list will continue to grow.

8: Digital Photography; No more need for film and storage space for developed prints. 9: Blogging; many journalist and writers have gained fame through blogging. 11


Diplomatic News… The government of Trinidad and Tobago recently proposed to establish a diplomatic mission in the United Arab Emirates and increase honorary consuls where necessary to complete work in overseas missions.

Organisation of American states, Venezuela, with accreditation to Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru; India with accreditation to Japan, and Singapore, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Indonesia; Belgium with accreditation to France, Spain, Netherlands, Switzerland and Luxemburg.

The Minister for Foreign and CARICOM Affairs, Dennis Moses also announced the Trinidad and Tobago will re-establish a High Commission in Barbados and they have also launched an online Registration System for nationals Abroad. The minister said. “Based on emerging trends in the world and on Trinidad and Tobago’s foreign policy goals, government will ensure that the most suitable persons are appointed to head missions and consulates.”

The government of Trinidad and Tobago has accepted an offer from the government of Colombia to provide Spanish as a Foreign Language Course for public servants from Trinidad. Course duration is five months and began in November 2016 and facilitated by the Universidad del Notre in Barranquilla, Colombia.

At present, there are 20 overseas diplomatic missions in 16 countries and 32 honorary consuls in 25 countries. The present government have so far appointed 10 heads of missions. Minister Moses reaffirmed that Trinidad and Tobago’s commitments to further bilateral relationships in terms of political dialogue, trade and investment, cooperation in defence matters, science and technology, innovation and education, energy, environmental and climate change as well as sporting and cultural exchanges.

More than fifty participants from various divisions of government will benefit from the course which will, apart from improving on their Spanish will provide greater exposure to Colombian culture. His Excellency Jaime Acosta Carvajal was enthusiastic that the government of Trinidad and Tobago was keen to take up his offer. He said. “The initiative will continue to bring people of both countries closer together.”

Among some of the appointments made by the government include; the United Nations, Cuba, Canada, Brazil with accreditation to Uruguay, Chile, Argentina and Paraguay; Jamaica with accreditation to Haiti, and the Dominican Republic, South Africa with accreditation to Angola, Namibia, Malawi, Mauritius, Madagascar and Mozambique, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe; United States and the


7 Top Tips for Winter Skin: by Cindy Mollineau Winter time usually means hot chocolate, roasted marshmallows... fluffy socks, fireplace and Christmas Carrols. But for our skin, it usually means dry itchy and flaky skin, blisters and cold, frostbitten hands and feet. So how can we still look super fabulous under extreme conditions?

brands such as L'Oréal and Olay have some good, night moisturisers in particular that are still my favourites. They are designed specifically with your age in mind so you can never go wrong! You can check out the Sonya Skincare Range here Younique Royalty Collection here

Here are my top 7 tips to beautiful skin during winter.

3. Body Massage: Getting a regular massage can work wonders for your circulation, skin tone and elasticity and most importantly, it feels amazing! Your skin is going to love you as it gets nourished with oils and emollients which moisturise and hydrates the skin immediately. An aromatherapy massage gives the added benefits of using essential oils for specific related problems such as stress, eczema and circulation problems. If you haven’t had a massage before, now is the time to book one!

1. Great skincare routine: Moisturising is very important. The skin gets dehydrated from the wind, artificial heating and lack of moisture. So, moisturise every chance you get. Use emollients or skin preparations that are 'oil in water’ rather than 'water in oil' potions. Personally, I like to use a carrier oil such as Almond Oil during the winter months as it provides more moisture for the skin and relieve symptoms of dry skin such as flaky skin and itching. It cost about £3 for 250ml and can be bought at any health food store or pharmacy. If using oils on the face, try avocado oil or jojoba oil as they are great for the skin and does not clog the pores. Jojoba Oil is a natural exfoliant and provides the necessary hydration for the skin, so you get multiple benefits from the same product. 2. Facial: Get regular facials to help combat sallow and dry skin, and to remove excess dead skin cells from building up and creating an unhealthy skin appearance. I would also suggest a very good day and night moisturiser to maintain moisture, tone and elasticity in the face. I am a big advocate of natural products, and so, my top facial products are Sonya Range by Forever Living, Royalty Collection by Younique- you must try the Instant lifting serum and detoxifying mask to instantly brighten and to tone the skin! Some drugstore 14

4. Dry Brushing and Exfoliation: Also helps to get rid of dead skin cells which allow new healthy cells to shine through. It also helps increase circulation to the skin giving it a healthy glow, relieve itching and encourage lymphatic flow. Exfoliating or dry brushing twice a week helps your skin feel better and look healthier. Heels can look ashy and cracked so be sure to exfoliate and apply an emollient moisturiser to combat the dryness.

but your skin will be happy that you took the time to look after it! So whatever you do this winter, make sure that your skin remain looking flawless and healthy by using these helpful tips!

5. Hydration: You hear this one often, but it's super important! Water increases performance during exercise, moistens oxygen; hence making it easier to breathe and helps fight infections. Drink 1.5-2litres of water each day to give your body the necessary hydration needed during the cold windy months. On alcohol drinking days you need to drink even more as alcohol dehydrates the body. If you notice that your skin appears more wrinkled or dry, then drink more water.

Cindy Mollineau Beauty & Holistic Therapist Independent Distributor for Forever Living Products and Independent Presenter for Younique Products.

6. Hands and Feet Care: Your hands tend to take a beating during the cold months; the cuticles split, nails break easily and chilblains take over. This is the time to adopt a healthy hand and nail treatment. Use cuticle and nail oils to keep the nail bed moisturised and nourished. Massage the oils gently into the nailbed and cuticle areas. Leave on for a few minutes before washing off with a gentle hand wash. Visit your nail salon or manicurist and try a paraffin wax to the hands and feet to keep them warm, moisturised and pampered. 7. Last tip is to Bundle Up: Make sure that you are appropriately dressed for the weather. Using hats, ear muffs and gloves can be life savers in the blistering cold. They may not always look trendy,


There are around 200 million people identifying themselves as being of African descent live in the Americas. Many millions more live in other parts of the world, outside of the African continent. Whether as descendants of the victims of the transatlantic slave trade or as more recent migrants, they constitute some of the poorest and most marginalized groups. Studies and findings by international and national bodies demonstrate that people of African descent still have limited access to quality education, health services, housing and social security. In many cases, their situation remains largely invisible, and insufficient recognition and respect has been given to the efforts of people of African descent to seek redress for their present condition. They all too often experience discrimination in their access to justice, and face alarmingly high rates of police violence, together with racial profiling. Furthermore, their degree of political participation is often low, both in voting and in occupying political positions. In addition, people of African descent can suffer from multiple, aggravated or intersecting forms of discrimination based on other related grounds, such as age, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, social origin, property, disability, birth, or other status. The promotion and protection of human rights of people of African descent has been a priority concern for the United Nations. The Durban Declaration and Programme of Action acknowledged that people of African descent were victims of slavery, the slave trade and colonialism, and continue to be victims of their consequences. The Durban process raised the visibility of people of African descent and contributed to a substantive advancement in the promotion and protection of their rights as a result of concrete actions taken by States, the United Nations, other international and regional bodies and civil society. Still, despite these advances, racism and racial discrimination, both direct and indirect, de facto and de jure, continue to manifest themselves in inequality and disadvantage. The International Decade for People of African Descent, proclaimed by General Assembly resolution 68/237 and to be observed from 2015 to 2024, provides a solid framework for the United Nations, Member States, civil society and all other relevant actors to join together with people of African descent and take effective measures for the implementation of the programme of activities in the spirit of recognition, justice and development. It is also a unique opportunity to build on the International Year for People of African Descent, which was observed by the international community in 2011, and to further underline the important contribution made by people of African descent to our societies and to propose concrete measures to promote their full inclusion and to combat racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance. For further information and details of events go to: 16

MacFarlane’s Cazabon - The Art of Living, ignites controversy ‘Carnival is bacchanal’; that is a renowned refrain in the land of ‘steel band and calypso’ and it is a lament that rings true, time and time again – at every carnival. This year, with the 2017 unveiling of MacFarlane’s Cazabon The Art of Living, has created bacchanal in the country.

remember, our history belongs to us. Painful as it may be, it is the history of the country and it should be told; through the art form of carnival, theatre or the national curriculum. Should we continue to pick and choose what episodes of history we are comfortable with? If so, we will forever look to the future blindfolded.

When MacFarlane announced that he was quitting Trinidad mas and going to Rio, Trinidad started to bawl. They cried that it was the last of the great carnival designers and, with him gone, it was now a carnival confined to the likes of beads and bikini mas in Trinidad. Well, MacFarlane has come back and he has ‘pull ah Minshall.’ According to some critics, MacFarlane is merely copying an idea from Minshall’s River and Tantana. Whether we agree or disagree with this concept, Macfarlane’s offering for 2017, Cazabon - The Art of Living, saw the veteran mas designer delving into the country’s history for his next presentation and by doing so enraged a great number of people in Trinidad and Tobago. This sparked a damning debate across social media networks which eventually led to the designer pulling the ‘House Boy’ character from the collection.

So, true to form, Carnival is bacchanal. If we never believed it before, we should certainly - as an adage goes - ‘put dat in yuh pipe and smoke it.’ Trinidadians, it seems, are a perfidious bunch, for we would gladly adorn ourselves with huge gold chains and ‘slave bands’ and cocoa pod bracelets: items that epitomises the very shackles of slavery. For decades, we scorned and demonised religious

Macfarlane’s designs trace the country’s rich historical tapestry and one must 17

modes that our ancestors practiced so that they could retain a modicum of their homeland heritage.

this is the case, then surely MacFarlane is doing the same to the indentured migrants of the country as well? But that is another debate.

Witnessing this outrage that MacFarlane’s presentation for Carnival 2017 has ignited, has brought me again to the conclusion that Trinidadians are often blinkered to their own history. We take away the parts of history that is for, in a sense more palatable. History is raw, it is painful, it is happy, it is sad, but more importantly, it is history. We embrace others with open arms and have the tendency to brush our own aside. Fundamentally, we want to celebrate our history without revisiting it with accuracy. In the past, we accepted the history that was manufactured for us. Now, we have academics who questioned these fabrications of our history, and who have now corrected these misdemeanours so that they could be preserved for current and future generations.

One commentator expressing her thoughts said. “It means something bad to a lot of people. We all see things through our lens of experience. There is no context of a carnival presentation that can make these people, descendants of slaves, feel better about that combination shown in that photo. We are not confused, we are vex.” Interestingly, it is these same people who adorn themselves with representations of slavery, items such as ‘slave band’, huge gold and silver chains, and denim. Now one might want to argue and say that these ornaments are specific with African traditions,

This brings me back to MacFarlane’s presentation, Cabazon - The Art of Living. Here is a designer, an artist expressing his work, interpreting the historical fabric of the country and the country has taken umbrage to his expressions in the form of the ‘House Boy.’ This attitude surmises ignorance when it comes to understanding historical content. The blinkered effect here is that MacFarlane is accused of ‘trivialising the trauma of slavery.’ If 18

regarding MacFarlane’s presentation: “After all has been said, I see nothing wrong with the mas, yes as always his mas echoes Minshall’s River and Tantana but the architecture of the period is in there. This is historical mas and, that too is reflected in the costumes, servant or slave master or upper class are all facts of our history. It’s not who we are but it definitely is part of our history and cultural matrix, whatever side of the story your ancestors stood.” The whole sorry state of this fiasco is that MacFarlane in a lack of wisdom has allowed the ignorance of a nation to weigh down his creativity and so, he has opted to withdraw the ‘House Boy’ character from his presentation.

The source of controversy

especially in places such as Gambia and Senegal. However, the bracelets and earrings are completely different in design and hold a more traditional context. Trinidad historian, Angelo Bissessarsingh said “My thoughts on the Mac Mas controversy is that we are a people who simply have never come to grips with our history and have only made the barest attempts at posturing ourselves in creating a veneer of pseudocomprehension. I see in this production, not a white man (a Trinidadian) denigrating non-whites, but a tribute to the fashion and cultural history as depicted by Cazabon.” This very statement draws on a kind of double standard views with Trinbagonians. Why? In Trinidad and Tobago Cazabon is held reverence as one of the countries most celebrated artist. His work holds pride and place in the National Museum in Port of Spain, Trinidad.

This brings me back to that blinkered way that Trinbagonians have at looking at things. The commentators who have criticised and even those who have defended MacFarlane’s presentation missed what I term the bigger picture of the way the designs were presented. All of MacFarlane’s designs were shot against background that depicted our architectural history of the period, except those characterising the Africans. These were shot against backgrounds of trees, void of any civilisation, bar the shots of the ‘House Boy’. In my opinion, this is what should have fuelled debate. The representation of these characters gives the impression that there is that

Mas blogger, designer and carnival judge, Stephen Armstrong had this to say 19

association with Africa and the jungle, thus giving an uncivilised impression. This is where I believe MacFarlane have erred in his judgement. One might argue that this was not MacFarlane’s doing and, it was purely the setting of the photographer, who set the pace. However, it is MacFarlane’s show and this should not be allowed in the final cut.

this is the past and we should not allow our minds to be stagnated and enslave ourselves with backward thinking. Our past is a story driven by time; it cannot remain untold and, in telling a story, memories must be resurrected. We must be prepared to accept the journey by which the story unfolds. The pain and the joy are all part of that journey, and

Why didn’t these cause a stir?

MacFarlane’s presentation brings these elements into context. Had he been biased and presented a one-sided view of this era, then the outraged expressed would have been justified in him withdrawing the ‘House Boy’ from the presentation. As an artist, I believe MacFarlane has done himself a great disservice by bowing to social media pressure. After all, MacFarlane said “We must fight back against neglect by celebrating our beautifully diverse culture and awakening the spirit of promise across the islands.” Carnival is one of the major cultural heritage across

My argument is not one of defending Macfarlane, but one in search of clarity as to where, as a nation, do we stand regarding our country’s history? Clearly, we cannot ignore epigenetics. It is as real as we breathe air. However, we cannot gloss over parts of our history and handpick the episodes that we are comfortable with digesting. Should we follow this mode, we will forever find ourselves cornered by the issues ignited by Macfarlane’s Cazabon - The Art of Living. We cannot change or rearrange our history. However, we can endeavour to understand it and understand too, that 20

still exploited. Unlike Bharath’s statement, the costumes do say a lot, so much that it has aroused debate, and in doing so has demanded action. Unfounded action, but action nonetheless.

the Caribbean region and it is a vehicle for political commentary, so when one commentator says that Macfarlane’s “Carnival costumes don’t tell a story…they’re just for show.” Let us stop for a second and reflect that, Trinidad’s carnival is revered as the ‘greatest show’ on earth. Isn’t it then appropriate to use this platform to reflect our diversity in culture? Would we wait for someone else to appropriate it and then turn around and lament, with our head in our hands, that common refrain ‘dey tief we ting’?

I certainly hope that we can take lessons from this episode of artistic diversity and embrace our history for what it is. We cannot change time; however, we can change attitudes and we can become educated about our history. Doing so will elevate us to a greater understanding of our cultural heritage. Angelo Bissessarsingh’s words could not have summed it up better: “Here is the children of a golden opportunity to diversity the artistic horizons of mas but instead we are griping about white vs black. It shows how truly we are the children of slaves and fit so well into the model of the plantation society.” So, as we cast aside the ‘La Belle Dame and her Garçon de la Maison’ for at least this carnival, let us follow the bacchanal and put our hands in the air with ah flag in we hand and jump and wave – carnival is ah bacchanal.

David Kalloo

Carnival would not be carnival if a little controversy wasn’t thrown in, and it is healthy to have to controversial debates; it brings learning. What can we learn from this, one might ask? University lecturer Rhoda Bharath asked “Why the slave narrative in the designs? The costumes are pretty, but they don’t say much.” She cites that Cazabon ‘came into his own in post 1834’ the year of emancipation. Bharath as an academic would know that while we had emancipation, slavery continued (some would argue it endures to this day), not in the same context, but slave labour was

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Black Poppies - remembering the contribution of British and Colonial black soldiers during the Great War. Every November, the Royal British Legion's Poppy Appeal raises funds to support families of the Armed Forces, and the associated wearing of the traditional red poppy has been a powerful symbol of remembrance and recognition since the appeal first began at the end of the First World War. This year, however, a new flower appeared on some lapels, either in place of or alongside the traditional red poppy. The Black Poppy Rose campaign, launched this year by Londoner Selena Carty, aims to recognise the Great War contribution of black soldiers and their families, a contribution which for decades remained largely unrecorded. All funds raised go towards the West Indian Association of Service Personnel.

Liberian soldiers by Theodor Baumgartner in 'Die Feinde Deutschland’s'

since 1795 and based in the Caribbean, the BWIR, formed as a separate unit of black soldiers within the British Army, channelled the enthusiastic response among volunteers in the West Indies to join up and serve the mother country. By 1918, 15,204 black men would have volunteered to serve in the regiment.

Prompted by this, we thought we'd look in the archive to see to what extent the contemporary magazines of the time acknowledged the role of black soldiers. No fewer than eight of the numerous magazines from that period are now digitised, which makes searching far easier, but the findings were sketchy to say the least. Three small photographs in The Graphic, 23 October 1915, part of a large page of pictures documenting the efforts of Britain's colonies in the war, show ships sailing with troops from the Bahamas and Barbados, and soldiers from the British West Indian Regiment already in England and in uniform. The men were probably based at Seaford, Sussex, where the first battalion of the BWIR was raised in the autumn of 1915.

George Blackman, who joined the BWIR was interviewed about his experiences by The Guardian in 2002 and recalled, “We wanted to go. The island government told us the king said all Englishmen must go to join the war. The country called all of us." Many Caribbean recruits believed that joining up and fighting would affirm both their loyalty and equality. But one newspaper report from the Stratford Express, 19 May 1915 gives some idea of the prejudice encountered by men from the West Indies who travelled to Europe to join up. It makes uncomfortable reading.

Although the West Indies regiment of regular soldiers had been in existence


Some men of the 369th Infantry aka the Harlem Hellfighters, who won the Croix de Guerre for gallantry in action

“THE DOCKS – Black Men for the Front at West Ham Police Court Today”

that the men were desirous of enlisting in the Army. Mr Gillespie in court said: “What, do they want to enlist in the Black Guards”? and there was laughter in court. Detective Sergeant Holby said he had made enquiries at the local recruiting office and they told him they could not enlist because of their colour, but if application was made to the War Office no doubt they could enlist in some regiment of Black men. The accused were remanded for a week.

“Nine Black men, natives of Barbadoes, West Indies, were charged with being stowaways on the S.S. Danube. Mr J.W. Richards, who prosecuted for the Royal Mail Steam Packet Company, said that the S.S. Danube made a voyage from Trinidad to England, and the day after leaving Trinidad the ship called at Barbadoes. It was presumed that the men came aboard there for the day. Afterwards they were found on the vessel. Mr Gillespie in court said “In a dark corner, I suppose”? and the people in court laughed. Mr Richards continued that the men were put to work, and they did not cause any trouble. He was told

Many of those who paid for their own passage to England, hoping to join up and see action were bitterly disappointed. Though such prejudices were eroded as the war grinded on and shrinking manpower necessitated some loosening of 23

rules, many black recruits were instead given dirty, dangerous tasks in a support, rather than combative role - jobs such as loading ammunition, laying telephone wires and digging trenches, generally in appalling conditions. Near to the firing line, and suffering the same irritations such as lice and trench foot, black soldiers experienced all the discomforts but frequently missed out on the glory. Magazines of the day may have been willing to celebrate the contribution of the Empire's sons but in publications awash with tales of derringdo, heroic battle scenes and VC actions, black soldiers barely get a look in. Testimonials and first-hand accounts prove that black soldiers fought - and fought well - but the British magazines we hold here, gloss over details of segregation while acknowledgement of individual heroism is hard to find.

It is surprising that Walter Tull, a professional footballer for Northampton Town F.C. who rose to the rank of Second-Lieutenant in the 17th (1st Footballers) Battalion of the Middlesex Regiment should be given no mention at all. He was killed in France in March 1918 during the Spring Offensive and yet there is no inkling of him, even in the Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News which each week ran a 'Sportsman's Roll of Honour'. These were magazines that catered to an upper-class audience. Rolls of Honour published each week in magazines such as The Tatler, The Sphere and the aforementioned ISDN tended to focus primarily on figures well-known in 'society'. Tull, despite his sporting prowess and admirable military career, was brought up in an orphanage would have been of only fleeting interest to

Soldiers from Jamaica pictured in Navy & Army Illustrated, August 1914, part of the original 24Engineers on the left and Infantry on the right West Indies Regiment. Royal

readers of these magazines which gave more prominence to rugby, tennis, cricket, athletics and rowing than football. Nevertheless, it is still unsettling that no trace of him appears in what were popular and widely-read magazines (it is worth noting that another black sportsman, Eldridge Eastman, a Canadian sprint champion, was given brief press coverage when he travelled to Britain in 1915 to join the Northumberland Fusiliers).

had spent a year at the base hospital for Indian and African troops in Dar-essalaam (capital of modern-day Tanzania). In it, she describes the Indian sepoy as, 'essentially a soldier and a gentleman, but centuries of caste rule and prejudice have narrowed his views of humanity to a vanishing perspective, so it took him some time to widen it sufficiently to admit that the "Kala wallah" (black fellow) was just as much a soldier as his lordly self.' The stereotypes apparent in the article feel unacceptably prejudiced from a 21st century perspective, but the writer's admiration of her patients is clearly apparent. Her Indian patients bore their wounds, with 'courage and patience that left their native dignity untouched' while the Swahili had an irrepressible sense of humour, and an insatiable 'thirst for knowledge' exemplified by a tendency to fiddle or remove splints and drainage tubes, simply to satisfy a curiosity about how they worked. They were 'dear boys,' she writes, 'and if they were rogues sometimes, snatching extra "helps" and cigarettes, if tin spoons occasionally found resting-places under pillows, the culprit was always such a sport, and so genuinely tickled at being found out, that one could only feel that they were good-natured boys, full of life and energy that even wounds and privations could not knock out of them. Marvellously plucky as they were over physical injury, they were most incapable of a long fight against dysentery or pneumonia.'

Tull's story, which is due to be made into a major feature film for release in 2016, is remarkable but he was not unique, a fact that the Black Poppy Rose campaign seeks to highlight. As well as the men from the West Indies who joined up to serve, many Africans were also part of the Allied effort, many in the King's African Rifles where companies formed from indigenous African ranks were pivotal in fighting against the Germans in East Africa. One page from The Sphere in August 1918 carried photographs of the drilling of recruits in Uganda for the King's African Rifles, with accompanying text commenting that they made splendid soldiers - keen, courageous and resourceful as well as being excellent shots and good at football. The report demonstrates that, like all black regiments, they were led by white officers. One discovery in our magazine archive gives a direct comparison of African and Indian soldiers (the latter were given far more prominence in the press). An article entitled 'The Nursing of our Dark Soldiers,' from The Graphic, June 1918, was written by an anonymous nurse who

Elsewhere in the archives, there are some excellent examples of black participation in the war. Via our 25

American contributors, we have sets of photographs documenting African American soldiers including the famed 369th Infantry Regiment, otherwise known as the Harlem Hellfighters, so named by the Germans due to their reputation for never losing a man, a trench or foot of ground to the enemy. Such was their renown, the welcome home parade around the streets of New York in 1919 saw hundreds of thousands of Americans, black and white, line the streets to cheer their heroes. We have photographs too of the regiment's band, led by the first prominent African-American bandleader, James Reese Europe.

But perhaps the most extraordinary picture is a portrait of a soldier in the Hampshire regiment, a photograph taken in Gosport and signed simply 'Paul'. We know nothing more about him. He is an ordinary private, one of hundreds of thousands of men who joined up and were prepared to pay the ultimate sacrifice for his country. We do not know what happened to him - whether he survived the war or was killed. But it is a picture that reminds us that this was a global war in which every creed and colour were involved. A century or so after Paul's photograph was taken, it is right and proper that every soldier is remembered; the Black Poppy Rose campaign aims to honour and commemorate the thousands of black men from Britain and beyond who played their part.

The Tirailleurs Senegalais, West African Colonial Army troops who fought for the French were composed of soldiers recruited and conscripted from throughout French West Africa and not just from Senegal. Often fighting alongside African American troops, 170,000 Senegalese troops fought during the war, 30,000 of whom lost their lives.

Luci Gosling

Culturepulse would like to thank the author and Selena Carty, founder of Black Poppy Rose for the permission to publish the above article.

The French humorous magazine, La Baionnette, acknowledged the immense contribution of African troops, albeit by employing comic stereotypes of the time, in a special issue devoted to 'Nos Africains' - a copy of which we have in the library. The cover is illustrated by the great French cartoonist, Francisque Poulbot. Other colonial soldiers are documented in a superb portfolio of portraits we hold entitled, 'Die Feinde Deutschlands' (The Enemies of Germany). Examples showing Sudanese and Liberian soldiers are pictured here.

Photos and text taken from For further information please see links below: 3326


OneDub returns to The Dark Horse Moseley King David Sound System – Featuring Kenny I, Scientist, Jam Dubber & Rootical, Eava FM, Lazer 2126, Dubtronics, Iman Issachar-OneDub and DrumLove There will be an Ital Kitchen serving the very best in vegan food. Doors open at 8pm -2pm Just £3 for the sounds One Love OneDub!



Eric Williams Memorial Collection Sponsors 2016 Regional 'School Bags' Essay Competition Port of Spain, TRINIDAD and TOBAGO (November 21, 2016). The Eric Williams Memorial Collection Research Library, Archives & Museum (EWMC) at The University of the West Indies (UWI), Trinidad and Tobago, announces this year’s “Eric Williams ‘School Bags’ Essay Competition.” Throughout his life, Dr. Eric Williams, noted scholar/historian and the first Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, gave special emphasis to learning. “To educate is to emancipate.” On August 30, 1962, the eve of his country’s Independence from Britain, he exhorted: “You, the children, yours is the great responsibility to educate your parents, teach them to live together in harmony…To your tender and loving hands, the future of the Nation is entrusted. In your innocent hearts, the pride of the Nation is enshrined. On your scholastic development, the salvation of the Nation is dependent…you carry the future of Trinidad and Tobago in your school bags.” Since 2016 marks the 43rd anniversary of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), students in 17 of the former and current British-colonized territories are being asked to discuss the future of one of its principal tenets – the free flow of citizens within the Community – and to prepare an address to CARICOM Heads of Government on the subject. Recently and in this context, there have been significant tensions between several countries encompassing the alliance. The contest has been offered to all Lower and Upper Sixth Form (CAPE or equivalent) students in: Anguilla, Antigua, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Montserrat, St. Kitts & Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent & the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, and Turks and Caicos – some 177 schools. It is being held from November 2016 through April 30, 2017 (revised dates). Winners will be announced on May 31, 2017. The first prize winner will receive a four-day trip for two to Trinidad and Tobago with airfare, hotel accommodations and per diem allowance; a tour of The Eric Williams Memorial Collection and University of the West Indies campus; a US $1000 educational voucher; courtesy calls on the President of Trinidad and Tobago and the Speaker of the House of Representatives; a tour of Parliament; a set of Eric Williams’ books, a Digicel DL smart phone; an interview on UWI TV; and a framed certificate. In the event of a Trinidad winner, a trip to another Caribbean territory will be substituted, as well as appropriate tours. The winning essay will also be published in CARICOM’s newsletter, Miami-Dade County school’s newsletter; Trinidad Express newspaper; and UWI’s Pelican magazine. Patrons of the Eric Williams Memorial Collection’s ‘School Bags’ Essay Competition are: Banwari Experience; Caribbean Airlines; Caribbean Development Bank; CARICOM; Digicel Trinidad & Tobago, Ltd.; Hyatt Regency, Trinidad; Journal of African American History; LIAT (1974) Ltd.; Miami-Dade County Public Schools; Scrip-J Printers; Trinidad Express newspaper; UNESCO, Trinidad and Tobago; University of the West Indies. The Eric Williams Memorial Collection Research Library, Archives & Museum was inaugurated by former US Secretary of State Colin Powell in 1998, and named to UNESCO’s prestigious Memory of the World Register in 1999.

For more information, please contact Erica Williams Connell, The Eric Williams Memorial Collection P.O. Box 561631, Miami, FL 33256-1631, USA. Fax: (305) 271-4160 Ariana Taglioretti: Research Assistant at 29 Website:

areas have been cut off completely due to landslides. COUD has evacuated several people and mobilised volunteers to assist in helping those affected by the floods.

Floods claim 10 victims in Haiti

Haiti and Japan recently signed an agreement for two donations contracts totalling $US 150,000. The money will benefit two projects that is under the Local Micro Projects Contributing to Human Security. The two beneficiaries, the Union of Peasants for the Development of Source Sable Santo and its Surroundings (UPDSSE) along with the Organisation Youth and Peasants for the Advancement of the Center (OJPSAC) will receive a share of the donation.

Heavy rains in Haiti has caused severe flooding and claimed the lives of at least 10 people according to reports from Haiti Libre. Flooding was reported across the Grand’Anse, North, Northeast, Northwest and Port-de-Paix where a woman died when her house collapsed due to flood waters.

The agreement was signed by the Japanese Ambassador to Haiti, Mr Yoshiaki Hatta and two representatives from the beneficiary organisations. UPDSSE received the sum of US$80,836 which will go towards improvement to the BERACA Community Health Center where it will serve and provide health care to some 10,000 inhabitants. OJPSAC benefitted from US $ 76,789 for its project to develop the VIAH Community School in Sarrazin that will enable over 230 children to benefit from quality education in a sound environment.

The city centre of Cap-Haitien was particularly affected by torrent waters swept through communal sections of the city. Among the victims are 4 males, 3 children and 3 women who have been confirmed casualties so far. There are several people still missing including children. Haiti’s Civil Protection Department said that preliminary reports can confirm severe damages in areas such as PetiteAnse, Haut-du-Cap, Grand’Anse, Garcin, Haut-des- Vallieres and Limonade are just a few of the places affected by the floods. The heavy rainfall has also caused damage to crops and habitat and brought disruption to the public market. The Emergency Operations Centres (COUD) in several departments are working to mobilise relief and review structural damage to properties. Some 30


Ulysse Nardin Chronometers From the movement of the sea, to the motion of Haute Horlogerie. Since the peak of seafaring trade in the 19th century, Ulysse Nardin has been crafting precision timekeeping instruments, helping navigators find their way across the sea. The Swiss watchmaker combines 170 years of craftsmanship and constant innovation in each elegant timepiece. The Ulysse Nardin Marine Chronometer is one of the Swiss watchmaker’s most iconic pieces, a stunning example of the most extreme precision in mechanical watchmaking. With its UN-118 caliber movement, designed and manufacture red entirely inhouse, and its distinctive design that pays homage to those early marine chronometers, the Marine Chronometer is beloved by collectors and amateurs alike. Discover the story of the Marine Chronometer, and explore more unique Ulysse Nardin timepieces on the Ulysse Nardin Youtube channel, or go to the website to find to find your nearest retailer.


Malawi Presidents and their Naïve Preference for Press Rallies

journalists who supposedly ask difficult, embarrassing or awkward questions. In essence, jeering journalists for doing their job. The latest of such case was President Peter Mutharika’s press conference held at State House in Lilongwe to brief the country on his official trip to United Nations General Assembly. The press conference was full of tension due to the President’s unexplained prolonged stay in America, a development that triggered rumours and speculation about his health. Yet, it is important to recall that such press conferences, or “press rallies” as others have called them are not peculiar to Mutharika government. Former president, Joyce Banda held a similar “press rally” on her return from abroad when she anticipated tough questions from the media on what was then news revelations on cashgate in 2013. Before Mrs Banda the late president, Bingu wa Mutharika held his own “press rally” as he returned from holiday in Hong-Kong in 2011.

By Jimmy Kainja Writing in 2000, Francis Nyamnjoh, professor of anthropology at University of Cape Town made the following observation on African media: “An examination of most legal frameworks in Africa, even after the liberalisation of media in the 1990s, reveals a craving to control that leaves little doubt of lawmakers perceiving journalists as potential troublemakers who must be policed.” He added: “The tendency is for new laws [in Africa] to grant freedom in principle while providing, often by administrative nexus, the curtailment of press freedom in practice. Although strongest in Francophone Africa, this use of derogable and claw back measures by the state to limit the right of the expression and press freedom is common throughout the continent.”

So the trend is that these “press rallies” take place when state presidents are trying to avoid unwelcome questions – avoiding accountability. When faced with such a situation the tendency has, unfortunately, been to shift blame and portray journalists troublemakers, as Nyamnjoh has observed. Meanwhile, these “press rallies” are not just aimed at intimidating and bullying the media into submission; it is also way of limiting freedom of expression while national legal frameworks permits it.

I reflected on this following the recent fallout between media institutions in Malawi and Malawi government, led by the country’s two paramount media bodies, NAMISA and Media Council of Malawi. The media, mostly private owned are against the presence of political party officials and supporters, often in large numbers, at presidential press conferences. The role of these party members at presidential press conferences is not officially defined but these party members jeer and intimidate

Noam Chomsky made a key observation on these tactics, arguing: “the smartest way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum.” The 33

government strategy is to allow journalists to come to the press conference in the spirit of freedoms of press and expression yet limiting them on what they can ask and say.

crucially, the state lose control over information. This is difficult even for a heavily partisan state controlled institutions like Malawi Broadcasting Corporation to change people’s perceptions.

Unfortunately, the state machinery has completely misread the script. The once submissive local media that for 30 years of Kamuzu Banda’s dictatorship could only report what the governing authorities wanted has overcame the post-Kamuzu hangover. They now realise that they owe their allegiance to the nation, not the state and so demanding accountability and transparency is their key duty.

The odds here are against the state if intimidation is the way they want to go, as it seems the case at the moment. Instead of intimidation journalists and cursing freedom of the press and expression, the government could do well to have people in place who understand the increasingly changing communication environment. Being in control of communication no longer mean having a spokesperson that can speak the loudest, it means understanding increasingly complex communication systems. Most importantly the government can just be honest, open and transparent – this way it doesn’t have to worry about media. As they say, it is better to light a lamp than to curse the dark.

As it is, the onus is on the government to also realise that bullying tactics of the old will no-longer hold sway. Coercion is always futile in open societies where ideas work – this is why the government needs good public relations people in place. It should be clear for those who care to see that the genesis of the current standoff between the government and private media institutions as poor communication on the part of the government. It is painfully clear that Malawi government is oblivious to changes in communication systems and hence cannot adapt accordingly. Live broadcasting, especially television has been a game changer in political communication for some time now. The state machinery may not be obvious to this but live broadcasting is one of the key factors why from Bingu wa Mutharika, Joyce Banda to Peter Mutharika, presidential communication team always get agitated about press conferences.

Jimmy Kainja Academic* communications * media * journalism Malawi, Chancellor College, University of Malawi, Zomba, Malawi,

A live press conference means that the public make up their own minds as the president respond to questions. The public does not have to wait for media institutions to repackage the information for them. In this case both the media and, 34

Marlon Griffiths: Symbols of Endurance This richly illustrated and vibrant book is complemented with essays by curators Claire Tancons and Emelie Chhangur, prominent Trinidadian artist and writer, Christopher Cozier, academic Stephanie Springgay and performance artist and scholar, Gabriel Levine. All of whom, write uniquely about Griffith’s work and examine it through a number of insightful approaches. Marlon Griffiths has been artist in residence at Bag Factory/Fordsburg Artists Studios in Johannesburg(2004), Mino Paper Art Village in Japan(2005), Edna Manley College of Visual Arts, Kingston, Jamaica(2007), Popop Studios, Nassau, The Bahamas(201011), Art Omi, Ghent, New York (2011), His work has been shown extensively in North America in Toronto (South South: Interruptions and Encounters, 2009), Miami (Global Caribbean, 2010), Washington (Wrestling with Image: Caribbean Interventions, Art Museums of the Americas, 2011), Champaign (Krannet Art Museum, Gwangju (7th Gwangju Biennale, 2008), Cape Town (CAPE09, 20019 MANIFESTA 9 Parallel Projects 2012, Hasselt, Belgium, AICHI TRIENNALE 2013, Tate Modern BMW Tate Live Series 2014 and AGYU (Art Gallery of York University) 2015.

Marlon Griffiths: Symbols of Endurance covers the recent artistic practice of Trinidadian-born artist Marlon Griffiths, whose work derives its form (and to an extent its process) from the performative, participatory and ephemeral characteristics that derive from the Trinidad and Tobago Carnival. His work is based upon a reciprocal dialogue between ‘Mas’ (Masquerade) and contemporary art as a means of investigating the phenomenological aspect of the embodied experience, while interrogating contemporary visual culture outside the traditional pitfalls of representation.

He is also the recipient of a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship and a Commonwealth Award.Symbols of Endurance is published in partnership with Art Gallery of York University.

Symbols of Endurance covers Griffith’s recent work, including his notable Ring of Fire. The book explores the Trinidadian origins and process of the artists oeuvre, as well as its place within the current sphere of contemporary art.

Now available on Amazon.


The London Air Ambulance was established in 1989 in response to a report by The Royal College of Surgeons, which documented unnecessary deaths from trauma and criticised the care that seriously injured patients received in the UK. Since then the pioneering and effective delivery of time critical interventions has proven to be one that have saved many lives. The service has a strong sense of responsibility for patients both through social and medical innovation. The London Air Ambulance is a charity that operates in partnership with Barts Health NHS Trust and London Air Ambulance(LAS). The Trust employs and remunerates the advance trauma doctors who are seconded to the service, as well as providing some direct financial support and helipad facility for charity operations. The LAS provides paid paramedics who are seconded to the service and operate from the LAS control room and are responsible for dispatching the service to critically injured people in London 24 hours a day. The London Air Ambulance service serves over 10 million people who live, work and travel within the M25. They can perform open chest surgery for patients in cardiac arrest at the roadside with an 18% survival rate, noted as the highest in the world. On average, five people every 24 hrs in London are seriously injured and need advanced life-saving treatment on the scene. The London Air Ambulance trauma team and paramedics can be on the scene within minutes to provide medical aid that is normally only available at a hospital emergency department. To date, the London Air Ambulance has treated over 35,000 people. The service is a registered charity and its survival is dependent on funds raised to keep the service operational. London Air Ambulance has many ways in which you can help make a difference and to keep them reaching people in time of need. To find out more about donating and to get involved with the charity please visit: or to donate: You can also telephone: 0203023 3300 or email: 36

Registered Charity No: 801013

When Will Asia Finally Have Same-Sex Marriage?

marriage equality, the island’s public seems deeply divided. In the latest poll on the subject, released on Nov. 29, 46 percent of respondents supported marriage equality, while 45 percent opposed it. Meanwhile, Taiwan’s lawmakers and its civil society have been more cautious than recent headlines in Western media suggest.

By Linda Van Der Horst In October 2014, a crowd at an LGBT rights rally in Taipei, one of many, lobbed four large red balloons emblazoned with the Chinese characters for marriage equality into the fenced courtyard of Taiwan’s legislature. At that

Island-wide marriage equality initiatives have been unsuccessful in spite of growing support over decades. Even without national legislation, many local governments in Taiwan now allow samesex couples to participate in collective weddings and to record their partnership in household registries across the island,

time, a comfortable majority of Taiwanese supported same-sex marriage; a number of polls in the self-governing island of 23 million indicated as much, with one showing as many as 71 percent in favour. But several initiatives to amend the law to achieve marriage equality, first mooted in 2003, have not been successful. Two years later, three marriage equality bills now sit on legislators’ desks; although international media have been quick to announce that Taiwan stands on the cusp of being the first government in Asia to achieve

although neither action confers any legal rights. To many, the election of President Tsai Ing-wen and her Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in January portended a broader, deeper change. Tsai openly made statements that appeared to support marriage equality during and after her campaign. In an October 2015 Facebook video posted to coincide with Taipei’s annual LGBT pride parade, Tsai exclaimed, “Everyone is equal before love.” A year later, she posted a photo on her Facebook page showing a rainbow, adding that her “belief has not changed” 37

post-election. In August, Tsai appointed the first transgender official in government, Audrey Tang, as executive councillor for digital policy, which looked like another step toward acceptance of different gender norms.

seeks to dispel. Other organizations, such as the Taiwan Tongzhi (LGBT) Hotline Association, perform peer counselling and advocacy work. Even corporations are chipping in; in March, McDonald’s released a commercial in which a son comes out to his father in one of its restaurants. (The father accepts it.) This summer, a number of Taiwanese pop artists organized a benefit concert to raise awareness for marriage equality; tickets sold out in minutes. Pop superstar Jolin Tsai performed a lesbianthemed song for the occasion. In the music video for the song “We’re All Different, Yet the Same,” she makes the case for marriage equality by describing the plight of a woman whose partner of more than 30 years is hospitalized; the woman is unable to sign a consent form for emergency surgery because she is legally not a spouse or family member. A real-life version of this tragedy triggered public outcry and reinvigorated support for marriage equality. On Oct. 16, 67-year-old French professor Jacques Picoux fell to his death from the top of a 10-story building in Taipei, police said. He is thought to have committed suicide after depression caused by the death of his partner due to cancer; Picoux was unable to make medical decisions for his partner in his final days, as Picoux had no legal status. In a response to this outcry, legislators from the DPP and the KMT, as well as the caucus of the New Power Party (NPP), a young activist organization, all introduced similar marriage equality bills. All three proposals would amend the Taiwan Civil Code to open marriage to same-sex couples, but they differ in how to do so. DPP legislator Yu Mei-nu’s proposal introduces a general provision extending to same-sex couples the right to marriage, as well as other family law rights that accompany married status. But it leaves further gendered language across the civil code intact. The

Since Tsai took office this May, pressure has been building on her to deliver. Yet she has never explicitly promised that her administration would push for samesex marriage legislation, and critics have feared that once in office, she would find herself unable to follow through on her progressive rhetoric. The party that Tsai leads, the DPP, “has neither devoted sufficient resources to communicate the issues of marriage equality nor to reconcile differences within the party,” Victoria Hsu, who heads the non-profit Taiwan Alliance to Promote Civil Partnership Rights (TAPCPR). It was therefore a setback when Justice Minister Chiu Tai-san announced in August that his ministry still intended to introduce its own same-sex partnership bill — but only in 2017, after studying the impact of such a law on Taiwanese society. (In Taiwan, ministries can introduce bills into the legislature.) The effort dates to the previous, more socially conservative Kuomintang (KMT) administration of Ma Ying-jeou and is an attempt to compromise between supporters of marriage equality and religious groups opposed. Proposing a separate law for same-sex partnership is politically easier, as it leaves the institution of marriage as currently constituted unchanged. In the absence of strong top-down leadership on the issue from Tsai, momentum for the bills currently under consideration has come from the bottom up. Audrey Ko, the chief editor of Womany, an online media outlet focused on gender issues and LGBT rights, says a stigma remains for gays and lesbians in Taiwan, one her company 38

proposals of KMT legislator Hsu Yu-ren and the NPP would make references to “husband and wife” and “father and mother” gender-neutral throughout all relevant civil code provisions. These latter two proposals have great symbolic meaning, because they remove a heterosexual presumption from the code, but the legal effect is likely no different than Yu’s proposal.

But even Yu, who introduced the DPP bill, says she is only cautiously optimistic about the chances of passing a marriage equality law. Outside lawmakers’ offices, the battle for public support continues. If anything, it seems to be waning precisely at the time when it will be most needed. “More and more people are confessing that they love gays but that they don’t support same-sex marriage,” said Ko, because they believe allowing same-sex partners to get married will harm traditional family values. She is therefore unsure whether Taiwan will manage to pass a bill in the next year. At least, Ko added, “people are talking [about it], and it is not a taboo anymore.”

There is still a long legislative road to travel before Taiwan can become the first Asian government to legalize samesex marriage. The bills passed their first reading on Nov. 17, but the DPP caucus whip has said the proposed bills will next be reviewed on Dec. 26. During the review process, any legislator can introduce a competing same-sex partnership act. Even if the bills were to enter a second reading, they could still face a boycott and be removed from the agenda. The bills will only become legislation after passing three readings.

Photo and story courtesy

As these bills went through their first reading in the legislature this month, thousands of people protesting marriage equality, and only several hundred rallying for it, gathered on Taipei’s streets. Opposition to marriage equality in Taiwan largely comes from small but well-organized and vocal conservative religious groups. Four people reportedly even managed to storm into the legislative meeting room, shouting that the “legislators are monsters” and would want to change Taiwan “into an AIDS island.” It is hard to tell whether the legislature will pass a same-sex marriage bill this time, says Hsu of TAPCPR, partly because of internal opposition within the DPP and KMT. (The NPP caucus fully supports its bill but only holds five seats in legislature.) Tsai has reiterated that the bills are “clear evidence” marriage equality has support across all parties. 39

Caraili: Bitter but good.

Also, known as bitter melon, bitter squash, or balsam-pear, Momordica charantia, has names adapted from other languages such as karela from Sanskrit. Here in T&T, we call it caraili (pronounced ‘car-eye-lee’), again a likely variation from the Sanskrit language. Caraili originated in India and was introduced into China in the 14th century. It is a tropical and subtropical vine of the family Cucurbitaceae. Its many varieties differ substantially in shape and bitterness. Unlike its cousins, the pumpkin and watermelon, Caraili is cultivated on upright trellises so that it hangs down and does not lie on the ground. The vine grows up to five metres in length as a climbing perennial that bears elongated produce with a knobby, warty surface. It is a useful medicinal and vegetable plant for human health and one of the most promising plants for diabetes…bitter but good, as it is often labelled. Some bear miniature caraile of only six to ten cm in length, which may be served individually as stuffed vegetables.

By Nasser Khan The Ministry of Education’s announcement to include more local content in the School Nutrition/Feeding Programme is a welcome initiative that will only auger well for the nation’s health and agriculture sectors. Food for Thought/Grow and Eat Local seeks to inform about the 149 crops that are grown in T&T (not counting the varieties within many of them).

These miniature delicacies, properly prepared, is popular in Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Nepal, and other countries in South Asia. Here in the Caribbean, a wild form exists with very small fruit that are a favourite of the birds which spread the seeds. When ripe the seeds are a delicacy when eaten straight from the pod. This wild form can be a nuisance though since it is aggressive, grows quickly and can cover and smother existing trees. In village life, vines were pulled to make a bedding for chickens to set and said to keep away fowl lice.

In this the 27th instalment of the continuing series, we feature caraili/caraaili/carailli, a popular vegetable in the diets of peoples throughout the tropical world. Ironically, its popularity is largely based not on its taste which is markedly bitter but on its invaluable medicinal properties. It is a tropical plant that is widely cultivated in Asia, India, East Africa, South America and the Caribbean commonly used in cooking and as a natural remedy for treating diabetes.

Caraili is hollow in cross-section, with a relatively thin layer of flesh 40

surrounding a central seed cavity filled with large, flat seeds and pith. It is mostly eaten green, or as it is beginning to turn yellow. At this stage, the flesh is crunchy and watery in texture, similar to cucumber, christophene or green bell pepper, but bitter. The skin is tender and edible. Seeds and pith appear white when unripe and are usually removed before cooking.

parts and the leaves are great sources of the B vitamins. Caraili is generally consumed cooked in the green or early yellowing stage. The young shoots and leaves of the bitter melon may also be eaten as greens. In Chinese cuisine, caraili is valued for its bitter flavour, typically in stir-fries, soups, dim sum, and herbal teas. In North Indian cuisine, it is often served with yogurt on the side to offset the bitterness, used in curries or stuffed with spices and then cooked in oil. Here in the Caribbean, caraili can be cut into slices and fried, or stuffed with fillings made with meat, fish or vegetables, a delicacy called “kaloungi�.

As it ripens, the flesh (rind) becomes somewhat tougher and more bitter, and many consider it too distasteful to eat. On the other hand, the pith becomes sweet and intensely red; it can be eaten uncooked in this state, and is a popular ingredient in some Southeast Asian salads.

Caraili is a powerful nutrient-dense plant composed of a complex array of beneficial compounds. These include bioactive chemicals, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants which all contribute to its remarkable versatility in treating a wide range of illnesses. They contain high amounts of vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamins B1, B2 and B3, as well as vitamin B9 (folate). The caloric values for leaf, fruit and seed were 213.26, 241.66 and 176.61 Kcal/100 g respectively.

When fully ripe, it turns orange and mushy, and splits into segments which curl back dramatically to expose seeds covered in bright red pulp. The pulp and arils are high in carotenoids, iron, phosphorous and ascorbic acid. The pulp has soluble pectin but no free pectic acid. Research has found that the leaves are nutritious sources of calcium, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus and iron; both the edible

It is also rich in minerals including potassium, calcium, zinc, magnesium, phosphorus and iron, and is a good source of dietary fibre. Medicinal value of Caraili has been attributed to its high antioxidant properties due in


part to phenols, flavonoids, iso flavones, terpenes, anthroquinones, and glucosinolates, all of which confer a bitter taste.

of diabetes, fever, HIV and Aids, and infections. While it has shown some potential clinical activity in laboratory experiments, further studies are required to recommend its use.

Based on the multitude of medical conditions that Caraili can treat, scientists are more and more interested in studying its bioactive compounds and their actions on the body. However, as many studies report, there has been substantial emphasis on the anti-diabetic compounds and their hypoglycaemic properties. A number of reported clinical studies have shown that extracts from the Caraili (skin, pulp, seeds, leaves) contain several bioactive compounds that have hypoglycaemic activity in both diabetic animals and humans.

Visit the Ministry of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries’ website at This was first published in the Trinidad and Tobago Guardian newspaper and republished with the kind permission of the author, Nasser Khan.

Caraili has been in use for a very long time in Hindu medicine or Ayurveda and used in various Asian and African herbal medicine systems. In Turkey, it has been used as a folk remedy for a variety of ailments, particularly stomach complaints. In traditional medicine of India different parts of the plant are used to relieve diabetes, as a stomachic, laxative, antibilious, emetic, anthelmintic agent, for the treatment of cough, respiratory diseases, skin diseases, wounds, ulcer, gout, and rheumatism. It has a number of purported uses including cancer prevention, treatment 42

addressing the woeful literacy rate that exists in the region and in collaboration with the Ministry of Education and Nagico Insurances, this project has the enhanced power of being provided free of cost to all schools and libraries in Trinidad and Tobago and throughout the West Indies. This is sponsored by Nagico Insurances.

Book Launch of Nasser Khan’s History of West Indies Cricket Through Calypsoes,1926-2016

This goal is echoed in one of the forewords by Brian Lara, who comments that cricket and calypso were “our region’s gifts to the world” and that he sees the book being an inspiration to both young, future calypsonians and cricketers. West Indies cricket legend Deryck Murray was also in attendance in support of this initiative. Along with Brian Lara others

On Tuesday 22nd November, The Southerner’s Sports Round Up writer, Nasser Khan’s new book entitled, ‘History of West Indies Cricket Through Calypsoes, 1926-2016’ was successfully launched at the Hilton Trinidad. The unique book captures and honours a collection of 215 calypsoes about cricket – sharing the lyrics of these cricket themed tales of the players, games, and incidents to which they relate. Its scope begins in 1926 and is intended to be a historical reference and educational tool for our nation. Mr. Khan hopes that the book will be a valuable addition to our fight against illiteracy, providing interesting and relevant material for young and old alike. Under the umbrella of a 'youth literacy' initiative, aimed at

who penned insightful forewords to the book were Minister of Education Anthony Garcia, President His Excellency Anthony Carmona, Chief 43

Justice Ivor Archie, President of TUCO, Lutalo Masimba and GM of Nagico Sharon Melville.

All schools and libraries in T&T and throughout the West Indies will receive copies courtesy Nagico Insurances under the umbrella of a 'youth literacy' initiative, aimed at addressing the woeful literacy rate that exists in the region.

Chief Justice Ivor Archie congratulated Nasser on his book, saying that calypso and cricket are more than just entertainment and sport. He shared his feeling that they capture so much of who we are and are modes of self-expression that reflect our very (social, historical, political and cultural) identity. That understanding should be at the core of our education process as a building block for success.� Congratulation Nasser! We are proud to have you as part of The Southerner team. A job well done! For further information email:

This is Nasser's 18th such sponsored publication in this regard. The book entitled "The History of West Indies Cricket through Calypsoes, 1926-2016" contains the lyrics of 215 cricket-themed calypsoes during the period 1926-2016 and ties them to the players, games, incidents, etc. to which they relate. Forewords were provided by West Indies cricket legend Deryck Murray was among those in attendance in support of this initiative. For further information email the author at: .

Recent book launch at the Trinidad Hilton of Sunday Guardian writer Nasser Khan, an initiative in collaboration with the Ministry of Education and sponsors Nagico Insurances.


THE BIRTH OF A NATION Saturday 3 December 2016 14:00 – 17:00 GMT

Director: Nate Parker (15) POST-SCREENING Q&A Dr Robert Beckford (BBC and Channel 4) Professor of Theology and Culture in the African I Will Tell Festival Director, Jenny Lee Other panellists to be announced


I Will Tell Community Cinema Hainault Road, Leytonstone, London E11 1EL Set against the American South thirty years prior to the outbreak of the Civil War and based on a true story, THE BIRTH OF A NATION follows Nat Turner (Nate Parker), a literate slave and preacher whose financially strained owner Samuel Turner (Armie Hammer) accepts an offer to use Nat’s preaching to subdue unruly slaves. As he witnesses countless atrocities - against himself, his wife Cherry (Aja Naomi King), and fellow slaves - Nat orchestrates an uprising in the hopes of leading his people to freedom.

Tickets: £9.75 PLEASE NOTE: Children below the age of 15 would not be allowed access to the screening qa-15-tickets-29424949817

No Tears Left to Cry: Being Deported Is a Distressing Nightmare By Luke de Noronha in solidarity with migrants – were able to speak with people before the flight. We called them in immigration detention centres and listened, as one person after another told us how they were snatched while signing in at Home Office reporting centres and handed flight directions in detention or prison, just days before the flight. In marked British accents, they told us about their British children, their British partners, their British homes and their British lives. We heard different stories, but there was a chorus of fear, anxiety and confusion.

On the 7th of September, 2016, 38 men and four women were forcibly removed from the UK to Jamaica on a private, chartered flight. They were all Jamaican nationals, but for most, Britain is their home. Many moved to the UK as children. Most have British children of their own. Despite that, they were deported, en masse, in secret and at great expense to the British government. I am living in Jamaica and have met and spoken with some of the people from the flight. They described to me the flight itself, the reasons they were deported and the kinds of problems they now face in Jamaica – a country they may have few memories of, and might not feel safe in.

After speaking to people on the phone we tried to publicise the charter flight. A protest was organised outside the Jamaican High Commission in London and the press picked up on the story. It was good to see some noise being made around this issue, but the protest had no real chance of stopping the flight, and it departed from Stansted at around 6.30AM on Wednesday the 7th of September.

Charter flights are notoriously violent . When the Home Office charters a private plane, they are ruthless in filling the seats, and people have very little time to process what is happening to them. Charter flights are highly secretive, they happen by cover of darkness and no one knows where the plane will depart from.

In Jamaica I managed to contact 16 of the 42 people who were on the flight. They shared their stories with me, and they want them to be read. Here's what they told me.

September's charter flight to Jamaica was the first in two years. I know people who were deported on the last one, in November of 2014. They told me of violent escorts, of being restrained in body belts and of being treated like animals. It's possible that the Home Office is planning to re-establish regular charter flights to Jamaica, deporting people on mass flights every few months, as it does to Nigeria, Ghana, Pakistan and Albania.

TREATED LIKE ANIMALS The Home Office requires that those with uncertain or precarious immigration status sign on regularly at reporting centres. Most of those who ended up on the charter were detained while signing on:

Me and some friends at the Unity Centre in Glasgow – an organisation that gives practical support to and stands 46

"It was my stepdaughter's birthday, I brought her up all my life, met her when she were one, and it was her fifth birthday that day. I went that morning to sign on, early that morning, before she woke up, and I've never seen her again. I had bought loads of presents to give her." – David, 29

allows them to foreclose this option; judicial review was powerless. People felt that they had been denied access to justice. As the date approached, some spoke to loved ones, just to hear their voices: "I stayed up on the phone to her all night that night, and she was just crying, crying, saying, 'Please try and contact me as soon as you get there.'" – Andrew, 21 The night before the flight was due to depart people were rounded up in their cells. Up to eight security personnel came to retrieve them: "They put a belt on us, tied round our waist, tying our hands together so you couldn't really move, and then they had hold of you and dragged you, pretty much carried you onto the coach. We were waiting in the coach for hours, then it set off. We couldn't get up, we weren't allowed to use the toilet, so there was no point drinking. We drove for half an hour, and then waited again from probably 12 midnight until 5AM before they took us onto the plane. We just sat there... that's when you start to realise you are getting on the plane, you aren't getting off." – David, 29

The fact that people were detained while signing on, in different parts of the country, suggests the operation was well planned in advance. It seems that the Home Office conducted a wide sweep of Jamaican nationals who were liable to removal. People who had been signing for months, complying with Home Office regulations, found themselves detained in the weeks running up to the flight. With charter flights, the Home Office wants to fill as many seats as possible, and more Jamaicans were detained and served with flight directions than made it onto the plane.

"They strapped us up, zipped us up, in a body belt so we could hardly move. They made sure they moved everyone under the cover of darkness. We were gone. We were in the air before anyone could make any noise. Even by the time my mum got hold of the solicitor, I was in Jamaica, man." – William, 38

Most spent late August and early September in immigration detention centres and were handed flight directions just a few days before the 7th of September, although many received their letters weeks after their letter was dated. Surely the Home Office wouldn't withhold correspondence to hamper legal interventions? Some had been told by their solicitors "not to worry"; the judicial review had been lodged in time. However, Home Office charter policy

I literally thought they were going to kill him. Each deportee had two escorts for the duration of the flight, and I was told that only the lucky few were allowed to have their body belts removed. The Home Office deny this and insist that "waist 47

any energy left. I was wiped, so I stopped kicking off. I just thought, 'Hopefully when we land...' I still had faith that I might be able to come straight back. My wrists were bleeding from the handcuffs being on so tight." – Omari, 24 For most people, resistance seemed futile. Some managed to sleep. Some watched films. Others cried. When people went to the toilet they had do so with the door open so the escorts could keep an eye them. The Home Office insists that force is used as a last resort, but overwhelmingly people spoke of the escorts as violent, racist and smug. It was only Michelle who spoke warmly of her escorts:

restraint belts are used based on an individual assessment of the risk presented by each detainee". "We were treated like animals, we were strapped up, thrown from one cage to another in the dark; we didn't have a say. The big guys there, just waiting for you to kick off, and then they could fuck you up. We were like animals." – William, 38

"So yeah, she managed to borrow a phone and let me phone my partner and kids and spoke to them before the flight lifted off. And when we landed she also gave me the phone to phone them, just to let them know that I landed safe. You can tell they've got kids themselves. So, they sympathised with that. I spoke to my step-kids before we took off, and the escorts were a bit heartbroken because they heard when the baby started crying on the phone, and then I started crying, and she put her arms around me and was rubbing my back, and saying, 'I know it's hard, but you have to stay strong,' you know."

"You know what they looked like? You know bounty hunters, like some special forces." – Darel, 32 "There was one guy – he was distraught, because he was leaving his baby mum behind, and his child, and he was emotional. There were like seven or eight real big, wrestler-looking guys, like people you would see on WWF; they were massive. He was screaming, cursing, saying what they were doing was illegal or whatever, and the force they were using, I literally thought they were going to kill him. At one point, they held him round his head, fingers in his temples, and they held him, held him so tight that after a while you heard nothing off him." – Michelle, 27

When asked to comment, a Home Office spokesperson said: "There have been no complaints about the treatment of detainees on this flight. We do not tolerate racism or mistreatment and will thoroughly investigate any allegations which are brought to our attention."

"I was one of the two people kicking off. I told them they were murderers. I was going on one, I was losing my mind. And then the plane started moving, and then we were in the air and I didn't have

PROCESSING When the plane landed in Kingston the detainees were handed from the British 48

authorities to the Jamaicans. They were moved in coaches to an army barracks to be "processed", which included an interview and finger-printing. People complained about the long wait and the heat:

In 2006 there was a "foreign national prisoner crisis". It was discovered that some "foreign offenders" were being released from prison post-sentence, when they should've been considered for deportation by the immigration authorities. This scandal caused an uproar. The Home Secretary Charles Clarke lost his job and the Home Office began prioritising the identification, management and expulsion of foreign national offenders. The figure of the "foreign criminal", became a regular character in the media in a way that simply wasn't the case before the crisis.

"Basically, they were trying to push us in a corner, and we were dying. Everyone with their shirt off, we're sweating, so we're trying to go to the door. We can't go outside – they have officers by the door so we can't go outside, we're prisoners. It was punishment." – Glen, 35 For some, escaping the heat of the barracks was an ambivalent prospect, given they had no idea where they would be going:

In response, the British government has increased the resources allocated to the management of foreign offenders. Prisons have been reorganised around the problem of foreignness, with "foreign national only" prisons introduced (for example, HMP Huntercombe and HMP Maidstone). The Home Affairs Select Committee asks for regular updates on the number of deportations of ex-offenders, and sets targets. And there has been a flurry of legislative change, each Immigration Act more draconian than the next.

"I was shitting myself. Listen, I've never been in a situation where I've been this scared. The most scared I've ever been in my life. It was madness. A completely alien place for me, innit. I don't know no one, I don't know nowt..." – David, 29 Most people were collected by family members, although not necessarily familiar faces. A few were offered accommodation in a homeless shelter in downtown Kingston.

Any foreign national who receives a 12month sentence or more is now liable to "automatic deportation". With changes in the law and in the immigration rules, it is increasingly difficult for foreign nationals to win cases on the basis of family life. Now, even minor crimes can see people deported from their families and communities. "Foreign criminals" are now centre stage in a set of debates about immigration, and the idea that the UK can't deport foreign criminals has been a common trope in the push to scrap the Human Rights Act and to leave the EU.

DEPORTING BLACK BRITONS Everyone I spoke to was deported despite having British children or stepchildren. Many spoke with British accents and barely remembered Jamaica. So why were they deported? Most of the people I spoke to entered deportation proceedings through the criminal justice system. In other words, most had spent time in prison, or at least had a criminal record.


The problem is that we don't know much about the people themselves – the people who end up restrained in body belts on a transatlantic flight to forgotten places.

David received a second conviction years later for ABH, and this set in motion deportation proceedings. In both of his convictions, it sounded like David was incredibly unlucky, but that is perhaps beside the point: could it ever be fair to deport someone like David?

William moved to Manchester as a 14year-old and received indefinite leave to remain soon after arrival. I recognised his accent straight away; he lived just a mile or so down the road from me in South Manchester. " I'm British, man. I've got my NI number, got my driving licence. I'm British, I'm nothing else," he told me. He is now 38 years old and has six British children. William admits that he has a long record: mainly minor driving offences and cannabis possession, but he does have two custodial sentences for dealing. Whatever you think of that, it's hardly exceptional. The question is whether deportation is a measured response to his crimes. His children will grow up without a father, their mother without support, and William will have to work out being British in Jamaica.

"I've lived in England since I was three," he says. "The furthest I've been is Skegness. Whatever happened to me, to my family and my father, back then, I didn't choose that. I didn't decide to come to the UK, I didn't make the choice. And now I'm paying for that, and they've sent me back to Jamaica. I'm a fish out of water." There were others on the charter who moved to the UK as young children. Not all of them had custodial sentences. Some did not apply for British citizenship simply because they did not know they had to. Naturalisation is not cheap, either, costing over £1,200. For many, the reason they were not able to naturalise was because they had a criminal record. Only persons of "good character" can naturalise, but some received criminal records as children.

David – another Northerner with a broad Yorkshire accent – moved to the UK as a three-year-old. His grandparents brought him over after his father was murdered in Jamaica, and they brought him up as their own. David grew up in a black British family and always thought he was British, until he applied for a passport as a 16-year-old. That's when he discovered that he was not British, and that "mum" and "dad" were his grandparents. By the time he wanted to regularise his status it was too late. He had been imprisoned for a firearms offence at 18, after a friend hid a gun in his house. It would be near impossible for him to apply for citizenship after such a serious offence.

A few people I spoke to grew up in the care system, and this is common among deportees – perhaps unsurprisingly given the disproportionate number of careleavers in the criminal justice system. "My older offences were anti-social breaches, from when I lived in a care home. We weren't allowed on the street that we lived on. The four boys from the care home were never allowed to walk together, so if the police saw you together you would be arrested for breach of ASBO. I normally got community service. I also got done for 50

possession of weed. All of my convictions were from having a rough childhood. All of them are from growing up in care. They took me from my mum, which hurt me, because of certain abuses and stuff like that, but they took me, and I wouldn't have committed those offences if I was still with my mum." – Omari, 24

charges that did not stick. People are then deported on the basis of these nonconvictions, because the Home Office successfully argues that on the "balance of probabilities" the individual is of bad character, and their deportation would be conducive to the public good. In other words, people who were not convicted in criminal courts still end up getting deported because they are most likely bad people. With all that we know about racism in policing and in the courts, you have to wonder about the extent to which "bad" just means "black".

OPERATION NEXUS AND THE PROBLEM WITH GANGS The criminal justice system is institutionally racist. This racism now has deportation consequences. Nowhere is this more disconcerting than with Operation Nexus.

One particularly worrying aspect of this relates to the idea of the "gang".

Nexus allows the police to share information with the Home Office, to develop a set of arguments for the deportation of an individual who may not have received a criminal conviction. The police hand over their intelligence information on arrests, suspected criminal activity, gang affiliation and

"They said that I was in the Queen's Road gang. But it wasn't a gang – we all just grew up together on the same estate, you get me?" – Darel, 32 Darel was deported under Operation Nexus, despite having lived in the UK 51

consistently for 24 years, since he was seven. The only convictions Darel received were for possession of marijuana. He was charged with one offence, but was able to prove his innocence and was NFA'd (no further action).

Given what I had heard, I couldn't help but think that the Home Office was using a small number of very serious offences to legitimise the deportation of people who had done more trivial things. The vast majority of people who get deported from the UK are not the killers, rapists and paedophiles of Daily Mail readers' imaginations.

Darel has a partner and six children, four of whom he was the primary carer for – a stay at home dad. Operation Nexus allows for police intelligence and hearsay to be admissible in the tribunal, and Darel's accused gang affiliation was probably the reason he was exiled from his family and his home.

BACK IN JAMAICA The first pressing issue for people when they land in Jamaica is finding shelter. Finding a place to stay usually means connecting with family members and friends, but this rarely goes smoothly.

But how do the police come to define someone as gang-affiliated? In 2014, 78 percent of people on the Metropolitan Police's gang matrix were black. In Manchester, the figures are similar, and many of those on the list have not been convicted of any offences. A gang is supposed to be a group of people who are affiliated and commit violent crime in some kind of organised way. The idea that less than 20 percent of people who fit this description are white is deeply suspect, and contradicts all available offending data.

"Yeah, I just stay in the house, like. I think that's the fourth time I've walked up the lane to meet you... yeah, it's worse than prison. At least in prison I'd be eating and stuff like that. It's been like, what, two days now since I've ate anything. I've lost so much weight." – Andrew, 21 "My family is in England and America. These people here, most of them I've never seen in my life [laughs]. I hear them, I hear them all the time – they say, 'Why doesn't he just go back?' I hear them, but I just laugh. You're not my family." – Glen, 35

All of this suggests it's easier to end up defined as a member of a gang if you're black, and Darel's deportation is likely best explained in this context. When asked to comment, a Home Office spokesperson said: "We are clear we will enforce the departure of anyone with no legal basis to remain in the UK who refuses to leave voluntarily. The overwhelming majority of these individuals were criminals, convicted of a range of offences including rape and GBH."


It's not always easy to communicate with people back home in the UK. Internet signal varies greatly on the island, and credit can be expensive. The Home Office regularly say in their decision letters that deportees can keep in touch with loved ones using "modern forms of communication" , but as one deportee told me, "You can't be a Skype dad."

I can't cry. I ain't got nothing left to cry. Once people have found shelter, however uncomfortable, they tend to spend as much time as possible talking to loved ones in the UK: "Every night I talk to my kids, they're crying every minute. My missus is stressed, and I'm stressed. The other day I was so depressed I couldn't get up; I had aches and pains all over. Sometimes I just feel like I wanna kill myself right now. Being away from my family, everything. I'm sleeping on the floor, when I had my nice house and my kids and my routine." – Darel, 32

I was surprised by how many of the people I spoke to had claimed asylum, or left Jamaica because a family member was murdered or attacked. Many of the people quoted in this article returned to Jamaica scared, concerned for their safety after having fled the country years ago. Denzel left Jamaica in the late-90s after he became the subject of political revenge and had his hand nearly chopped off with a machete. He feared for his life then, and he still does: "If mi come a Jamaica, mi is a dead man, dat mi a tell ya... Mi nuh feel safe here, because my past is not pretty in Jamaica."

We speak like 100 times a day. We spend most of our time speaking to each other, on Whatsapp, trying to find money for solicitors. – Omari, 24 It is not only deportees who bear the violence of deportation. Children and partners face intense emotional strain and practical difficulties in the wake of deportation:

APPEALING FROM JAMAICA Many of the people I spoke with are trying to be proactive and find a way to return to the UK. Most were deported with an out of country right of appeal. Since the royal assent of the Immigration Act 2014, those defined as "foreign criminals" can be deported before they have exhausted their appeal rights, and they are supposed to appeal from their country of origin. The vast majority do not bother. Legal aid is unavailable, given its decimation in the last few years. It is incredibly difficult to communicate with solicitors from abroad, and to get documents together. Very few lawyers I have spoke with have clients appealing from outside of the UK.

"My wife, at the moment now, she's not coping. She's not herself at this moment. And my son is not himself, either. I'm just telling it you as it is. It's ruining his lessons in school. He is wetting his bed. Having nightmares, crying in the night and waking up." – Everton, 48 "I ain't really got credit all the time. And when I do speak to my partner, all she does is cry... I can't cry. I ain't got nothing to cry. I can't cry. But I can understand she's crying for me. She understands my frustration; obviously she's frustrated as well. She's struggling. She's been struggling since I went jail." – Andrew, 21 53

Despite these obstacles, at this stage some people remain hopeful and are working on their appeals. Some have lawyers, others are working with Roots to Return, a nascent organisation set up to help people with this process. No one knows exactly how their appeals will play out, or if they have any chance of success. But it is at least hopeful that people are trying to appeal. We will see if this policy is workable – which perhaps it was never intended to be.

@LukeEdeNoronha -deportation-to-jamaica

All photos courtesy the author. This article was supplied by Ansel Wong and republished to highlight a growing concern that is quietly being undertaken by the British Government. The views expressed in this article is that of the author and not those of Culturepulse magazine.

A CONTINUING TRAUMA For everyone I spoke with, this has been the most unimaginably traumatic few weeks. People are not far from crisis and homelessness, struggling to communicate with partners, children and lawyers in the UK. Most people won't find a way to return to the UK; perhaps none of the recent 42 will. There is hope that they can find a way to start again in Jamaica, to slowly build a new home after being wrenched from the only one they had in the world. It takes time, and not everyone will manage it. As long as our dominant fears and fantasies around immigration go unchallenged, it's hard to see the pace of these deportations slowing – although two weeks of action against deportations being planned for January could be a start.. Omari was the first person I met from the charter, and he was incredibly distressed. He was unable to stand still and spoke of the many injustices that led him here to Jamaica. He rounded off every few minutes by saying frantically, "I just need to get back to my son, believe me, I just need to get back to my son and my girl." I hope he finds a way. 54


Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz 13 August 1926 –5625 November 2016

Culturepulse november 2016  

working towards a closer diaspora

Culturepulse november 2016  

working towards a closer diaspora