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Contents

No. 145 May/June 2017

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58 EMBARK

ARRIVE

17 Datebook

58 destination

Events around the Caribbean in May and June, from the Timehri Film Festival in Guyana to Dominica’s Hike Fest

24 Word of Mouth The Pure Grenada Music Festival makes room for many genres, and traces of Bhojpuri, brought from India over a century ago, still liven Guyanese speech

30 icon Derek Walcott (1930–2017), St Lucian poet, playwright, and Nobel laureate

32 Bookshelf, playlist, and screenshots This month’s reading, listening, and film-watching picks, in our books, music, and film columns 36 Cookup

The chocolate revolution Trinidad and Tobago’s cocoa has long been considered among the best in the world, even though production has been declining for decades. A new generation of artisan chocolatiers are hoping to change that trend — while creating unique world-class chocolate products at home. Franka Philip finds out more 8

WWW.CARIBBEAN-BEAT.COM

Heartland album For generations, the plains of Caroni in central Trinidad were the agricultual heart of the island. The busy town of Chaguanas and its vendor-lined streets now dominate the area, but across the surrounding countryside still sprawl small farms and villages. Photographer Andrea de Silva and writer Alva Viarruel explore this landscape of IndoTrinidadian culture

72 neighbourhood

Gros Islet, St Lucia No longer a sleepy fishing village, this community near St Lucia’s northern tip has become the island’s tourism centre, thanks to its proximity to Rodney Bay

76 offtrack

Sunshine in paradise How did tiny Nevis come to have one of the Caribbean’s most famous beach bars? Garry Steckles meets Llewellyn “Sunshine” Caines and hears the story behind his Pinney’s Beach establishment, its celebrity clientele — and the lethally delicious Killer Bee rum cocktail. Plus: why a new geothermal project could soon make the island one of the world’s greenest destinations, and an exporter of energy to its neighbours

82 layover

Nassau, the Bahamas On a business trip to the capital of the Bahamas with a few hours to spare? Overnighting before you board your cruise ship? You can catch the essential flavour of Nassau even on a brief visit

IMMERSE 40 panorama 25 for 25

Caribbean Beat celebrates its twenty-fifth anniversary in 2017. But this isn’t only an opportunity to look back at our quarter century of publication: it’s also a moment to look ahead to the new generation of talented, determined Caribbean people who will shape the decades ahead. In this special feature, we introduce twenty-five remarkable young people aged twenty-fove and under. Athletes and entrepreneurs, artists and scientists — they and their contemporaries are the future of our region


CaribbeanBeat An MEP publication

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Editor Nicholas Laughlin General manager Halcyon Salazar Online marketing Caroline Taylor Design artists Kevon Webster & Bridget van Dongen Editorial assistant Shelly-Ann Inniss

Business Development Manager Trinidad & Tobago Yuri Chin Choy T: (868) 460 0068, 622 3821 F: (868) 628 0639 E: yuri@meppublishers.com

Business Development Manager Caribbean & International Denise Chin T: (868) 683 0832 F: (868) 628 0639 E: dchin@meppublishers.com

ENGAGE 84the deal

thorny balm The spiky Aloe vera plant is a favourite of Caribbean gardens, its bitter gel used as a moisturiser, stomach remedy, and ingredient in healthy tonics. You might imagine you could build a whole industry around this handy plant — and Aruba has done just that. ShellyAnn Inniss visits the island’s biggest aloe farm, and learns how this wonder of the kitchen and medicine cabinet is an economic wonder, too

Media & Editorial Projects Ltd. 6 Prospect Avenue, Maraval, Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago T: (868) 622 3821/5813/6138 F: (868) 628 0639 E: caribbean-beat@meppublishers.com Website: www.meppublishers.com

86On this day The birdman

It’s considered a landmark of ornithology, and it was published one hundred and ninety years ago: John James Audubon’s massive Birds of America. Born in Haiti, Audubon had a restless life spread across continents, but along the way he transformed himself into a leading expert on the birdlife of North America. As James Ferguson explains, his legacy in science and conservation still endures

Read and save issues of Caribbean Beat on your smartphone, tablet, computer, and favourite digital devices!

Printed by Solo Printing Inc., Miami, Florida Caribbean Beat is published six times a year for Caribbean Airlines by Media & Editorial Projects Ltd. It is also available on subscription. Copyright © Caribbean Airlines 2017. All rights reserved. ISSN 1680–6158. No part of this magazine may be reproduced in any form whatsoever without the written permission of the publisher. MEP accepts no responsibility for content supplied by our advertisers. The views of the advertisers are theirs and do not represent MEP in any way. Website: www.caribbean-airlines.com

94 Onboard entertainment Movie and audio listings, to entertain you in the air

96 parting shot Suriname’s blue poison dart frog is a living treasure of the rainforest

The Caribbean Airlines logo shows a hummingbird in flight. Native to the Caribbean, the hummingbird represents flight, travel, vibrancy, and colour. It encompasses the spirit of both the region and Caribbean Airlines.

WWW.CARIBBEAN-AIRLINES.COM

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Cover Jamaican reggae artist Chronnix Photo Nickii Kane

This issue’s contributors include: Jamaican Tanya Batson-Savage (“25 for 25”, page 40) is the publisher and editor-in-chief of independent publishing house Blue Moon Publishing and the online arts and culture magazine Susumba.com. She is the author of Pumpkin Belly and Other Stories and the play Woman Tongue. Andrea de Silva (“Heartland album”, page 58) is an award-winning photographer, contracted to Reuters news agency. With over thirty years’ experience in media, her work has been featured in both local and foreign publications. She also owns and manages the photography and multimedia company Silva Image. From an initial background in finance, Shelly-Ann Inniss (“Thorny balm”, page 84) decided to explore her love for writing and media. A Trinidadbased Barbadian writer and editorial assistant at Caribbean Beat, she is an explorer and adventureseeker at heart. Neil Marks (“Say it your way”, page 26) is a Guyanese freelance journalist and stringer for Reuters. He has specialised in environmental reporting for many years, and recently won the Prince Albert II of Monaco/UNCA Award for climate change reporting. Born in the UK, Garry Steckles (“Sunshine in paradise”, page 76) is a widely travelled journalist and editor, now based in St Kitts. He is the author of a biography of Bob Marley, and a longtime Caribbean Beat contributor. Alva Viarruel (“Heartland album”, page 58) is a multimedia journalist who began in the field of photography thirty-five years ago. He now works with the Department of Information at the Tobago House of Assembly.

WWW.CARIBBEAN-AIRLINES.COM

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Welcome to Caribbean Airlines! We are delighted that you’ve chosen us as your travel partner. We continue to celebrate our tenth anniversary in 2017 with many exciting developments, including the start of twiceweekly service to St Vincent and the Grenadines. Caribbean Airlines is one of the first airlines to offer non-stop flights to the newly opened Argyle International Airport, which also serves as an international gateway to the beautiful Grenadine Islands. Flights to St Vincent leave Piarco International Airport at 1.55 pm every Friday and Sunday, with return flights departing St Vincent at 3.35 pm on the same days. We are in the business of connecting people, and the St Vincent service will develop closer links for commerce throughout the region, as well as create opportunities for travellers by providing convenient connections between the Caribbean and North America. Our teams are excited about this addition to our network and the opportunity to give you more regional travel options and seamless international travel connections. It’s the perfect time to explore this beautiful country of thirty-two islands. To serve you better, we have relocated our Port of Spain City Ticket Office to the upper level of the Parkade Building, at the corner of Queen and Richmond Streets in downtown Port of Spain, Trinidad. The strategic positioning of this ticket office gives us the opportunity to deliver seamless travel engagement, with spacious and comfortable facilities, and to offer you additional conveniences. As the weather warms up in North America, activities are plenty, and we encourage you to fly with us to enjoy events such as: • Memorial Day, United States, 30 May: this holiday rivals Thanksgiving with some of the best shopping that the US has to offer. Make your reservations early and fly with us to enjoy this long weekend of shopping and entertainment • Film Month Miami, June 2017: featuring everything from niche indies to internationally renowned and critically acclaimed films • Blue Note Jazz Festival, New York City, 1 to 30 June: an amazing lineup of 150 concerts at fifteen venues throughout New York • Taste of Toronto: 15 to 18 June: Garrison Common at Fort York will transform into a foodie wonderland as the World’s Greatest Restaurant Festival returns for four days of fantastic food, drink, and summer fun Caribbean Airlines will also participate in the Caribbean Tourism Organisation’s Caribbean Week New York from 3 to 10 June. This event highlights the diversity of the authentic Caribbean. Over the years, Caribbean Airlines has worked closely with the CTO to promote the sights, sounds, colour, 12

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courtesy svg tourism authority

A MESSAGE From THE CARIBBEAN AIRLINES TEAM

Friendship Bay in Bequia, one of the thirty-two islands of St Vincent and the Grenadines

culture, and uniqueness of our region to international travellers. There’s also a host of activities within the region, and we’re happy to take you there, too. These include: • Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival, Nassau, 5 to 7 May: remember, Caribbean Airlines flies between Nassau and Trinidad and Tobago three times per week, on Tuesday, Friday, and Sunday • Pure Grenada Music Festival, 5 to 7 May • Caribbean Fashion Week, Jamaica, 7 to 11 June • Guyana Independence Day, 26 May Remember: when travelling, Demand Value. Choose Caribbean. Please visit our website at www.caribbean-airlines. com. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and Instagram @iflycaribbean. Thank you for choosing Caribbean Airlines — we are grateful for your business, and look forward to serving you throughout our network. Yours in service, The Employees of Caribbean Airlines


AdvertoriAl

The Bahamas

T

hat’s the tag line for Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival 2017 . . . and bet your favourite pair of shoes it will be just that! Sizzling sounds of eager and excited contestants in the Music Masters competition, like “Super” Sammie Starr — proud winner in 2015, who gave way to “Fabulous” Fanshawn Taylor in 2016. The creative genius of these talented Bahamian artistes reaches boiling point: powerful lyrics set to masterful music laced with the unmistakable pulsating Bahamas Junkanoo “rake-n’-scrape” rhythm. Fiery performances by popular local artistes like longstanding lead performing band Visage, led by lawyer Obi Pindling, who’s been soulfully supplying The Bahamas with soca rhythms for over thirty years. Like good wine, Visage gets better by the year. The outstanding front line, featuring Dyson Knight, Wendy Lewis, Nehemiah Hield, Benjamin “Benje” Alexander (from St Lucia), and Shawn Ferguson, will take you on a heated, mesmerising, musical journey to be remembered for many a year. Machel Montano, headliner for BJC 2015, kept patrons on their feet in a Friday-night frenzy until five in the morning. Bunji Garlin, Fay Ann Lyons, and the Asylum Band heated up the shoreline on Junkanoo Beach in 2015 and 2016, headlining the close-out concert after Road Fever. And BJC 2017 will feature T&T Road March winners MX Prime and the Ultimate Rejects — yes, you heard right! Plus many other stars from the Carnival mecca which is Trinidad and Tobago. Our Road Fever street parade, with a temperature off the mercury column, will cause you not to blink. You can’t afford to miss the harmonious yet free-spirited gyration of bodies dressed in a festive array of colourful Carnival costumes — assembled creatively and skillfully sculpted by Bahamian artisans, powering through the streets of Nassau.

The band Visage performs at the launch of Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival

So — fabulous costumes, sensational soca, soft white sand, beautiful balmy breezes, mouth-watering local delicacies, and world-class mega-stars all at the same time? Impossible, you think? Uh uh! Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival 2017 is the place to be on 28 and 29 April in Freeport and 4 to 6 May in Nassau! Come, we’ll show you — it’ll be hot like fire! Visit bahamasjunkanoocarnival.com or bahamas.com. In the Caribbean, we fly on Caribbean Airlines, direct from Port of Spain, Trinidad to Lynden Pindling International Airport, Nassau, on Sundays, Tuesdays, and Fridays. See you in The Bahamas! Written by Elaine Monica Davis

WWW.CARIBBEAN-AIRLINES.COM 107


datebook

rphstock/shutterstock.com

Your guide to Caribbean events in May and June, from a film festival in Guyana to a celebration of hiking in Dominica

Don’t miss . . . Fiesta de San Juan 24 to 27 June Trinidad, Cuba

How to get there? Look out for news about future Caribbean Airlines flights to José Martí International Airport in Havana

Caribbean festivals usually mean love, partying, and a salutation to culture. In Cuba, the Fiesta de San Juan, falling in the traditional season of midsummer, is most popular in the city of Trinidad. With origins in Spain, the celebrations include a cavalcade of horses and cowboys and a coronation ceremony for “the Queen and the Ladies.” Look out too for traditional music and dancing, plus plenty food and rum. WWW.CARIBBEAN-AIRLINES.COM

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datebook

If you’re in . . . GUYANA

ST VINCENT AND THE GRENADINES

Soleil: St Lucia Summer Festival

Timehri Film Festival

Maroon Festival

31 May to 4 June Moray House, Georgetown, and other locations timehrifilmfestival.com

Three days before or after the full moon in June Ashton and Clifton, Union Island discoversvg.com

Sample the talent on and behind the big screen in one of the Caribbean’s most nature-rich countries. Now in its second year, the Timehri Film Festival — named for Guyana’s indigenous rock paintings — draws work from Guyanese and Caribbean filmmakers, including the diaspora. The line-up includes feature films and documentaries that not only highlight the Guyanese landscape, history, and culture, but also incorporate elements of nearby Trinidad and Tobago’s Green Screen environmental film festival. “Many of the great films being made in the Caribbean aren’t being seen by Guyanese audiences,” says TFF director Romola Lucas. Consequently, Lucas’s team created the festival to fill

It’s said that if you keep the ancestors in mind, they will bless you throughout time. And on Union Island in the Grenadines, keeping the spirit of the Maroon ancestors alive is at the centre of this annual festival. “Maroon” is a

12 May to 29 October Venues around St Lucia stlucia.org

programme of six different festivals. It begins on Mother’s Day weekend, 12 to 14 May, as the iconic Jazz Festival raises the temperature with a programme starring local, Caribbean, and international artistes. Trinidadian kaiso king David Rudder and American pan maestro Andy Narell kick things off, alongside performances by singer and actress Vanessa Williams, the Malavoi creole jazz band from Martinique, and Cuban Latin jazz artiste Richard Bona. After you tap to the jazz, you can groove at the soul station at the Roots and Soul Festival from 16 to18 June; pump and wine at St Lucia Carnival from 14 to18 July; indulge your tastebuds at the Food and Rum Festival, 24 to 27 August; then top up in the freedom of sound at the Country and Blues Festival from 15 to 17 September. The cool-down session comes on 28 and 29 October, at the Arts and Heritage Festival. As St Lucian soca star Teddyson John sings, “Come on everybody, allez, allez, allez, allez!” 18

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courtesy timehri film festival

courtesy st lucia summer festival

For decades, St Lucia Jazz has been one of the major music events in the Caribbean, running for ten to fourteen days in May. But why should the fun stop there? In 2017, St Lucia’s answer is a brand-new summer

that void and encourage the growth of film as an artform in Guyana. Expanding to work with the Green Screen Festival is more than just a talk-shop partnership. “With climate change already impacting us, all communities must become better informed, and empowered, to make decisions about their future,” says Green Screen founder Carver Bacchus. Unity towards film arts and a healthier environment aims to strike a balance as we see ourselves, our culture and experiences, on the cinema screen.

Pawel Kazmierczak/shutterstock.com

ST LUCIA

form of giving thanks, and the festival is held to pray for rain with hopes of starting the planting season. It’s also a practice of acknowledging the forefathers through harvest rituals transported from West Africa and continued down the generations. During the day, Union Island residents sacrifice food as an offering, cooked using a heating base of three big rocks and firewood. And at night, traditional African dances are expressed through choreography known as the Big Drum Dance. It includes the distinctive Nation, Bongay, Cheerup, Calendar, Alleh, and Ladderis dances. Shakes of the maracas, songs in patois, and chants reminiscent of all ancestors like the Yoruba and Congo boost the drumming. Some traditions fade with time, while others are here to stay. Listen for the blowing of the conch shell. This signals the beginning. Event previews by Shelly-Ann Inniss


datebook

Magical May

Indian Arrival Day

amanda richards

Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago Commemorate the start of indentured Indian immigration to the Caribbean, which enriched the region’s history and culture — on 5 May in Guyana, 30 May in T&T

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miles of unspoilt rainforest | kayaking, paddling, canoeing | horseback riding | safari wildlife watching | birdwatching | sports fishing | community tourism | trekking

May 5 May 6 - 7 May 26 July 29-30 August 1 August 3-6 August 13 August 18 - 21 August 26

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Arrival Day Mela, G\Town Nitrageet Dance, G\Town Independence Day, Countrywide Moruca Expo, Moruca Region 1 Emancipation Day, National Park Bartica Regatta, Bartica Region 7 Lake Mainstay Regatta, Essequibo Berbice Expo & Trade Fair, Berbice Naya Zamana, G\Town

Sept 1 - 30 Indigenous Month, Countrywide Sept 16 Nereid’s Yacht Rally, Essequibo River Oct 19 Diwali Motorcade, Georgetown Oct 29 Rockstone Fish Festival, Rockstone Nov 12 Motor Racing Championships, Timehri Nov 17-26 Guyana Restaurant Week, Georgetown Nov 21-26 South Rupununi Safari, Rupununi Nov 25-26 Rupununi Expo, Lethem Dec 31 Horse Racing, Rising Sun Turf, Berbice

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Hike Fest

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International Sea-to-Sea Marathon

Lamentin Jazz Project

Tobago Run a full marathon, a half marathon, 5K or 10K through the world’s oldest legally protected rainforest, from Tobago’s Caribbean coastline to the Atlantic [20 May]

Martinique lamentin-jazz-project.com Come for jam sessions, workshops, concerts, forums, and special discoveries in a musical atmosphere where harmony reigns [29 May to 4 June]

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Kendra Nielsen/shutterstock.com

Dominica dominica.dm The first three Saturdays of the month are reserved for trekking through the rainforests, hiking trails, and other rugged sites of the Nature Isle [6, 13 and 20 May] [9 to 12 March]

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datebook

Jazzy June

Pineapple Festival Eleuthera and Harbour Island, Bahamas It’s a traditional symbol of welcome — celebrate pineapple heritage with the plaiting of the pineapple pole, old time pineapple sports, and an eclectic range of pineapple-themed activities [1 to 5 June]

Caribana Barbuda Soca, reggae, and calypso lovers jam in a festive atmosphere on the picturesque beach-fringed island [1 to 4 June]

St Martin Book Fair

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Venues around Sint Maarten and St-Martin The Caribbean’s most multilingual literature celebration is back with three days of readings, discussions, and performances in English, Dutch, and French [1 to 3 June] [19 to 25 April]

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courtesy barbados association of flower arrangers

Fisherman’s Birthday Celebration Gouyave, Grenada Local street food, especially tasty and unusual fish dishes, takes precedence, but don’t forget the music and other entertainment [29 June]

Flowers in Paradise Barbados Expect an extravaganza of blossoms at this World Association of Floral Artists (WAFA) event, showcased for the third year in Barbados [18 to 25 June]

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word of mouth Dispatches from our correspondents around the Caribbean and further afield

Keep it pure U

nlike the many genre-specific festivals regularly staged on larger islands, Pure Grenada’s roster is an inclusive one, the multifaceted approach allowing for jazz, blues, soul, and other foreign forms, along with the mainstays of soca, reggae, dancehall, and related variants — so long as the performer in question has enough artistic integrity and originality to be deemed worthy of making the cut. Now in its second year, the annual Pure Grenada Music Festival unfolds at different venues across the island during the first weekend of May. As with 2016’s inaugural event, the music of Grenada and the wider Caribbean region is the festival’s main focus, counter-balanced by the presence of a handful of highprof ile international acts. With the flagship Festival Village located on the edge of one of the most beautiful natural harbours in the world, and themed music nights taking place on the exclusive confines of Calivigny Island, attendees are truly in for a feast of the senses, and in keeping with the ethos of “purity,” the festival has a commitment to minimising any potentially negative impact on the environment, with recyclable materials

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alexandra quinn

David Katz looks forward to the multifaceted Pure Grenada Music Festival mandatory for food vendors and a general view to “going green.” There’s also a high proportion of local performers on the bill, most of whom are largely unknown to the outside world — the festival thus gives a chance for Grenadian acts to be heard by new audiences who may be encountering the island’s culture for the very first time. It’s all part of the festival’s commitment to nurturing local talent, and all profits are channelled into Music & Beyond, the non-profit organisation established to support the island’s budding musical practitioners. Upcoming artists to watch for this year include Lion Paw and the D Unit Band (a group that has backed some of the biggest names in reggae, led by a singer heavily steeped in the gospel of his childhood), the hybrid jazz-rock outfit Quiet Fire (whose bassist, Dexter Yawching, hails from Trinidad, and violinist, Aixa Miguen, from Cuba), the smooth R&B of balladeer Sonika (the first Grenadian singer to have a VEVO channel), and the conscious dancehall of A#keem & Nature Claim, who will be performing at Pure Grenada in unplugged acoustic mode. In contrast, the presence of Tarrus Riley, Queen

Ifrica, and Third World from Jamaica will surely delight reggae connoisseurs. The initial spark behind Pure Grenada was a general “rebranding” of the island that places emphasis on Grenada as a desirable destination for travellers interested in arts, culture, and eco-tourism. Reaching Grenada from Europe has become somewhat more challenging in recent years, since several international carriers curtailed their routes to the Spice Isle. Yet those that make the effort to travel here are rewarded by the island’s relaxed pace and unspoilt beaches, all freely open to locals and tourists alike. Grenada has always taken a sensible approach to its tourism, which has seen it thankfully avoid the overdevelopment of neighbouring tourism hotspots, and this inclusive aspect is also reflected in the festival itself, which has kept many of its events free of charge, so that local residents will not face unwarranted exclusion. If you’ve never been to Grenada before, Pure Grenada makes the perfect time for a maiden voyage — and if you’ve already been blessed enough to spend time on her shores, it’s just another reason for a welcome return.


word of mouth

Say it your way amanda richards

As Guyana marks the anniversary of Indian Arrival in May, Neil Marks explains how traces of Bhojpuri still liven everyday Guyanese speech

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grew up in predominantly East Indian communities of Guyana, spending half of my school years in a place called La Grange, in West Bank Demerara, and the other half at Enmore, East Coast Demerara. It’s safe to say, then, that I was indoctrinated in the Indo-Guyanese Creole that was the everyday language in these places. Back in those days, I hardly bothered about the strange words used at home and next door and among friends at school. Of course, they were strange only to those who didn’t understand these words, and whenever I did speak Indo-Guyanese Creole, I’d be labelled “coolie,” the derogatory word used for the men and women who were recruited from India to work on the sugar plantations under the system of indentureship. Beginning on 5 May, 1838, almost 239,000 Indians made the treacherous journey across the oceans and were deposited on various plantations across the then-colony of British Guiana. One of those plantations was Enmore. The sugar estate was next door to where I lived. The sugar workers I saw come and go on a daily basis were descendants of those who came on the ships.

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Some of the older folks had memories of grandmothers and grandfathers who came and decided to stay when indentureship ended, one hundred years ago this year. Those who chose not to return to India, and made a life for themselves and their families in Guyana, spoke their language and practiced their cultures, most of them steeped in Hindu rituals. The language they spoke was Bhojpuri, related to Hindi, with elements of the local dialects of the states they came from, usually either Bihar or Uttar Pradesh. Of course, Bhojpuri was not the only language spoken by the Indians who settled here. There were also Avadhi, Maithili, Khari Boli (Old Hindi), and Tamil. However, through association, a form of Bhojpuri overtook the other languages. The Bhojpuri words still used today often occur in everyday life — to pass instructions, to issue a strong warning, to win the affections of another, or just to engage in idle chatter. I prefer the Bhojpuri words used to differentiate relations. So, for example, if someone tells me that so-and-so is their grandfather or grandmother, I don’t have

to guess or ask whether they mean from the paternal side or the maternal side. Nani and Nana are your maternal grandmother and grandfather, and Ajee and Aja are from your paternal side. If someone threatens to jataha me, I know to keep moving, or they’ll lick me down with a piece of wood. If I am told to maanjay the bartan, I know I have to do the dishes, or if I am told to bring the chaddar to wash, I know to go and get the sheets off the bed. When it comes to food, asking for more surwah means the sauce from the curry or stew. Of course, if the food is delicious, I’ll sannay the plate, using my fingers to lick off everything, making sure the plate is good as clean. To swar or paku someone is to cajole them into going along with your scheme. And if you allow that to happen, well, then you’re a good-for-nothing, so be prepared for an insult like korhee or katahar or lamata coming your way. These are just trinkets of what remains of the Bhojpuri language in Guyana. I suspect its survival depends on those who are not afraid to speak it, and in some effort to preserve or document this part of our culture. n


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A D V ERTO RI AL c om me m orating the 80th anniversary of the OWT U

The OWTU: Consistent, Patriotic, and Revolutionary Since 1937

Written by Ozzi Warwick, Chief Education and Research Officer, OWTU

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Courtesy the Quintin o’Connor Library, oWtu

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he Oilfields’ Workers’ Trade Union (OWTU) is one of the oldest, and the most powerful, assertive and outspoken trade unions in Trinidad and Tobago. It represents workers from very significant sectors of the local economy, including oil, electricity, education, light and heavy manufacturing, and other services. Today, it continues to contribute to the development of the working class locally, regionally, and internationally. The OWTU has built a solid reputation based on its working-class ideology and leftist views on political change. Renowned for agitating for economic changes in society, the Union has indisputably made significant contributions to national development. The OWTU is known to challenge the status quo, and has always engaged in struggle on the basis of equity and social justice for all. This year the OWTU marks its 80th Anniversary. In 1937, the working class of Trinidad and Tobago, and other parts of the English-Speaking Caribbean, arose in a huge wave of anti-colonial revolt. Fighting against intense exploitation by the colonial authorities, workers demanded improved working and living conditions, the right to vote, nationalisation of key sectors, and independence. On June 19, 1937, workers in the oilfields in Fyzabad initiated strike action, led by the iconic militant national leader Tubal Uriah “Buzz” Butler. The struggle became nationwide, involving workers from the sugar plantations and other exploited workers throughout the country. Many workers were killed during the weeks of insurrection that followed. It was out of these dynamic and historic circumstances,

Tubal Uriah Butler


A D V ERTO RI AL c om me m orating the 80th anniversary of the OWT U

and in “blood, sweat, and tears” that the Oilfields Workers’ Trade Union was born. From its inception to this date, the OWTU has been infused with the spirit of that 1937 movement: the spirit of fighting for the rights of ordinary citizens and the poor. In eighty long years, the OWTU has had only five President Generals, as its membership has always been very careful in choosing a leader: 1937–1943 1943–1962 1962–1987 1987–2008 2008–present

Adrian Cola Rienzi John F.F. Rojas George Weekes Errol K. McLeod Ancel George Roget

Under the current President General, Ancel Roget, the OWTU has re-affirmed its vision to achieve a society with the power to determine its destiny on the basis of equity, social justice, and a decent standard of living for all. Accordingly, the Union continues to advance its role by organising, educating, mobilising, and making significant political interventions. From birth, the OWTU has relentlessly pursued this vision by undertaking numerous activities. The Union also invests extensively in training and education of its members and Union Officers to ensure workers receive optimum representation in a changing world. In 2016, the OWTU, in collaboration with the Joint Trade Union Movement (JTUM), presented to the government of Trinidad

and Tobago “Labour’s Economic Alternative Plan” (LEAP), in an attempt to address certain challenges being experienced due to the global economic situation. LEAP was meant to be an alternative to the current economic approach that reduces workers’ terms and conditions, causes significant job Top photo: OWTU members protesting Above photo: OWTU President General Ancel Roget losses, and threatens the social fabric of the country. The OWTU also has a strong internationalist and regionalist position, supporting the Assembly of Caribbean People (ACP), and participating in many regional initiatives to strengthen the Caribbean’s regional integration process. The Union, as a member of IndustriALL Global Union, and the World Federation of Trade Unions (WFTU), has always strongly advocated for international working class solidarity to combat the negative impact of global capital and its economic crisis.

The Caribbean Society, built by the labouring classes, must continue to forge its own destiny, constructing a path for social justice and equity for all.

— OWTU President General Ancel Roget

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ICON

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Derek Walcott (1930–2017)

St Lucian poet, playwright, and Nobel laureate

H

e was a prodigy, and he knew it. He self-published his first book, 25 Poems, when he was just eighteen, paying the printer’s bill with $200 borrowed from his mother, and selling copies on the street. Somehow, a handful of books trickled out of St Lucia, passed on from one literary enthusiast to another, and the news spread from island to island of this extraordinary and precocious talent. Among the Caribbean writers of his generation, one after another has spoken or written of the immediate inspiration of Derek Walcott’s first book, modest for its size but not for its ambitions. To his earliest readers, Walcott’s poems hinted that these small, peripheral islands might have a great literary destiny. In Walcott’s youth, the shelf of Ca r i bbea n poet s wa s st i l l uncrowded. It was easy for him, perhaps, to quickly adopt the role of pre-eminent West Indian poet — in which, for more than six decades, he was essentially unchallenged. His 1992 Nobel Prize merely affirmed that the rest of the world recognised what his readers at home in the Caribbean had long accepted. In his autobiographical epic Another Life, Walcott described his youth in St Lucia and the trajectoy of ambitions that would inevitably take him away from his birthplace into long years of what sometimes seemed exile: to university in Jamaica, a brief time teaching in Grenada, repeated visits to the United States, where he was based during the 1980s. But during the astonishingly productive stretch of his thirties and forties Walcott lived in Port of Spain, the gloriously unruly city where he found inspiration and a kind of refuge. The journalist Lennox Grant had good reason to call him a St Lucia-born Trinidadian, even if Walcott himself claimed the island of his birth with a single-minded fidelity, saying “I’ve never felt I belong anywhere else but in St Lucia.”

No Caribbean poet following Walcott could escape wrestling with his words, his images, and his vision of the archipelago as a place where everything that mattered was new, and the legacies of Africa, Europe, and Asia were an inheritance to be transformed in art and poetry. He believed he was writing in the company of Homer, Shakespeare, Milton, and Yeats. He shaped the language we think in and speak in, which means he changed the way we understand the world. He was a poet whose books people reach for in times of trouble, sorrow, celebration. He wrote often about the light: the physical light of the Caribbean, for which he had a painter’s eye, but his poems are also touched with a metaphysical light, illuminating and consoling. Walcott proved beyond doubt that the English language is the property of no single nation or culture. (Of his first book published in Britain, the eminence Robert Graves famously wrote: “Derek Walcott handles English with a closer understanding of its inner magic than most (if not any) of his contemporaries.”) He had a fierce and almost religious devotion to the landscape of St Lucia and the broader Caribbean, which he immortalised in his lines and metaphors. He believed it was the job of poets to give names to the places, people, and things which history had rendered anonymous, and he emboldened other poets to do the same. He showed that even the most humble village on a tiny island on the fringes of the world could be a place of epic beauty — despite, or even because of, its “insignificance” — once written into his poems. Above all, he was the living proof that one of us — born in tiny Castries, educated in Kingston, living and working in Port of Spain — could become one of the great poets of all time, writing from the circumstances of everyday life. “At the end of this sentence, rain will begin.”

To his earliest readers, Walcott’s poems hinted that these small, peripheral islands might have a great literary destiny

Nicholas Laughlin WWW.CARIBBEAN-AIRLINES.COM

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Bookshelf Augustown, by Kei Miller (Weidenfeld & Nicholson, 256 pp, ISBN 9781474603591) In Augustown — a place which is at once like the real-life August Town, and its own creation altogether — Kei Miller brings us a tale taller than moko jumbie stilts: one of preachermen who can ascend heavenward with nothing more than the seeds of their faith to buoy them. Miller’s novel takes the historic truth-kernel of Jamaican Revivalist preacher Alexander Bedward and fashions it into not a myth, but a versioning of truth that might have been left out of colonial schoolbooks. Acts of miraculous faith occupy the same space as symbolic gestures of defiant hatred: a schoolteacher struggling with his own demons scissors off the dreadlocks of a young boy-child, casting a close-knit community into an uneasy limbo of power-plays and dire confrontations. Through this unravelling of hair and safety, the novel’s warning could not be plainer: it takes more than faith, even the kind that eclipses gravity, to right wrongs that are as old as slavery, and as toxic to the human spirit. The omniscient speaker of Augustown tells us: “But always there was this divide between the stories that were written and stories that were spoken — stories that smelt of snow and faraway places, and stories that had the smell of their own breath.” Through the voice of blind seerwoman Ma Taffy, whose own emtombed ciphers could fell those in the highest of offices, that spoken history comes blinking into the written light, in prose that compels and uplifts.

Here Comes the Sun, by Nicole Dennis-Benn (Liveright, 352 pp, ISBN 9781631491764) Nicole Dennis-Benn’s debut novel trains a rifle-scope on the Jamaican tourism industry, pointing several accusatory fingers at those who oil its well-greased cogs for profit. In her examination of the lives of a Jamaican matriarch, Delores, and her two daughters, Margot and Thandi, Dennis-Benn grabs concerns of colourism and sexual exploitation by the roots, revealing how they infuse the daily lives of this small, fraught family. Margot, who anchors Here Comes the Sun’s storytelling bulwark, is a confidently mapped anti-heroine: a perilous warning of the dangers of survival at any cost; a portrait of complex and courageous womanhood in a world where no male saviours are either realistic or forthcoming. Dennis-Benn’s debut mightily resists the interpretation of Jamaica as just one thing: neither paradise nor ghetto, neither slum nor idyllic resort. In this novel, the spaces between social classes, between women and all the secrets they keep buried, tell the most turbulent of truths.

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Morning, Paramin, by Derek Walcott and Peter Doig (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 120 pp, ISBN 9780374213428) In Morning, Paramin, almost all the roads lead to home. This hybrid collection of poems and paintings combines the work of 1992 Nobel laureate Derek Walcott, who died in March, and Scottish figurative painter Peter Doig. These, the final poems of Walcott’s to be published in his lifetime, reveal not only a preoccupation with death, but an unstinting, wide-eyed acceptance of what might lie beyond the veil. Walcott’s verse meets Doig’s oil and tempera paintings with humour, ribald selfreflection, pathos, and open sentimentality. These are poems that do not apologise to anyone, celebrating a friendship between poet and painter, offering Trinidad in all its colour, noise, and surprising quiescence to Doig as “a country full of paintable names: / Paramin, Fyzabad, Couva, where the trees rhyme . . . where headstones multiply like sails on a Sunday, / where a widower tacks under a pink parasol, / where people think pain or pan is good for the soul.”


Travels with a Husband, by Patricia Mohammed and Rex Dixon (Hansib Publications, 216 pp, ISBN 9781910553695) The difference between tourists and travellers is an emotional one: to travel consciously often means to eschew five-star comforts for deeper illuminations. Such is the case in this charmingly well-considered book of journeys from Trinidadian scholar Patricia Mohammed and her artist husband, London-born Rex Dixon. Whether they contemplate the sobering realities of quotidian life in Haiti, or offer letters and tributes to the figures who have touched their twinned lives (as in the moving “Letter to Vincent”, the master painter van Gogh), the views in Travels with a Husband embrace the unknown. Avoiding the prescriptive, this memoir in passport stamps circumnavigates stations of the globe through the ebb and flow of seasons, political affiliations, shifting languages, and personal passions. Allowing the reader in with humour-leavened humility, and the possibility of a new horizon peeking around each corner, here is a guide for all true sojourners of both vast regions and domestic plains.

Aching to Be, by Andrew J. Fitt (Ponies and Horses Books, 60 pp, ISBN 9781910631492) St Lucia-born, Trinidad-based writer and visual artist Andrew J. Fitt was diagnosed with cerebral palsy at nine months old. Despite this pronouncement, which would directly impact the ambit of his childhood and adult life, Aching to Be is not a litany of woes. In clear, crisply self-aware prose, Fitt traces his life with CP using a winning blend of dispassionate observation and perfectly timed jokes at his own expense. Miniature in comparison to many other memoirs, Fitt’s account of his struggles and successes is a careful and shrewd paragraph-by-paragraph reckoning, where every word counts. There is a dearth of literature in the Caribbean written by people who live with neurological disorders; Aching to Be stands in that lacuna as a necessary installment from an undaunted, engaging voice. Reviews by Shivanee Ramlochan, Bookshelf editor WWW.CARIBBEAN-AIRLINES.COM

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playlist

R.E.D. British Dependency (VPAL Music) Anguillan music trio British Dependency — Joyah (bass), Ishmael (guitar), and Jaiden (drums) — have released a new album of music which they classify as “reggae plus”: jah music enhanced with a little soul, rock, blues, and anything that tickles their fancy from the palette of Caribbean sounds. This ten-track album, their fourth — its title is an acronym for “Represent. Empower. Defend.” — touches on myriad topics, from love to a wider reckoning of life on that small island in the big world. The lead-off single, “Close Your Eyes”, sparks a conversation about what is modern love: “Now how does it feel that he’s loving you / While you’re loving me? / Does it show?” Island love is not so special, after all. Infidelity aside, the album showcases how Caribbean rhythms have become pervasive, as all islands groove to the tempo and metre that move bodies to dance, and make minds think of solutions to eternal problems.

Born to Shine Vaughnette Bigford (self-released) Creole chanteuse Vaughnette Bigford delivers a sublime mix of tunes from her native Trinidadian songbook on her debut album Born to Shine. With a restrained but fine voice that captures the timbre and phrasing of excellent jazz singing, Bigford transforms familiar calypsos and island pop songs from the 1970s and 80s into well-wrought modern jazz and R&B settings that highlight fine examples of local songcraft. “All these years of toil, burning the midnight oil / Creating something from nothing,” wrote soca pioneer Lord Shorty in 1978. Bigford literally and figuratively has done just that with these rehashed songs. The proverb “don’t judge a book by its cover,” may be applied here — defaults in packaging design aside — as we bask in the splendour of what’s inside the music. High production value, lucid enunciation of lyrics needing to be heard, and elevation of island song are the hallmarks of an audacious debut destined to shine brightly.

Single Spotlight

Blow Way Lancelot Layne (Cree Records) African-Caribbean oral traditions in music were formative to rap. In Trinidad, rapso — “the poetry of calypso and the consciousness of soca” — is the descendent of the chantuelle and griot traditions of the island’s early music. Lancelot Layne was a founding pioneer of this form of music, spawning a generation of acolytes. On this compilation, German label Cree Records collects Layne’s corpus grounding the music of that Afro-Caribbean diaspora in word play and a lyrical construct that focuses on inspiration, confidence, and assertiveness: “If a man want to set false standards for you to follow / To he, what you say? Blow way!” Layne recorded from the early 1970s until the 80s, and presaged ideas and attitudes in line with a sense of fearlessness that would nurture a genre, an industry, and an icon. The continuing collection and commercial compilation of the Trinidadian music canon by Cree adds an ironic twist to the celebratory chauvinism Layne anticipated.

Carnival Mista Savona featuring Solis & Randy Valentine (Evidence Music) Picture this: an Aussie DJ who plays reggae in the continent down under hatches an idea to marry the music of Cuba and Jamaica — so near, yet so far, and not done until now — and share it with the world. The forthcoming project, long in gestation, is called Havana Meets Kingston, and this single, “Carnival”, is the lead-off track. Jake Savona is reputedly Australia’s leading reggae and dancehall producer, and on this project, inspired by the cultural interloping of Ry Cooder and the resultant Buena Vista Social Club album and film, Savona serves up a delightful world music fusion exercise that seeks to translate rhythms and languages into fun. Sung in both English and Spanish, the percussive clave of Cuba and the rolling bass riddim of Jamaica showcase their common Afro-Caribbean roots. “Give me a signal if you feel the vibe / Give me a light, look alive / Reggae music in Havana everything is nice.” Indeed! Welcome to the Carnival. Reviews by Nigel A. Campbell

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SCREENSHOTS

Cargo Directed by Kareem Mortimer, 2017, 102 minutes Kareem Mortimer, it could be said, is an auteur of the ocean, a filmmaker for whom the sea is more than just the beautiful blue element surrounding the hundreds of islands that comprise his native Bahamas. In his cry-for-compassion debut Children of God, it was a medium through which two young men explored their feelings for one another, while in Wind Jammers, his (co-directed) second film, a teenager faced down racial prejudice through her mastery of sailing. The Caribbean Sea also plays a primal role in Mortimer’s third feature, Cargo, his most urgent and unsettling yet. It tells the intertwined tales of contrasting characters: Kevin, a white Bahamian who becomes a fisherman after he’s convicted of embezzlement and has his family deported from the United States, and Celianne, a Haitian migrant who grinds out a living as a waitress in Nassau and hopes to escape with her son to Miami. When

The Empty Box Directed by Claudia Sainte-Luce, 2016, 101 minutes Mexican Claudia SainteLuce’s endearing debut, The Amazing Catfish, advanced the progressive notion that people don’t need to be related to one another to be family. The Empty Box, her weightier follow-up, inverts this idea: simply because someone is of your blood, that doesn’t necessarily make them kin. A young waitress named Jazmin (played by the director herself) lives alone in Mexico City. When the undocumented Haitian father from whom she has been estranged for years, Toussaint (a commandingly understated Jimmy Jean-Louis), is diagnosed with senile dementia, she grudgingly takes him in, and the pair must work towards some sort of accommodation, if not reconciliation. Jazmin comes across as something of an emotional cypher, which can make it difficult to sympathise with her. Yet when Sainte-Luce flashes back to Toussaint’s childhood in Haiti — shot, like the rest of the film, in exquisitely atmospheric tones — she achieves a poetic, dreamlike resonance. For more information, visit facebook.com/lacajavaciapelicula

an opportunity arises for Kevin to make money by smuggling Haitians on his boat, Celianne has a chance to realise her dream. Acted with a grim determination by the British actor Warren Brown, Kevin is a film noir sort of protagonist, a man who — blinded by privilege — does bad things but believes he is a good person. Gessica Geneus is sympathetic as Celianne, at first a biddable young woman who allows herself to be taken in by Kevin’s bravado, until his sinister side begins to show and her agency blossoms. Set against the two leads, Cargo’s supporting characters aren’t as memorably realised. The exception is Major, the businessman whose lucrative scheme Kevin signs up to. “I don’t deal in the slave trade,” protests Major (an entertainingly salty Craig Pinder). Yet it is a kind of contemporary slave trade — one that, ultimately, Mortimer isn’t afraid to present in all its deepwater tragedy. For more information, visit facebook.com/Cargo2016

The Skyjacker’s Tale Directed by Jamie Castner, 2016, 76 minutes It was a story that served as a bloody postscript to Black Power. In 1972, eight people — seven of them white — were shot and killed at a golf course in the US Virgin Islands. Five men — all Afro-Caribbean — were found guilty of murder and given life sentences. One of them, Ishmael Muslim Ali (formerly Ronald LaBeet), hijacked a commercial airliner in 1984 while being shuttled between prisons. He had the flight diverted to Cuba, from where he continues to protest his innocence. Mixing interviews with re-enactments, veteran Canadian documentarian Jamie Castner’s tabloidesque take on the Fountain Valley massacre (as it came to be known) ambles along engagingly. However, the film’s central claim — that the defendants were tortured while awaiting trial — remains unproven after four and a half decades. Further, Castner is too enamoured of his charismatic main subject, refusing to challenge Ali on his version of those tragic events. For more information, visit skyjackerstale.com Reviews by Jonathan Ali

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cookup

The

chocolate If you’re a foodie in Trinidad and Tobago, you can’t have failed to notice it: the rapid growth of the artisanal chocolate industry over the past decade. The country’s cocoa is revered around the world, but traditionally the crop has been exported for processing elsewhere. A new generation of chocolatiers are changing that trend, reports Franka Philip, with positive results for the economy and for rural communities

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used to boast to my foodie friends in London that posh chocolates like Green & Black’s and Valhrona Gran Couva were made with cocoa from Trinidad and Tobago. “Our Trinitario bean is one of the best in the world,” I would say. But lately, I’ve gone from boasting about the Trinidadian components in Green and Black’s to bigging up local artisanal chocolate that’s good enough to sit comfortably alongside those notable foreign brands. In the last decade, the chocolate industry in T&T has gone from zero to hero, due to the efforts

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revolution

of a bunch of people who feel confident enough to invest their hearts, souls, and savings into breaking new ground. The public now has the opportunity to taste excellent-quality local chocolate at events all year round. They can learn more about the industry from farmers and chocolate makers themselves, and depending on the event, visitors can even “dance the cocoa” (literally dancing on cocoa beans to dry and polish them). Gourmet shops and restaurants now host exclusive chocolate tasting sessions where, just like wine tasting, people are taught about the subtleties and nuances of Trinidad chocolate. Our chocolatiers are also creating hybrid flavours like Scorpion pepper, guava, and chadon beni (similar to cilantro). Local artisanal chocolate has made such an impact, departing visitors now often take back chocolate bars as well as the traditional bottle of duty-free rum. In the early part of the twentieth century, cocoa agriculture was one of Trinidad and Tobago’s most vibrant sectors. Records show that in the 1920s T&T produced more than 35,000 metric tons of cocoa a year, making it one of the world’s top producers at that time. But that was before oil and gas. Once this country became dependent on the energy sector, the cocoa industry declined steadily. Now, the country produces less than 1,000 metric tons annually. Cocoa harvesting is a communal activity. As Gillian Goddard of Sun Eaters Organics explains, the current resurgence of the industry has been positive for rural communities. “Many communities in Trinidad and Tobago were built around an agricultural base of cocoa. As we moved nationally from an agriculturally based economy to a petroleum-based economy, these communities lost their cultural structures and became dangerously fragmented,” Goddard says. “Cocoa is a crop that required a fair amount of collective activity and in which the entire community would be engaged. As cocoa lost its importance, it was not replaced by anything that kept cohesion intact.”  Goddard is one of the founders of the Alliance of Rural Communities, which is promoting community chocolate-making. She has seen the benefits of this in her work with the Brasso Seco Chocolate Company, based in a small village in the Northern Range. “Now that the communities are making chocolate, they have an opportunity to be involved in something which requires communication, co-operation, and attention to detail close to home,” Goddard explains. “In one of the communities, there have been children’s chocolate camps, and most of the nine- to eleven-year-olds know the basics of making chocolate, are familiar with the taste of their chocolate, and can even make a bit of money, when they want, helping wrap bars or put on labels.”


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elena moiseeva/shutterstock.com


Records show that in the 1920s T&T produced more than 35,000 metric tons of cocoa a year. But that was before oil and gas

haak78/shutterstock.com

them for sale in places like Harrods and Borough Market. When I met Parasram last year and tasted the chocolate, I understood why those diaspora Trinis were making such a fuss. We spoke about the rave reviews, and Parasram said he was proud the chocolate gets such a positive reception, and that it’s easily identifiable as a product of Trinidad and Tobago.

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sabel Brash of Cocobel got into making chocolate quite by accident. An architect and artist, Brash started by experimenting with cocoa from her brother’s estate in Rancho Quemado in south Trinidad. Almost ten years later, her line of chocolates is considered one of the very best. Despite her success, she is concerned about the sustainability of the agricultural end of the industry. “I still think there needs to be more done on the farming side than the chocolate production side. We need cocoa to make chocolate,” she says. “We need farmers and chocolate makers to work together. We need farming to be pushed in schools, from pre-school up, as a respected form of income, and farmers need to feel integrated into the manufacturing side of things. So I would love to see more and more younger people with great business minds getting into cocoa farming, and having direct relationships with chocolate makers.”  Another huge step for the chocolate industry came in 2015, when the Trinidad and Tobago Fine Cocoa Company opened a cocoa processing plant in Centeno, central Trinidad. Ashley Parasram, a Trinidad-born British entrepreneur, has invested millions of dollars in this facility, which has been exporting high-quality cocoa products to Europe. Speaking in the British restaurant trade magazine The Caterer, Parasram said, “We are developing rigorous quality control standards across all our partner cocoa estates with established management of the beans, the fermentation period, and the whole process from plantation to final product.”  The Trinidad and Tobago Fine Cocoa Company has partnered with British chocolatiers Artisan du Chocolat to produce a range of dark and milk chocolates which are smartly packaged in tins shaped like T&T’s national musical instrument, the steelpan. The tins caused a sensation among Trinis in London who saw

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B

ut what does the future hold for this fastgrowing industry? The recession doesn’t seem to have stopped that growth. In February 2017, a new player, Tamana Mountain Chocolate, entered the market. Headquartered in the lush but remote village of Mundo Nuevo in the hills of central Trinidad, the organisation says it is geared towards stimulating agriculture in that community.  Gillian Goddard — whose work revolves around organic farming and encouraging others to revive indigenous methods of food production — thinks the time is ripe for T&T to become a global leader in quality value-added cocoa products. “Most countries that make chocolate are not cocoa-growing countries,” she says. “Trinidad and Tobago not only has an ecosystem that produces some of the highest quality beans in the world, we also have an economic climate that allows locals to be able to pay for the highest quality chocolate. “The chocolate makers have the context to experiment, improve, and eventually reach the highest global standard with the end product. We can have control over the genetics and processing of the beans in a way that cocoa bean importers rarely have. And,” Goddard notes, “we have a massive variety of other agricultural products with which we can combine our chocolate.” Paying farmers adequately and more widespread use of local chocolate are ways Isabel Brash feels the industry can remain buoyant. “Why not just make sure the cocoa beans get their value’s worth, whether the buyers are local or foreign?” she asks. “The industry would never have slumped so badly if farmers were being paid properly for their work.”  Brash adds, “It would also be great if restaurants and hotels and schools would serve only local cocoa products. The whole island needs to be involved in the healing of the industry. If all consumers, all markets, understand where the money is going and how it affects us as a whole, don’t you think they would spend a little more on the local cocoa?” n


idouglasphoto

Immerse

Soca artist Nailah Blackman, one of the twenty-five talented Caribbean people aged twenty-five and under profiled in the following pages


panorama

In 2017, Caribbean Beat turns twenty-five. It’s a moment to look back — but also to look forward. Meet twenty-five talented young people born in the past quarter-century, a new generation of Caribbean achievers who will help shape our region’s future Since the first issue of Caribbean Beat was published in 1992, we’ve profiled hundreds of our region’s best and brightest — achievers and innovators from all fields, hailing from every part of the Caribbean archipelago. Our 144 back issues form an archive of Caribbean exemplars of the present and the past. Now, as we commemorate the magazine’s twenty-fifth anniversary, we look to the future. In the following pages, we introduce you to twenty-five extraordinary young women and men from across the Anglophone Caribbean, all of them aged twenty-five or under, their lifespans thus far coinciding with the magazine’s. As you’d expect, a fair share of them are athletes — sports being a field where the young naturally excel. But you’ll also find artists and activists, entrepreneurs and scientists. Already accomplished in their respective fields, they also represent the Caribbean’s hope for the future — and they’re not alone in their generation. If their intelligence, energy, and dedication are anything to go by, that future is bright. Meet them now, and expect to hear more from them in the months and years to come — including in the pages of Caribbean Beat.

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Shineque Saunders

If the past five years have seen a boom in the popularity of spoken word poetry in Trinidad and Tobago, one key catalyst is the number of events involving schools and universities, introducing a new generation to the lyrical artform. That includes a national spoken word “intercol” run by the Bocas Lit Fest and 2 Cents Movement, in which competitors represent schools across T&T — won in 2016 by seventeen-year-old Shineque Saunders of Pleasantville Secondary School in south Trinidad. Her “Chronicles of a Tomboy” combined humour with sly commentary to catch the judges’ approval, and Saunders’s victory whetted her appetite for performance poetry: in April 2017 she made it to the hotly contested finals of the First Citizens National Poetry Slam, which for T&T’s spoken word fans is like qualifying for the FIFA World Cup.

curtis henry, courtesy the 2 cents movement

Spoken word artist • Trinidad and Tobago Born 1999

Shanna Challenger

jeremy holden courtesy shanna challenger

Environmentalist • Antigua and Barbuda Born 1995 As an undergraduate at UWI’s Cave Hill campus, Shanna Challanger kept hearing that her ecology degree was worthless. “Too many times I was told that because of my degree I would ‘never’ be able to work in the Caribbean,” she says. But it turned out her dream job was waiting for her back home in Antigua and Barbuda, where an ambitious project aims to remove invasive species from the small, remote island of Redonda, restore its ecosystem, and preserve its critically endangered endemic species. As programme co-ordinator, Challenger has a rare responsibility, and a rare opportunity, to restore a part of her homeland to its original pristine state.

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nickii kane

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Chronixx

(a.k.a. Jamar McNaughton) Reggae artist • Jamaica Born 1992 2013 was the year a twenty-one-year-old Chronixx blazed across Jamaica’s reggae skyline, emerging as one of the frontrunners in the movement which became known as the reggae revival. A crop of younger musicians tapped into roots reggae, presenting a return to the “roots and culture” ethos which marked the music in the 1970s. Chronixx rocketed to the top of local charts with first one single then another that would become future anthems. At first, it appeared as though Chronixx had burst upon the scene from nowhere. In fact, although his EP Hooked on Chronixx only started finding favour with mainstream audiences in 2013, it had been simmering on the underground since 2011, when it was first released. And that apparently meteoric rise was the result of a life marinated in music — in his home, school, and church. Jamar McNaughton emerged from a musical family, with his stage name coming from his father, the singer Chronicle — before Jamar became Chronixx, he was known as Little Chronicle. Though his father introduced him to many in the reggae and dancehall industry, Chronixx spent much of his early life singing in church. A key part of his musical immersion came at his high school, St Catherine High in Spanish Town. Although it isn’t officially a performance art high school, it is one of the schools in Jamaica that most privileges the arts, where others focus on cricket, football, and track and field. Although Chronixx performed regularly at church, even going on a tour of the island, it wasn’t until he was in the eleventh grade, the year he would graduate from high school, that he felt brave enough to face the stage at St Catherine. But even before that, starting at age fourteen, Chronixx had followed the path of the music producer. He produced riddims for artists such as Konshens and Popcaan, until his friend and fellow producer Teflon convince him to produce his own music. Chronixx is a clear successor of Bob Marley,

and even more so of Peter Tosh — though he admits to influences from a variety of genres. Tosh’s influence has marked his fashion style also, including his penchant for berets and fatigues, uniforms of the revolutionary. His 2014 release The Dread and Terrible Project echoed Tosh’s 1981 album, Wanted Dread and Alive. Dread and Terrible quickly topped the US Billboard reggae charts, and the iTunes reggae charts in the UK and Japan. Since his first tour in 2013, Chronixx has performed in New York, London, Australia, Canada, Trinidad and Tobago, and of course at key reggae festivals in his own homeland, such as Reggae Sumfest. His first fulllength album, Chronology, was released in March 2017, and Chronixx is the face of Adidas’ new 2017 “Spring Spezial” collection. But despite his increasing fame, Chronixx is wary of stardom and its trappings, even while holding firmly to the importance of music as a tool to inspire and create change. This isn’t surprising from the young man who came to public acclaim with the song “Odd Rass”, which eschewed a willingness to follow preset paths. He is a man bent on following his own rules, while keenly aware that the industry he is in has laid down a set which he may follow or not. “The industry set hurdles and you can jump dem until you don’t mind jumping dem, but me don’t like hurdles,” he says. “I have the opportunity to decide what is a challenge and what is not.” Chronixx’s vision is simple: music is a revolutionary act, as bourne out in songs like “Behind Curtain”, “Here Comes Trouble”, “Ain’t No Giving In”, and “Warrior”. He views himself as a warrior for change. “Is works you a do. Everything fi have a message,” he says. Yet, despite his militaristic viewpoint, he is gifted with a wide, beautiful smile and easy, unaffected charm. He is ready for battle and willing to stand his ground, but he isn’t combative. “I trust the magic within music, and I trust the perfection of inspiration,” Chronixx says. Tanya Batson-Savage

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Kamara Jerome

Entrepreneur • St Vincent and the Grenadines Born 1992

courtesy kamara jerome

Scientists often talk about the “eureka” moment when an idea is born. For Kamara Jerome, it came on a sea journey from the Grenadines to St Vincent. When his boat ran out of gas six miles from shore, Jerome realised the constant sunlight overhead and gusting winds offered other possibilities for fuel. Leap ahead a couple of years: the prototype solarpowered boat designed by Jerome’s Emerald Energy won the 2013 Caribbean Innovation Challenge and then went on to the regional TIC Americas Challenge for young entrepreneurs. Now based in the US, Jerome is working on a new renewable energy project which he’s in the process of patenting. It’s safe to say his future looks green.

Akino Lindsay

Martial artist and activist • Jamaica Born 1996

courtesy Kelly magnus

The martial arts, practitioners will tell you, are less about aggression, more about discipline and self-control. Those qualities have served Akino Lindsay well. The software engineering student at UWI won the attention of Jamaican sports fans after he took a gold medal at the 2015 International Sports Kickboxing Association (ISKA) World Championships — the fourth Jamaican to hold an ISKA world title, and the youngest, at age eighteen. But Lindsay isn’t interested only in medals. Joining the Fight for Peace programme working in volatile communities, he teaches taekwondo to at-risk young people — along with those lessons about discipline and self-control. His work recently won Lindsay a Michael Johnson Leadership Award, for sports and community leaders under twenty-three around the world.

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Maya Cozier

Filmmaker • Trinidad and Tobago Born 1993

kern mollineau, courtesy maya cozier

The daughter of artist parents — Irenée Shaw and Christopher Cozier — Maya Cozier has creativity deep in her DNA. Heading to the prestigious School of Visual Arts in New York City, she first planned to study photography, but quickly switched her major to film. Her thesis project, Short Drop, shot in Trinidad and using local actors (including veteran Albert Laveau), won an award from SVA, and has been appearing at film festivals. Meanwhile, now graduated and back in Trinidad, Cozier is working on a featurelength screenplay which she hopes to produce in 2018. “There are a lot of good stories to be told between the region and the diaspora,” she says, “and I think we can finally tell these stories on our own terms.”

Firhaana Bulbulia Activist • Barbados Born 1994

courtesy Firhaana Bulbulia

Firhaana Bulbulia was in the first year of her undergraduate programme in psychology when she founded the Barbados Association of Muslim Ladies, aimed at creating developmental projects for the girls and young women of her country’s small Muslim community, and a forum for sharing ideas. Describing herself in a 2016 interview as “extremely passionate about girls’ rights, girls’ education, girls’ inclusion in society,” Bulbulia soon joined the Caribbean Regional Youth Council — and in May 2016 she was named a Queen’s Young Leader, one of a handful chosen from across the Commonwealth for their achievements and promise.

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Nowé Harris-Smith Visual artist • The Bahamas Born 1993

courtesy nowé harris-smith

She discovered a passion for drawing at the age of ten, and she’s never stopped. Now a student at the University of the Bahamas, Nowé HarrisSmith is already on the radar of curators across the Caribbean, with a solo exhibition at the National Art Gallery of the Bahamas to her credit. Photography is her current medium: Harris-Smith’s Bahamian Project is a portrait series documenting iconic men and women of her home country, and other recent work explores what she calls “the connection between skin and metallic surfaces; most importantly the richness within black culture.”

Kirstan Kallicharan Cricketer • Trinidad and Tobago Born 1999

ash allen photography

Back in 2013, when Kirstan Kallicharan broke Brian Lara’s longstanding record in Trinidad and Tobago’s Secondary Schools Cricket League, the sports community took notice. Then Kallicharan broke the record again — and again, eventually scoring an extraordinary 404 not out in a 2014 match. No surprise, then, when he was selected for the winning West Indies team for the 2016 Under-19 World Cup — and named T&T’s Youth Cricket of the Year.

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Johanan Dujon Entrepreneur • St Lucia Born 1993

courtesy johanan dujon

In 2014, when giant masses of brown Sargassum began washing up on Caribbean shores, burying pristine beaches under mounds of smelly seaweed, it seemed like a crisis to some. But to others — like Johanan Dujon — it looked rather like an opportunity. Because, properly treated, Sargassum actually makes an excellent biofertiliser, potentially reducing the use of harmful chemicals in agriculture. And it’s a resource that is literally washed up out of the sea. Dujon’s company Algas Organics manufactures an organic plant food suitable for use in home gardens or on farms, with a growing regional market. And there’s more to come: among Dujon’s “top secret” current projects are “a range of natural/organic agro inputs ranging from biostimulants to bio-pesticides” — good business and good for the environment.

Meleni Rodney

Athlete • Grenada Born 1998

haron forteau

When Kirani James — himself an under-twenty-five achiever — took gold at the 2012 Olympics, it gave budding athletes in his native Grenada a winning perspective on the 400 metres. For Meleni Rodney, that’s meant bronze in the 2014 Summer Youth Olympics, Grenada’s first ever, and silver in the 2016 OECS Championships. And she’s just getting started. “I want to be my country’s first female World and Olympic Champion and also to be the world’s fastest woman in the 400 metres,” Rodney says.

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Nailah Blackman

Calypsonian and soca artist • Trinidad and Tobago Born 1997 Living in the shadow of a music icon parent has its dividends — or not, if one is to gauge the relative minor successes of Jakob Dylan, James McCartney, and Julian Lennon — if the DNA for talent and the potential for a musical future get passed on. In the Caribbean, the Marley family seems to bear that theory out. And Trinidadian soca icon Ras Shorty I had enough performance genes for an entire clan. His children all have relatively successful music careers, and that success has now moved on to a third generation with the burgeoning career of his nineteen-year-old granddaughter Nailah Blackman, daughter of Abbi Blackman, a T&T Calypso Queen in her own right. Among Caribbean millennials, Nailah Blackman has shown a determined focus on career and success. She began her singing profession at age eleven, when she joined her aunt’s all-female gospel band, Nehilet Blackman & the AGB, then segued to a solo singer-songwriter career at fifteen. Veering away from her soca heritage, Nailah sang her original compositions — short odes to teenage love and heartbreak with an indie pop ethos that she calls “not-so-Caribbean music” — on a number of self-produced YouTube videos, featuring just guitar and voice. Her talent was undeniable and addictive. She’s clear on where she wants to go: “The direction in my career is to corner my home market, which is the Caribbean, in order to access the right links outside to put my ‘not-so-Caribbean music’ where it needs to go, and in the ears of the people who need to hear it.” She adds, “I’m working on new music for the Carnival circuits around the

world. I intend to hit each one of them so they can know who Nailah Blackman is.” That kind of focus is exemplary for a generation in the Caribbean sometimes nurtured on a kind of self-defeating dependency. Fortunately, Blackman’s biography was guided by her grandfather’s creative self-sufficiency, which saw the soca innovator retreating from his success and excess to a holistic and simple lifestyle, where he and his children — including Nailah’s mother — performed together and endured. With a voice that balances between the trademark vibrato of a Gwen Stefani and the soft squeak of bubblegum pop singers, Nailah has blossomed as a singer-songwriter in the past three years, trading her naïve love songs of regret for double entendre soca anthems on the theme of going “low, low, low.” In 2017, coming full circle to her soca roots, she released the Carnival hit “Workout” with soca star Kes, which had fetes moving and exposed her to a wider audience via the International Soca Monarch finals. With two single releases under her belt — “Cigarettes” and “Workout” — Blackman is always cooking up something in the studio. Her next single is a dancehall tune she’ll be launching in Jamaica, and she’s completed an EP for worldwide release later this year. She displays an insouciant fashion style that already has major brands seeking her out for endorsement, and as she matures, a new fan base is charting her growth as an artist and an avatar of young Caribbean influence. Nigel A. Campbell

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Mark Ramsay

Video game designer and writer • Barbados Born 1994

neil springer, courtesy dazzle magazine

The Caribbean is full of avid video gamers — but professional studios, creating new games based on our own stories? Those are rare. Mark Ramsey was still a university student when he co-founded Couple Six Inc., where he’s added his storytelling flair to Le Loupgarou, a game based on traditional Caribbean folklore and set in 1930s Barbados, now in development. Ramsay is also a writer of recognised promise, fiction winner of the 2015 Small Axe Literary Competition. He’s currently working on a collection of short fiction “exploring a future Caribbean where humans and artificial intelligences live adjacent to each other — and what that might look like when we reconstruct memory, history, and identity in a world beyond those things.” Stay tuned . . .

Meshach Pierre

Biologist and photographer • Guyana Born 1993

andrew snyder

A chance encounter on the campus of the University of Guyana turned out to be a decisive moment for science student Meshach Pierre. Recruited to assist a team of visiting researchers, Pierre found himself fascinated by their ornithology field project — and eventually switched his career focus from medicine to conservation biology. Birds are his primary interest, though he’s also won a research fellowship to study jaguars and their prey. And learning to use a camera during his fieldwork triggered a passion for photography — Pierre’s images of birds have been exhibited in Georgetown, and he sees them as a medium for spreading awareness of his country’s extraordinary biodiversity.

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Shaunae Miller Athlete • The Bahamas Born 1994

Quinn Rooney / getty

As we reported in the July/August 2016 Caribbean Beat, Shaunae Miller was one of the Bahamas’ top medal contenders going into the 2016 Summer Olympics. Her fans hoped for a dramatic finish to the women’s 400 metres — and Miller gave them even more than they expected. Her breathtaking “golden dive” over the finish line, securing her the win, was controversial but decisive. “I have a long way to go,” Miller said matter-of-factly after her Olympic win, with her sights set on “being the best.” Defending her gold medal at the 2020 games is definitely part of the plan.

Jake Kelsick

Kiteboarder • Antigua and Barbuda Born 1993

andre phillip

Kiteboarding since the age of ten, Jake Kelsick has a head for both speed and height. Deciding early on a pro career in his chosen sport, he became a fulltime kiteboarder straight out of secondary school, mentored by Antiguan kiteboarding legend Andre Phillip. A sideline in photography and videography has kept Kelsick busy on his travels, capturing heartstopping footage of wave-skimming acrobatics. His motto? “Have fun, ride as much as you can, and do something worth remembering.”

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Zharnel Hughes Athlete • Anguilla Born 1995

Matt Lewis - British Athletics / getty

His 100-metre gold medal at the 2013 CARIFTA Games was just the warning shot. Two years later, at the Adidas Grand Prix, Zharnel Hughes came within a whisper of beating sprint superstar Usain Bolt, who he now trains with at the Racers Track Club in Jamaica. Hughes could have been a threat at the Rio Olympics, except for a damaged knee ligament, which derailed his 2016 season. “I am still very young,” he says matter-of factly, and the 2020 Tokyo Olympics may turn out to be his moment of glory. As his native Anguilla isn’t recognised by the Olympics, Hughes officially competes for great Britain — but when he takes a medal, fans at home will cheer him on as a son of the soil.

Akela Jones Athlete • Barbados Born 1995

Ian Walton / getty

Just twelve when she won silver in the girls’ under-17 high jump at the 2008 CARIFTA Games, Akela Jones was only getting started. The first Barbadian ever to win a medal at the World Junior Athletics Championships — in the long jump — she was also the 2015 NCAA heptathlon champ, and represented her country at the 2016 Summer Olympics, bearing the flag at the closing ceremony.

Jeanelle Scheper Athlete • St Lucia Born 1994

Patrick Smith / getty

She was born in Jamaica, but high jumper Jeannelle Scheper proudly competes in St Lucian colours, and was her country’s flag-bearer at the 2016 Summer Olympics. A CARIFTA Games and CAC Junior Championships gold medallist, Scheper wants to inspire a future generation of St Lucian athletes, with plans to start a high jump clinic at home after she graduates from university in South Carolina.

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Michelle Thomas

Attorney and activist • Jamaica Born 1991

courtesy michelle thomas

“For me, to be a lawyer and not give back to society would be the highest level of hypocrisy,” said Michelle Thomas in a 2016 interview. And giving back is exactly what she does, with gusto. Her list of projects is dauntingly long: she’s director of cultural programmes at the NGO Jamaican Youth Empowerment through Culture, Arts, and Nationalism; founder of the No Crime Movement, building a platform for human rights in Jamaica; and her latest project, Herstory, works to raise awareness about domestic violence via schools and communities. No wonder Thomas was a finalist for the 2017 Commonwealth Youth Awards — just a few months after being named Jamaica’s Commonwealth Youth Worker of the Year.

Dejour Alexander Soca artist • St Kitts and Nevis Born 1996

courtesy Dejour

Like many of the young people featured in these pages, Dejour Alexander started early, winning his first calypso competition in primary school. And he was just fourteen when his first big break came, winning the ZIZ 50th Anniversary Song Competition hosted by the National Broadcasting Corporation of St Kitts and Nevis. Making a music video was part of the prize — and that’s when his career took off. By 2013, he was on stage at the St Kitts Music Festival, the youngest-ever artist to join the lineup. His signature sound, blending soca, reggae, and hip-hop, makes him wildly popular with young Kittitians, and he’s poised for his regional breakthrough.

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Cameron Spencer-IDI-IDI via Getty Images


Jason Holder Cricketer • Barbados Born 1991

Several hours of training, a plunge into an ice bath, and a soothing massage begin a typical day for Jason Holder, the current West Indies Test and One Day International Captain. From the age of nine, Holder has been inseparable from the clashing bat and ball. He “heart-warmingly” realised his goal to play for the West Indies when he made his ODI debut in January 2013. His Test debut came in June 2014, versus New Zealand, playing at home in Barbados. And just a few months later, Holder made history when he was unexpectedly appointed captain of the Windies’ ODI team in December 2014 — the youngest player ever to captain a regional senior team, at the age of twenty-three years and seventy-two days. While Holder’s brother and uncle represented Barbados on the basketball court, young Jason sat enraptured in front of the television watching the feats of his cricket heroes Brian Lara and Courtney Walsh. This encouraged his parents to enrol him in the Empire Sports Summer Camp, where his cricket passion intensified. He became, and still is, a member of the Wanderers Cricket Club, oldest in Barbados. Leadership, passion, and focus have kept Holder at the helm as he weathers his cricket years. At both his alma maters, Charles F. Broome Memorial Primary School and the St Michael School, Holder rose to captain the respective cricket teams. He’s not bossy by nature — in fact he’s notably soft-spoken — but his love for the game pushed him to throw his bachelor’s degree in management studies to the offside, to focus on his sporting career. One of his proudest moments came in 2015, when he scored his first Test century against England, and also won his first Man of the Match Award for leading the West Indies to victory. Although he doesn’t love flying, Holder appreciates the

ability to travel and experience other cultures, leave a lasting impression on people’s hearts, and sometimes entertain them, too. Like the patrons at a karaoke bar in St Lucia, who he recently serenaded with teammate Ashley Nurse. Apparently, they requested an encore. Underneath his serious exterior, suggesting a maturity beyond his years, is a very jovial soul, often fooling around with friends, teammates, and crew. If he had a superpower, he says, it would be invisibility — a perfect condition to play the best prank. Knowing where he came from, the hard work he’s invested, and how easily it could vanish, make staying grounded easy. He admits his lifestyle hasn’t changed drastically either. “I live the same life and feel pretty settled,” he says. Set to celebrate his second year of Test captaincy in September, Holder says one of the best pieces of advice he’s received came from IPL Knight Riders coach Jacques Kallis: “when in doubt or under pressure, take the positive route.” It’s become his mantra, especially when he’s faced with adversity. Overall, Holder aims to be one of the best all-rounders in the game, adding to the strong legacy of West Indies cricket. “We’ve struggled for a while, but I want to be instrumental in its turnaround, and leave knowing I’ve made a positive contribution,” he says. He encourages young people to pursue their dreams by setting a process to achieve their goals and reach for them. And his own next big challenge? Ensuring the West Indies qualifies for the 2019 World Cup, which means rising in the ICC ranks by the deadline in September 2017. Holder will be giving it his all — and making sure his teammates do the same. Shelly-Ann Inniss

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Keemo Paul Cricketer • Guyana Born 1998

Ashley Allen / WICB Media

Whatever your fears about the future of West Indies cricket, there’s no need to worry about the supply of young talent for the game — as the five players in these pages suggest. Take Keemo Paul, who grew up on the banks of Guyana’s Essequibo River. Selected for the West Indies team for the 2016 Under-19 World Cup, Paul played a decisive role in the hair-raising final, when the West Indies grabbed victory from favourites India. Recently named to Guyana’s senior team, Paul is another name to listen out for in the hoped-for resurgence of West Indies cricket.

Kadie-Ann Dehaney Her nickname, “Tall Girl,” hints at the reason for Kadie-Ann Dehaney’s success at her chosen sport. After joining Jamaica’s women’s netball team for the 2015 World Cup and leading the Sunshine Girls on their tour of England last year, Dehany found herself heading Down Under — signed by the Melbourne Vixens for the current season.

Hayley Matthews Cricketer • Barbados Born 1998

randy brooks/wicb media

A sports prodigy? At age twelve, Hayley Matthews was already playing for the Barbados senior women’s cricket team. Her West Indies debut came just four years later. Fast-forward to the 2016 World Twenty20: Matthews, who turned eighteen midtournament, won herself the title of Player of the Final for her spirited batting, leading the West Indies to a resounding victory over Australia.

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courtesy melbourne vixens

Netball player • Jamaica Born 1996


andrea de silva

ARRIVE

Destination 58 Heartland album

Offtrack 76 Sunshine in paradise

Neighbourhood 72 Gros Islet, St Lucia

Layover 82 Nassau, the Bahamas

The ornate faรงade of the Dattatreya Yoga Centre in Carapichaima, central Trinidad


Destination

Heartland album The rolling plains of Caroni in central Trinidad were once the island’s agricultural heart, its villages shaped by the traditions of the indentured Indian immigrants who first arrived in Trinidad in May 1845. Today, the bustling town of Chaguanas and its ever-growing suburbs dominate, but the surrounding countryside is still a landscape of farms, bordered by the Caroni Swamp to the north and the industrial zone of Point Lisas to the south. And this remains the heartland of Indo-Trinidadian culture, where familiar landmarks include temples and mosques, and the Indian Caribbean Museum preserves artefacts of a way of life that’s been evolving for over a century and a half — captured in this portfolio of photographs by Andrea de Silva, with captions by Alva Viarruel 58

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Roopnarine Birbal, known to his friends as “Sarge,” cuts sugarcane on lands his family owns at San Pedro Poole. Despite the end of industrial sugar production in Trinidad, the Birbals still grow cane which they juice and sell

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A vegetable vendor plies his trade outside the market on the crowded Chaguanas Main Road, where buyers crowd the sidewalks and spill onto the streets of the bustling Borough known for its bargains

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Chunks of wood burn to ash on a pyre at the cremation site in Waterloo, with the famous Temple in the Sea in the background. Cane-cutter Siewdass Sadhu, to fulfill a sacred pledge, built his first Hindu temple on land, but the structure was demolished and Sadhu imprisoned for two weeks in 1948, when he was found guilty of trespassing on private property. He decided then to rebuild the temple in the Gulf of Paria, the logic being that no man owned the sea. Over twenty years, and working singlehanded, he constructed a spit off the shoreline, finally completing the new temple in 1968. He died two years later. Sadhu’s temple was falling apart when Randolph Rampersad sought help to rebuild it in 1995. Rampersad’s father Ramyad had died in 1994, and was cremated on the shore in Waterloo, next to the temple. Months later, Rampersad returned to mourn the death of his mother Rajwant. In those moments of grief, he looked to the temple and thought it would be a good memorial to his parents, and to Sadhu, to repair the thendilapidated structure in time for the 150th anniversary of the arrival of the first Indian immigrants in Trinidad. “There is a great ambience to that shoreline.” Rampersad says, “and my idea was to create a place where one could meditate and find peace. It is open to everyone, and all are welcome to come freely to sit and meditate”

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A replica of the ship Fath-alRazak, which brought indentured labourers from India to the shores of Trinidad, under construction on the grounds of the Indian Caribbean Museum of Trinidad and Tobago in Waterloo. The museum, located in a former school building, also preserves household and religious artefacts, and a replica of a thatched-roof house with walls made of dung and clay, similar to those which housed earlier generations of Indo-Trinidadians

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RAISE A TOAST TO THE HOUSE THE RU M

THE RU M

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GOLD 2017

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GOLD 2017

D CACHAÇA AN ERS AST M

GOLD 2017

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THE HOUSE OF ANGOSTURA, HOME TO THE WORLD’S FINEST RUM RANGE, IS PROUD TO BE AWARDED FOUR GLOBAL RUM MASTER AWARDS!

SILVER 2017


Samdayei Sonny, a former canecutter, was raised by her mother, who worked in the sugarcane fields of Caroni Limited, after her father died when she was two years old. Sonny still does gardening near her home in Princes Town — not to earn a living, but “to occupy myself and pass the time,” she says

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The wife and children of the late Winston Nanan sit in one of the boats used to carry people on tours of the Caroni Bird Sanctuary. At front is Nanan’s widow Milly, flanked by her daughters Lisa and Laura Nanan-Babwah. At back are sons Victor, Dexter, and Allister Nanan. A self-taught ornithologist and conservationist, Winston Nanan spent countless hours traversing the Caroni River and its tributaries to observe, photograph, and document the birds and wildlife of the swamp, which his father introduced

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him to at the age of twelve. In the early days, the swamp tour used a flat-bottomed boat which Nanan pushed along with a pole, before he was able to buy an outboard engine to motor his way through the murky waters. The highlight of the journey is the spectacle of flaming red Scarlet Ibis heading home to nest on an island in the river, in the hour before sunset. In 2015, after Nanan’s death, the bird sanctuary he had explored and cherished for sixty-two years was renamed in his memory


Caroni Swamp

chaguanas

Temple in the Sea Indian Caribbean Museum

Time of arrival First celebrated as a public holiday in 1995, Trinidad and Tobago’s Indian Arrival Day on 30 May commemorates the start of indentured immigration from the Subcontinent in 1845. Now the culmination of a month of activities celebrating Indo-Trinidadian heritage, the holiday is marked with cultural performances, religious ceremonies, and a parade, among other events.

Caribbean Airlines operates numerous daily flights to and from its hub at Piarco International Airport in Trinidad, connecting to destinations across the Caribbean and North and South America

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ith a name renowned for great taste, Hosein’s Roti Shop celebrates over 35 years of providing quality food and excellent service. Like any classic success story, Hosein’s Roti Shop’s evolution from single restaurant to national staple is one of dedication and tenacity. The first outlet was located at El Socorro Road,  San Juan, Trinidad. Founder Jamal Hosein originally sold various fast foods such as pizza, burgers, and fried chicken before the demand for his most popular dish, roti, surpassed all others. Hosein responded to that demand, and over time the business evolved to become the country’s largest commercial roti-seller, with branches in Port of Spain, Arima, San Juan, and Tunapuna. When it comes to taste, Hosein’s Roti Shop has elevated cooking to a fine art.

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NEIGHBOURHOOD

Streetscape Gros Islet itself remains a mostly residential and mostly quiet district, with a handful of picturesque nineteenth-century buildings scattered among houses and shops. Immediately to the south of the village proper, across the marina dotted with yachts, the Rodney Bay tourism area is a hive of hotels large and small, holiday villas, restaurants, nightclubs, shops, and watersports outfits. The fanciest hotels line Reduit Beach, one of St Lucia’s most popular bathing spots, with views across the bay to Pigeon Island and the Caribbean Sea beyond. And north of Gros Islet is the posh Cap Estate — here you’ll find some of St Lucia’s most luxurious residences and boutique resorts, as well as the home of poet and Nobel laureate Derek Walcott, who died earlier this year.

Holy icons Mitch Kinvig/shutterstock.com

The late Dunstan St Omer was as famous for his friendship with Derek Walcott — who fictionalised his friend as “Gregorias” in Another Life — as for his murals in churches and other public buildings across St Lucia. St Omer’s murals in the cathedral in Castries and the Roseau Valley church are his most celebrated, but the Roman Catholic parish church in Gros Islet, dedicated to St Joseph the Worker, also boasts a series of the artist’s religious paintings. Duck into the church for a glimpse of these works, and enjoy the peace and quiet.

Once a small fishing village, this community near St Lucia’s northern tip has become the island’s tourism epicentre — but still holds on to some rustic touches

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Marion Nelson & Allen Sherman, St. Lucia Oral History

Gros Islet, St Lucia


WICB Media Photo/Randy Brooks

Hit for six

Jump up

On the outskirts of Gros Islet and nestled among the Beauséjour foothills, St Lucia’s national cricket stadium was renamed in 2016 for Darren Sammy, the first St Lucian to captain the West Indies cricket team. A venue for international cricket since 2003 — when the West Indies played a Test match here against Sri Lanka — the stadium was sited in the driest part of St Lucia, though you wouldn’t guess it from the lush green turf.

Once a week, quiet Gros Islet shows its other, more extroverted face, as home of a wildly popular and long-established Friday-night street party. Vendors’ stalls form an outdoor stage several blocks long, and the rum and Piton beer flow freely. When they aren’t dancing to soca, zouk, and reggae, partiers can refuel themselves with freshly caught and cooked seafood and barbecued chicken. The party goes late, and you can hear the music way off — just follow your ears.

Co-ordinates 4.1º N 60.9º W Sea level

jaminwell/istock.com

Gros Islet

St Lucia

History “Big Island” — the literal translation of its French name — was settled in the eighteenth century by French colonists, who founded one of St Lucia’s first Roman Catholic parishes here. In 1778, when the island was captured by the British, the Royal Navy established a fort on the bay, named for Admiral Rodney. (The name stuck.) During the Second World War, the US military established one of their series of Caribbean bases here, and began the long-term project of draining the bay’s mangrove swamps to create a seaplane marina. In later decades, Rodney Bay has become St Lucia’s main tourist district, thanks to the sheltered bay, perfect for watersports, and relative proximity to Castries, six miles south. WWW.CARIBBEAN-AIRLINES.COM

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Pigeon Island With its twin hills creating a distinctive profile, Pigeon Island, across Rodney Bay from Gros Islet, once really was an island, but the construction of a causeway in 1972 joined it to the mainland. Now a national park, Pigeon Island over the centuries was home to indigenous Arawaks and Caribs, the base of sixteenth-century pirate François le Clerc, then site of a British fort. To improve the sightlines and permit surveillance of French warships, Admiral George Rodney is supposed to have ordered all the island’s trees cut down. Later on, the island served as a quarantine station, US observation post, and private home of a British stage actress, famous for her parties. The current park preserves various archaeological traces and ruins of this colourful history. Today’s visitors can explore these sites, hike up and around the peaks (the views are worth the effort), and enjoy a dip at two small beaches. And of course Pigeon Island is also the main stage for the annual St Lucia Jazz Festival.

Caribbean Airlines operates regular flights to George F.L. Charles International Airport in St Lucia, with connections to destinations in the Caribbean and North America

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ADVERTORIAL

Walking a path of faith and tradition

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s a nation blessed with rich traditions and cultures, Trinidad and Tobago charts a path that has been paved by the legacies of those who have gone before. It is a path continuously defined by daring visionaries committed to preserving our customs for the sakes of those who will be called upon to carry on in the future — the youth.

the best way to safeguard one of our nation’s most precious cultural forms — the Chowtaal Sammelan — pledging our support to make it possible for more than forty Hindu schools around the country to compete in the singing of Chowtaal songs, a beloved Phagwa staple. Our work with the SDMS is something that we have believed in for

“We continue to challenge young achievers to dig deep within.” For close to a decade, working together with the Sanatan Dharma Maha Sabha (SDMS) and hundreds of young people, Republic Bank has continued to build upon the vision of an empowered present-day generation as

several years because, with hearts set on empowering young people through culture, Republic Bank has never lost sight of the path. Working together with the national community, through the Power to

Make A Difference, we continue to challenge young achievers to dig deep within and be brave enough to share their gifts with the nation and the world. This is the key to building successful societies. This is our source of inspiration as we continue to invest in holistic development. This is the heart of what drives our partnership with the SDMS, our ongoing efforts to celebrate and support our rich Hindu culture, and the very heart of our support of the beautiful Chowtaal Sammelan. This path we travel is truly our own, for it is as one people that we must aspire, and it is as one people that we shall achieve.


OFFTRACK

The white sand and blue waters of Pinney’s Beach, home of Sunshine’s

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Sunshine in paradise

Peter Phipp/travelshots.com

Just seven miles long by six wide, Nevis is a dot on the map of the Leewards — but a dot that boasts stunning natural beauty, a rich history, and one of the Caribbean’s most famous beach bars. Garry Steckles tells the story behind Sunshine’s and its famous Killer Bee cocktail, and explains how a new geothermal energy project could soon make Nevis one of the world’s greenest places

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errol pemberton

Sunshine’s laid-back beach bar — and “Sunshine” Caines himself, opposite

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magine this: a sumptuous lobster lunch, served in the casualchic surroundings of one of the world’s most renowned beach bars, with the blue waters of the Caribbean lapping gently on the sand a few feet away. Imagine, also, that this is happening on a tiny tropical island, a dot in the Eastern Caribbean that just happens to be breathtakingly beautiful, steeped in history, and a getaway of the rich and famous. Finally, imagine that this sun-kissed paradise without a single traffic light is blessed with an abundant source of affordable, squeaky-clean energy that generates so much electrical power it will probably be

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et’s find out a little more about a man who took a few cases of chicken legs, a simple steel-drum barbecue, and some coolers of beer and turned them into one of the world’s most famous bars. Llewellyn “Sunshine” Caines didn’t get where he is today by chance. He got there with hard work and dogged determination in the face of adversity that often looked insurmountable. Some of Sunshine’s early problems were courtesy of jealous rivals who made life difficult for him when he first tried to set up in business on a popular beach in St Kitts, the island where he was born.

Llewellyn “Sunshine” Caines didn’t

ST KITTS

get where he is today by chance T

able to export what it doesn’t need to nearby St Kitts, the other half of a twin-island federation with a remarkable past and a future that couldn’t be more promising. Sounds too good to be true, right? Wrong. Welcome to Sunshine’s Bar and Grill. Welcome to Nevis. Welcome to an island with a population of twelve thousand that’s on the verge of becoming “the greenest place on Earth.” 78

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ows arr

Pinney’s Beach NEVIS Sunshine’s Bar and Grill


courtesy sunshine’s bar

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Pinney’s Beach has changed dramatically, with upscale restaurants dotted along its miles of pristine white sand. And Sunshine’s has become the yardstick by which success on

courtesy sunshine’s bar

Pinney’s is measured

The delicious but deadly Killer Bee, Sunshine’s trademark rum cocktail

Others include devastating hurricanes and fires. “I have been blown away five times and burned down twice,” he says. Sunshine, who acquired the name from his grandmother when he was born with a sunny smile lighting up his face, decided to give Nevis a try after being made unwelcome by rivals on St Kitts. Legend has it that a friend with a boat used to carry Sunshine and his food, drinks, and barbecue across The Narrows to Nevis every morning, and drop him off on Pinney’s Beach next to the ritzy Four Seasons Resort and scores of wellheeled patrons.  The legend’s only partly true. This was all happening in the mid-1980s, before the Four Seasons was built, and Sunshine used to rely on his friend with the boat to bring customers to his simple setup in front of where the resort now stands, with palm trees for shade and upturned beer crates for seats. Work started on the Four Seasons in the late 80s, with Sunshine catering to its hungry construction workers and making a permanent move 80

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to live in Nevis. A promising future beckoned, and Sunshine, an astute businessman as well as restaurateur, wasn’t about to drop the ball. The Four Seasons opened in 1991, and Sunshine was more than happy to move his simple set-up a few dozen yards down the beach and wait for business from its wealthy guests. And wait he did. For a long, long time. Says Sunshine, “At first, my place was only frequented by locals, as it was a very small, humble shack on the beach. I waited five long years to get my first Four Seasons guests ‘brave’ enough to venture off property and check out my place. I am still very good friends with these people today.”  Undeterred by the long wait for Four Seasons patrons, Sunshine had begun to slowly expand, adding a few picnic tables for his guests and then a thatched palm-leaf roof for better shade. This simple setting soon became a popular hangout for locals and tourists.


Green Nevis As well as being blessed with spectacular natural beauty, magnificent beaches, a benevolent climate, and tranquility that’s almost tangible, Nevis has a remarkable history that’s out of all proportion to its thirty-six-square-mile size. Alexander Hamilton, America’s first secretary of the treasury, was born here; Britain’s greatest naval hero, Horatio Nelson, was married here; it was one of the first Caribbean islands to grow sugar cane; and its stately Bath Hotel was the first hostelry in the region to cater to the comforts of well-heeled travelers. And now it’s poised to make history once again, this time with geothermal energy. The island’s geothermal project is back on track after some financing snags, and Nevis’s deputy premier and tourism minister Mark Brantley says the target date for its electricity being in the Nevis grid is 2018. The geothermal plant’s objective is straightforward: to

harness high-temperature steam rising from a large, inexhaustible geothermal reservoir below the island’s surface and turn it into electrical energy. The steam will be directed through a turbine that turns an electrical generator to produce that energy. Says Brantley: “Geothermal energy would be revolutionary for our little island, weaning us entirely off fossil fuel for electricity generation and allowing us to meet our target of becoming the greenest place on planet Earth. “Our tagline is ‘Nevis Naturally’, and geothermal energy will be a giant leap forward in us attracting global attention for our efforts to reduce carbon emissions and reduce our carbon footprint to zero. We also expect cheaper energy to bring spinoffs in economic activity with light industry, electric scooters, electric cars, and the like. “Lastly, if the science holds true, Nevis has enough geothermal that it

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ore than a quarter century since Sunshine served his first customers, Pinney’s Beach has changed dramatically, with upscale restaurants dotted along its miles of pristine white sand and more development on the way. And Sunshine’s, still with its local vibe and still serving simple but succulent food, has become the yardstick by which success on Pinney’s is measured. Sunshine’s is also top of the island’s “must-visit” list, attracting scores of the celebrities for whom Nevis is the Caribbean

Sunshine’s other trademark is a lethal rum-based cocktail called the Killer Bee, the ingredients of which are on the highly classified list getaway of choice. Asked to list the big names who’ve hung out at Sunshine’s, the still-modest proprietor pauses before reciting an off-the-cuff list of what he describes as “a few” of his celebrity customers: Oprah Winfrey, John Travolta, Sarah Jessica Parker, Edie Falco, Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi, Lady Sarah Ferguson, Julian Lennon, Wayne Gretzky, Kelly Ripa, Michael Strahan, Regis Philbin, Beyoncé and Jay Z, Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones, Mel Gibson, the Reverend Al Sharpton, Eddie Murphy, Steve Croft, the late

can satisfy all of its needs, its sister St Kitts’s needs, and still have power for export to neighbouring islands. This means that green energy becomes a critical industry for the island.” Brantley is also confident that geothermal will be good for Nevis’s tourism industry. “We feel that this fits beautifully into Nevis’s image as a pristine, high-end destination dedicated to the preservation of our natural environment and developing responsibly and sustainably. Our model is high-end, low-environment-impact. We think it’s a narrative that the discerning traveller will appreciate and gravitate to.” Geothermal has an impressive array of advantages over other known sources of energy. Most important, it’s much more efficient than diesel, the costly imported source of generating electrical power for just about all of the Caribbean, and it doesn’t billow greenhouse gases into the air.

Whitney Houston and Bobby Brown, Britney Spears, Roger Daltrey, Baltimore Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti, Bob Saget, Meryl Streep, Michelle Pfeiffer, and even Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Sunshine, after his experiences with hurricanes and fires, maintains he doesn’t believe in anything “fancy” when it comes to beach bars, but there’s no question that the latest incarnation of Sunshine’s is the biggest and best yet, with a recently introduced and instantly popular outdoor circular bar and a handful of comfortable and cosy private dining booths added to the eclectic mix, vividly painted in Sunshine’s trademark red, gold, and green. Sunshine’s other trademark is a lethal rum-based cocktail called the Killer Bee, the ingredients of which are on the highly classified list and which, while quite delicious, is best enjoyed with a modicum of caution. Sunshine’s location for the past few years has been the primo oceanfront spot among a cluster of popular beach bars and restaurants. And, of course, it’s still only a short stroll down the beach from the Four Seasons — whose guests quickly learn to savour, and respect, those rum cocktails. n

Caribbean Airlines operates regular flights to V.C. Bird International Airport in Antigua and Princess Juliana International Airport in Sint Maarten, with connections on other airlines to Vance W. Amory International Airport in Nevis WWW.CARIBBEAN-AIRLINES.COM

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LAYOVER

Many visitors to the Bahamian capital spend less than twenty-four hours here before joining a cruise ship — but that’s still enough time to taste the delights of Nassau

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Nassau has its share of museums — covering everything from art to pirates — but none is more charming than Balcony House, a modest eighteenth-century cottage on Market Street. Painted bright pink with white trim, and named for its shuttered second-story balcony, it’s now run as a small history museum — just the right size to linger in for an hour, soaking in the atmosphere of long-ago Nassau.

You’d be forgiven for thinking that pink is the Bahamas’ national colour, so often does it turn up in Nassau architecture. Pink is also practically the theme colour of Ardastra Gardens, Nassau’s four-acre zoo and conservation centre, famous for its flamingo breeding programme. Looking for a souvenir that screams “Nassau”? Head to the fabled Straw Market, where you’ll have your pick of straw hats, straw baskets, straw placemats, and more. And make sure to ask the vendor if your choice object is made in the Bahamas from traditional palmetto straw — some of the wares you’ll see displayed here are actually imported from abroad.

Ramunas Bruzas/shutterstock.com

Sherry Talbot/shutterstock.com

New Providence, like most of the Bahama islands, is entirely surrounded by extraordinarily blue, clear sea. And the sight of those waters as your plane swoops in to land may be just too tempting to resist. So grab a taxi to Cable Beach, on the western outskirts of downtown Nassau, where you’ll find the needful: soft white sand, crystal-clear water, a deckchair if you so desire.

dnaveh/shutterstock.com

BlueOrange Studio/shutterstock.com

The Bahamas’ national dish? Cracked conch, of course. You can find these battered conch fritters all over Nassau, but some of the most popular food shacks serving the seafood delicacy are in Arawak Cay, west of downtown. Or try conch in the form of a zesty salad.

courtesy national museum of the bahamas

It’s probably the cruise ship capital of the Bahamas, and by some estimates, nearly eighty per cent of visitors here stay in Nassau for less than a day. But whether you’re on a similarly tight itinerary or just have a long layover before heading elsewhere, both the city and New Providence Island are compact enough for some quick explorations.

Caribbean Airlines operates regular flights to Lynden Pindling International Airport in Nassau from Kingston, Jamaica, and Port of Spain, Trinidad, with connections to other destinations across the Caribbean and North America

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courtesy the national audubon society

ENGAGE

The Deal 84 Thorny balm

On This Day 86 The birdman

John James Audubon’s Scarlet Ibis, from the landmark Birds of America


THE DEAL

Thorny balm Across the Caribbean, the Aloe vera plant is a mainstay of home gardens, its bitter gel used for everything from stomach troubles to sunburn. But in Aruba, aloe is more than a home remedy: it’s the basis of an entire industry, as Shelly-Ann Inniss reports Photography by jimmyvillalta/Istock.com

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o out in the garden and cut some aloes” are dreaded words for many Caribbean children. Aloe’s bitter taste is enough to prove that all your facial muscles really work. Aloe vera is literally a pharmacy in a plant. Its gel contains seventy-five minerals and eighteen amino acids and vitamins. For centuries it has been used medicinally, including as a moisturiser, to treat burns and skin conditions, for hair loss, acne, and endless other purposes. Many backyards in the Caribbean have a plant. Of course, you’ll f ind the occasional person growing aloe

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merely for decorative purposes. But it’s commonly used as a laxative, or to aid with digestion. In Barbados, where I grew up, parents and grandparents rub it on the hands of children to discourage them from sucking their fingers. There’s even an old legend about keeping it in the kitchen to guard against evil. Some people mix it with citrus or mango juice, but that barely masks the cutting bitterness. And these days, do-it-yourself aficionados are experimenting and creating charming cosmetic inventions as well. One plant with so many uses should make aloe a way of life — and, in Aruba, it already is. A drive around the island reveals that Aruba is one of the driest places in the

Caribbean. Cacti grow haphazardly and at times form natural residential fences. Even the country’s highest point, called the Hay Stack, is covered in cacti and succulent plants. One of these species is a gem in plain sight. In the 1920s, two thirds of the island were covered with “lily of the desert” — an old name for the aloe — and to commemorate the plant as one of Aruba’s f irst sources of substantial income, aloe appears on the country’s coat of arms. While other islands around the Caribbean exported sugar, bananas, coffee, cocoa, citrus, nutmeg, and other crops, Aruba was steadily cultivating aloe and successfully distributing aloe-


Fields of spiky Aloe vera in Hato, Aruba

his company Aruba Aloe Balm NV was the biggest producer of aloin (the yellow substance located just below the outer skin of the plant), then mainly used as a laxative, and sold to international pharmaceutical companies via Curaçao. According to Dr Koos Veel, current managing director of Aruba Aloe, thirty per cent of the world’s aloe was produced by the Aruba Aloe factory back in those days — a huge achievement for a little company on a tiny Caribbean island. When demand from pharmaceutical compa n ies d i m i n ished — becau se the Ar uba factor y was their direct competition for processed medicinal

as well, where many local products contain pure Aloe vera gel. If you visit the Aloe Balm headquarters — home to the A loe Museum and Factory — you can observe the entire process, from the cutting of the leaf to the final product on the shelf. Free tours are available in English, Dutch, Spanish, Papiamento, and Portuguese — a great outing for the entire family. The museum houses antique aloe tools, equipment, and machinery, and is also furnished with a library covering the history, manufacture, and healthy qualities of Aloe vera. Aruba Aloe’s first onsite retail store opened in 2000, and has since expanded

In the 1920s, two thirds of Aruba was covered with “lily of the desert” — an old name for the aloe

based products around the globe — aptly earning the name Island of Aloes. The aloe industry here dates back to the eighteenth century, when Mon Plaisir and Socotoro were the largest producers. In more recent years, houses and buildings have replaced many aloe fields, leaving a sole remaining plantation in Hato, on the northern outskirts of Oranjestad — the legacy of an enterprising businessman from more than a century ago. In 1890, Cornelis Eman purchased a dusty plot of land in Hato, burned by the sun and battered by strong winds, but perfect for growing aloe. Eman saw the value of the plant, and set about to produce aloe commercially. By 1905,

products — the Eman family got creative. Cornelius’s son Jani had the foresight to embark on the cosmetic side of aloe production. Aruba Aloe Balm became one of the first companies in the world to manufacture cosmetic products made from the aloe gel, launching its first line in 1968, before the rest of the world followed suit in the late 1970s. And to this day, Aruba Aloe continues to grow the plant and produce and package their products onsite in Hato.

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loe has been used cosmetically for over 3,500 years, due to its healing powers. It’s said that Cleopatra herself used it as a sun-protectant. The next time you go cosmetic shopping, check the label. You’ll find aloin or a variation of aloe extract on many ingredient labels. In 1990, the Cosmetic, Fragrance, and Toiletry Association — now called the Personal Care Products Council — stated that aloe is by far the most popular cosmetic and toiletry ingredient in the United States. It’s certainly true in Aruba

to sixteen locations throughout the island, stock ing over t wo hundred d if ferent products. No stra nger to accomplishments, in 2016 Aruba Aloe won an international award for a soap called Dream. Working with a distributor in Florida, Aruba Aloe exports to Central and South America, the United States, Europe, Africa, plus several Caribbean countries. Soldiers in Iraq even use one of its products, called Alhydran, for burns. There are several wonders of the world, and I’m a strong believer that aloe is one of them. This one plant is able to diversify an economy, with opportunities in education, health care, light manufacturing, and tourism. There’s even a month dedicated to the plant: the Happy Island, through the Aruba Tourism Authority, will host Aloe Wellness Month in June. So if you find yourself in Aruba and overdo it in the blazing sun, you’ll know where to look for relief — that “lily of the desert” that Caribbean households have depended on for generations. n WWW.CARIBBEAN-AIRLINES.COM

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on this day

The birdman One hundred and ninety years ago, one of the most celebrated landmarks in ornithology made its debut: John James Audubon’s massive Birds of America. Born in Haiti, Audubon was a restless traveller who transformed himself into an expert on the birds of North America — and his legacy in art, science, and conservation endures to this day, as James Ferguson explains Illustration by Rohan Mitchell

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f all the weird and wonderful pictures that have ended up in my house over the years, there is one I particularly like. Bought ages ago by my wife from a junk shop, it depicts a pair of Scarlet Ibis (Eudocimus ruber). In fact, only one of the birds is properly scarlet, its long narrow bill reaching over the head of its mostly brown juvenile companion, as it stares out into what appears to be a lagoon. Of course, these spectacular creatures will be well known to anyone who has visited Trinidad’s protected Caroni Swamp bird sanctuary, where they roost every evening in the mangrove trees after their daily commute across the Gulf of Paria to feed on crustaceans on the Venezuelan coast. The Scarlet Ibis is also one of Trinidad and Tobago’s two national birds. This image, decorative yet rigorously detailed, was produced by the

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nat ura list and painter John Ja mes Audubon in a massively ambitious project that involved eighty-seven sets of five illustrations, totalling 435 hand-coloured plates that were published over an elevenyear period. Birds of America began its extended publication in Edinburgh 190 years ago this year, in 1827, and stands as a landmark in ornithology, printing technology, and marketing. By the time of Birds of America, Audubon was an American citizen, but his roots were in the Caribbean, even though his parents were French. He was born as Jean Rabin in 1785 in Les Cayes in the French colony of Saint-Domingue (now Haiti), where his father, formerly a naval commander, had bought a sugarcane plantation. He was illegitimate, his mother a chambermaid who died when he was only six months old. As the tensions that would culminate in the Haitian Revolution mounted, his father decided

to take the three-year-old to Nantes in France, where young Jean was formally adopted by his father and his (highly forgiving) wife. Audubon’s childhood was spent in France during the tumultuous period of the 1789 Revolution and its aftermath. He seems to have had a natural affinity with wildlife, and with birds in particular, and loved walking in the Breton countryside. After a brief and unsuccessful experiment with seafaring, he was sent on a false passport by his father to the newly independent United States in 1803, in order to avoid conscription into the French military. His father had meanwhile sold up in Saint-Domingue and bought a lead mining business in Pennsylvania. With his new Anglicised name, he arrived in New York, ready to make a fortune. Or so his father hoped. But Audubon was a restless character, and his career was erratic and colourful. He married and had children, but he also tried, and failed, to run a trading business, and ended up bankrupt and in jail. At one point he turned to hunting to feed his family, dressing as a frontiersman and wielding a tomahawk. But, throughout, he kept drawing, collecting, and taking notes. His method was unusual: he would first shoot the specimen in question with fine shot, then prop the dead bird up with wires to achieve a lifelike effect. All were drawn life-size, even large turkeys and eagles — hence their sometimes contorted appearance as they were fitted into sheets no bigger than thirty-nine by twenty-six inches. S l o w l y, A u d u b o n ’s c o l l e c t i o n expanded. While his wife Lucy worked teaching the children of wealthy plantation owners, he also gave art lessons, and this enabled him to travel and begin his vast enterprise of drawing every bird in America. By 1824 he had amassed enough drawings to approach a publisher in Philadelphia; he was flatly rejected.

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o it was that Audubon, with his hoard of over three hundred drawings, arrived in Liverpool in the autumn of 1826, looking to publish and promote his life’s work. His reception in Britain was warmer than he could have


hoped for. He gave talks, organised exhibitions, and accepted commissions. His frontiersman image also proved highly marketable, and “the American woodsman,” as he was dubbed, became something of a celebrity. This he used to gather subscriptions from the great and the good, including King George IV, who signed up to buy a copy of his work in advance. Committing these subscriptions and his own money to the project, he did not need a publisher, and took all the profits himself. His investment has been calculated at $115,000 (around $2 million at today’s value), but selling some two hundred sets at $870 each brought in about $175,000. Subscribers received a fresh set of five hand-coloured printed engravings, based on his drawings, every month or two. An accompanying explanatory text was also published in five volumes. This vast “Double Elephant Folio,” printed in Edinburgh, was followed by a smaller and more affordable edition, again sold to subscribers, and then more

editions followed. Finally wealthy, Audubon returned to the US, where he bought a twenty-acre estate by the Hudson in northern Manhattan. He continued to draw new species, travelling from Newfoundland to Florida, and published Ornithological Biographies in 1841. He was working on a book on mammals when his health began to fail, and he died on 27 January, 1851, at his Manhattan home. Reproductions of Audubon’s images are widely available these days, but if you should wish to acquire one of the original two hundred sets — as did a Qatari sheikh at an auction at Christie’s in London in 2000 — you would have to pay something like £8.8 million. But Audubon’s real legacy perhaps lies in the National Audubon Society, a non-profit environmental pressure group, with five hundred chapters across the US and many affiliated groups in the Caribbean. Established in 1905, it educates the public about conservation and protection and operates sanctuaries in many different habitats.

Audubon’s best-known drawing is probably the American Flamingo (Phoenicopterus ruber), the large wader with electric red-orange plumage. In his depiction, it is bending its long, elegant neck down at the water’s edge (and hence neatly filling the page). Given Audubon’s early life, it is suitable that this iconic image is of a bird that is still today found in Haiti — though under threat — as well across the Caribbean from Trinidad and Tobago to the Bahamas. His notes on the Flamingo, taken at the Florida Keys, are largely factual and rather dry, but one brief section reveals the sheer joy and excitement that bird-watching always gave him: Ah! reader, could you but know the emotions that then agitated my breast! I thought I had now reached the height of all my expectations, for my voyage to the Floridas was undertaken in a great measure for the purpose of studying these lovely birds in their own beautiful islands. n WWW.CARIBBEAN-AIRLINES.COM

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puzzles 1

CARIBBEAN CROSSWORD

SPOT THE DIFFERENCE

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Across 6 This St Lucia park isn’t just for the birds [6,6] 9 Monkey with strong lungs [6] 10 Dehydrated, like tomatoes [8] 11 He deals in “alternative facts” [4] 12 This one knows it all [6] 14 British honour [3] 16 It takes the sting out of sunburn [4] 17 Freshwater fish [5] 19 Like vinegar or lemon [4] 21 The best card [3] 23 Religious divide [5] 25 Five-hundred-mile auto race [4] 27 Natural Caribbean asset [8] 28 Musical dramas [6] 29 Central Trinidad village [12] Down 1 A Nevis cocktail with a sting [6,3] 2 Most strange [8] 3 Picnic invaders [4] 4 Tinkerbell, perhaps? [5] 5 It modifies an adjective [6] 7 Echolocation device [5] 8 Media like Facebook [5] 13 Nassau’s island [6] 15 Stuffing wildlife [9]

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There are 10 differences between these two pictures. How many can you spot? by James Hackett

Spot the Difference answers There are clouds present in the background of the right picture; the woman’s t-shirt is a different colour; the man has patterned trousers; there is grass on the trail; there are fewer details on the woman’s shoes; the man’s socks are different; the image on the right has more greenery; there are stitching details on the woman’s trousers; the man’s backpack has different details; the birds are missing.

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anniversary arrival athlete azure Bahamas Bhojpuri business Caroni celebrity Charlestown conscious filmmaker flamingo gateway geothermal

ibis jazz Killer Bee Lion House musician pineapple Rodney Bay roti rum sunburn Sunshine tourism Waterloo youth zone

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If the puzzle you want to do has already been filled in, just ask your flight attendant for a new copy of the magazine!

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Fill the empty square with numbers from 1 to 9 so that each row, each column, and each 3x3 box contains all of the numbers from 1 to 9. For the mini sudoku use numbers from 1 to 6.

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87% (2017 year-to-date: 31 January)


Caribbean Airlines CARIBBEAN Trinidad Head Office Airport: Piarco International Reservations & information: + 868 625 7200 (local) Ticket offices: Nicholas Towers, Independence Square, Port of Spain; Golden Grove Road, Piarco; Carlton Centre, San Fernando Baggage: + 868 669 3000 Ext 7513/4

Antigua Airport: VC Bird International Reservations & information: + 800 744 2225 (toll free) Ticketing: VC Bird International Airport Hours: Mon – Fri 8 am – 4 pm Baggage: + 268-480-5705 Tues, Thurs, Fri, Sun, or + 268 462 0528 Mon, Wed, Sat. Hours: Mon – Fri 4 am – 10 pm

Barbados Airport: Grantley Adams International Reservations & information: 1 246 429 5929 / 1 800 744 2225 (toll free) City Ticket Office: 1st Floor Norman Centre Building, Broad Street, Bridgetown, Barbados Ticket office hours: 6 am – 10 am & 11 am – 7 pm daily Flight Information: + 1 800 744 2225 Baggage: + 1 246 428 1650/1 or + 1 246 428 7101 ext. 4628

Grenada Airport: Maurice Bishop International Reservations & Information: 1 800 744 2225 (toll free) Ticketing: Maurice Bishop International Main Terminal Baggage: + 473 439 0681

Jamaica (Kingston) Airport: Norman Manley International Reservations & information: + 800 523 5585 (International); 1 888 359 2475 (Local) City Ticket Office: 128 Old Hope Road, Kingston 6 Hours: Mon-Fri 7.30 am – 5.30 pm, Saturdays 10 am – 4 pm Airport Ticket Office: Norman Manley Airport Counter #1 Hours: 3.30 am – 8 pm daily Baggage: + 876 924 8500

Jamaica (Montego Bay) Airport: Sangster International Reservations & information: + 800 744 2225 (toll free) Ticketing at check-in counter: 8.30 am – 6 pm daily Baggage: + 876 363 6433

/ Across the World

Nassau

Orlando

Airport: Lynden Pindling International Terminal: Concourse 2 Reservations & information: + 1 242 377 3300 (local) Airport Ticket Office: Terminal A-East Departure Hours: Flight days – Sat, Mon, Thurs 10 am – 4 pm Non-flight days – Tues, Wed, Fri 10 am – 4 pm Flight Information: + 1 242 377 3300 (local) Baggage: + 1 242 377 7035 Ext 255 9 am – 5 pm daily

Airport: Orlando International Reservations & information: + 800 920 4225 (toll free) Ticketing: Terminal A – departures level (during flight check-in ONLY – Mon/Fri 11:30 am – 2.15 pm) Baggage: + 407 825 3482

St Maarten Airport: Princess Juliana International Reservations & information: + 1721 546 7660/7661 (local) Ticket office: PJIA Departure Concourse Baggage: + 1721 546 7660/3 Hours: Mon – Fri 9 am – 5 pm / Sat 9 am – 6 pm

St Lucia Airport: George F L Charles Reservations & information: 1 800 744 2225 Ticket office: George F.L. Charles Airport Ticket office hours: 10 am – 4 pm Baggage contact number: 1 758 452 2789 or 1 758 451 7269

St Vincent and the Grenadines Airport: Argyle International Reservations & information: + 800 744 2225 Ticketing: Argyle International Airport (during flight check-in ONLY)

Tobago Airport: ANR Robinson International Reservations & information: + 868 660 7200 (local) Ticket office: ANR Robinson International Airport Baggage: + 639 0595 / 631 8023 Flight information: + 868 669 3000

NORTH AMERICA Fort Lauderdale Airport: Hollywood Fort Lauderdale International Reservations & information: + 800 920 4225 (toll free) Ticketing: Terminal 4 – departures level (during flight check-in ONLY – 7.30 am to 7 pm) Baggage: + 954 359 4487

Miami Airport: Miami International Reservations & information: + 800 920 4225 (toll free) Ticketing: South Terminal J – departures level (during flight check-in ONLY – 12 pm to 3.00 pm); Baggage: + 305 869 3795

New York Airport: John F Kennedy International Reservations & information: + 800 920 4225 (toll free) Ticketing: Concourse B, Terminal 4, JFK International – open 24 hours (situated at departures, 4th floor) Baggage: + 718 360 8930

Toronto Airport: Lester B Pearson International Reservations & information: + 800 920 4225 (toll free) Ticket office: Terminal 3 Ticketing available daily at check-in counters 422 and 423. Available 3 hours prior to departure times Baggage: + 905 672 9991

SOUTH AMERICA Caracas Airport: Simón Bolívar International Reservations & information: + 58 212 3552880 Ticketing: Simón Bolívar International Level 2 – East Sector Hours: 7 am – 11 pm City Ticket Office: Sabana Grande Boulevard, Building “Galerias Bolivar”, 1st Floor, office 11-A, Caracas, Distrito Capital + 58 212 762 4389 / 762 0231 Baggage: + 58 424 1065937

Guyana Airport: Cheddi Jagan International Reservations & information: + 800 744 2225 (toll free) Ticket office: 91-92 Avenue of the Republic, Georgetown Baggage: + 011 592 261 2202

Suriname Airport: Johan Adolf Pengel International Reservations & information: + 597 52 0034/0035 (local); 1 868 625 6200 (Trinidad) Ticket Office: Paramaribo Express, N.V. Wagenwegstraat 36, Paramaribo Baggage: + 597 325 437


737 onboard Entertainment — MAY/JUNE Northbound

Southbound

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Hidden Figures

Sing

An elite team of black female mathematicians at NASA help win the space race and advance the quest for equality.

A koala named Buster decides to host a singing competition to attract more customers to his theatre business.

Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, Janelle Monáe • director: Theodore Melfi • drama • PG • 127 minutes

Matthew McConaughey, Reese Witherspoon, Seth MacFarlane • directors: Christophe Lourdelet, Garth Jennings • comedy, family • PG • 108 minutes

Northbound

Southbound

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Passengers

A Dog’s Purpose

On a spacecraft, a passenger wakes ninety years before anyone else. Faced with the prospect of a life alone, he decides to wake up a second passenger.

A devoted dog searches for meaning in his life — a journey that spans several different owners and lifetimes.

Jennifer Lawrence, Chris Pratt, Michael Sheen • director: Morten Tyldum • sci-fi, romance • PG-13 • 116 minutes

Josh Gad, Dennis Quaid, Britt Robertson • director: Lasse Hallström • comedy, drama • PG • 100 minutes

Audio Channels Channel 5 • The Hits

Channel 7 • Concert Hall

Channel 9 • Irie Vibes

Channel 11 • Kaiso Kaiso

Channel 6 • Soft Hits

Channel 8 • East Indian Fusion

Channel 10 • Jazz Sessions

Channel 12 • Steelband Jamboree


parting shot

Born blue Native to the rainforest of southern Suriname, the blue poison dart frog — also called okopipi in the indigenous Trio language — earns its name with both its astonishing azure skin and its poison glands, designed to deter predators. Each frog has a unique pattern of black spots, as distinctive as fingerprints on a human Photography by ABDESIGN/Istock.com

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Partnering with

Caribbean Airlines and RBC sign new agreement continuing 10 year relationship January 12th, 2017 marked a significant milestone in the decade-long relationship between RBC Royal Bank Limited and Caribbean Airlines Limited when the extended agreement between the two entities was signed.

Caribbean Airlines is delighted to once again partner with RBC to deliver value to our customers. This partnership meets one of our key objectives of being customer focused, and improving the overall service offering to travelers.”

This agreement further highlights the partnership of two strong, well-established brands in the Caribbean: RBC which has operated in the Caribbean for more than 100 years and Caribbean Airlines which has been recognized for the sixth consecutive year as the “Caribbean’s Leading Airline” at the Annual World Travel Awards.

In addition to the existing rewards programme, the new RBC Caribbean Airlines credit card will offer both retail and business clients premium benefits such as travel insurance, concierge services and other reward earning opportunities that will allow clients to redeem faster.

Chief Executive Officer of RBC Financial Caribbean Limited, Rob Johnston, said: “The renewal of this great partnership is a significant one for RBC as it represents our commitment to our clients and to delivering improved products and services that cater to their evolving needs. We are proud of our relationship with Caribbean Airlines, another strong, regional brand which is committed to serving the people of both the Caribbean and the Caribbean diaspora.” Acting Chief Executive Officer of Caribbean Airlines, Captain Jagmohan Singh said: “As we celebrate our tenth anniversary in 2017,

® /™ Trademark(s) of Royal Bank of Canada. Used under licence.

Watch out for exciting changes to our RBC Caribbean Airlines credit card in 2017!

Up, up and away – Captain Jagmohan Singh, CAL CEO (Ag) left, shares a moment in the cockpit with RBC CEO - Mr. Rob Johnston.

An historical moment indeed – Captain Jagmohan Singh, CAL CEO (Ag) left renewed partnership. Looking on are the executive teams of both RBC and CAL. From right - Mr. Darryl White, RBC Managing Director (Trinidad & Tobago), Mr. Clayton Van Esch, Head, Products, Marketing & Channels, RBC Financial Caribbean , Mr. Sean Quong Sing, CAL V.P. Commercial (Ag) and Mrs. Alicia Cabrera, CAL Senior Marketing Manager.

The sky is the limit – A proud moment for the Executive teams of RBC and CAL as they celebrate this partnership.

Caribbean Beat — May/June 2017 (#145)  

• Events around the Caribbean in May & June • Traces of Indian Bhojpuri still liven Guyanese speech • Derek Walcott (1930–2017) • Reading,...

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