Caribbean Beat — July/August 2022 (#171)

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RE-defining, RE-furbishing, RE-calibrating…all for YOU!

A Message

from our CEO

You may do so via our website: www. caribbean-airlines.com Garvin Medera CEO, Caribbean Airlines

We are more than halfway through 2022 — and what an exciting year it continues to be! At the start of the year, our corporate campaign Reset Expectations was launched, and we are delighted with your positive response to it. As we continue to deliver on our commitment for an enhanced travel experience, our Club Caribbean customers can now enjoy a refurbished lounge at the Piarco International Airport, Trinidad. The refreshed lounge will provide even more comfort to our Business Class and Club Caribbean members, with a sleek modern look and more amenities, so you can relax before your flight. We’re also happy to share that a playroom has been created in the lounge and children can use it for free. We’ve also re-introduced one complimentary guest pass for all Club members. Our team is steadfast in our commitment to offer you more value with our products and services, and so we’re redesigning the Caribbean Miles Loyalty Programme. Later this year, we will roll out a refreshed earning scheme with a new tier qualification structure that will provide you with a more rewarding experience. Details of these benefits will be revealed in the coming months. So, if you are not a member, now is a great time to join for free!

#REcalibrated

Based on your feedback, we’ve enhanced the contact options on our free Caribbean Airlines mobile app, which is available for both iOS and Android devices. Now at your fingertips — and for FREE — you can call us via the app. All you need to do is click “CALL US NOW”, located in the main menu. You don’t even have to know the number as the app takes you directly to our Call Centre. All you need is Wi-Fi or an active data connection. Our intention is to improve every aspect of our business and, to this end, we’ve redefined and relaunched our Jetpak service and augmented our duty-free shopping. In addition to our in-store and online options, we’ve expanded the Caribbean Airlines Duty-Free Store to include cutting edge screens that allow you to shop virtually. They will form part of a new kiosk, to be located upstairs next to our refurbished Club Caribbean Lounge at Piarco.

Jetpak is currently an airport-toairport service for small packages of 50 pounds or less. However, given the burgeoning needs of our customers, we’ve redefined this product to offer a door-to-door experience. This way, you can make purchases online and have the packages delivered directly to you in the Caribbean from the United States, starting in July with Trinidad & Tobago.

Some of the highlights of our RE-defined Jetpak product include: • online tracking • online payments • direct home delivery • convenient pickup locations and • the option to be cleared at the Caribbean Airlines bond in Piarco. This is a natural progression of our business, and in the coming years we intend to expand this service throughout the region. The world has become increasingly interconnected, and expedited shipping is now crucial to growing the global economy and facilitating global trade. Our vision is to make it possible for entrepreneurs and individuals from any island to use our Jetpak service to transport small products efficiently, and affordably, throughout the region. These are interesting times, and we are looking forward to the positive impact that our renewed products and services will have on our customers.

Marklan Moseley General Manager Cargo and New Business, Caribbean Airlines

Thank you for your support and for being a part of this successful movement! #Recalibrate #Resetexpectations

CaribbeanAirlines


Contents No. 171 • July/August 2022

42 16 EMBARK

14 Wish you were here

Anse des Pitons, St Lucia

16 Event & screen buzz

Carnivals and other special events across the region

22 Sports buzz

36 Try this

Cayman Islands-based Food Network chef Dylan Benoit celebrates the region’s favourite spirit, and offers a sinful rum-infused recipe IMMERSE

42 Round trip

Terrence Clarke highlights Caribbean athletes to watch at the Commonwealth Games

The beaches we love Caribbean Beat team members share some of our favourite regional beaches

28 Art buzz

54 Backstory

Grenada makes its fifth consecutive appearance at the Venice Biennial; and Asian-Caribbean artists are on show at the Ford Foundation Gallery in New York

32 Book & music buzz

Reviews by Shivanee Ramlochan and Nigel A Campbell

34 Food buzz

Shelly-Ann Inniss learns how a South African and a Trini arrived at opening a doubles stand in Antigua

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In the Groove Trinidad & Tobago’s Phase II Pan Groove, founded by Len “Boogsie” Sharpe, celebrates its 50th anniversary in August. Nigel A Campbell looks back at the pioneering journey

58 The game

Twenty20 vision As the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) turns 10, Sheldon Waithe looks at the monumental success of “the biggest party in sport”

62 Snapshot

Griot of the universe With a trailblazing Barbadian mother and CLR James for a step-grandfather, award-winning author and scientist Chanda Prescod-Weinstein shares with Erline Andrews how her Caribbean roots have shaped her success

66 Inspire

The old girls and the sea Community-based organisations have made Trinidad & Tobago the most important leatherback nesting site in the hemisphere. Caroline Taylor shares how, and why you must see these beautiful creatures up close

70 On this day

Royal dissent Like Trinidad & Tobago, Jamaica celebrates its 60th anniversary of independence in August and, as James Ferguson reports, is among the countries in the region likely soon to become a republic

72 Puzzles

Enjoy our crossword, spot-thedifference, and other brain teasers!

80 Parting Shot

Tobago Cays, St Vincent & the Grenadines


Caribbean Beat An MEP publication

Editor Caroline Taylor Designer Kevon Webster General manager Halcyon Salazar Editorial assistant Shelly-Ann Inniss Production manager Jacqueline Smith Finance director Joanne Mendes Publisher Jeremy Taylor

Business Development Manager, Tobago and International Evelyn Chung T: (868) 684–4409 E: evelyn@meppublishers.com Business Development Representative, Trinidad Tracy Farrag T: (868) 318–1996 E: tracy@meppublishers.com

Media & Editorial Projects Ltd. 6 Prospect Avenue, Long Circular, Maraval 120111, Trinidad and Tobago T: (868) 622–3821/6138 E: caribbean-beat@meppublishers.com Websites: meppublishers.com • caribbean-beat.com Cover A critically endangered leatherback turtle hatchling (Dermochelys coriacea) makes its way to the sea after hatching on Stonehaven (Grafton) Beach, Tobago Photo Giancarlo Lalsingh

Printed by SCRIP-J, Trinidad and Tobago

Read and save issues of Caribbean Beat on your smartphone, tablet, computer, and favourite digital devices! 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 2022. 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

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Work remotely in the Caribbean toARE-charge Message and RE-spire

from our CEO

I

n the Socratic dialogue Republic, Plato famously wrote: “our need will be the real creator”. Over time this maxim morphed into the saying “necessity is the mother of invention”…and in the Caribbean, we know all too well about creativity and inventiveness. The region is home to the steelpan, the only acoustic instrument invented in the 20th century; and a rich range of diverse, delightful cuisine and festivals that are unlike any others in the world. History suggests that the greatest drivers of ingenuity and innovation were war, famine, pandemic, and death. The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged us in many ways, with Caribbean tourism taking a direct hit when border restrictions and closures meant that leisure and business travel was limited and, in some instances, altogether halted.

review by Bahamas Immigration. Approval can take up to five days, at which point applicants will receive an email for payment. Once the payment is processed, a confirmation QR Code is sent, which must be shown upon entry into The Bahamas. That’s it. Barbados introduced the Barbados Welcome Stamp — a visa that allows you to relocate and work from one of the world’s most beloved tourism destinations for up to 12 months. Dominica implemented the Work In Nature (WIN) Extended Stay Visa programme, which provides individuals and families the opportunity to work remotely for up to 18 months. Undoubtedly, Dominica provides some of the most scenic locations in the Caribbean, steeped in an abundance of nature, vibrant culture, and friendly people.

The job market was also impacted in unprecedented ways, with remote work emerging as a hallmark of the new paradigm. And so, in keeping with our spirit of resilience and innovation, many Caribbean countries quickly capitalised on this through remote work programmes, promoting the islands as appealing, vibrant, and warm alternatives to the cold, grey, and rainy temperate countries further north. From the Bahamas in the north to Curaçao in the south, the Caribbean now offers a suite of remote work options for those no longer required to show up to work in person. Even better, Caribbean Airlines flies directly to several of the destinations that have introduced these programmes. Visit www.caribbbean-airlines.com for flight details and schedules.

Not to be left out, Curaçao offers remote workers with Dutch or US citizenship the opportunity to stay and work on the island. And if you’re not a Dutch or US citizen but still want to live and work in Curaçao, there are terms and conditions which apply. The island boasts of offering a unique work/life balance and a renowned multicultural community.

A bit of research will provide the details to help you decide which idyllic destination best suits your needs. Each programme has an application process; some have fees, and they all have terms and conditions by which the applicant must abide.

Necessity is truly the mother of invention and, with a bit of luck, this innovative spirit will thrive far beyond the pandemic.

The Bahamas has one of the simplest remote work options through Bahamas Beats! Living the island life for up to a year is as easy as filling out an online BEATS application for

Dionne Ligoure is the Head of Corporate Communications for Caribbean Airlines Limited. Contact: dionne.ligoure@ caribbean-airlines.com

#REcalibrated

Anguilla, Monserrat, the Cayman Islands and Bermuda also have programmes of varying flexibility. Whichever Caribbean destination you decide to explore, what is guaranteed is an experience unlike any other in a part of the world with an irresistible mix of culture, cuisine, good weather, and relaxed living — the ideal place to truly find that work/life balance, REcharge and REspire.

CaribbeanAirlines


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wish you were here

Anse des Pitons Nestled between Gros and Petit Piton is the magnificent crescent-shaped bay that shimmers below: Anse des Pitons. The beach itself is a regional affair: the black volcanic sand — a hallmark of beaches around Soufrière — was covered years ago by white sand imported from Guyana. But the magic is in the calm, clear, emerald green water. It’s like glass! The sheltered bay shelves rapidly into the sea, and there is wonderful snorkelling at the Petit Piton end of the beach. This is a protected area within a national marine reserve, so the waters and coral reefs are teeming with marine life — from parrotfish and angelfish to sea turtles.

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Courtesy Tobago Festivals Commission/Tobago Beyond

Essential info about what’s happening across the region to help you make the most of July and August!

event buzz

Don’t miss Tobago’s rich cultural heritage is on show at the Tobago Heritage Festival, which runs from mid-July to the beginning of August. Visitors can explore the island’s history and culture through events celebrating its dance, storytelling, food, music, and so much more. Crowd favourites include the Ole Time Tobago Wedding in Moriah, as well as Folk Tales & Superstitions in Les Coteaux. The costumes, smiles, and passionate performances are irresistible as Tobagonians honour their heritage and traditions.

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Festival calendar Named for the resilience and versatility of the calabash, the Montserrat Calabash Festival (17–23 July) showcases the creativity of local artisans and the island’s rich culture with live performances, hikes, a family day, boat excursions, and culinary experiences.

Courtesy Reggae Sumfest

Courtesy Montserrat Tourism Division

event buzz

The biggest names in reggae and dancehall converge for Reggae Sumfest (20–23 July) in Montego Bay, Jamaica. The star-studded line-up includes Shenseea, Dexta Daps, Spice, Christopher Martin, and some of your favourite legends.

Nature Picture Library/Alamy

Powerful wind and waves test sailors on the high seas at the Grand Bahama Regatta (21–23 July). Sailors in Class B and C sloops compete in races off Taino Beach, Lucaya for top prizes and the coveted “Champion of the Sea” title.

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Courtesy Emancipation Support Committee of T&T Jason Audain

Emancipation Day (1 August) commemorates the official end of slavery in British colonies in 1834. It is celebrated across the English-speaking Caribbean with performances, processions, lectures, exhibitions, and historical re-enactments to both entertain and enlighten. There are similar celebrations in Suriname a month earlier — their Keti Koti festival, meaning “broken chains”, commemorates abolition in the Dutch-speaking Caribbean (1 July 1863). Energetic tassa drumming drives the multiday Hosay festivities in Trinidad (culminating around 8 August), the island’s incarnation of Islamic Muharram observances. Shia Muslim celebrants carry multi-coloured moons and tadjahs — interpretations of the tomb of Hussein, the martyred grandson of the Prophet Muhammad — on their shoulders through the streets of St James and Cedros. There are also observances in Jamaica, Suriname, and Guyana. WWW.CARIBBEAN-AIRLINES.COM

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event buzz Caribana (Toronto, Canada)

28 July–1 August Toronto’s Caribbean diaspora celebrates the region’s culture in an incredible display of visual and performing arts, costumes, and revelry

Courtesy Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc

Crop Over (Barbados)

Carnival fever

Jamaica Carnival

4–14 July Fusions of reggae, soca, dancehall, and calypso fuel the parades and parties leading up to the National Carnival Road March, where bands of masqueraders compete for supremacy

St Lucia Carnival

7–19 July Revelry with Lucian flair means parties, competitions, and pumping to the island’s distinctive Dennery Segment music alongside soca and calypso

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Antigua Carnival

27 July–2 August Closely tied to Emancipation commemorations, the festive season of shows and parades culminates with an explosion of colour, music, and celebration in the streets of St John

16–26 August The city is filled with spectacular music, conga lines, extravagant costumes, and fireworks. Strains of traditional and contemporary music fill the air as the parade runs the length of the Malecon

Notting Hill Carnival (London, England)

27–29 August Samba bands, masquerade bands, steelbands and more bands celebrate the Carnival spirit at one of Europe’s largest street festivals. There are activities for kids, lots of good food, and live music stages playing everything from Afrobeats to house music.

Courtesy Pure Grenada Tourism Authority

24 June–5 July The non-stop action includes main events like J’Ouvert, Soca Monarch, Panorama, and the Parade of the Bands through the streets of Kingstown

Spicemas (Grenada)

4–13 August Let the energy of the Jab Jab power you through the Spicemas season, from the Calypso Finals on Fantastic Thursday (4 August) to the Parade of the Bands on Tuesday (9 August)

Havana Carnival (Cuba)

We ready for de road! After two years without rushing to catch our bands or reuniting with staunch Carnival lovers, the costumes, street parades, competitions and presentations — not to mention non-stop soca music — are back! Vincy Mas (St Vincent)

29 July–2 August An entire season of dusk-til-dawn parties, arts and craft markets, and culinary street fairs climaxes with an epic masquerade at Grand Kadooment on the first Monday in August


Soleil Short Film Saturday x Third Horizon

Soleil Short Film Saturday x Third Horizon

screen buzz

Leaps of faith The Soleil Short Film Saturday x Third Horizon series continues this July with Jamaican Kia Moses’ debut film, Flight — which follows a Jamaican boy at a crossroads in his life who sets his sights on flying to the moon; and Barbadian Melanie Grant’s Book of Jasmine — which follows a woman torn between her spirituality and her sexuality, and on a journey for answers. The July instalment of the series — a partnership between Soleil Space and the Third Horizon Film Festival to showcase short films from the Caribbean diaspora — streams 9th July at 12pm EST on the Soleil Space YouTube channel (youtube. com/soleilspace). Q&As with the filmmakers will follow the screenings.

Left A scene from Flight, directed by Kia Moses Above Melanie Grant, director of Book of Jasmine

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sports buzz

A Commonwealth quest With the Commonwealth Games set for 28 July–8 August, Terrence Clarke highlights some of the Caribbean athletes to watch Barbados “Games for everyone” is a fitting motto for the 22nd edition of the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England, with some 5,000 athletes from across the Commonwealth gathering to test their skills against both the elements and opponents across 20 sports and 283 events. Caribbean athletes have commonly found success here, copping 41 medals at the 2018 Games in Australia. However, all but three of those medals came in track and field, and most of those athletes will only have a four-day window between the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games and the conclusion of the IAAF World Athletics Championships in Oregon, United States. Traditionally, when other major athletic events coincide with the Commonwealth Games, many of the superstars of athletics — not just from the Caribbean — opt out. The silver lining is that the Caribbean will have an opportunity to unearth new stars. Here are some of the region’s best hopes for this summer’s Games — across ages and disciplines — with the talent, promise, form, or experience to excel.

Deandra Dottin & Hayley Matthews (cricket) Cricket makes its return to the Commonwealth Games for the first time since 1998, but it will be the debut for women’s cricket. Given the distinction to represent the West Indies will be the Barbados women’s team, with two of the best and most exciting all-round talents in Deandra Dottin and Hayley Matthews. Fresh from a semi-final finish at the recent ICC Women’s World Cup in New Zealand, they will be hoping to go further in Birmingham.

Antigua & Barbuda Cejhae Greene (athletics) Greene now has the baton as the lead sprinter for his country. Now entering his prime, the 26-year-old copped bronze medals at both the junior and senior levels at the CAC and Pan American Games. He’ll surely set his sights on precious metal in Birmingham.

Donald Thomas (high jump) At 37 years young, Thomas is at the backend of his glittering career but wants to end it on a high in Birmingham. The veteran has a stellar career record in the high jump, with gold medals at the 2007 World Championships and 2010 Commonwealth Games on his resume. Despite his age, he’s proving he can still compete, with a season’s best 2.25m jump and an 11th place finish at the recent World Indoor Championships. 22

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Courtesy Cricket West Indies Inc.

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sports buzz Lafond at the Tokyo Olympics

dpa picture alliance/Alamy Stock Photo

Felix Sanchez Arrazola/Alamy Stock Photo

Peters takes gold at the 2019 World Athletics Championships in Doha

Dominica Thea LaFond (triple jump) The 2018 Commonwealth Games was a breakthrough event for Dominica. The country tasted success for the first time when 28-year-old LaFond’s 12.82m leap earned her bronze in the triple jump. Yordanys Durañona Garcia (triple jump) Dominica waited 60 years for its first Commonwealth Games medal, but only needed four more days for its second. Yordanys Durañona Garcia’s triple jump distance of 16.86m earned the Cubaborn athlete a silver medal.

Grenada Anderson Peters (javelin) Still only 24, Anderson Peters is a veteran in the javelin arena. The Grenadian is no longer a wildcard, especially after striking gold at the 2019 World Championships in Doha. Gold escaped him in 2018, so he will be aiming for gold in Birmingham.

Virtual Estate 360 courtesy Guyana Amateur Swimming Association

Aleka Persaud

Lindon Victor (decathlon) With four medals over its last two Commonwealth Games, the Spice Isle will be looking to continue its success. And 29-year-old Lindon Victor, who holds the decathlon record for Grenada, will be looking to defend his gold medal from the last Games.

Guyana Chelsea Edghill (table tennis) Edghill created history by becoming the first table tennis player to represent Guyana at the Olympic Games. At the age of 24, she already has loads of experience, having competed at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow as a 17-year-old and representing Guyana at the Youth Olympics and Pan American Games. Aleka Persaud (swimming) Persaud has the distinction of being Guyana’s youngest Olympian, after taking her bow at the tender age of 15 in Tokyo. She holds the national record in the 50m freestyle (among many others), and will be taking her first crack at the Commonwealth Games.

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A D V E R T O R I A L


sports buzz Nicholas Paul at the Tokyo Olympics

dpa picture alliance/Alamy Stock Photo

Trinidad & Tobago

Jamaica Jhaniele Fowler & Shamera Sterling (netball) What happens when you pair the best shooter in netball, Jhaniele Fowler, with arguably the most versatile and best defender, Shamera Sterling? You get a formidable Sunshine Girls netball team, and genuine gold medal contenders. Yona Knight-Wisdom (diving) The 26-year-old diver has Pan American silver in his collection, and as a veteran of two Olympics and one Commonwealth Games, he’ll be looking to make a big splash…though only proverbially! Chloe Whylie (weightlifting) Whylie has an impressive haul of silver and two bronze medals from the 2022 Canadian Invitational, so it seems weightlifting might just be able to shoulder some of the medal-winning burden!

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St Lucia Julien Alfred (athletics) Alfred is one of the young sprint sensations in the region. At 20, the Texas Longhorns star earned silver in the women’s 100m at the Youth Olympics and struck gold over the same distance at the Commonwealth Youth Games in Nassau. She’s on the cusp of breaking through and could very well do so in Birmingham.

St Vincent & the Grenadines Shafiqua Maloney (athletics) Maloney is SVG’s most accomplished and seasoned athlete but is still just 23. The middle-distance runner proved her quality, winning gold and silver in the 800m and 400m events respectively at the NACAC Under-23 Championships. She’ll be knocking on the door at these Games.

Nigel Paul (boxing) Paul lasted only seven seconds on his debut at the Rio Olympics, then failed to make the Tokyo edition after a change to the ranking system. He could have thrown in the towel but kept fighting, rebounding to win bronze at the World Championships in the super heavyweight division last year. Never one to be counted out, Paul will be aiming to write his name among the best in Birmingham. Dylan Carter (swimming) Carter closed off his 2021 season as one of the hottest swimmers, setting multiple records and guiding his London Roar team to a third-place finish at the International Swimming League. A twotime Olympian and Commonwealth Games silver medallist, Carter has the form and credentials to make a bigger impression at the Games.

Yona Knight-Wisdom at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow Action Plus Sports Images/Alamy Stock Photo

Keevin Allicock (boxing) Guyana has a reputation for producing quality boxers and Allicock seems destined to be another. The 22-yearold featherweight fighter is considered one of the best in the English-speaking Caribbean — if not the very best in his division. There’s no doubt the reigning Commonwealth Youth Games silver medallist will be ready to punch his way to success in Birmingham.

Nicholas Paul (cycling) They say speed kills, and Nicholas Paul has more than everyone else as the world’s fastest man. Despite missing time due to injury, the 23-year-old will still be one of the most feared riders at the Games, because he has loads of experience, skill and — importantly — speed.


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Courtesy the Grenada National Pavilion

art buzz

Making Shakespeare Mas in Venice This year, Grenada is making its fifth consecutive appearance with a national pavilion at the prestigious Venice Biennial (La Biennale di Venezia), which runs through November. We talked to artist and Grenada Pavilion Commissioner Susan Mains to learn more

Why is Grenada such a regular visitor to this great Italian festival?

This presence in Venice — in the heart of Europe — in the oldest art biennale in the world gives us a place at the table. It gives voice to our authentic stories. This lets our work be seen. It demonstrates that the Caribbean is much more than the sand and sun used to promote our tourism. It is a civilisation made up of real people, with real struggles and — in many ways — real solutions. Our artists have benefited tremendously, using it as a springboard for other biennales, art projects, and exhibitions.

What has been your own journey to do this work?

Courtesy the Grenada National Pavilion

When you attempt something that has not been done before, that others tell you is impossible, there is a great deal of fear and trepidation. I tend to believe that if your dreams and goals don’t scare you, they are not big enough. This has been a huge learning curve for me, and along the way I have met many people who are willing to help. Our curator, Dr Daniele Radini Tedeschi, has provided tremendous support, and he has a very wide depth of knowledge from which we draw.

Above from left to right: Artists Oliver Benoit, Angus Martin, Billy Gerrard Frank, Samuel Ogilvie, Susan Mains, Asher Mains, and Ian Friday Left Empathy of Place and Shakespeare Mas

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Courtesy the Grenada National Pavilion

Right Oliver Benoit with one of his paintings Below Curator Daniele Radini Tedeschi with Samuel Ogilvie and Ian Friday

What has it taken for Grenada to have such a consistent presence at Venice?

What can people see at this year’s Grenada Pavilion?

The title of this one is An unknown that does not terrify, taken from the writings of Martiniquan poet and philosopher Eduoard Glissant. The visual focus is the very unique carnival ritual of Shakespeare Mas from Carriacou, our smaller sister island. In this speech mas, two characters recite the lines of Shakespeare, usually Julius Caesar, loudly in the street. If one makes a mistake, the other can take a bull whip and give him a lash. The Cypher Art Collect of Grenada spent almost two years in Zoom meetings discussing the portrayal of this very lively traditional mas. An original traditional costume was researched by Angus Martin, our historian, then an actual display of the street theatre is shown

Courtesy the Grenada National Pavilion

The original goal was to strengthen our own contemporary art scene in Grenada by gaining international partners. Cuba is the only other Caribbean island with a pavilion this year, and we certainly have used Cuba as a role model from the beginning of our journey. Their support and friendship over the years has been invaluable. We do not have strong institutions for art in Grenada, but there is a growing recognition of the value of the creative arts. It has taken a great deal of persistence. This year we’ve had the support of the Grenada Ministry of Culture, Grenada Tourism Authority, StART out of Italy, and many others. in a video. Oliver Benoit painted a series of abstracts entitled Whipping the Mind, where he explores the effect of the colonial on our present day education. Asher Mains continued his work in Empathy of Place, installing debris he collects from the beaches and landscape. I rendered two very large paintings depicting the actual Shakespeare Mas Players in mixed media. Ian Friday and Samuel Ogilvie collaborated to create a spoken word duel, which was then shown on video. And filmmaker Billy Gerrard Frank produced a short film, revealing the life of Ottobah Cuguano — enslaved in Ghana and brought to Grenada as a child, worked in the studio of [Richard] Cosway (portrait artist to royalty) in England, then wrote about the evils of the slave trade. Each artist mirrors elements of the group’s work in their individual pieces. Several international artists also joined and worked to the theme — showing a pavilion of unity. To learn more, visit grenadavenice.org

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Sebastian Bach, courtesy Ford Foundation Gallery

art buzz

Installation view

On view New York’s Ford Foundation Gallery is re-opening its doors for the first time in over two years with a ground-breaking exhibition that turns the spotlight on four female artists of Asian-Caribbean heritage. Curated by Trinidadian scholar and artist Andil Gosine, everything slackens in a wreck features Chinese-Jamaican Margaret Chen; Indo-Trinidadian Wendy Nanan; Indo-Guadeloupean Kelly Sinnapah Mary; and Andrea Chung (born in the United States to Jamaican and Trinidadian parents). All of them share a lineage of indentureship, and have each created “hybrid creatures that are part plant and part human” from paint, papier-mâché and foraged items like wood and shells. It’s a process that explores — and grieves — the destructive impacts of colonialism, while celebrating the ways in which migrants harness the creativity of the natural world to reimagine, reinvent, rebuild, survive…and thrive. Everything slackens in a wreck runs through 20 August.

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Baby Krishna, 2020. Papier-mâché, oil paint

Sebastian Bach, courtesy Ford Foundation Gallery

The Ford Foundation Gallery explores Asian-Caribbean heritage


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book buzz

This month’s reading picks from the Caribbean Reviews by Shivanee Ramlochan, Bookshelf editor

Habitus by Radna Fabias, translated by David Colmer (Deep Vellum Publishing, 128 pp, ISBN 9781646050987) Radna Fabias’ poems possess the page. The Curaçao-born writer, who moved to the Netherlands as a teenager to study performance-based writing, makes the physical form of the book a living amphitheatre — flooding it with motion, light, technical mastery over the elements of sound and taste. Yes, these are poems you feel you can savour, as immediately identifiable as Caribbean constructions as they are astral, temporal navigators to less tangible realms. In “the blackness of the hole”, the poet expands her orbit to the cataclysmic, using an amorphous narrator to tell us “we believe the / black hole because the black hole does things to matter because the black hole does things to / stars”. In its original Dutch, Habitus swept the award circuit to critical acclaim: it ought to do no less in English translation.

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A Regarded Self: Caribbean Womanhood and the Ethics of Disorderly Being by Kaiama L. Glover (Duke University Press, 296 pp, ISBN 9781478011248) We need narratives for Caribbean feminism that travel beyond the madwoman in the attic, as powerful an anchor as that image in Jean Rhys’ Wide Sargasso Sea may be. Enter A Regarded Self, Glover’s scholarly enquiry that not only updates canonical responses to literary womanist selves, but expands the borders of their characterisation with wit and generosity. Studying principal female characters from the novels of Maryse Condé, Marie Vieux-Chauvet, René Depestre, Jamaica Kincaid, and Marlon James, Glover’s explorations take dual pathways in each chapter: analysis of how each personage functions in the text, and external study of that heroine’s (or anti-heroine’s) extra-textual imbrications. This is a work of scholarship, therefore, as committed to its source material as it is to enlivening discussions of Caribbean freedom, autonomy, and defiance.

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One Day, One Day, Congotay

Josephine Against the Sea

by Merle Hodge (Peepal Tree Press, 498 pp, ISBN 9781845235246)

by Shakirah Bourne (Scholastic, 304 pp, ISBN 9781338642087)

Cayeri, the setting of Merle Hodge’s third novel, is a conventional place. Sums on a hard chalkboard, not the percussive strains of steelpan or tamboo bamboo, are meant to keep children in their preconceived roles. Gwynneth Cuffie, a schoolteacher caught at the crossroads of education’s rigid mores and the African rhythms of a musical future, is determined to fight for a real kind of change. If Cayeri, steeped in self-loathing born of colonialism’s spectres, is a direct reflection of Trinidad’s toxic conflicted past, Merle Hodge’s new fiction shows us that the path forward is always in stark confrontation of our ghosts. This fiercely feminist novel, a necessary antidote to complacency, child abuse, and tyrannical hegemonies in our region, is also beautifully written: in nearly 500 pages, there’s not a line that feels out of joint.

Long before this Barbadian writer and filmmaker made her debut in large-scale international publishing, those fortunate enough to read her self-published 2014 collection, In Time of Need, knew she had a knack for telling stories in children’s voices. Josephine Against the Sea, an expanded edition of her CODE Burt Award for Caribbean Literature finalist My Fishy Stepmom, vaults young readers right into the furnace of audacious girlhood. Cricket-loving, opinionated Josephine bridles against the patriarchy of her elders, preferring her father’s company to that of any adult’s — including the wouldbe interlopers vying for her dad’s hand. When Josephine confronts her father’s femme fatale Mariss, a lady with a serpentine secret, briny bacchanal ensues! Though marketed towards the American middle-grade reading system, this book will soar, flyingfish-style into the library of any curious, culture-focused adventurer.


music buzz

This month’s listening picks from the Caribbean Reviews by Nigel A. Campbell

Kobo Town Carnival of the Ghosts (Stonetree Records) Calypso is a lyricist’s and performer’s art. Words matter. The delivery of those words — ideally self-penned — makes the difference between calypsonian and calypso singer. Drew Gonsalves — originally from Trinidad, now resident in Canada — and his band Kobo Town challenge the role of the calypsonian in a modern world separate from the competitions of Trinidad and the World music push of global record companies. What is sacred to Caribbean ears as a rich native genre is made to be a commodity for global consumption, something that has evaded many outside the Caribbean diaspora in the US and UK since the 1940s. And that is not a bad thing, certainly not here on this new album of 10 lyrically diverse songs. Gonsalves tells us that this new record is “a collection of songs about the human condition — about our quirks and foibles, our anxieties and hopes, and the haunting sense of impermanence that imbues our every moment with its urgency and priceless worth.” Lyrical excess with urgent polysyllabic wordplay make for interesting listening: I’d treat natural selection like divine election / Wouldn’t want to tamper with nature’s laws / If the conscience is a fiction, it’s a menacing malediction / A spoonful of guilt which only spoils the sauce. Whew! Belizean Ivan Duran, who had a hand in Calypso Rose’s late-career rebirth, works his production magic on this album. Modern sound ideas mix with the recalled spirits of vintage calypsonians Roaring Lion and Atilla the Hun to make this album not so much new calypso wrapped in old clothes, but a reckoning of what calypso can be in the 21st century.

Josean Jacobo Herencia Criolla (Self released) Pianist Josean Jacobo says: “I take the folkloric idioms, our traditional culture, African-Dominican heritage, and I blend it with contemporary jazz in a trio setting.” That statement aptly describes his new album, but does not convey the extent of the rhythmic impact one can hear. Bachata and merengue pulses cement a new island jazz aesthetic.

Dean Fraser & Ernie Ranglin Two Colors (Tad’s Record) When legends get together to record new music, the creative possibilities are endless. Ranglin (a 90-year-old Jamaican guitar icon, whose nimble chops and touch are undiminished) joins Fraser (sax side man to every global reggae star) on a jazz, ska and reggae instrumental journey that is ageless, and cherishes legacies. Collab heaven.

Horace Andy

Shaggy

Daniel Bellegarde

Midnight Rocker (On-U Sound)

Come Fly Wid Mi (Cherrytree Records)

Pastourelle (Self released)

Horace Andy has one of the most distinctive voices in Jamaican music, making his trademark “vibratoheavy falsetto” the flavour of 1970s dub music and signalling Massive Attack’s mid-90s trip-hop apex. His new album — a mix of finely produced originals and remade classics from his oeuvre — showcases a richer mature voice and delays a career denouement.

“The Sinatra Songbook inna reggae stylee” is the subtitle of this compilation of songs made famous by the Chairman of the Board, reimagined by eclectic rock superstar Sting and sung by Shaggy. The pair does not retreat to vapid genre covers of the star’s catalogues, but shines an artful light on how Jamaican Patois can infuse wit and island elan into timeless lyricism.

Bellegarde — a Canada-based percussionist of Haitian descent — explores rural music from Haiti and the French West Indies as an ongoing exercise in heritage recall. The quadrille, the contredanse, the waltz, and even the Creole polka are heard as inspiration for originals, and covers of Haitian and Martiniquan classic tunes give this album deserved gravitas. WWW.CARIBBEAN-AIRLINES.COM

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Courtesy Slight Pepper Doubles

food buzz

Doubles with slight A love match introduced South African Bridget van Dongen Cadet to doubles, Trinidad’s beloved street food. And it was an affair to remember. Some 15 years later, she and her Trini husband opened their own doubles stall — in Antigua! Shelly-Ann Inniss learns more It’s a familiar refrain at doubles stands around Trinidad and Tobago: “Pepper?” the vendor will ask. “Slight”, “medium”, “plenty”, or “none”, patrons reply. This call and response is now also becoming well-known in Antigua — at least, among the growing clientele at Slight Pepper, co-founded by South African Bridget van Dongen and her Trinidadian husband Sheldon Cadet. Located on Old Parham Road — one of the busiest streets into St John’s — warm doubles (two warm pieces of fried, floury bara with curried chickpeas) and aloo pies (filled with curried potato) are the star attractions. Of course, there are differences between the Antiguan and Trini setups. For starters, you won’t find the traditional “box” that serves as storage and workspace for Trini vendors. Instead, the Slight Pepper team uses trays with 34

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warmers and serves the doubles in paper. They also don’t expertly wrap the doubles with the characteristic twist and wrist flip like Trini vendors. “Every time we’ve tried, we’ve ended up with channa all over the walls!” jokes Bridget. Apple J is the drink of choice to wash down doubles in Trinidad; in Antigua, it’s pineapple or ginger juice. Bridget — a former member of the Caribbean Beat team — recalls her doubles initiation outside Long Circular Mall on a visit to Trinidad for a wedding in 2005. “I found them messy but delicious,” she says. On her return to Antigua that year, she failed miserably in attempts to make them. She wouldn’t have to go long without proper doubles, however. In 2010, she and Sheldon — who had been living in Antigua, where they met — relocated to Trinidad. “We’d

have doubles twice weekly, if not more, when we lived there,” she says. She loved the ones on the corner of Agra Street in St James, especially for their roast pepper — pre-orders were necessary! Although these were her favourite, she says doubles sold from the back of a truck on the road to Mayaro were the best she’d had. When the Cadets moved back to Antigua a year before the pandemic, Bridget was once again forced to make her own doubles when the cravings took hold. With Sheldon’s restaurant management experience, the couple had long dreamt of opening their own restaurant. Covid’s economic pressures presented the perfect opportunity to begin. The couple had long admired the setup of doubles vendors in Trinidad and how hard they worked, making the process look deceptively simple. But, as many Trinis also learned when they took to making doubles at home during the tightest pandemic restrictions, it can be a much messier and more complicated process. Slight Pepper learned pretty early to cook the bara outside their home after a grease fire (luckily an extinguisher was handy). “There are some great recipes on YouTube,” Bridget advises. “The bara can be a little tricky, but make sure your oil is very hot.” Lights go on in the Cadet household from 5:30am, and the workflow begins with preparing the channa and the potatoes for the aloo pies; followed by the dough at 6:00am (a couple of ladies help with the bara); and the Cadets setting up the shack to officially open at 7:45am. By midday everything is sold out. Sheldon does the sales while Bridget works behind the scenes — her pepper sauce is touted as one of the best. Many Antiguans have never heard of doubles, so Slight Pepper’s biggest market is people who’ve visited Trinidad and tried the addictive street food, and of course Trinis living in Antigua. “The number of Trinis we have that are glad to finally have genuine doubles in Antigua is amazing,” she gushes. Word of mouth is working, and newbies are becoming regulars. Pepper?


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try this

Precious elixir There are certain things the Caribbean has managed to perfect: its distinctive music, its festive spirit, its bold flavourful food — and its rum. Cayman Islands-based Food Network chef Dylan Benoit celebrates the region’s favourite spirit, and offers a sinful rum-infused recipe

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Courtesy Chef Dylan Benoit

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reated in the Caribbean by Caribbean people, rum is now embraced by the world — an essential presence in every selfrespecting bar and restaurant. It’s become a lifestyle brand. The word alone conjures up images of white sand beaches, sunny skies, palm trees and good times with family or friends — especially if it’s being enjoyed on a cold New York or Toronto evening in February. Until quite recently, rum was fighting for a place in international markets. Only a select few producers and brands had global reach, resulting in a bland and inaccurate representation of what Caribbean rums were all about. Distinctive rums and small producers were largely relegated to their respective home regions, and connoisseurs would travel far and wide in search of new and interesting brands. However, the alcohol industry has blossomed in recent decades, and the growth of the global village and easier international transportation have made great rums more easily accessible across the world. You can likely pick up your favourite Caribbean rums — like Trinidad’s Angostura brands, Guyana’s Demerara, Jamaica’s Appleton, or Barbados’ Mount Gay — in fine liquor shops in many countries, and even order them online. For many of us in the Caribbean, rum flows figuratively (and

for some maybe literally) through our veins. There’s a wide variety of styles and flavours: some are light, others more caramel, and some are dark. Many are sweet and smooth, others more brash, strong and bold. Some are born high up in the mountains, and others (like one in the Cayman Islands) spend much of their life ageing below the surface of the sea, where the tidal movement of the water helps the rum to interact with its wooden barrels and accelerates the ageing process. Some are from a single district, a pure representation of their location, while others are a blend of the best the Caribbean has to offer. Regardless of colour or country, Caribbean people are intensely proud of this precious elixir that we are proud to call our very own.


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Spirit of the Caribbean

Courtesy Chef Dylan Benoit

No one knows for sure who drank the very first shot of good Caribbean rum. But it was around 1650, and it was in Barbados: the enslaved workers on Barbados’s sugar plantations discovered that molasses, a by-product of sugar manufacturing, could be boiled up into alcohol. The new brew was powerful: they called it kill-devil, demon water, rumbullion (suggesting revelry, exuberance and boisterousness). A notorious Barbadian document of 1651 fumed: “The chief fuddling they make in the island is Rumbullion, alias Kill-Divil, and this is made of sugar canes distilled, a hot, hellish, and terrible liquor.” Soon rumbullion was shortened to simply rum, and a thriving industry grew up and spread. By 1654, Connecticut had to confiscate all “Barbados liquors, commonly called kill devil and the like”. But Staten Island opened a rum distillery; so did Boston. Pirates loved rum, Atlantic slavers bartered it, French brandy merchants feared it. The British navy gave its sailors a daily tot; George Washington ordered a barrel of Barbados rum for his inauguration, and Australia even had a “Rum Rebellion”. The world’s oldest surviving rum distillery, Mount Gay, was opened as early as 1703 — appropriately in Barbados.

Recipe:

Sticky toffee banana pudding The rum toffee sauce 4 tbsp butter ½ cup dark corn syrup ¹⁄³ cup light brown sugar

¹⁄³ cup heavy cream ¼ cup (or more) rum of your choice

Stir in the heavy cream and bring to a simmer. Remove from the heat and add the rum. Set aside to cool to room temperature. In a small sauce pot, combine butter, corn syrup and sugar. On medium heat, stir until sugar dissolves and mixture is bubbling. Stir in the heavy cream and bring to a simmer. Remove from the heat and add the rum. Set aside to cool to room temperature.

1 tsp salt 1 cup sugar 1 tsp vanilla extract 2 large eggs

In a small bowl, mix the baking soda with the banana mash and set aside. In a medium bowl, mix the flour, baking powder and salt. In a large bowl, mix the butter, sugar and one egg, then add half the flour mixture and half the banana mash and mix well. Add the second egg and remaining flour mixture and banana mash. Mix the batter well and pour into the buttered and floured ramekins. Bake at 350˚F for 12–15 minutes or until the middle sets. Remove and allow to cool slightly before removing from ramekin and topping with toffee sauce (above) and vanilla ice cream. n

Chef Dylan Benoit is a Canadian chef, restaurateur, writer and television host now based in the Cayman Islands. Dylan can be found cooking as a personal chef across the Caribbean when he’s not in Canada hosting Fire Masters (Food Network Canada, Cooking Channel US and Blaze TV UK).

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Yulia Furman/Shutterstock.com

The banana cake ½ stick of butter, room temperature 1 ½ cup all-purpose flour 1 ½ cup ripe banana mashed 1 tsp baking soda 1 tsp baking powder


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round trip

The beaches we love

It’s the time of year when so many are enjoying the region’s beaches with our families, friends — or in quiet escapes alone! Members of the Caribbean Beat team share some of our favourites

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Magazine Beach Grenada

Located in the southwest, this one’s perfect for (get ready to groan) this magazine! There are great resorts and restaurants (including one of my favourites), plus wonderful swimming and snorkelling, even if it’s less sheltered. What I love most about it is there are really quiet stretches, that never seem to have too many people. It’s also close to Grand Anse if you’re in the mood for beach-hopping, and so close to the airport that even if you’re just there for a layover, you can pop over and enjoy a sea bath without missing your flight!

Pure Grenada Tourism Authority

— Caroline Taylor

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Bottom Bay and Accra Beach Barbados

Choose a favourite beach in Barbados? That’s like asking a mother to pick her favourite child! I love Bottom Bay (pictured) in St Philip for its tranquility and off-the-beaten path vibe. It’s a well-kept secret compared to Accra Beach (aka Rockley Beach) further down the south coast, which is the perfect spot for a girlfriends’ getaway. Anything you could possibly need is easily within reach. There are lots of folks enjoying the watersports too — but I prefer to have cocktail in hand, sun-kissed skin, lively conversations, and a stroll on the boardwalk. Floating in the calm waters is always a must too!

Simon Dannhauer/Shutterstock.com

— Halcyon Salazar

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Darkwood Beach Antigua & Barbuda

It might well be true that Antigua has a beach for every day of the year, but most days would find me choosing the sun, sand and sea at Darkwood Beach. As it’s more volcanic in make-up, this southwestern side of the island has lush, forested hills, so that Darkwood’s perfect strip of white beach and azure sea is wreathed in resplendent green. It’s Nature in her Sunday best, all dressed up for me (and you!).

Visual Echo courtesy Antigua & Barbuda Tourism Authority

— Tracy Farrag

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Bubble Bay Dominica

Nestled in the fishing village of Soufrière, with Scotts Head in the distance, the warm rejuvenating bubbles from the hot spring at Bubble Beach are perfect to soothe any sore muscles. The heat levels in this natural jacuzzi can shift from soothingly warm to alarmingly hot in some spots as the tide changes; local entrepreneur Dale Mitchell has mapped out the best areas to relax using sandbags and rocks. When you’re ready to cool down, a refreshing snorkel to watch marine life and blow your own bubbles in the bay is a big plus! Donations are welcome for the beach’s maintenance.

Dorling Kindersley Ltd/Alamy Stock Photo

— Shelly-Ann Inniss

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Playa Kenepa Curaçao

On my last trip to Curaçao, I visited quite a few beaches, but there is one that really stuck in my mind: the beautiful Playa Kenepa (also known as Grote Knip). These are actually two beaches: the bigger Kenepa Grandi, which has beautiful white sand and crystal clear water; and Kenepa Chiki, which is a sort of a little bay — also smaller and more intimate. It is a bit of a drive, but it is well worth the trip. — Evelyn Chung

Correction An image of Cas Abao Beach was regrettably used in our print edition, and has been replaced with one of Playa Kenepa online.

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Courtesy Curaçao Tourism Board


Miami Beach Florida, USA

While sun, sea, and sand are fairly easy to find where I’m from, many years ago I was instantly intrigued with one of our Caribbean Beat covers in 2013, featuring an iconic, colourful lifeguard station at Miami Beach. And that’s when the love affair began. It’s perfect for spending hours frolicking in the clear sparkling waters and taking long strolls along the endless white sand. Plus — there are lots of adventures nearby, like exploring the famed Miami Art Deco district with its beautifully restored pastel-coloured buildings.

Alexander Demyanenko/Shutterstock.com

— Kevon Webster

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backstory

Maria Nunes

In the Groove

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Phase II Pan Groove — one of Trinidad & Tobago’s most beloved steel orchestras, founded by national icon Len “Boogsie” Sharpe — celebrates its 50th anniversary in August. Nigel A Campbell looks back at the pioneering journey


The band could be a case study for a modern consideration of steel orchestras. The names of pioneer steelbands formed in the 1930s and 1940s — Renegades, All Stars, Desperadoes, Casablanca, Invaders — suggest both a combative spirit that was a hallmark of early pan life, and the fantasy of cinematic imagination. Phase II Pan Groove, by contrast, was born in the turbulent 1970s. It was a time that saw Trinidad impacted by American Black Power animus, heralding an awakening of cultural pride among a new generation of musicians. They sought new sounds, and to distance themselves from a colonial past. Phase II would be the bellwether of steelbands born in this era, as it trod an uneven path towards self-identification,

Courtesy HADCO

C

aribbean creative and cultural institutions that have achieved the half-century mark are not rare — the National Dance Theatre of Jamaica and the Trinidad Theatre Workshop, for example. But the ongoing adulation and newsworthiness sometimes peter out — not so much as a sign of decrepitude, but possibly as a signal of lagging public awareness and commercial support. In 2022, HADCO Phase II Pan Groove turns 50. With that landmark, it joins the pantheon of legendary bands that paved the way for sustaining an original sound born in the Caribbean, and elevates the idea that “the audacity of creole imagination”, as coined by steelpan researcher Kim Johnson, has gone global.

self-sufficiency, innovative creativity, and commercial independence. It survived the flux of Caribbean entrepreneurship. But before one gets to 50, a little historical context is needed.

I

n Trinidad’s steelband movement, those early aggregations — once described by travel-writing collaborative Dane Chandos as “serving as nuclei for the organising of gangs of petty criminals” — had evolved in 20 years to what Chandos later described as having “done much to lessen delinquency in the islands, both by giving the young people an interest and by directing any antisocial tendencies of Trinidadian youth against rival groups rather than against society at large.” By the 1970s, musical competition was primary, and burgeoning commercial connections were developing beyond patronage toward an industry of music.

Left Len “Boogsie” Sharpe conducts Phase II's performance of his composition "Madd Music" at the 2016 Panorama finals in the Queen's Park Savannah. They placed 3rd Above Boogsie with John Hadad, co-CEO of the HADCO Group

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In the new milieu of 1972, a 19-year-old Len “Boogsie” Sharpe and five other similarly young steelbandsmen, all from popular band Starlift — Selwyn Tarradath, Rawle Mitchell, Andy Phillip, Noel Seon, and Barry Howard — decided to split away to forge an identity of their own making, to “try and make it outside”, as Sharpe says. Practising originally in Tarradath’s garage as, in Sharpe’s words, “a six-piece combo using the pan”, before moving across the road to the current panyard, they evolved into a phenomenon. Youthful hubris, Caribbean boldfaced-ness — call it what you want. The results after a half-century tell their own story: nearly two dozen top-three placings so far, including seven national Panorama championships (the World Cup of pan) beginning in 1987 — and all with original compositions and arrangements by Sharpe.

The results after a half-century tell their own story: nearly two dozen top-three placings so far, including seven national Panorama championships (the World Cup of pan) beginning in 1987 — and all with original compositions and arrangements by Sharpe

Maria Nunes

Boogsie performs with the National Steel Symphony Orchestra at the National Academy for the Performing Arts

With his prodigious pan-playing skill and talent, Sharpe has variously been called “the Mozart of Pan” and “our steelpan savant”, and has been the heart and soul of the band for these 50 years, serving as its musical director, arranger, composer, and de facto leader. “I born in a panyard in Benares Street, St James,” he says — and that environment nurtured a proficiency toward music that still awes. In a 2002 Caribbean Beat article by esteemed musician and artist Pat Bishop, Sharpe was described as “a composer who can neither read nor write music but whose sense of musical adventure is highly developed”, and whose music “could hold its own in the wider world of musical composition, if Trinidad ever got around to taking its music seriously.” In the 20 years since Ms Bishop’s indictment of the island,

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Sharpe and Phase II Pan Groove have benefited from a wider public awareness of steelpan music’s importance in its national identity, and the public in turn has profited from new music that elevates and continues to make new fans. “The band was young and we were doing things differently,” says Sharpe.

B

eginning in the 1980s, as the band began gathering accolades, Sharpe was prolifically composing and arranging music that flirted with jazz improvisation and world music fusion — even classical — and recording too. His influence on a generation of players is noted through recordings by players in many countries who cite him as a primary influence. Sharpe was unconsciously vying to be the face of steelpan in the global music industry with foreign-based musicians such as


Courtesy HADCO

Rudy Smith in Scandinavia, and Othello Molineaux and Andy Narell in the US. His brand was in demand, doing recording sessions with jazz giants like Monty Alexander, and live gigs with Max Roach and Gary Burton. By the 1990s, the band was touring continents. Within the band, there was an internationalisation of the players and a democratisation of the panyard: women were in the front lines as section leaders and drill masters. Varying nationalities, races, ages, sizes all came to do service in the “house of Boogsie” — Japan, France, the UK, South Africa, and all the ethnicities within made up this global conglomeration. The panyard became a locus for creativity, for communality — for a congregation of the curious at the periphery looking in. That panyard, now called D’Village, began as a clearing at the end of a cul-de-sac in Woodbrook, a middle-class Port of Spain environ. It is “a liming spot”, says Sharpe, that today — with the help of its new sponsor HADCO (a Trinidad-based distribution company) — is a commercial centre of music appreciation, and social recreation that is unique to this country. Sharpe says that they were proud of being an unsponsored band for many years, only taking an official sponsorship from a state-owned oil company, Petrotrin, in 1999. That ultimately lasted 16 years until the connection with HADCO. In what can be described as a synergy between mavericks, this commercial connection goes far beyond HADCO’s goal of “creating shared value” with its sponsorships.

Andrea de Silva

Right Boogsie at the 2015 Panorama finals Below Phase II at the 2020 Panorama finals

Sharpe tearfully recounts his gratitude for the company’s co-CEO, John Hadad: “That man is responsible for my life.” Biographies of music geniuses often come around to a harsh reality of drug addiction. Hadad’s company paid for a detox programme that Sharpe insists was necessary for him to continue towards this milestone with the band. “I am four years clean. My life is pan. The instrument? That is my life,” says Sharpe as he reflects on his renewed personal existence.

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n 50 years, a lot can happen. A life can be fully explored from birth to death. For collectives in the music industry — in a place like Trinidad & Tobago with a constant ebb and flow of choice and loyalty — sustaining a level of importance and functioning as a stage for continued engagement with a wide cross-section of the population are cherished attributes. Phase II Pan Groove, the players, the sponsor, and its leader represent the possibilities for the development of a native musical language that resonate in spaces of academe and leisure everywhere. The band evolved from a group of youngsters who, as Sharpe describes, would “walk the pan to the Savannah” for Panorama in 1973, to being heralded today as one of the Big Five steelbands, and Sharpe receiving national awards and an honorary doctorate for his cultural significance. Phase II Pan Groove’s journey was blessed by a suburban milieu that reflected an international face, by inspired corporate connections that have delivered positive benefits to the community, and by leadership from a sometimes-tortured genius who continues to make music that people still want to hear. “The band is a vibe,” Sharpe says. And that is not a trite cliché. It is a youthful destiny fulfilled. n

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the game

Twenty20 vision

Ten years ago, the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) exploded onto the scene, transforming and reinvigorating regional cricket, and even managing to run two successful tournaments during the height of the pandemic. Sheldon Waithe looks at the monumental success of “the biggest party in sport” Photography courtesy CPL T20/Getty Images

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he West Indies had just won the 2012 T20 World Cup when the first sparks of a franchisebased Caribbean cricket competition were lit. Everything was there — massive global names (Gayle, Bravo, Pollard, Sammy, Samuels, Narine); new stadia across the region from the 2007 World Cup; territories eager to capitalise on sports tourism; and as ever, fans who were ready to party. CPL, the league’s acronym, was transformed into a brilliant marketing slogan — “Cricket Played Louder”, immediately capturing the organisers’ intention to harness the Caribbean’s festive spirit and the explosiveness of the T20 format. “We knew that if we tapped into all that makes the Caribbean so unique that we could create something very special,” explains CPL CEO Pete Russell. “We wanted to become part of the Caribbean culture and create a tournament that resonated locally and was watched globally — but not just for the cricket.” It’s fair to say that those goals have been exceeded. CPL is now a fixture on the Caribbean calendar — the sole major annual event in and for the region, attracting 500 million viewers

continued progress and its ability to attract the world’s best players, CPL commentator Daren Ganga explains. “West Indian cricketers, both capped and uncapped, are the primary beneficiaries of this magnificent tournament,” he says. “The CPL offers a platform that allows for the very best T20 players to interact with many aspirants. Since the inaugural tournament in 2013, there’s been massive cricket-related knowledge transfer, growth, access, global exposure, networking, leadership, and ambition generated.” This is crucial for the future of West Indies T20 cricket, and a key opportunity to place young Caribbean players into the CPL shop window, to eventually take part in other franchise tournaments across the globe.

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anga provides the proof (and a wonderful metaphor): “I reflect on players like Nicholas Pooran who — at age 17 — played his first CPL and remains the youngest to have participated. Shimron Hetmyer — after winning the 2016 ICC Under-19 World Cup as the West Indies captain — joined the CPL. These two players are now the envy of the world as

Opposite page, top The St Kitts & Nevis Patriots celebrate winning their 2021 CPL championship victory at home in Basseterre Opposite page, bottom Sheldon Cottrell (L) and Naseem Shah (R) of the St Kitts & Nevis Patriots after winning the 2021 Hero Caribbean Premier League Left Colin Munro of the Trinbago Knight Riders hits a six during a 2020 CPL match in Tarouba, Trinidad as Shai Hope of the Barbados Tridents watches

worldwide, and where franchise tribalism has superseded island patriotism. Fans in one territory become passionate about a team based in another simply because their favourite players have moved there to play. Equally, home-based fans welcome players from other islands — and players from outside the region — who don their colours. These fans echo the ultra-competitive play on the field, and a packed stadium is a daunting prospect for any visiting team. Every year, fans eagerly await the draft, ready to begin dissecting squad composition and analysing player form with all the authority of the quintessential Caribbean armchair coach. As Dwayne Bravo says, “We as a people don’t shy away from telling players how we feel about their performance.” Those same players have gained the most from the event’s

they have blossomed into being some of the most sought-after in T20 cricket. Others like Obed McCoy, Dominic Drakes, Romario Shepherd, and Odean Smith are already on an upward trajectory after being nurtured via cricket’s T20 umbilical cord in the Caribbean — the CPL.” Ultimately, together with the talent on the field, the CPL experience is about the fans and the parties in the stands, with flags flying and the eruption of happy noise — music, horns, drums, and cheering voices. This kind of revelry has always been unique to Caribbean cricket, and CPL created a space for it to flourish. Then the Covid-19 pandemic struck, with all its attendant uncertainty. The cacophony and thrills of the CPL should have been the last thing on people’s minds, but the tournament saw its role to lift spirits as more important than ever. Though it was

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Fans are at the heart of the CPL experience

a herculean task to undertake, the CPL mounted tournaments even as its Caribbean hosts moved in and out of lockdowns. “In 2020, it was at the absolute height of the pandemic,” Russell remembers. “If you can imagine the challenge of getting over 250 people from 19 different locations into Trinidad, you get to understand the size of the challenge — and that was before a ball was bowled!” Staging these editions of the tournament — without the crowds, with players living in a bubble, with the inevitable loss of revenue, and while other global sporting events were on hiatus — is testament to the strength of the CPL brand, its team, and its infrastructure. The 2022 edition will break new ground with the inaugural Women’s CPL, creating new exposure and benefits for the talented female players in the region.

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way from the razzmatazz, CPL also recognised that with its place in the region comes the need for corporate social responsibility, hence their financial support to women’s shelters, flood victims, and domestic violence victims, together with their efforts to reduce their environmental impact. It also plays a significant part in selling the CPL — and the Caribbean — to the world. The excitement of the League is delivered to broadcast viewers as part of a slick package, with the infectious enthusiasm

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CPL is now the sole major annual event in and for the region, attracting 500 million viewers worldwide, and where franchise tribalism has superseded island patriotism of commentators and the interactivity of the fans. The madcap musings of Danny Morrison, analysis by Ganga and other ex-players such as Ian Bishop, with the roving reporting by Alex Jordan, are the icing on the cake that helps sell the whole experience to the world. And the world is buying, as evidenced by foreign team ownership — including from Bollywood and Hollywood — and high-profile visits by stakeholders Shah Rukh Khan and Gerard Butler. “I know I am biased, but if you turn up to a CPL game, the energy and passion is like nothing you experience anywhere else in the world,” Russell says. “It is truly captivating, and the ‘biggest party in sport’ is a very fair description”. Happy birthday, CPL. Long may the party continue. n

The 2022 edition of the Caribbean Premier League runs 30 August to 30 September, with fixtures in Guyana, St Kitts & Nevis, St Lucia, and Trinidad & Tobago


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snapshot

Griot of the universe With a trailblazing Barbadian mother and CLR James for a step-grandfather, award-winning author and scientist Chanda Prescod-Weinstein says her Caribbean roots have been vital to her success. Erline Andrews learns more Photography courtesy Chanda Prescod-Weinstein

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handa Prescod-Weinstein grew up in East Los Angeles, a vibrant hub of Mexican-American culture that was immortalised in the acclaimed 1988 drama Stand and Deliver. As depicted in the film, it’s a community that has struggled with poverty, gangs and violent crime. “We were seen as the part of the city that you should avoid,” says Chanda, a theoretical physicist who was born and brought up in El Sereno, an

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East LA neighbourhood, by her Barbadian mother. “When I went off to university, I would tell people where I came from and they would say, ‘Oh, isn’t that the bad part of town?’” Changing people’s perceptions of the community is one of the goals of her writing. In accepting the LA Times science and technology book prize last April for her 2021 work, The Disordered Cosmos: A Journey into Dark Matter, Spacetime and Dreams Deferred, she pointed out that she was probably the first person from East LA to win in that category, and the first Black woman to win the category for adult writing. “But I will not be the last,” she told the audience. “I wrote this book to send the message that the cosmos belongs to all of us.” In a Zoom interview five days after the ceremony, Chanda reflected on the moment. “To represent East LA on a stage of such cultural significance to Los Angeles, and to say that we — the Brown and Black people from East LA — are intellects in our own right with our own stories to tell was important to me,” she says. Increasing inclusivity and diversity within science and technology is one of the main preoccupations of her work — a product not just of her East LA upbringing, but her strong Caribbean roots. Chanda’s mother Margaret Prescod — who brought Chanda up alone after divorcing her father — comes from a family of teachers. Both of Margaret’s parents had been teachers in Barbados. The family settled in Brooklyn after they migrated to the United States when she was 12, and both she and her brothers went on to become teachers in New York. “My grandmother had been teaching math and she was the one who taught me long division,” Chanda says. “She was one of my first writing teachers. She used to tutor kids from the neighbourhood after school.” Margaret and the adults in Chanda’s life recognised early that — like the kids in Stand and Deliver — Chanda was a gifted student who excelled at mathematics. “For them, it was natural to encourage my academic interest,” Chanda says. Her mother sent her to magnet schools that catered to exceptional children. This meant


Margaret couldn’t hold a nine-to-five job because to get her daughter to and from school, she had to drop Chanda to the bus stop — a long distance from where they lived — and pick her up in the afternoon. It’s something that still means the world to Chanda. “My mum sacrificed so much,” she says, struggling to hold back tears. The nurturing of Chanda’s talent didn’t stop with her schooling either. One Saturday, Margaret took a reluctant 10-year-old Chanda to see A Brief History of Time, a documentary about theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking. It determined the course of Chanda’s life. She decided then and there that she wanted a career like Hawking’s. The entire family supported her dream. Her mother’s brother bought her Hawking’s book, after which the documentary was named, for her 11th birthday. “He knew that my mum didn’t have a lot of money to be buying me these kinds of things,”

she says. “When I went off to university, my mum’s older sister bought me bags so that I would have my own suitcases.” Chanda studied physics, astronomy and astrophysics at Harvard and the University of California before eventually earning a PhD in physics from the University of Waterloo in Canada, and becoming one of fewer than 100 Black American women with such a degree. She’s currently an assistant professor of physics and astronomy, and a core faculty member in women’s studies, at the University of New Hampshire.

Opposite page Chanda with CLR James, whom she called “Nello”

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n The Disordered Cosmos, Chanda talks about the wonders of the universe along with the challenges of being a queer, agender Black Jewish woman studying and working in it — fluidly bringing together issues of race, gender, and other socio-political concerns using a conversational style.

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Chanda with her mother Margaret

Increasing inclusivity and diversity within science and technology is one of the main preoccupations of her work — a product not just of her East LA upbringing, but her strong Caribbean roots “What I love about this work is that this is the biggest picture there is: spacetime and its (dis) contents,” she writes in the book. “It also feels like being the keeper of a deeply human impulse. To borrow a word from the Indigenous communities that my Black ancestors probably come from, I am a griot of the universe — a storyteller,” she continues. “And although I am the first Black woman to hold a tenure-track faculty position in theoretical cosmology, I am certainly not the first Black woman to be a griot of the universe.” Having done work as a blogger and essayist, with writing published in magazines including New Scientist and Scientific American, she received a lot of encouragement to write The Disordered Cosmos — her first book. Her mother and aunt further encouraged her to submit it for this year’s Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature, where it was longlisted.

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“It was important to my mother to see the work that her daughter had done be acknowledged by home in that way,” Chanda says. “I think of Caribbean people as being very picky and discriminating — the bar is very high. So to have a panel of Caribbean judges look through all the incredible literature people from the diaspora are publishing and select my book as one of the best books of the year was a very big deal to me.” She was up against Jamaican Kei Miller’s book, Things I Have Withheld, which ultimately made the shortlist in the non-fiction category. “When I saw that Kei Miller was on the longlist, I was like well he’s obviously going to win,” she says. “He’s such an extraordinary writer. To even be compared in competition to him was an honour.” The longlisting of her book by the Trinidad & Tobago-based Bocas Literary Festival wasn’t her first contact with those islands. One of her uncles moved there; Trinidadian musician and educator Victor Prescod is her cousin. Perhaps most notably, her paternal grandmother Selma James was married to Trinidadian intellectual icon CLR James and lived in Trinidad for a time with her son Sam Weinstein — a child from a previous marriage, and Chanda’s father. “He raised my father. So to me he’s my grandfather,” Chanda says of James. “Selma is this extraordinary intellect in her own right,” she continues. “Even though she is a white Jewish woman from Brooklyn, the Caribbean became such a significant site of political education for her. I think Selma is who she is in part because of her time in the Caribbean and her relationships with Caribbean women and Caribbean women organisers. You can see how the Caribbean becomes part of my influences through her.” Selma became involved alongside CLR James with the push for West Indian independence and federation. Margaret met Sam through Selma, as they had developed a working relationship and cofounded the organisation Black Women for Wages for Housework, which advocated recognising the economic value of caring for the household. Chanda says her strength as a writer and speaker and the obligation she feels to explain her work — and the issues that matter to her — in a way everyone can understand are largely because of her family. “I come from a family of people who talk a lot. And I come from a family of teachers. I always understood that it was my responsibility to make myself understood,” she says. n


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All Canada Photos/Alamy Stock Photo

inspire

The old girls and the sea 66

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Community-based organisations have made Trinidad & Tobago the most important leatherback nesting site in the hemisphere. But there’s still critical work to be done for the islands’ sea turtles. Caroline Taylor learns more — and shares why you shouldn’t miss the chance to see these beautiful creatures up close


Courtesy Trinidad Tourism Ltd

A leatherback turtle returns to the sea after nesting at Grande Rivière Right A leatherback turtle comes ashore to nest

It’s a sight to behold when these nesting mothers return — especially the massive, majestic leatherbacks, which can reach up to 10 feet in length and weigh up to 2,000 pounds. Seeing them heave themselves on to the sand, carve out their nests, work to disguise them, and then slowly make their way back to the sea can take your take your breath away…and leave a sizeable lump in your throat. Something about the vulnerability and resilience of these nesting mothers and baby hatchlings moves people very deeply. Something about it feels sacred. It’s why at this time of year — when hatchlings begin emerging in their numbers — giving these babies and their mothers the best chance of survival is one of the main jobs of volunteers in community-based organisations (CBOs) across Trinidad & Tobago. They dedicate months of their lives each season to serve as their advocates and protectors.

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hen tiny turtle hatchlings dig their way out from nests deep beneath the sand, they face long perilous odds to survive. Their first few moments on the beach are among the most dangerous. Popping their little heads up, they’ll search for the natural light horizon over the shoreline and scramble toward the surf, where they’ll be swept away by the ocean waves and begin the next leg of their odysseys. Any man-made light — from beachfront properties, streetlights, cars, flashlights — or fire can disorient hatchlings, leaving them as easy prey for would-be predators like birds and crabs. Anything that impedes their emergence and speedy progress to the sea — from plastics to sandcastles to Sargassum seaweed — makes those long survival odds even longer. Fewer than one in 1,000 will make it to mating age. Those females that do — and can manage to avoid becoming entangled in gillnets or fishing gear — will travel thousands of miles back to the shorelines on which they were born to begin the cycle of life once more.

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ea turtles have been around for 100 million years, since the time of the dinosaurs. Five of the seven species that exist today visit Trinidad & Tobago’s coasts — loggerheads, olive ridleys, hawksbills, greens, and leatherbacks, with the latter three nesting on the islands’ beaches. For the leatherback — listed as endangered — nesting season officially runs March through August, though stray leatherbacks can nest as late (or as early) as December and January. For critically endangered hawksbills and greens, however, nesting activity usually begins around May and can run to November. With hatchlings emerging roughly six to eight weeks later, the islands are home to nesting-related activity for most of the year, and offshore foraging activity year-round. It’s an important duty, as the islands have become a focal point of leatherback conservation globally. They’ve become the most important nesting ground in the western hemisphere, and the last great hope for the survival of leatherback populations in the northwest Atlantic. “It’s all eyes on Trinidad,” says Suzan Lakhan-Baptiste, a founding member and now Managing Director of the Maturabased Nature Seekers — one of the award-winning communitybased organisations that has made Trinidad & Tobago a success story for the leatherback and a model for conservation initiatives

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across the region. “This is a resource that is not just Trinidad’s concern, but an internationally shared one.” Nesting populations in neighbouring French Guiana and Suriname, as well as across the Pacific, have almost completely collapsed in recent years, threatening the survival of leatherbacks globally. The tireless work of volunteers in Trinidad & Tobago has managed to defy these global trends, making the islands — particularly the rookeries of Trinidad’s northeast — the world’s second largest nesting ground for leatherbacks, after Gabon in west Africa. Grande Rivière — a kilometre-long beach in a tiny fishing village on Trinidad’s remote northeast coast — is the densest leatherback nesting ground in the world. Over 500 were recorded on this beach on one night several years ago. There are similar numbers on the much longer 8.8km stretch at Matura, where 300 to 400 leatherbacks can nest on any given night. It’s estimated more than 6,000 leatherbacks (possibly up to 10,000) nest across the island over the season, especially at Grand Rivière, Matura, Fishing Pond (in Trinidad) and Stonehaven and Courland (in Tobago). But leatherbacks, hawksbills and greens also nest on other popular beaches like Las Cuevas, Maracas, Mayaro, Manzanilla, Lambeau, Man O’ War Bay, and Pigeon Point. There have been nesting events recorded even on Trinidad’s south coast and offshore islands.

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espite these successes, the threats to turtles — and to the CBOs’ conservation work — are significant. In addition to plastics, Sargassum and fishing nets, chief among them

WaterFrame/Alamy Stock Photo

A hawksbill sea turtle (Eretmochelys imbriocota) in the waters off Tobago

are poaching, climate breakdown (including beach erosion), and indiscriminate coastal development and beach management. It’s why each turtle that can successfully nest and each hatchling that can make it into the sea impact the survival of the species. So does each turtle lost to bycatch or poaching. Beyond their intrinsic value as key indicator species that both reflect and help ensure the health of the world’s oceans and marine ecosystems, these turtles also bring significant economic benefit to the communities that have rallied to protect them. In some, the conservation work has expanded to include other species, and sustainability initiatives like reforestation.

Leatherbacks, hawksbills and greens also nest on other popular beaches like Las Cuevas, Maracas, Mayaro, Manzanilla, Lambeau, Man O’ War Bay, and Pigeon Point Before the pandemic, both Matura and Grande Rivière could see 10,000–15,000 turtle-watching visitors each year. With leatherbacks nesting up to 10 times per season (hawksbills up to five) — with 80–100 eggs per nest — each individual turtle and each nest carries real value. “We can tell at the end of the season how many people actually came to Matura, how many people viewed that animal, and — because we make every leatherback an individual by tagging her — how much revenue was generated from that one turtle,” explains Lakhan-Baptiste. “And once they keep coming back, revenue is generated as a result.” Those who’ve had the experience of turtle-watching often become evangelists for the animals, so that word-of-mouth is also significant. “The 20 years I’ve been doing this, we have eliminated poaching from the dialogue — not from enforcement, but from the guests who come annually,” explains Kevin Muhammad of the Grande Rivière Nature Tour Guides Association (GRNTGA). “Over the last decade, that’s over 100,000 people who have become advocates.” Even though Tobago’s nesting numbers are much smaller, they’ve also seen the economic benefits of turtle tourism. “Outside of the main tourist season, which finishes around the end of April, they’ll still continue to get people coming in to see turtles,” explains Giancarlo Lalsingh, a long-time conservationist who was Program Manager of Save Our Sea Turtles (SOS) Tobago for several years. And visitors, of course, need places to stay, places to eat, and ways to get around.

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ince 1965 — when the first sea turtle monitoring programme was led by the University of the West Indies with the Trinidad & Tobago Field Naturalists’ Club — several groups have emerged to help protect turtles in their various communities. But there is tremendous diversity among them.

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A green turtle browses the coral reef for food

How you can help Go turtle-watching You can book tours through groups like Nature Seekers, the Grande Rivière Nature Tour Guides Association, the Las Cuevas Eco Friendly Association, and SOS Tobago’s partners. They usually can arrange any necessary permits. Donate & volunteer You can make financial and in-kind donations, or volunteer your time/expertise in a range of ways. Contact CBOs like SOS Tobago and Nature Seekers, or the Turtle Village Trust.

Ekaterina Kuzmenkova/Shutterstock.com

Conservation tips • If you see a turtle — on land or at sea — take photos of its head and upload it to the TURT app. • Don’t drive or light fires on nesting beaches; don’t use stake umbrellas; and don’t litter. • Break down sandcastles before you leave the beach. • Give nesting mothers lots of space and quiet, and don’t use bright lights around them or hatchlings.

Some include monitoring of green and hawksbill turtles, most don’t. Some operate tours and are therefore able to generate modest revenue; many don’t. Some have strong governance and administrative capacity — even alignments with overseas entities; many don’t. The beaches also vary significantly in length, accessibility, amenities, and whether they’re protected (only three in Trinidad are, and none in Tobago). What they have in common, however, are the challenges in doing this work: funding; manpower; equipment (from tags and scanners to vehicles); and effective partnerships with state agencies, on whom they depend for policy, enforcement, data coordination and analysis, maintenance of roads and beaches and — for those eligible — access to financing through the nation’s US$1 billion Green Fund. There are also gaps in monitoring and evaluation. Many nesting beaches around both islands are not sufficiently monitored or patrolled — if at all. And while significant and invaluable attention has been put on the leatherback, there’s been inadequate focus on the smaller and even more vulnerable green and hawksbill turtles that nest across both islands — sometimes on the same beaches as leatherbacks, but often on very different ones. Poaching of the leatherback has fallen to near zero, but hawksbills and greens remain a frequent target for their meat and their shells.

Offshore monitoring is another area in need of attention. As a result, the data on leatherback populations is incomplete, and there isn’t enough to accurately assess the greens or hawksbills, even though the latter could be “quite a significant, important population”, according to Michelle Cazabon-Mannette, a sea turtle researcher and director of SpeSeas. SpeSeas and SOS Tobago have partnered with ProTECTOR of Honduras on the TURT mobile app to help address the offshore data gap. They hope citizens and visitors — especially divers, tour guides, snorkellers, fisherfolk, and boaters — will use it to submit photos of sea turtle sightings on beaches or at sea. It will help researchers identify individual turtles, and understand more about their movements, health, and survival.

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he global fight to protect biodiversity and arrest climate breakdown is, without overstatement, an existential one. But these groups show what’s possible when people come together for a common good. In many ways, they face odds as long as a baby hatchling’s as it heads for the horizon. It is incumbent on all of us to give them every chance of success. n

All the organisations mentioned above have active Facebook presences with current contact information

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on this day

Royal dissent Sixty years ago, Jamaica and Trinidad & Tobago began their journeys as nations independent from British colonial rule. But since then, only Guyana, T&T, Dominica, and Barbados have taken the step to become full-fledged republics within the Commonwealth. As James Ferguson reports, Jamaica — and others in the region — may soon follow

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he Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s recent visit to the Caribbean has been widely judged as something of a flop. William and Kate were meant to show to Belize, Jamaica and the Bahamas a younger, fresher face of the British monarchy, although the trip was also designed to mark the platinum jubilee of the Queen — a milestone 70 years on the throne. Some of the royal tour was quite successful: a kickabout in Trench Town with Raheem Sterling, a respectful trip to the Bob Marley museum, and a chat with Jamaica’s unlikely bobsleigh team. But who on earth advised them to stand in the same open-backed Land Rover used in 1953 by the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh, clad in white uniform and regal hat, taking the salute in an image redolent of a distant colonial past? And that case of “bad optics” was made worse when Jamaican prime minister Andrew Holness chose an official reception as the moment to tell the royal couple politely but firmly that his country was intending to become a republic. T he L a nd Rover f la shback wa s

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perhaps unintended, but it certainly reminded some older spectators of previous encounters with the British royal family, especially those that took place exactly 60 years ago in August 1962, when both Jamaica and Trinidad & Tobago celebrated their independence from the United Kingdom. The British monarch was then (and still is in Jamaica) the official head of state, so it was deemed fitting that a royal personage should be present at the two ceremonies marking the end of colonial rule. On 6 August, it was the glamorous Princess Margaret who represented the Queen in Jamaica and who delivered a speech at the opening of parliament, having the previous evening attended the symbolic lowering of the Union Jack and the raising of the independent nation’s new f lag. Prime Minister Sir Alexander Bustamante looked as if he was enjoying the princess’s company as the two waltzed — all tuxedo and tiara — at a happier official reception than that endured by William and Kate. The mood music in Port of Spain on 30 August was less convivial than in Kingston, and the Queen’s representative

— Mary, Princess Royal — less photogenic (though also sporting a tiara, of which she had a famous collection). It is possible that Prime Minister Eric Williams was not much bothered with the calibre or dress sense of his royal visitor — especially since he had been openly hostile to the old system she personified. He had also demolished the idea that British humanitarianism lay behind the abolition of slavery in his seminal 1944 work Capitalism and Slavery (a massmarket edition of it was published in the UK for the first time just last March). Whatever went through his mind, he looked on inscrutably as the Queen’s aunt read out the obligatory message of good wishes for the future. At the time, though, the presence of royal visitors seemed generally well received, probably because the independence celebrations involved holidays and much partying. What was different, moreover, was that these members of the royal family were there in person, however far away they were kept from the crowds that turned out to see them. No member of the British monarchy had ventured to the Caribbean on official duty before the Queen and Prince Philip came to Jamaica in 1953. Hitherto, the royal family had been a distant and — for many people — an irrelevant concept, familiar only through statues, postage sta mps, and occasiona l newspaper articles circulating to the fringes of the British Empire. The absurdity of a “King of Barbados”, for instance, was mocked in Austin Clarke’s comic 1980 memoir of a patriotic colonial childhood, Growing Up Stupid under the Union Jack. Earlier, of course, the relationship between the Caribbean and the British monarchy was more malign than ridiculous. The toxic history of slavery in the region is inseparable from the history of


PA Images/Alamy Stock Photo • (inset) Information Division, Office of the Prime Minister – Communications, Trinidad & Tobago

Left The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge talk with Jamaica's Prime Minister Andrew Holness (left) and Governor General Patrick Allen (right) ahead of a dinner hosted by the latter at King's House in Kingston, Jamaica, during the royal tour of the Caribbean to mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Below Dr Williams delivers his famous speech on democracy

the British economy, and the interests of the Crown were inseparable from those of the slave ship owners, sugar importers, and plantation owners who — as Eric Williams brilliantly described — paved the way for Britain’s industrial revolution. The Royal African Company, set up in 1660 by the royal Stuart family and City of London investors, transported more Africans to servitude in the Americas than any other European slave company. Only in the 19th century did some members of the royal family embrace the abolitionist cause, but by then slavery had in any case become unviable. All such history seems far removed from William and Kate’s gentle “charm offensive”. Yet despite William’s “profound sorrow” over “abhorrent” wrongs in the past, there are those who seek reparations from a royal family whom they see as prime beneficiaries of the whole slavery system. This perception has gained some traction in Britain too, as current research has revealed that the royal fortune, the palaces and estates, can be linked to slavery. Popular historian Lucy Worsley has pointed out, for instance, that Kensington Palace — ironically the London residence of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge

— belonged to King William III, who had major slave trading interests and was an associate of Edward Colston (whose statue was dumped into Bristol harbour in a Black Lives Matter demonstration in June 2020). The Black Lives Matter movement has recently added to a sense of indignation at historic racial injustice, fuelling attacks on long-dead figures such as Colston and Cecil Rhodes, the Victorian diamond magnate and founder of Rhodesia (modern day Zimbabwe). Sixty years after Jamaica’s independence, there is still a Queen of Jamaica: the island is a sovereign state with Elizabeth II as its monarch and head of state. It was this situation — an anachronism or a symbol of continuity, depending on your point of view — that PM Holness was addressing when speaking at the recent royal reception. T he sa me const it ut iona l odd it y applies to Antigua & Barbuda, the Bahamas, Belize, Grenada, St Kitts & Nevis, St Lucia, and St Vincent & the Grenadines. Guyana opted to become a republic in 1970, Trinidad & Tobago in 1976, Dominica in 1978, and — most recently — Barbados in November 2021. Having declared they intend to become a republic

before the next general election in 2025, Jamaica too is poised to part company with the British royal family before long. All the other nations, save St Lucia, have indicated their intention to do the same. Tr ue independence, it is w idely believed, is incompatible with a continued tie to the colonial past, and younger generations in Jamaica and elsewhere no longer feel any special affinity with Britain. The Commonwealth will endure, as it offers creative cooperation and a shared commitment to democracy — but the prospects for the monarchy in the Caribbean seem much less secure. In any case, the territories of the Caribbean have always been able to produce their own home-grown royalty: sportspeople, musicians, writers, artists, and intellectuals. Barbados has its queen in Rihanna, for example, and some 300 years ago — when Jamaica was a land of slaves and masters — Queen Nanny, leader of the renegade Maroon freedom f ighters, r uled the island’s inaccessible eastern mountains. More recently, a suave Billy Ocean sang homage to his Caribbean Queen — “simply awesome” — but adorned with painted-on jeans rather than a diamond tiara. n

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Across 1 They endow with fine or desirable qualities [11] 4 Word of farewell [5] 5 Major cultural event in Grenada [8] 7 Chef’s focus [7] 8 Sail supports [5] 11 Oyster’s treasure [5] 12 First aid ____ [3] 14 Wish otherwise [3] 15 Console cornice support [5] 16 Compass point [5] 17 Based on sound reasoning [7] 18 Site of some fruit stands [8] 19 Small rope for furling a sail [5] 20 Narrow distance or margin [11] Down 1 Process of liberation [12] 2 Treating something abstract as concrete or real [11] 3 Broccoli’s close kin [11] 5 It’s fit to be tied [7] 6 _____ Games [12]

Spot the Difference

by James Hackett

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

Spot the Difference answers The sun is different; there are clouds around the sun; there are birds flying in the background; one coconut tree has four nuts instead of three; the woman has an extra bangle on her left hand; the beach mat has different patterns; the woman’s earrings are different; the woman’s bathing suit has different designs; there are fewer waves in the sea; the details of the woman’s hair are different.

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parting shot

The Tobago Cays

Helmut Corneli/Alamy Stock Photo

Near the southern end of St Vincent & the Grenadines, the Tobago Cays Marine Park protects one of the most stunning seascapes in the Caribbean: a sandy lagoon fringed by coral reefs and studded with five tiny islets. They’re a stark contrast to the mainland, where the Soufrière volcano towers over 4,000ft above the coastline. Up to 8,000 yachts visit the Tobago Cays each year, drawn to the clear turquoise water and abundant sea life — from green turtles to starfish. Fun fact: the Cays were also used as a location in the Pirates of the Caribbean films.

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portal As the world takes measures to achieve climate and energy goals, NGC understands that education, awareness and knowledge-sharing are critical to meet these targets. Connecting people with information equips them with the tools needed to act. This is the philosophy that underpins the Company’s digital information hub, CariGreen. CariGreen aims to bring learning resources specific to the Caribbean

green energy/renewables landscape onto one platform. The website provides information on available opportunities, planning, energy markets and technology developments within the clean energy space for the Caribbean region. While The NGC Group works to assist local and regional parties to achieve climate targets for 2030, CariGreen is a digital space that can support building a better-informed public, stakeholders and investors.

Features Launched in June 2021, www.carigreen.ngc.co.tt features sections that speak to energy transition, market information and Caribbean country-specific data from CARICOM and non-CARICOM. In 2022, CariGreen will include a ‘Projects’ section that features an evolving dataset of material green energy projects across the Caribbean and Latin America. This will play an essential role in the energy mix as the region transitions to cleaner forms of energy. As CariGreen evolves and as more data comes to hand, its content categories and sections will be expanded. CariGreen will continue to deliver on its vision of raising awareness and understanding of regional clean energy. Having more informed investors, citizens and stakeholders is the most important outcome as this will bolster efforts in NGC’s Green Agenda and sustainability programmes. www.ngc.co.tt