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The start of 2023 was exceptional, with the launch of our Welcome Home campaign. Your support has been overwhelming, and we are grateful for the privilege to serve you.
Our sponsorship as the official airline of the Trinidad & Tobago Carnival was a success, and the song “Welcome Home” — sung by international soca stars Machel Montano and Voice with Jamaican reggae star Agent Sasco was a popular refrain. Be sure to look out for Caribbean Airlines at major festivals across the region this year.
Welcome Home at the core has been our clear intention this year to focus on service and consistent attention to passengers.
Caribbean Airlines has the largest network in the region — and we’re expanding. We’re making it easier for our customers to visit the most popular places, while growing to give travellers access to new places they haven’t yet experienced. Our aim is to offer you the widest range of destinations and the most convenient travel options.
As you flip through this issue of Caribbean Beat, you’ll come across a beautiful article by Cari — our resident
A Message from our CEO
blogger and adventurer, and lover of all things Caribbean — called “Let Cari Be Your Guide”. You can follow Cari on Instagram @life.of.cari to get to know her better. I hope she inspires you to explore our islands and live the Caribbean way boldly.
We’ve heeded your calls for more branded items, so in the month of April look out for D’ Caribbean Shop, our NEW online merchandise store where you can buy an array of Caribbean Airlines branded goods and lots more. It will be introduced on a phased basis.
To start, customers in Trinidad & Tobago can purchase apparel for adults and children, signature items and jewellery. Items can be ordered at www.dshop.caribbean-airlines. com which are then delivered by our Jetpak courier service. Stay tuned for more details via our website and social media channels as we grow D’ Caribbean Shop.
We are focused on improving all aspects of the business, and cargo is a major part of this. Now you can pay for your shipments online by credit card via Pay Cargo. This will be especially beneficial to those of you who are unable to tender your cargo in person.
Paying online is simple:
• Book your shipment via cargo@ caribbean-airlines.com or visit our office to present your cargo
• Once you’ve received your Airway Bill Number (AWB#), you’ll get a link to access Pay Cargo. Be sure to have your AWB# and credit card information at hand
• Complete payment and go to the confirmation page to ensure that payment is successful.
We are excited about all the positive things taking place at the airline, in the region, and resonating through our Welcome Home campaign — an initiative that is about uniting and connecting the region. Our involvement in celebrations, festivals and events across our growing network will be a hallmark of this as the year unfolds.
Our teams are motivated, energised and look forward to a year of movement and excitement as we welcome all of you home to Caribbean Airlines!
Remembering the Caribbean man
A Messag from our CEO
Who could forget the fiery lyrics of “Bun dem”, where he bade St Peter to cast into the bowels of hell the likes of Margaret Thatcher, Ronald Reagan and others he saw as supporters of apartheid by their apparent lack of will, and to force them to deal with the injustice meted out to Black South Africans and others.
In the true tradition of calypso, Black Stalin was the ultimate storyteller, advancing the issues which affected everyday life.
What this quintessential Caribbean man gave us was an understanding of ourselves — our common bond, having made the same trip, on the same ship. A fact that some seem to forget.
The universe has a way of sending messages. This belief became even clearer when I considered writing this tribute to Dr(hc) Leroy Calliste — the sagacious calypsonian Black Stalin. I say considered because frankly I was intimidated by the idea.
Further confirmation that I should do this came while standing on Ariapita Avenue in Port of Spain, Trinidad. Out of the blue, a man named Zion approached me to sell me a book on the work of… Black Stalin. I chuckled to myself.
The next day as I sat to draft the message, my father — a DJ in his spare time — decided to play Black Stalin’s music. This went on for hours, and I found myself immersed in and absorbing the depth of the lyrics.
From childhood, I was a huge fan of Stalin (who got his sobriquet from another calypso icon, Lord Blakie). I remember being about five or six years old when my mother took me to a children’s calypso show where I saw Stalin perform.
It was captivating — the texture of his voice, his tone, and best of all the lyrical content, which years later I came to deeply appreciate.
I felt like Black Stalin and I were kindred spirits in how we identified as Caribbean people. Little did I know that this kinship spanned the region, as many of us feel this way.
Black Stalin’s gift with words was masterful. He captured the essence of the Caribbean with his music. He gave us a voice which the world heard.
Black Stalin articulated elements of our shared history that resonated with everyone, and always with a message of embracing our Caribbean identity.
He was a flag-bearer for justice, an advocate for culture and, most of all, he reinforced the importance of Caribbean nationbuilding.
His seminal work “The Caribbean man” — the inspiration for Caribbean Airlines’ Caribbean Identity campaign — should be taught in schools across the length and breadth of the region to instil in the youth our strength and oneness.
Black Stalin’s discography is vast. No tribute to him would be complete without mention of “Black man feeling to party” — his most celebrated “party song”. It’s guaranteed to produce explosions of joy, causing men, women, boys and girls, regardless of ethnicity, to “break away” on cue from the moment it starts.
Black Stalin was and will remain one of the Caribbean’s most beloved icons. May we work together to keep his music alive, so that generations to come can be inspired to achieve all he expressed in song, and to believe in the power of the CARIBBEAN IDENTITY!
Dionne Ligoure is the Head, Corporate Communications at Caribbean Airlines, and a doggedly loyal Stalinist. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Caribbean Airlines #REcalibrated
Andre A de silv A
No. 175 • March/April 2023 38
12 EvEnt buzz Festivals and events around the region
18 History buzz
Jeremy Taylor on Wendy Yawching
— the first female captain of a jetliner at BWIA
20 MusiC & booK buzz
Reviews by Nigel A Campbell and Shivanee Ramlochan
Finding solace in a bowl oF soup
Vaughn Stafford Gray explores Caribbean soups’ abiding power to soothe us, ground us, and connect us
26 baCKstory a return to island jazz
Beloved Caribbean jazz festivals are back, featuring exciting rosters of established and emerging artists, Nigel A Campbell reports
30 own words
“i was unapologetic about who i am and what i represented”
The multi-hyphenate former Miss Jamaica World Terri-Karelle (Griffith)
Reid on redefining beauty standards, her journey through diverse professional roles, and never dimming her light for anyone — as told to Shelly-Ann Inniss
little cups oF cocoa
Trinidad & Tobago has long been at the forefront of cocoa research and production globally. Sharda Patasar learns more
38 round trip where past and present converge
Explore five of the region’s stunning World Heritage Sites
46 offtraCK with goats (or sheep) For company
Over three days roaming Carriacou and Petite Martinique, Paul Crask reflects on the islands’ histories, soaks up their charms, and muses about their futures
52 on tHis day
From guyana to the galapagos
It was John Edmonstone — born into slavery in Guyana — who trained
Charles Darwin in taxidermy, the science that helped Darwin develop his theory of evolution, writes James Ferguson
54 GrEEn small island states or large ocean nations?
James Ellsmoor on the Caribbean’s potential to become a leader in global marine conservation
56 puzzlEs & brain tEasErs
64 did you EvEn Know…?
read and save issues of Caribbean Beat on your smartphone, tablet, computer, and favourite digital devices!
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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 2023. 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.
Cover dr Terri-Karelle reid ahead of a keynote speaking engagement at the AC Hotel in Kingston, Jamaica
Photo Jermaine duncan courtesy Terri-Karelle reid
Printed by SCRIP-J, Trinidad and Tobago
Essential info about what’s happening across the region in March and April!
You can hear fantastic music just about anywhere, but the unique ambiance and people around you make all the difference between just hearing it, and experiencing something that becomes an epic memory for years to come. The Tobago Jazz Experience (20–23 April) combines jazz and other musical styles with the rhythm of Tobago, offering a unique encounter with the island’s cultural heritage, culinary styles, and talent. Spellbinding performances by international headliners like the iconic Grace Jones, phenomenal jazz trumpeter Etienne Charles, contemporary jazz saxophonist Elan Trotman, and others have created Tobago Jazz devotees in the past — and this year promises to be no different.
An DREA D E S IL v A
Toni Braxton performs at the 2019 Tobago Jazz experience
With secluded white sand beaches lapped by sky blue waters, breathtaking natural beauty, stunning biodiversity and authentic Caribbean hospitality, Tobago occupies a special place in the hearts of all who visit – and we can’t wait to welcome you!
Discover Tobago for your perfect escape and prepare to explore our unspoilt, untouched, undiscovered island.
You can find out more at: TobagoBeyond.com #101ReasonsTobago
A dedicated race village and vibrant shoreside activities are on offer at the St Maarten Regatta (2–5 March), boasting intense windward to leeward racing mixed with short tactical coastal racing. Experience even more action later in the season at Antigua Sailing Week (28 April–5 May).
Some of the greatest drummers, percussionists, and other musicians have performed at Fiesta del Tambor (2–5 March) in Havana. During this “drum party” (as it translates to in English), numerous venues around Cuba’s capital host performances, masterclasses and competitions.
It’s turtle-watching season! Between March and September, locations around the Caribbean become nesting sites for these beautiful, endangered creatures. Guided tours or permits may be required in some destinations for this unforgettable experience. You can learn more on our website at caribbean-beat.com
In the midst of much pomp, pageantry and fanfare, top local, regional and international jockeys compete for the prestigious Sandy Lane Gold Cup (4 March) at Barbados’ historic Garrison Savannah. The lively atmosphere intensifies the following month as music lovers converge at the Barbados Reggae Festival (27 April–1 May).
WWW.CARIBBEAN-BEAT.COM 14 sA l T y v iew/ sH u TT ers T o CK C om BT mi vi A m AT/ sH u TT ers T o CK C om event buzz
Cou RTES y An TIG u A & B ARB u DA Tou RISM Au T ho RIT y
It’s a festival of colours and flavours at Carnaval Miami (4 March–8 April). Carnaval on the Mile, Calle Ocho Music Festival, and various art, music and sporting events attract almost a million people annually. Back in the Caribbean, the revelry continues at Jamaica Carnival (12–18 April) and St Maarten Carnival (14 April–3 May).
The first day of spring brings spirited singing, dancing, tassa drumming, and blanketing each other in abeer as Phagwah or holi (7 or 8 March, depending on the destination) is observed in Guyana, Suriname and Trinidad & Tobago. This Hindu festival welcomes those of all backgrounds as the everlasting love of Radha Krishna and the Hindu New Year are celebrated.
15 WWW.CARIBBEAN-AIRLINES.COM Te A m dw P sT udios Zi A d Jose PH event buzz
On your mark…! Get set for ChAMPS (28 March–1 April) — the high school track and field meet where athletics stars like Shelly-Ann Fraser-Price, Usain Bolt and many of Jamaica’s top athletes first shot to prominence. Cheers also erupt across CARICOM as future Olympians and world class athletes are tested at the 50th CARIFTA Games (7–10 April) in The Bahamas.
Electronic music mesmerises partygoers from sunrise to sunset at the SXM Festival (8–12 March) in idyllic St Maarten.
Then from historical hikes to masqueraders in kilts, St Patrick’s Day celebrations (12–19 March) take centre stage annually in Montserrat — the only place outside Ireland to celebrate it as a national holiday.
Island jazz is back! Trinidad’s Jazz Artists on the Greens serenades audiences on 25 March, with Dominica’s Jazz ‘n Creole Festival following on 30 April. You can read more about the return of Caribbean jazz festivals on pages 26 to 28.
Dancing kites, hot cross buns, fish festivals, bun-and-cheese, and goat and crab races signal Easter time around the Caribbean. Take in the Bartica Easter Regatta or the Rupununi Rodeo if you’re in Guyana on Easter weekend (7–10 April).
Finally, Trinidad & Tobago’s Bocas Lit Fest (28–30 April) returns with a hybrid in-person and virtual format celebrating words, stories and ideas, with events for everyone — from budding writers to avid readers to schoolchildren.
Event previews by Shelly-Ann Inniss
WWW.CARIBBEAN-BEAT.COM Keno Geor G e event buzz 16
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Just watch me
Wendy Yawching — the first female captain of a jetliner at BWIA (Caribbean Airlines’ predecessor) — has released a book not just about her groundbreaking journey, but full of encouragement for anyone to believe in and pursue their dreams. Jeremy Taylor learns more
Wendy Yawching was only 10 when she decided to be a pilot. Not just a pilot, but the captain of a big commercial jet. As the years went by people told her: Forget about it, flying is boys’ work, girls don’t fly airplanes, just get married and be a good wife and mother.
But Wendy, a tenacious and selfdirected Trinidadian, soon learned to say “I can. I will. Watch me” — and do her own thing regardless.
She has now published a memoir — The Courage to Fly — describing how she managed it. She had to fund her long rigorous training, and discover how
much relentless hard work and sacrifice goes into becoming a pilot. She had to earn respect as a woman in a maledominated world.
But she emerged triumphantly as a pilot, and eventually a captain — the first woman to captain a jet aircraft for BWIA, Caribbean Airlines’ predecessor. Her sheer joy in flying jumps off every page.
But The Courage to Fly is not only about flying planes. Underpinning the pilot stories is a narrative about believing in yourself, marching through the dark places, and facing fears.
Tips for courageous living follow
each chapter. And the adventure of flying is matched by a life of outdoor adventure travel, from skydiving through running an eco-travel business to launching an assault on the base camp of Mount Everest.
The Courage to Fly is an easy-going, chatty memoir designed to inspire selfconfidence. It leaves its author retired from flying but pursuing a new passion: a consultancy dealing in Feng Shui and self-empowerment, the latter aimed especially at women and girls who are seeking the courage to fly.
The Courage To Fly by Wendy Yawching (self-published 2022, ISBN 979-8-218-06723-6)
WWW.CARIBBEAN-BEAT.COM 18 history buzz
Arlene C H erry m essi AH C our T esy w endy yA w CH in G
underpinning the pilot stories is a narrative about believing in yourself, marching through the dark places, and facing fears
e ls P e TH d un CA n C our T esy w endy yA w CH in G
this month’s listening picks from the caribbean
Reviews by nigel A Campbell
Remains (Heavy Drumz)
Multicultural Trinidadian (born there, raised everywhere, lives here) Keshav Chandradath Singh has released a singer-songwriter project — his premiere album, “for international consumption”, as he says, that positions this musician and producer outside of his popular soca and EDM milieu. The sombre tone of the album’s lyrics speaks to a relationship past its time, beyond redemption. This, however, should not be a turn off — Adele mined sorrow successfully on her album 21. That template of confession and reflection when coupled with cutting edge sound and music moves this album up the ladder of Caribbeanreleased pop music. On the track “Remains”, we hear: You put the gun to my back and shot me right through the chest / But you thought I’d fade into black, my spirit rises again. Love hurts. If this album is recovery from that hurt, listeners can move beyond the heartache towards danceable joy. A revelation.
The music of Curaçao is an enigma to many Caribbean people — not necessarily because of lack of access but, with the rich Papiamentu language, many may miss much in terms of the stories and ideas that show a commonality. Rhythms and melodies, however, can be easily heard and understood. Antillean composer, arranger and pianist Randal Corsen joins island favourite and sublime vocalist Dibo D to produce an elegant album that samples the native genres of the island and explores them in a way that suggests metropolitan production values are the norm there. Big band horns and strings are juxtaposed with contemporary island genres like ritmo kombiná, Latin pop, zouk, Brazilian funk, soukous, and folkloric danzas and heritage rhythms like tumba and seú (slave songs sung at harvest). Songs of hope and appreciation play alongside recovered boleros and old poems remade as ballads. Music without borders.
There is a new crop of singers from the Caribbean and the African continent — Shenseea, Koffee, Tems, Tiwa Savage, et al — making bold moves to put ethnic genres into the global consciousness. Add Nailah Blackman to that list, and this album as an example of how cross-fertilisation of global and regional riddims is introducing a new way of listening to pop music. Tight production — sampling Afro-Caribbean beats and mimicking Afrobeats — distinguishes this album of 19 songs that play out in just under an hour. Bangers, actually. Nailah and her team have crafted a series of tracks that range from the fun to the carnal to the thoughtful. The album opener “Best Friends” is a standout: Tether your love, for better days / Even in drought, you show me the rain... From there on, singing along and doing TikTok dances could easily happen. Nailah’s soca heritage is secure; what her grandfather Ras Shorty I created has evolved and is poised to blow up here.
Next To Me (OVO Sound) • Single
When love is so intense that one becomes confused and insecure, it is a sign that things are either moving too fast too soon to comprehend, or that one is unaccustomed to true love. Either way, the idea that this couple could not just easily settle the doubts is a trope in a number of love songs going way back. Jamaican beauty queen and former Miss World Toni-Ann Singh joins dancehall star Popcaan on this track to give their separate perspectives on this romance. Singh tells us: Met a few lifetimes ago / You were Antony, I was Cleo / Made the world a place only we know. That enduring and complex love story inspired plays and movies. Her doubts, urging her to run away, are countered supportively by Popcaan: You don’t need to run away / Stay right next to me... / But if you wanna go, I will go. Blissfully, this is not a Shakespearean tragedy, but a modern dancehall ode to love. One can happily sing along to both sides of this love story.
WWW.CARIBBEAN-BEAT.COM 20 music buzz
dibo d & r andal corsen
Sin Barera (ZenneZ Records)
Teknique (Sokah Experience)
popcaan ft toni-ann
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this month’s reading picks from the caribbean
Reviews by Shivanee Ramlochan, Book Review Editor
the stranger who was myself
by Barbara Jenkins
(Peepal Tree Press, 278 pp, ISBN 9781845235345)
In Trinidadian novelist and short story writer Barbara Jenkins’ first full-length non-fiction offering, the past is held to account — specifically, her own past. The Stranger Who Was Myself, which takes its title from Derek Walcott’s poem “Love After Love”, does what so many memoirs purpose to do, yet few achieve: it tells the truth. Generously, honed with all the wit and insight that characterise her fiction, Jenkins lets us in — showing us her childhood and coming of age, tackling colourism’s scourges while interrogating memory’s labyrinthine vaults. This will be a nigh-impossible book to relinquish. Long after it’s read, images and impressions persist with the reader, transforming her indelibly. From the ascending verdure of Upper Belmont Valley Road to the windswept decks of Atlantic-crossing ships, every landscape in this history feels impossibly yet remarkably personal.
scream in the shadows
by Mac Donald Dixon
(Papillote Press, 200 pp, ISBN 9781838041533)
St Lucian author Mac Donald Dixon’s third novel brews a heady concoction of justice and redemption in the crime fiction genre. Determined to clear his Papa’s name for the murder of his older sister Laurette, a youth discovers that villagers and townsfolk are far more likely to dispense secretive whispers than offer helpful solutions. Superstitions — steeped in the patriarchal mores of the island — add fuel to rumours about Laurette’s violent end, and our protagonist struggles to separate illusion from concrete proof. A Scream in the Shadows takes on a moral responsibility to raze to the ground systemic failures of policing and judicial due process. That it does this without tendentious handwringing is to the author’s credit. The conflicts feel acute in their gravity, the suffering palpable, the road to emotional closure a hard-trod journey.
by Celeste Mohammed (Ig Publishing, 208 pp, ISBN 9781632462022)
Winner of the 2022 OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature, Celeste Mohammed’s victory makes her the third woman from Trinidad & Tobago to claim the overall prize. The realities of the islands she presents are visionary, scathing in their intimations, brilliant in the intensity of their transmissions. This is an utterly identifiable landscape — hewn of major and minor corruptions, prison escapes, colourful adulteries, suppressed lesbian desires, Carnivalesque wining sessions. Wielding judicious narrative control, Mohammed teases the threads of Pleasantview’s interwoven stories into a deeply satisfying tangle. In a pivotal, wordless scene between a couple, one sees in the other’s eyes “love, shame, the truth he couldn’t say”. It’s a fitting microcosm for the subterranean experiences lurking in myriad interactions between the many bittersweet beloveds and sworn enemies we meet in these pages. This is irresistible writing, rippling with fierce assurance.
corn & gully by Safiya Kamaria Kinshasa (Out-Spoken Press, 100 pp, ISBN 978-1739902124)
Every poem has at least one heartbeat. Nowhere is this more evident than in the remarkable debut collection of British-born, Barbadianraised Safiya Kamaria Kinshasa. Cane, Corn & Gully employs Labanotation — an illustrative system depicting human movement — to summon and converse with the Afro-diasporan movements of Black Barbadian women throughout history. Reclaiming their stories from the fringes of the archives, Kinshasa’s poems move fluidly — with playfulness and formal experimentation, confronting superstructures of racism and neocolonialism. The poet’s diction doesn’t tiptoe through expected paces; it exults in kinesis, and generates startling significances from lyricism and daring inventiveness. Even the Barbadian canefields in “I Salted de Mud With My Palms but More ah Me Grew” offer their own stirring resistance: & dem tell me no, if you keep getting cut down / & keep growing yuh mussie mean something.
A BOWL OF F INDING SOLACE IN SOUP
Picture it: 1999, and there’s a hotel ballroom filled with high schoolers celebrating graduation. As the excitement gets controlled, they finally sit at 10-seater tables. However, as the first course — soup — was served, there was a commotion. The person beside me shouted, “Wha dis? Why is it cold?” And the discontent wafted through the room like bad perfume.
I was on my graduation ball (prom) committee, and when we got the menu options from the hotel, I immediately vetoed the cantaloupe soup. Despite my obsession with cooking and then burgeoning knowledge of food, I was outvoted, and the committee chose the melon soup.
Not since the Trojans accepted a wooden horse as a gift was a worse decision made. Pandemonium.
Luckily the venue’s events manager had two other functions that evening, so she found alternatives for us. Leftovers, dear reader. But beggars can’t be choosers. So, they ditched the melon soup, and the kitchen staff reheated cauldrons of cream of pumpkin and cream of red peas soups. When served, these hit the mark.
I wanted to say, “I told you so” — but focused more on a crisis being averted.
But you must be wondering why folks had such a visceral reaction to a bowl of soup. Simply put, there’s a lot of nostalgia and comfort attached to soup, especially for Caribbean people. And for us, as delicious as they may be, cold soups are not our ministry.
For many of us, soup is a comforting dish that brings back memories of family and home. When I moved to Toronto from Jamaica, I yearned for my mother’s red peas soup with pigs’ tails and spinners. I could find nothing as comforting until I discovered Vietnamese pho, Japanese ramen, and Jewish matzo ball soup. Yes, wildly different from the coconut milk-laced soup full of ground provisions. However, I could find solace in these bowls of warm love, especially on winter days.
Each culture has its “main” soup. Besides those named above, the United States has chowder; Spain, gazpacho; and Hungary, goulash. Each is meaningful and tied to a bit of history. But in the Caribbean, there’s one that takes it a step further, with over 200 years of liberation as a main ingredient — soup joumou.
In Haiti, you can’t ring in the New Year without soup joumou. The hearty pots of cabbage, beef, pumpkin, carrots, and potatoes commemorate Haiti’s liberation from French colonial rule in 1804.
“Enslaved Haitians were not allowed to have this delicious and aromatic pumpkin soup, a favourite of the French who held people in slavery,” says Haitian-American chef Nadege Fleurimond. “On Sunday 1 January 1804, when the enslaved gained their freedom, they celebrated with music and food in the Place d’Armes, in the city of Gonaives. And what better way to celebrate than to eat the very thing they were unable to eat under slavery?”
Not quite the idea of a celebratory food we picture, but retrospection and liberation bubble in those pots. With one sip, Haitians are connected to their ancestors. And, despite what’s happening around them, their hearts can dance
Avilledors A / sH u TT ers T o CK C om
We may scarcely appreciate the nostalgia, the comfort, and the utility of Caribbean soups. vaughn Stafford Gray explores their abiding power to soothe us, ground us, and connect us — both to our past, and to our people
as their forefathers did in the Place d’Armes. Soup is the epitome of comfort.
Were you to poll your friends and family about their favourite comfort foods or dishes, I doubt soup would make the top five. Scratch that — top 10. I wouldn’t fault the findings because how could soup compete with Guyanese pepperpot, coconut bake and salt fish, doubles, stew peas, or curry duck? Well, let me tell you, it can.
representation of others”. In other words, soup brings nostalgia to the table. Soup and other comfort foods are often associated with relationships; they can reduce feelings such as loneliness. They connect us to times in our lives, especially childhood, when we felt loved and cared for. “This is because comfort foods give rise to relationship-related thoughts and concepts,” said the researchers.
Soups have always been a big part of Caribbean cooking and have been passed down from generation to generation. In addition to being easily customisable, they are great ways of using up whatever is left over to create something nourishing. They stretch budgets.
But there’s something poetic about our Caribbean soups. They reflect who we are, our cultures, histories, and kinship. As cookbook author Molly Steven says, “Soup is a lot like a family. Each ingredient enhances the others; each batch has its own characteristics, and it needs time to simmer to reach full flavour.”
Now that I’m back living at home in Jamaica, my relationship with soup is different. It’s still comforting, but instead of alleviating pangs of homesickness, it now grounds and soothes me.
Few foods provide the same emotional and physical comfort that soup does. Stews are very close contenders. The term “comfort food” is widely misused. It often refers to food we gorge on when stressed or sad, which tends to be unhealthy, carb-heavy and laden with fat, sugar or salt. Or all three.
A 2011 study noted that comfort food serves as a “social surrogate and as a cognitive/emotional
The act of peeling dasheen, turnips, pumpkin and cho-cho (christophene); holding too many pimento seeds in my palm; dropping in the Scotch bonnet pepper and the contents of the cock soup packet when everything is bubbling connects me with who I am.
Coming home after over a decade of living abroad, I felt disconnected. But confidence and pride poured out of me by mastering the dishes of my family’s matriarchs, especially red peas and cow skin soups. They gave me solace.
Always remember that soup has a long job description. But at the top of the list is filling our stomachs and fulfilling our need to belong. n
R AD u S EBASTIA n/A LAM y S T o C k Pho T o
But there’s something poetic about our Caribbean soups. They reflect who we are, our cultures, histories, and kinship
A rETUrN TO ISLAND JAzz
After being hit by pandemic restrictions, beloved jazz festivals across the Caribbean are returning, nigel A Campbell reports, with a roster of exciting established and emerging jazz artists to keep your eyes on
The COVID-19 pandemic over the last three years wreaked havoc on island tourism and decimated the live music industry worldwide. A nexus for live music and tourism in the islands is the enduring island jazz festival, set for a reintroduction, a rebound and a reset in 2023.
In the Spring 1993 issue of Caribbean Beat, writer BC Pires noted that there are “more than 30 jazz festivals every year in the Caribbean and most Caribbean people have never been to one … And there is a good reason for this: most people in the Caribbean don’t really need jazz — they’ve got perfectly good music of their own, thank you.” However, 30 years beyond Pires’ declaration, perpetual in-the-red economics, ageing demographics, and changing tastes have diminished the faddish-ness of the island jazz fest as a dreamed-of getaway — whittling down the “more than 30 jazz festivals” to fewer than a dozen.
While a few island tourist boards and culture ministries still hold fast to the belief that the island jazz festival is an important magnet for tourists in low season, the remaining festivals have evolved to redefine those destinations by looking inwards.
Notably, the jazz festival in the Caribbean has never been the same as the jazz festival in North America or Europe. For the fortunate traveller to and among the islands, the experience is a unique one. And the first step in understanding that experience is the artist and his/her music — those Caribbean artists who are defining the sound of jazz in the Caribbean and from the Caribbean, and positioning themselves and their music to be the new magnets for the masses.
Boston-based contemporary jazz saxophonist and prolific recording artist Elan Trotman of Barbados has a formula that guarantees an audience; he brings his American audience to the island and assures the “heads in beds” result that island tourist boards enjoy.
lan Trotman of Barbados
Cour T esy e l A n Tro T m A n
Having the benefit of a late jazz season date, his b arbados j azz e xcursion (12–15 October) was able to test the waters in 2022, and is expanding its target audience to other islands.
In St Lucia, guitarist r onald “Boo” Hinkson is a national cultural icon linking one of the pioneering jazz festivals in the Caribbean, st lucia jazz & a rts Festival (5–14 May), to audiences regionally and internationally. A festival regular, his presence bridges the festival’s origins in traditional jazz excellence with its evolution towards regional talent as inspiration and influence.
Both Trotman and Hinkson, along with St Lucian Teddyson John and Barbadians Nicholas Brancker and Arturo Tappin, represent one modern identity of Caribbean jazz: a tropical crossover/ easy-listening sonic profile on many recordings, which serves as a jumping-off point for visitors to those festivals.
Individually, these artists have positioned their music to be palatable to a wide cross-section of music lovers who
are eschewing improvisational excess for reframed island vibes.
Global artists share stages with local talent at the tobago jazz e xperience (20–23 April), which has a similar profile to St Lucia’s, focusing on the tourist in paradise and the Caribbean luxe resort sojourner, thus signifying an awakening to new music possibilities that align with
popular tastes without dilution of a native expression.
“[T]hey’ve got perfectly good music of their own, thank you” is becoming the new way of reframing destination music festivals. In Dominica, Michelle Henderson and guitarist Cameron Pierre figure prominently in how that island’s jazz ‘n c reole Festival (30 April) is growing to be a heritage festival locating an Antillean pulse — or more specifically, the Kwéyòl vibe — in improvised music and singing.
Martinique, Guadeloupe, French Guiana all offer similar yet unique island jazz experiences from September to November that define Francophone Caribbean native music — zouk, cadance, bélé, gwo ka, biguine — through the lens of jazz improvisation and fusion.
This trend is paralleled in Trinidad with its series of one-day mini-festivals beginning one month after its mammoth Carnival through the final weekend in May — jazz a rtists on the greens (25 March); i am jazz (9 April); north coast jazz (27 May), and more — that all benefit from a stable of local musicians continuing their exploration and evolution of kaisojazz (calypso jazz) and steelpan jazz.
The port-au- p rince i nternational j azz Festival , popularly known as PAPJA zz Festival Haïti, helmed by local musician Joël Widmaier, was an outlier in 2021 in the midst of the pandemic, having their annual festival as a hybrid event: in-person live and livestreamed online. It returned in January for its 16th edition at various locations around the capital city.
ronald “Boo” Hinkson of st lucia
michelle Henderson of dominica
Cou RTES y SLA n D Muz I k P R o D u CTI on S Cour T esy m i CH elle Henderson Cour T esy r on A ld “Boo” Hin K son
elan Trotman (front right) performs
Determined resilience is an apt description for the ethos of this festival, while another would be contented nationalism. Haitian musicians and their music, which celebrates konpa and kreyòl and juxtaposes jazz with jubilation, are a main part of the programming of the festival. The Haitian diaspora was showcased to a global streaming audience. Montrealborn woodwind specialist Jowee Omicil, whose music is wildly described as having “a cosmopolitan sense of groove and injected with hints of voodoo blues”, headlined the 2023 edition.
Like Haiti, the jazz festival season in Cuba also begins in January. The longest-running regional jazz festival, the international jazz Festival of havana , celebrated its 38th edition in January. Also called Jazz Plaza Havana, it showcases both élan and patriotism from native musicians — from the legends Chucho Valdés and Bobby Carcassés to a new
generation displaying jazz performance excellence. You can always expect a learning experience as the dynamism of AfroCuban and Latin jazz is explored here.
Beyond poverty and politics, real and imagined, a sense of dignified originality reigns in these two island jazz festivals.
Of course, the next step to appreciating the recovering island jazz festivals is being there. With the lifting of travel restrictions and opening of island borders, visitors and regional
travellers are on the move again. Caribbean Airlines boasts direct connections to any island with a jazz festival from hubs in the Caribbean and North America, and islandhopping flights and ferries serve to fill in the gaps.
Optimum tourism and travel are still hampered by high prices brought on by increasing fuel costs, immovable and significant taxes on travel into and between islands, and by other man-made
obstacles. Flying into Cuba from some countries is an expensive political act. Nevertheless, exploring myriad spaces and navigating labyrinthine routes to experience Caribbean jazz is still worth it.
Being there — hearing and experiencing the music and festival vibe — is a spirited complement to the typical sun, sand, and sea island adventure. St Lucian Derek Walcott’s absurdist inference from his Nobel Lecture — “[a] culture based on joy is bound to be shallow” — is upended by the recognition and curation of the new island jazz festival experience in the Caribbean, which takes into consideration the Creole context, the vernacular expression, and the melodies, rhythms and language of the region.
What these festivals show is that beyond defining the destinations, there has been a growth of nascent music industries and the development of a cohort of native musicians whose careers have taken on a global perspective since the pandemic began.
It’s not a contradiction nor an incongruity to suggest that island jazz festivals are world class. They are reflections of the music and artists that makes island cultures resilient, important and impressive. n
There has been a growth of nascent music industries and the development of a cohort of native musicians whose careers have taken on a global perspective since the pandemic began
montreal born Jowee omicil, of Haitian heritage
Jill scott serenades patrons at the Tobago Jazz experience
Andre A d e s ilv A Bl ACK dA ndee C our T esy Jowee o mi C il Cour T esy o CP P H o T o G r APH y m A mi
Chucho valdes of Cuba
“I WAS UNAPOLOGETIC ABOUT WHO I AM AND WHAT I rEPrESENTED”
Host, speaker, author, trained veterinarian and former Miss Jamaica World Terri-Karelle (Griffith) Reid on redefining beauty standards, her journey through her diverse professional roles, and never dimming her light for anyone — as told to Shelly-Ann Inniss
Ientered Miss Jamaica World in 2005 with an Afro bouncing off the walls. People rooted for me, but didn’t think I’d win because I had natural hair. It’s as if you had to pick a struggle — you can’t be Black or Black with an Afro.
I went on the stage, rocked my Afro and the place erupted. The newspapers reported a new day had dawned because they had a particular idea of what the beauty standard was, and here comes this contestant who’s gone against the grain presenting herself in her most natural form without any fear of consequence.
When it was time to go to Miss World in Sanya, China, sponsors asked what I’d do with my hair for the international competition and I said wash it, condition it, and keep it moving. I was the most photographed contestant with my Afro. I also placed in the top 15 and won the people’s public vote.
When I returned to Jamaica, there was a moment when it was okay to be Black with an Afro. Jamaicans called me their “Jamaican girl” because I was unapologetic about who I am and what I represented.
I have diverse professional roles and
it’s interesting when people try to introduce me. I tell them just say my name. I think it’s easier when others call you a media personality than when you call yourself that. I see myself as a TV host and speaker. Certainly, after my TEDx talk, the demand for [me as] a speaker increased exponentially.
After receiving the invitation from TEDx, I wondered if it’s a scam. People audition and hire coaches to audition, but I didn’t. When they emailed, they said [TEDxAstonUniversity in Birmingham, England] was coming up and asked if I’m interested.
I’m an unscripted speaker so being told to write a script, submit a draft, and other requirements made me want to say no. But even if you’re a master of your craft, there’s always room for improvement. A new level got unlocked and it was uncomfortable, but I did it.
Imposter syndrome has never been a problem for me. We’re taught to marry our capacity and capability with training or what we studied, although our ability to grow categorically increases when we’re thrown into the deep end.
For me initially, it was TV hosting because I’m a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine. I never went to the Caribbean School of Media & Communication (CA r IMAC), but I always jump into the deep end and figure it out. No ego. I’m open to learning.
Plus, I know if God gave me an opportunity, He already equipped me.
Inner peace and doing what I love make me happy. Having a partner who understands the calling over my life and willingly shares me selflessly with others while telling me that my capacity is even bigger than I know makes me happy. It’s a beautiful feeling when you don’t have to dim for your partner.
Culturally, a lot of ambitious go-getters, movers and shakers, are prisoners of households and partners because of ego. Culturally, we are taught to be second place. It makes a big difference that I don’t have to wear a mask. I don’t have to pretend to be anyone other than myself. To have people understand that, respect it and emulate it makes me happy.
People say I’m confident and very self-aware. These traits came from my maternal grandmother Millicent Audrey Scott who helped raise me in Portmore, St Catherine — and welcomed my 26 [rescue] pets. She taught me the importance of owning who you are.
In this life, people will dislike you for absolutely no fault of your own. You don’t have to know anyone or say anything bad or malicious. The mere fact that you’re you, people admire you, and you’re thriving and glowing — people who don’t understand that will have something bad to say.
Ask yourself a simple question: are you going to listen to them, withdraw and be a shell of yourself, or are you going to step into your greatness? I wouldn’t be who I am, I wouldn’t take on tasks, nor give myself credit or think that I have the capacity to do great things if I didn’t learn to be aware of myself, who I am, and what I stand for.
My biggest achievement is my daughter Naima-Kourtnae — then TEDx. Everything I do for my daughter my mum Donna-Marie Scott did. She balanced work and attended my recitals, my swimming … everything. She was a flight attendant at Air Jamaica and a straight up hustler, always working, and independent. She showed me it’s important to earn your own money and be the breadwinner, but it’s important to balance expectations as a mum as well. That’s the model I took over into my life.
31 WWW.CARIBBEAN-AIRLINES.COM Jerm A ine d un CA n C our T esy Terri-K A relle r eid
C A n CA n C H u/Ge TT y m AG es
opposite page dr TerriKarelle reid on compère duty at the Jamaica manufacturers & exporters Association’s m&e Awards in Kingston, Jamaica Right Terri-Karelle Griffith at the finals of the 55th miss world competition (sanya, China) in 2005
With the pandemic, everything got cancelled and I found myself asking “what now” like everyone else … 2020 was to be my biggest year as an events host. I had events scheduled across London, Paris, the Dominican r epublic and more.
Whenever something happens in a crisis — even though it was on a completely different level — I don’t believe you should stop preparing, not in the midst of rejection or disappointment either. That’s when you do more because everyone else is panicking. So, I decided to build my website.
Website built, jobs came, and people kept asking the same branding questions. I’d respond individually then I realised a
cheat sheet on my website would have been more effective. But as I sat there, one page became 11, then 100. I didn’t want to write a book. I just wanted to answer the questions and go about my business.
At that point, the demand for virtual
hosting picked up, so time and my attention started to dwindle. But my accountability partners — my daughter, mother, partner, best friends — asked where’s the book, and in 2022 we launched My Brand Compass: The 13 Cs to Building Your Personal Brand, which had an all-female production team.
My favourite Cs in terms of building your brand are confidence and character. Before you can take necessary steps of becoming a brand that is credible and recognisable, you have to believe in it and believe you have something to bring to the table and you’re unique. You must believe in the power, gifts and talents you’ve been given are for a purpose. We all matter, and the question is how much you believe it. That’s the difference between one who gets ahead and the one who doesn’t. Character is your currency. Your name and your character go before you such that your name is dropped because of who you are.
The more you walk in your journey and not deviate, the right people find you. I’m in a season of harvest and simultaneously I’m getting ready to plant and bear new fruit. I don’t know what role, responsibility and title I’ll get. I just
know wherever I’m planted, I want to be someone who can build the community around her and can impact, enable, and empower through service.
Whatever I do next will always be divinely ordained and true to my brand — Terri-Karelle reid, your Jamaican girl.
I just know wherever I’m planted, I want
someone who can build the community around her and can impact, enable, and empower through service
o nEIL G RA n T C ou RTES y T ERRIkARELLE R EID
Terri-Karelle (right) stands with four generations of her family. From left: mother donna-marie scott, daughter naima-Kourtnae reid, and grandmother millicent Audrey scott
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LITTLE CUPS OF COCOA
Trinidad & Tobago has long been at the forefront of cocoa research and production globally. Sharda Patasar looks at the critical work being undertaken at the University of the West Indies’ Cocoa Research Centre, the International Cocoa Genebank, and Rio Claro Demonstration Station
It’s 7am. A mist hangs over the open, undulating terrain. On the Guaracara Tabaquite road that leads to rio Claro in southeast Trinidad, scattered furrows appear on the hillsides. Forests host teak trees that canopy the roadway. This pristine landscape is interrupted by concrete buildings — houses, a police station, schools, bars, old cocoa houses peeping through trees.
Punctuating the journey at different points are signs advertising “Lots For Sale” — evidence that this is a place in transition, a space in midstride between the old and the new. Here, the r io Claro Demonstration Station stands like a great house on the hill.
Situated on what was once a part of the Agostini estate, it is a hub for teaching and experimentation. Since the 1950s, the station has been a site for breeding cocoa — including the world famous Trinitario, the Imperial College Selections (ICS), and the Trinidad Select Hybrids (TSHs) developed by William Freeman. Here, there are plots still affectionately referred to as the “Freeman plots”.
“A lot of the cocoa breeding research work done at the Imperial College of Tropical Agriculture, now UWI (University of the West Indies), and the Ministry of Agriculture at Centeno was brought to the station for evaluation,” explains my guide Kamaldeo Maharaj. “The varieties that performed well were propagated and sold to farmers across the country.” His wealth of knowledge comes from over 20 years as an agricultural officer and as a board member of the Cocoa Development Company of Trinidad & Tobago.
With this rich history and deep agricultural roots, it’s clear how r io Claro and environs have become such a stand-out in Trinidad’s award-winning cocoa industry, gaining international recognition. In 2017 at the international Cocoa of Excellence Awards, r io Claro placed in the top 50. Since then, the r io Claro estates have consistently placed in the top 15 at the National Cocoa Awards, a testament to the enduring heritage of cocoa here.
In earlier conversations I’d had with Professor Pathmanathan Umaharan and Dr Darin Sukha, director and research fellow respectively at the UWI Cocoa research Centre (CrC), I remembered they’d explained that it’s the “terroir effect” that makes these cocoa beans so unique and sought after.
For cocoa — just like with great wines — the flora, fauna, micro-climate and soil of the districts in which beans are grown impart the flavour. Beans from r io Claro are described as raisiny and fruity, while similar varieties grown in Moruga have a nutty flavour, or a floral flavour in Lopinot.
The cocoa trees at the station are short and closely spaced, providing shelter — but the shade is deceptive. In the tropical humidity, it is sweltering. Seeing the cocoa pods clinging to the tree bark brings back memories of the tangy pulp-covered seeds; the sticky juice on fingers; cheeks that hurt
from sucking on them, two at a time. I smile. It smelled nothing like chocolate, tasted nothing like chocolate, looked nothing like chocolate.
I’m brought back by the smell of shadon beni — a familiar scent, wafting up as the huge leaves come under foot. r io Claro, I remember too, is the hub of all shadon beni production in Trinidad & Tobago. Nearby, a worker is enjoying a freshly picked orange, cutlass in hand, ready at a moment to continue the day’s labour.
“Cocoa is never a primary crop, always part of a mixed cropping system in this country, providing farmers diverse income,” explains Sukha. “[It] makes economic sense for small estates producing micro-lots [with an] ecological equilibrium, where you are not drawing or exploiting one resource but spreading risk.” This was especially important during the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions when practically all non-essential sectors shut down.
d r dA rin s u KHA C our T esy uwi Co C o A r ese A r CH Cen T re
Fresh cocoa beans and cocoa by-products
A F ri CA sT udio/ sH u TT ers T o CK C om
Today, producers in the area — Sabita Mykoo, President of r io Claro Fine Flavour Cocoa Fermenters Ltd; and Gewan Gangaram — focus on high quality beans, processing, and value-added products to continue their expansion into lucrative international niche markets.
“I’ve learnt that cocoa is food, and I treat it with that respect,” says Mykoo.
“The station remains steadfast — it continues the important research, shares tested practices with farmers to optimise their processes and deliver to market the best quality beans,” says Florencia Beckles-Gangaram, Team Leader at the r io Claro Demonstration Station.
The uwi Cocoa research Centre proudly produces a 70% dark chocolate bar made exclusively from its cocoa collection of over 2,000 varieties
I wonder what Freeman and fellow cocoa research scientist FJ Pound would make of climate change, as both scholars’ research was a relentless search for resilient and delicious varieties — a body of work that has saved this delectable and irreplaceable food.
The CrC has continued that invaluable work as the trustee of the world’s longest continuously funded cocoa breeding programme, and one of the world’s most diverse collections of elite and “wild” cacao germplasm — living genetic resources like seeds, plants, and cultures — at the International Cocoa Genebank in Centeno.
The world owes no small debt to these tiny islands for access to this living bank in central Trinidad. The idea of a genebank may conjure images of a repository of seeds housed in glass tubes, but it is in fact 100 acres of over 2,000 trees — a living library that supports the world’s cocoa research and remains a provenance of the islands’ cocoa legacy.
Cocoa’s story is the human story, a story of resilience and resurgence. From its first iteration as currency — an indication of wealth — through to the present, its value has endured. From artisanal chocolates and drinks to soaps and nibs, cocoa continues to inspire the imagination.
Through a delicate mix of tradition and new knowledge, r io Claro remains the bedrock of the Trinidad & Tobago cocoa experience, consistently conjuring the “food of the gods”, and reminding us that cocoa is gold. n
Gewan’s beans can be found in Seahorse Chocolate. He also exports to Meridian Cacao Co, while Sabita continues to delight the local market with her range of products under her brand Sabita’s Cocoa Delights. Cocoa r io and r io Claro Chocolate are also products of the area.
As I explore further, my thoughts drift to Professor Umaharan stressing the importance of the southeast region as the main cocoa producing area for Trinidad & Tobago. She describes it as a favourable ecosystem, with reduced impact from pest and disease, and acreage which has not yet been diminished by commercial endeavours.
Yet, the impacts of climate change pose a growing threat. The steady rainfall of the last five years has led to a resurgence of witches’ broom disease in the r io Claro area, recalling the 1725 “cocoa blast” where the disease almost decimated the industry.
lA rry K A B r AHA m C our T esy uwi Co C o A r ese A r CH Cen T re
The world owes no small debt to tiny Trinidad & Tobago for access to this living genebank that supports the world’s cocoa research and remains a provenance of the islands’ cocoa legacy
Andre A d e s ilv A C our T esy uwi Co C o A r ese A r CH Cen T re
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Where past and present converge
In part two of our series on the region’s magnificent UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Shelly-Ann Inniss introduces five more gems — full of natural and cultural charm — to add to your bucket list
38 WWW.CARIBBEAN-BEAT.COM S TIG n y GAARD C ou RTES y F LIC k R
Canaima National Park
year of inscription: 1994
Spanning some 12,000 square miles along Venezuela’s borders with Guyana and Brazil, Canaima National Park is the country’s second largest. It’s home to Angel Falls which, at 3,212 feet, is the world’s highest uninterrupted waterfall, and celebrated as one of the “seven wonders of South America”. Among the park’s waterfalls, rivers, lakes, and spectacular landscapes tower its breathtaking sandstone tepuis (flat-topped, cliff-edged mountains). These formations date back some two billion years to when South America and Africa were part of the super-continent, Pangea. You can enjoy stunning views on a hike to the highest tepui, Mount roraima.
Urban Historic Centre of Cienfuegos
year of inscription: 2005
Dubbed “la Perla del Sur” (the pearl of the south), the charming neoclassical architecture in southcentral Cuba’s Urban Historic Centre of Cienfuegos is, according to UNESCO, “the first and an outstanding example of an architectural ensemble representing the new [19th century] ideas of modernity, hygiene and order in urban planning”. Strolling along its well-maintained municipal buildings and residential houses, you might just have to remind yourself you aren’t on the set of a classic film. And there’s plenty ground to cover since the downtown area contains hundreds of buildings erected in the 19th and 20th centuries.
vA dim n e F edov/Al A my sT o CK P H o T o
Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park
St Kitts year of inscription: 1999
It’s a steep ascent to the Brimstone Hill Fortress, so you might want to tackle this one on four wheels unless you’re doing it for exercise. This British engineered fort — known as the Gibraltar of the Caribbean — was built by enslaved Africans using the natural topography of this 755-foot twin-peaked volcanic hill. Completed in the 18th century, it’s the earliest existing example of the polygonal system of fortress design. Fort George (the citadel) dominates one of the peaks and houses a museum and gift shop. On a clear day, in the distance you’ll see Sint Eustatius, Saba, St Martin, St Barthelemy and other islands.
43 WWW.CARIBBEAN-AIRLINES.COM E v E n F h/Shu TTERST o C k. C o M
Blue and John Crow Mountains
year of inscription: 2015
Could this be the Garden of Eden? Often called “the lungs of eastern Jamaica”, these mountains are enchanting and mystical. It’s the only place to observe Jamaica’s rare birds, including the endangered Jamaican blackbird. This nearly 200 square mile national park, a nature-lover’s paradise, is home to the Blue Mountain Peak (Jamaica’s highest point at 7,402 feet), hiking trails, countless endemic plant and animal species (including the largest butterfly in the western hemisphere), and one of the largest Caribbean migratory bird habitats. Observe the thriving mountainside coffee fields on a trek to the top while learning from knowledgeable guides about the Maroons who used these mountains to escape captors.
44 WWW.CARIBBEAN-BEAT.COM Jon A R no LD MAGES L TD /A LAM y S T o C k Pho T o
Morne Trois Pitons National Park
year of inscription: 1997
The star attraction of this 27 square mile sanctuary is, without a doubt, the 4,403-foothigh volcano known as Morne Trois Pitons. Trek along any of the six marked hiking trails — complete with picnic spaces and shelter — which will take you to the Valley of Desolation, the country’s largest lakes (including the Boiling Lake where the water reaches 95 degrees Celsius!), five volcanoes, magnificent waterfalls, countless rivers, encounters with endemic species, awe-inspiring views, and loads more to write home about.
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WITH GOATS (Or SHEEP) FOr COMPANY
As he spends three days roaming Carriacou and Petite Martinique — Grenada’s less-visited offshore islands
— Paul Crask reflects on the islands’ histories, soaks up their charms, and muses about their futures
Carriacou and Petite Martinique feel like they exist in a world almost entirely on their own terms, and where little changes or upsets the harmony of a simple and uncomplicated way of life.
I go there whenever I can, often in June — at the end of peak holiday season — to walk forest and coastal paths, or to immerse myself in a cultural heritage that’s as ancient as the island’s first Amerindian settlers, and with roots as diverse as Scottish boatbuilders and enslaved Africans.
My last visit took in its beguiling Carnival celebrations and its unique tradition of Shakespeare Mas. Here I am again, ready to roam.
In the dry forest margins, something stirs. Goats. Or are they sheep? I’m never sure. They step out onto the dirt track in numbers, bleating loudly at this solo walker who has disturbed their dawn forage.
My hair is still wet from the sea, black volcanic sand still trapped in my shoes. I went for a swim at first light in the placid waters of Anse La roche bay — just a 20-minute diversion from the main track.
I’m walking around the top end this morning, from Bogles on the west coast to Windward on the east. It’s a two-hour journey that skirts the margins of Carriacou’s High North National Park, whose main attraction is the aptly named High North Nature Trail, a two-mile forest hike to the island’s highest point (955 feet), where there are gorgeous views of the southern Grenadines.
Continuing along the north coast, I reach Petit Carenage. Here, a short trudge through the swampy L’Apelle Mangrove Forest, a protected area for migratory waterbirds, brings me to one of my favourite Caribbean beaches.
It’s a long slip of deep white sand, deserted and beautiful, with a rusting shipwreck sitting defiantly upright against the shoreline, and a shallow coral formation extending to distant breakers all around the northeastern tip of Carriacou, this alluring island of reefs.
Across the water are the islands of Union, Mayreau, Petit St Vincent, and Petite Martinique.
Ireach the sleepy boatbuilding community of Windward just in time for a ride I had planned — a small private launch that I would share with the island’s doctor who is heading over to Petite Martinique to conduct his weekly surgery.
It’s a 20-minute, easy crossing, and we chat about the boatbuilding tradition of the two islands and his view that it’s in decline, with young men opting instead to make a living from commercial tuna fishing.
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Pe T er P H i PP /Tr A vels H o T s. C om/Al A my sT o CK P H o T o
Goats on Carriacou
Boat-building is a centuries-old tradition in Carriacou
hEMIS /A LAM y S T o C k Pho T o
I recalled being in Windward for two boat launching ceremonies in the past, when traditional Carriacou sloops were celebrated with lashings of rum, oil-down cooked over open fires, and the singing of shanties. And I hoped all was not lost.
In Sanchez, where we disembark, I’m relieved to see two wooden fishing boats under construction on the shoreline, and further along the coastal road, I see a half-built wooden speedboat sitting in a barren garden alongside an old pickup truck on blocks with its rear wheels missing. Two young men emerge from a house and wave hello with spanner and hammer before setting about their repair and construction work.
I walk for an hour, covering the full length of the single lane road that links the residential community of Madame Pierre to the wilds of En Haut.
Beyond that, there’s a dirt track that continues around the far side of the island and up to the top of Piton (740 feet), Petite Martinique’s single conical peak.
I sit in the short, dry grass at the remote Kendace Point with just sheep, or maybe goats, for company, and enjoy the views through Sahara dust haze to Carriacou.
After a couple of hours, the doctor has finished and we ride the launch back to Windward where I catch a bus to Hillsborough, Carriacou’s main town.
Sauntering along Main Street, I look to see if much has changed, but everything seems to be the same as it was the last time I was here, when I’d been plastered in paint powder and engine oil by jab-jabs at J’ouvert. I grab a mango juice to go from Kayak Café on Main Street and walk south out of town along an empty shoreline.
About a mile out of town, the paved road ends at Lauriston Airport. I walk along the beach to a grounded shipwreck and look for a track through the mangroves. It’s still there and well-beaten.
This 15-minute trail cuts conveniently across Lauriston Point, joining Hillsborough Bay with L’Esterre Bay and Paradise Beach — without a doubt Grenada’s loveliest stretch of sand. I emerge from the mangroves and splash through the shallows to the Hardwood Bar where I order lambie and beer, and wait for sunset.
The next morning, along the island’s high central ridge, I pause at the Belair windmill ruin before setting off on a hillside track through the Limlair estate towards the Atlantic coast.
The mill is one of several that were built from local stone and lime mortar on exposed windblown areas of Carriacou. They once housed machinery to process sugarcane that was grown and harvested by enslaved estate workers.
CARRIAC ou GRE n ADA PETITE MARTI n Iq u E Lauriston Point Sabazan Dumfries Bogles High North National Park Belair Windmill Indigo “Ningo” Well Anse La Roche Bay Paradise Beach L’Esterre Bay Windward Bay à L’Eau Limlair Petit Carenage Piton Madame Pierre Sanchez En Haut Kendace Point Petite St Vincent Union Mayreau Belmont Harvey Vale Saline Island Mt Pleasant Grand Bay Main Road Carriacou Grenada Union Mayreau Petite Martinique White Island Tyrell Bay
Cour T esy Gren A d A Tourism Au TH ori T y Hillborough Top Hill L’Esterre L’Apelle Mangrove Forest
The Belair windmill ruins, Carriacou
The contemporary Limlair estate is part farmed, part fallow. Sheep and goats roam freely. I’d heard that farmers who can’t sustain increasing numbers of goats simply set them loose to fend for themselves.
I meet plenty of these ovine vagabonds on my hour-long walk down to the rugged coast, where the ocean consumes sargassum-covered gravestones at the hauntingly desolate Tibeau cemetery.
Nearby is the Indigo “Ningo” Well, a large stone cistern that was constructed by the enslaved and used to produce dye from harvests of indigo plants that were grown on the Limlair estate. The mordant used in the dyeing process — probably calcium hydroxide, made from lime — is said to have caused the enslaved workers significant health problems.
The mile-long coastal road from Bay à L’Eau to Mount Pleasant is unpaved. Before each general election, there’s a flurry of activity suggesting its long-awaited repair, then little happens. But the goats and the sheep don’t seem to mind.
reaching Grand Bay, where the road turns inland to Top Hill, I continue along a rough coastal path towards a region called Sabazan. Along the evereroding sand banks, Amerindian pottery artefacts spill from the ground in their hundreds.
I examine several fragments of Cayo ceramics from what was probably a pre-Columbian midden ground that now mixes with the jettisoned flotsam of the 21st century. Surprisingly, this site appears to have no official recognition or protection, and I wonder how much longer it will survive.
The Sabazan coastline is remote and beautiful with sweeping views across Breteche Bay to the uninhabited Saline Island and White Island.
Passing the ruins of the former L r ose & Co lime factory at Dumfries, I walk a further mile along the rugged, boulder-strewn landscape of Black Bay to the tiny hamlet of Belmont.
Clambering up a grassy headland to the bemused stares of grazing sheep, or goats, I pick up the main road to the village of Harvey Vale on Tyrell Bay.
The expansive natural anchorage is crowded with boats at anchor, and the Osprey ferry is preparing to leave for St George’s. Yachties, rediscovering their land legs, browse shoreline shacks for fresh fruits, while others load dinghies with fuel and provisions.
Beneath the shade of a sprawling almond tree, I sip a cold beer from the Lambie Queen and plan my next escape to the island. n
Cou RTES y G RE n ADA Tou RISM Au T ho RIT y
The coral reefs off Carriacou are teeming with biodiversity
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FrOM GUYANA TO THE GALAPAGOS
The science of taxidermy played an integral part in the formation of Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution. And it was John Edmonstone — born into slavery in Guyana before establishing himself as a wellrespected free man in Scotland — who taught Darwin these critical skills. James Ferguson learns more about his story
Photography courtesy © State Darwin Museum, Moscow
Exactly 200 years ago, in early 1823, John Edmonstone rented premises at 37 Lothian Street in Edinburgh, Scotland, where he planned to open a new business. It seemed to be a rather niche start-up; he was offering services in taxidermy, the art of preserving an animal’s body by cleaning and stretching its skin before mounting it on a frame for display.
But perhaps even more unlikely was the fact that Edmonstone was a Black man, born into slavery in the late 1700s on a timber plantation in the colony of British Guiana (present day Guyana).
The logic that encouraged him to
become what he called a “bird-stuffer”, however, was beyond question. His premises were close to Edinburgh University, where students needed to learn elements of taxidermy on their scientific courses, and the nearby zoological museum and collectors required his services. Two fortuitous events in his life had prepared him for this promising role.
The first was that the plantation’s Scottish owner, Charles Edmonstone, seems to have been unusually well-disposed towards the then-enslaved John. When a friend of the Scotsman — well-known naturalist Charles Waterton — visited the Demerara plantation on his research trips through South America, a young John was allowed
to accompany him on field expeditions, where Waterton would shoot and collect bird specimens. He then showed John how to chemically treat and stretch the skins of dead specimens with the speed needed to prevent decay in the tropical climate.
In 1817, Charles Edmonstone decided to move to his Scottish estate in Dunbartonshire, and brought John with him. This was a vital second opportunity, as John now became a free man — either through an act of manumission (voluntary liberation by the owner) or by paying Edmonstone; it is not clear which. In any case, he soon left the estate, heading for Glasgow and then Edinburgh, where he aimed to build a career as a taxidermist.
The business must have prospered, and in 1824 John met — and may have married (the records are unclear) — a woman named Mary Kerr, who lived in the same street. Then, in 1826, another inhabitant of Lothian Street entered John’s life; this was Charles robert Darwin, a 16-year-old medical student who was living a few doors away at number 11.
Darwin was already aware that he was not suited to be a doctor, finding his course tedious and the regular anatomical dissections nauseating. He was already fascinated by natural history and collecting, and probably heard of Edmonstone’s skills and interests from a professor.
He asked for a crash course in taxidermy, attracted by what he thought might be useful expertise and, more prosaically, by the cost of the lessons. “I am going to learn to stuff birds, from a blackamoor I believe an old servant of Dr Duncan: it has the recommendation of cheapness, if it has nothing else,” he wrote to his sister.
Darwin paid for 40 hours of instruction at one guinea per hour. Although we have no idea of what he and Edmonstone discussed, it is not unreasonable to suppose that Edmonstone told Darwin about his life in British Guiana and about the flora and fauna of that part of South America. “I used often to sit with him,” Darwin wrote later, “for he was a very pleasant and intelligent man.”
The encounter was probably not much more than a routine assignment for Edmonstone, who taught a great many students like Darwin. But for Darwin,
on this day
the time spent in Lothian Street was instrumental in shaping the course of his interests and in providing a practical skill that would prove pivotal in his most famous theoretical work.
Thereafter, details of Edmonstone’s life are sketchy, though research by National r ecords of Scotland has revealed that he moved his business to Edinburgh’s prestigious South St David Street, where he remained until 1843.
Darwin, meanwhile, may well have had an opportunity to discuss the taxidermist when in 1845 he visited Charles Waterton, the man who had instructed Edmonstone in British Guiana. Interestingly, Darwin described the naturalist as “the strangest mixture of extreme kindness, harshness and bigotry that I ever saw.”
Was this in response to a conversation about their mutual acquaintance, Edmonstone? What we do know is that Darwin was resolutely opposed to slavery, termed it “moral debasement”, and saw abolition as a “sacred cause”.
By the time of his meeting with Waterton, Darwin had conducted his pioneering research aboard the HMS Beagle on its five-year survey voyage around the world, and had made a name for himself.
In the course of this long and arduous journey, he studied geology, fossils and unfamiliar animal life. He collected sam -
ples of many different species dead and alive — armadillos, tortoises, and beetles among others. But it was in the Galapagos Islands, a volcanic archipelago scattered to the west of South America that the skills taught to him by Edmonstone came into their own.
As the Beagle sailed on to Tahiti after five weeks in the islands, he examined the bird specimens that had been shot by his servant and that he had then preserved. These small creatures, saved from putrefaction, had been gathered from different islands with different ecosystems within the Galapagos. Though similar in important characteristics, they displayed conspicuous and intriguing variations, most notably in their beaks.
r eturning eventually to England in late 1836, Darwin hurried to pass his specimens to the acclaimed ornithologist John Gould, who concluded that Darwin had collected samples from “a series of ground Finches which are so peculiar as to form an entirely new group, containing 12 species”.
What he had discovered was that from a common ancestor, probably originating in the South American mainland, distinct species had rapidly evolved in the different islands according to environmental conditions; the variation in beak forma -
tion pointed to differing food resources — seeds, insects, nectar — on the individual islands.
Long beaks were suited to consuming nectar or picking seeds from cactus; shorter, thick ones for crushing insects or nuts. It was what evolutionary scientists call “adaptive radiation” — the creation of new species through adaptation to ecological conditions.
“Darwin’s finches”, returned intact to England after a long sea journey, were testimony to the taxidermist’s skills, taught by a hitherto little-known former slave to the world’s most famous naturalist. They played a major part in his concept of natural selection developed in his 1859 On the Origin of Species, and sparked worldwide interest in the Galapagos Islands as a unique ecological site.
Today, the small birds — still in remarkably good shape — are stored in the Natural History Museum in Hertfordshire, England, but are not usually on public display.
As for John Edmonstone, his contribution to Darwin’s revolutionary discoveries is now acknowledged after nearly two centuries of obscurity. A plaque was finally raised in his memory on the Lothian Street premises in 2009, but as Lisa Williams’ excellent blog reveals, it has mysteriously disappeared. n
“in the workshop of Taxidermist” (1948) by viktor yevstafiev, depicting John edmonstone and Charles darwin preparing birds
SMALL ISLAND STATES Or LArGE OCEAN NATIONS?
James Ellsmoor of Island Innovation looks at the invaluable opportunities
Caribbean nations have to become leaders in global marine conservation and build vibrant blue economies
On the heels of two major developments in climate and conservation policy late in 2022 — the resolution on loss and damage (L&D) at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27) and the 30x30 goal at the UN Biodiversity Conference (CBD COP15) — the Caribbean finds itself in a good position to capitalise on domestic, regional, and global commitments to sustainable development.
local action on international policies
The reason that L&D was such a monumental development is that it provides a financial mechanism where nations impacted by climate change can receive financial support to rebuild and improve their communities’ resilience — ensuring that at-risk groups have the ability to rebuild following disasters. It’s an important step toward equity in dealing with climate impacts.
Within a month of the historic L&D agreement last November, diplomats
Aerial view of Belize’s Great Blue Hole, a unesCo world Heritage site
Photography by Duarte Dellarole/ Shutterstock.com
met at another key international conference to discuss the next steps in protecting global biodiversity. Headlining the agenda was the 30x30 target, aimed at protecting 30% of the planet’s natural areas by 2030.
Considering roughly just 15% of land and 8% of oceans are currently protected, the 30x30 target has easily become one of the most ambitious.
As outlined in an op-ed by Grenadian diplomat Simon Stiell — now Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) — and Minister Matthew Samuda of Jamaica, conservation has a major impact on the Caribbean’s long-term environmental goals:
This target will safeguard almost a third of our planet’s oceans and lands, including the biodiversity and critical ecosystem services they provide. More pressingly, it will provide a third of the climate mitigation needed by 2030 to ensure our planetary survival … Our Caribbean nations are only as strong as the environment they rely on … The 30×30 goal allows our nations to inject much needed resilience into our natural ecosystems to ensure that our people, culture and economies have a fighting chance in responding to climate change.
While the 30x30 target reflects greater ambition at a global scale, the Caribbean has already taken several steps towards leading this effort via its own successful independent 20x20 goal.
Bolstered by a range of projects across 26 Caribbean states, the region is set to maximise its environment and natural resources while building resilience and protecting biodiversity.
leadership on marine conservation
“Our island states are biodiversity hotspots with high levels of endemism. Approximately half of the animal extinctions recorded in the last 400 years were island species,” said Nneka Nicolas, Legal Consultant with the Antigua & Barbuda delegation at CBD COP15.
protect marine ecosystems and their biodiversity, and to maximise their benefits for the region to become an economic powerhouse.
Local experts agree, including The Waitt Institute’s Blue Economy Director Dr Angus Friday and the International Finance Corporation Senior Operations Officer Dr Pepukaye Bardouille, who hail from Grenada and Dominica, respectively.
The blue economy alone is expected to be worth over US$3 trillion globally by 2030, and the development of relevant conservation projects will safeguard future generations.
With the support of L&D, Caribbean nations have the opportunity to invest in their infrastructure and develop sustainable solutions.
the future of large ocean states
“The Sea that surrounds us and connects us has the potential to catapult us to an entirely new development trajectory,” noted St Vincent & the Grenadines Minister of Finance Camillo Gonsalves in 2020.
“[Eastern Caribbean] territories are roughly 90–99% ocean,” he continued. “We may be small island developing states, but we are also large ocean developing states. We are a lot bigger than we think we are. To ignore our vast seascape and its tremendous potential, is developmental malpractice.”
Gonsalves’ statement set the stage for major ongoing developments within the Caribbean. Through entities like the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States or strong diplomats such as Barbados’ Prime Minister Mia Mottley, the region has built a future for the Caribbean predicated on conservation and resilience-building.
Ocean-based economic structures provide one of the best opportunities for securing the future, especially those that are able to integrate tourism. But these innovations require adequate funding.
“It is scientifically well known that the biodiversity of [small island developing states is] particularly vulnerable,” she says. “Our relatively small sizes make us particularly susceptible to the effects of biodiversity loss brought on by accelerated climate change, invasive alien species, land degradation, pollution and overexploitation.”
Effective conservation is a must for island states, and the Caribbean has been making progress protecting various parts of its ecosystems — especially marine environments.
From sustainable fisheries projects in the Eastern Caribbean to the development of innovative reef restoration modules in Antigua & Barbuda, and pushback against deepsea mining in Jamaica , the Caribbean community has moved successfully towards protecting their large exclusive economic zone. And further opportunities abound.
Experts at the World Bank see a lot of potential in the region’s ability to
While the 30x30 target will also consist of financial considerations, the Caribbean has already unveiled its own solution through sets of Blue Bonds like those created by Belize and Barbados, as well as continued public-private partnerships
The region has continually proven to be ahead of the curve on marine policy, as well as developing local solutions to global problems. In 2023, there is every opportunity for the Caribbean’s leadership to take centre stage. n
Island Innovation is a social enterprise and digital media platform at the intersection of sustainable development and communications. Learn more at islandinnovation.co
Bolstered by a range of projects across 26 Caribbean states, the region is set to maximise its environment and natural resources while building resilience and protecting biodiversity
2 Reference work about different subjects. Archaic 
4 Brew, in a way 
5 Stopwatch or hourglass 
7 Itemised requirements 
9 Etienne Charles, for one 
11 Do a crossword 
12 In a country setting 
13 Confection made from cacao seeds 
14 Someone who practises forestry 
17 Alpha’s opposite 
18 Relating to planes, rockets and aircraft 
19 Musician such as a drummer 
1 Storehouse 
2 Spooky, spine-chilling 
3 Sizable plot of land 
6 Historical West African currency 
8 Refusing to quit 
10 Lift to a higher level 
15 Inappropriate, not suitable 
16 Liquid meal 
There are 10 differences between these two pictures. How many can you spot?
Spot the Difference answers
is an extra leaf (top left in the right image); the designs of the girl’s dress are different; the buttons on the girl’s chest are different; the girl (left image) has an egg on her right; the girl (left image) has extra flowers in her bonnet; the girl’s eyebrows are different; the tops of the bonnet have different colours.
The bunnies are different; the egg (bottom left) has different patterns; the details of the girl’s hair are different; there
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19
Spot the Difference by James Hackett
Fill the empty square with numbers from 1 to 9 so that each row, each column, and each 3x3 box contains all of the numbers from 1 to 9. For the mini sudoku use numbers from 1 to 6.
If the puzzle you want to do has already been filled in, just ask your flight attendant for a new copy of the magazine!
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nostalgia jazz Genebank legacy nibs imagination captain shoreside confidence simmer bubbling terrain undulating nutty flavour lucrative conservation biodiversity powerhouse airline memoir branding boatbuilding radar topaz lawnmower maize range lasso scone Hard 6x6 mini sudoku puzzle Hard 9x9 sudoku puzzle www.sudo K uP u ZZ le.ne T Caribbean Beat Magazine Sudoku 9x9 - Puzzle 5 of 5 - Hard 7 2 9 1 4 5 6 2 2 6 8 7 4 9 6 3 1 3 8 5 6 1 9 6 1 4 2 8 3 6 www.sudoku-puzzles.net Caribbean Beat Magazine Sudoku 6x6 - Puzzle 4 of 5 - Hard 2 1 3 5 6 4 5 4 6 www.sudoku-puzzles.net Sudoku Solutions word search sudoku mini sudoku Caribbean Crossword Caribbean Beat Magazine Sudoku 9x9 - Solution 5 of 5 - Hard 7 6 3 2 8 9 4 5 1 8 4 9 5 1 6 3 2 7 1 5 2 4 3 7 6 8 9 5 3 8 7 6 4 9 1 2 6 2 4 1 9 5 8 7 3 9 7 1 3 2 8 5 6 4 4 8 6 9 7 2 1 3 5 3 9 7 6 5 1 2 4 8 2 1 5 8 4 3 7 9 6 www.sudoku-puzzles.net Caribbean Beat Magazine Sudoku 6x6 - Solution 4 of 5 - Hard 5 2 6 4 1 3 3 4 1 2 6 5 1 5 2 6 3 4 6 3 4 1 5 2 4 6 5 3 2 1 2 1 3 5 4 6 www.sudoku-puzzles.net R 1 E 2 N C Y C L O P A E D I A 3 E E C P 4 E R C O L A T E T 5 I M 6 E R O I A E S 7 P E C I F I C A T I O N S I I R 8 T 9 R U 10 M P E T E R S 11 O L V E O P L L R 12 U R A L C 13 H O C O L A T E Y A L S 14 I L V I C U L T U R I 15 S T S 16 S N L O 17 M E G A A 18 E R O S P A C E U P S P 19 E R C U S S I O N I S T S G N I D N A R B E Y F A Z X I N P N L L S U N Z T L I Z B M I O R I U A I D I I A R A O A A W E B A C S M A S V L J A G T E W V C R R S M R O I N T I P R O P M O R A O E U N O B N A H M S C O N E T V R E S U A C O N S E R V A T I O N T I T L U W R I O M E M D V T A L I L S A L E G A C Y O Y E L D O E E L I B U B B L I N G G I N G G E N E B A N K B S B I N B N P E C N E D I F N O C A G B A T O P A Z S H O R E S I D E R A D A R G N I T A L U D N U
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Easter in the islands
You think you’re an expert on Caribbean culture? Test your knowledge in our trivia quiz, and see how much you know about Easter traditions — and seasonal delicacies — across the region. Answers are at the bottom of the page.
1. what is the traditional accompaniment for Jamaica’s popular easter bun?
A slice of ham
2. in Guyana’s border town lethem, in the rupununi savannah, what annual sporting event is scheduled for easter weekend?
A boat race
A track and field tournament
A hot-air balloon rally
3. what common leisure activity do many Caribbean people avoid on Good Friday, following a long-held superstition?
A family meal
Going to the beach
4. Tobago’s easter traditions include racing which of these creatures?
6. on Good Friday, some Trinidadians keep up the custom of beating a bobolee — an effigy representing which historical figure?
7. easter weekend brings a highly popular fish festival to which coastal community in Barbados?
8. what traditional toy have generations of Caribbean children made at eastertime?
A spinning top
9. what exactly is penepis, the sweet treat st lucians enjoy for easter?
5. what is the key ingredient of matoutou, the spicy stew enjoyed on easter weekend in martinique?
A kind of custard
A ginger-flavoured biscuit
A pineapple tart
10. A traditional Barbadian Good Friday fortune-telling technique involves which of these?
Chicken Pork Crab
The bark of a tree
Answers: 1 Cheese — from a tin 2 A rodeo 3 Going to the beach — swimming on Good Friday is reputed to turn you into a fish 4 Goats 5 Crab 6 Pontius Pilate 7 istinso 8 A kite 9 A ginger-flavoured biscuit — penepis is the
version of French pain d’épices 10 The bark of a tree
did you even know w ideone T / sH u TT ers T o CK C om