Caribbean Beat — September/October 2018 (#153)

A calendar of events; music, film, and book reviews; travel features; people profiles, and much more.

A calendar of events; music, film, and book reviews; travel features; people profiles, and much more.


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Authentic<br />

festivals<br />

and events, a unique history,<br />

tropical rainforest, exhilarating<br />

watersports, uncrowded beaches,<br />

revitalised chocolate industry<br />

and amazing eco-holidays.<br />


style<br />


Contents<br />

No. 153 • <strong>September</strong>/<strong>October</strong> <strong>2018</strong><br />

58<br />

72<br />

EMBARK<br />


18 Wish you were here<br />

Willemstad, Curaçao<br />

20 Need to know<br />

Essential info to help you make the<br />

most of <strong>September</strong> and <strong>October</strong> <strong>—</strong><br />

from Labour Day Carnival in Brooklyn<br />

to Pure Grenada’s Dive Fest and the<br />

Trinidad and Tobago Film Festival<br />

34 Bookshelf and playlist<br />

Our reading and listening picks<br />

38 screenshots<br />

A Q&A with Khalik Allah, director of<br />

Black Mother<br />

40 Cookup<br />

Some like it sweet<br />

Gone are the days when a simple<br />

sponge cake was enough for dessert<br />

<strong>—</strong> in the Instagram age, says Franka<br />

Philip, <strong>Caribbean</strong> pastry chefs<br />

are coming up with photoworthy<br />

confections marrying elaborate<br />

techniques with unexpected flavours<br />

44 Backstory<br />

Remembering windrush<br />

When the Empire Windrush docked<br />

at Tilbury in 1948, its West Indian<br />

passengers didn’t know their arrival<br />

would become a historical watershed.<br />

A new exhibition at the British Library<br />

explains how the Windrush generation<br />

changed Britain for good<br />

50 Own words<br />

“I woke up with an entire<br />

song in my head”<br />

Dominica’s singer-songwriter Michele<br />

Henderson on her musical childhood,<br />

and the challenges of an international<br />

career <strong>—</strong> as told to Paul Crask<br />

52 snapshot<br />

Her side of the story<br />

They’re the <strong>Caribbean</strong>’s great literary<br />

dynasty, but for decades their story<br />

has been written only by the Naipaul<br />

men. A new memoir by Savi Naipaul<br />

Akal tells another side of the tale,<br />

reports Ingrid Persaud<br />

44<br />

ARRIVE<br />

58 destination<br />

Guyana by the score<br />

In a country this big, with vast forests,<br />

rivers, and savannahs, where do you<br />

start? Here are twenty key places<br />

and things for first-time visitors<br />

to Guyana, to help you plan an<br />

unforgettable trip<br />

70 neighbourhood<br />

south coast, Barbados<br />

From the historical treasures of the<br />

Garrison to the famous fish-fry in<br />

Oistins, the south coast of “Bim” is a<br />

visitors’ playground<br />


<strong>Caribbean</strong><strong>Beat</strong><br />

An MEP publication<br />

72 explore<br />

Falling for Havana<br />

The Cuban capital has its gritty side,<br />

writes Donna Yawching, but few<br />

cities in the world have such an aura<br />

of glamour, fascinating history, and<br />

energetic spirit<br />

80 in the bag<br />

“in my dreams, my travel<br />

journals look like<br />

illuminated manuscripts”<br />

Georgia Popplewell explains why a<br />

good notebook is an essential in her<br />

luggage<br />

ENGAGE<br />

Editor Nicholas Laughlin<br />

General manager Halcyon Salazar<br />

Design artists Kevon Webster & Bridget van Dongen<br />

Web editor Caroline Taylor<br />

Editorial assistant Shelly-Ann Inniss<br />

Business Development Manager,<br />

Business Development<br />

Tobago and International<br />

Representative, Trinidad<br />

Evelyn Chung<br />

Mark-Jason Ramesar<br />

T: (868) 684 4409<br />

T: (868) 775 6110<br />

E: evelyn@meppublishers.com<br />

E: mark@meppublishers.com<br />

Business Development<br />

Barbados Sales Representative<br />

Representative, Trinidad<br />

Shelly-Ann Inniss<br />

Tracy Farrag<br />

T: (246) 232 5517<br />

T: (868) 318 1996<br />

E: shelly@meppublishers.com<br />

E: tracy@meppublishers.com<br />

82 Green<br />

jaws of life<br />

Pop culture has given sharks an<br />

undeservedly scary reputation. What’s<br />

truly frightening, reports Erline<br />

Andrews, is a sea without sharks, vital<br />

for a healthy marine ecosystem. And<br />

after decades of neglect, the countries<br />

of the <strong>Caribbean</strong> are finally waking up to<br />

the importance of shark conservation<br />

<strong>—</strong> for the environment, but also for their<br />

economies<br />

Media & Editorial Projects Ltd.<br />

6 Prospect Avenue, Maraval, Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago<br />

T: (868) 622 3821/5813/6138 • F: (868) 628 0639<br />

E: caribbean-beat@meppublishers.com<br />

Website: www.meppublishers.com<br />

86 on this day<br />

a plague from above<br />

It’s not just a story from the Bible: thirty<br />

years ago, thanks to unprecedented<br />

weather conditions, a massive swarm of<br />

locusts crossed the Atlantic and ended<br />

up in the <strong>Caribbean</strong>. James Ferguson<br />

investigates how, and what became of<br />

them<br />

88 puzzles<br />

Enjoy our crossword, sudoku, and<br />

other brain-teasers!<br />

Read and save issues of <strong>Caribbean</strong> <strong>Beat</strong> on your smartphone,<br />

tablet, computer, and favourite digital devices!<br />

Printed by Solo Printing Inc., Miami, Florida<br />

<strong>Caribbean</strong> <strong>Beat</strong> is published six times a year for <strong>Caribbean</strong> Airlines by Media & Editorial Projects Ltd. It is also available on<br />

subscription. Copyright © <strong>Caribbean</strong> Airlines <strong>2018</strong>. All rights reserved. ISSN 1680–6158. No part of this magazine may be<br />

reproduced in any form whatsoever without the written permission of the publisher. MEP accepts no responsibility for<br />

content supplied by our advertisers. The views of the advertisers are theirs and do not represent MEP in any way.<br />

Website: www.caribbean-airlines.com<br />

96 classic<br />

A dip into <strong>Caribbean</strong> <strong>Beat</strong>’s archives:<br />

Caroline Taylor discovers it’s a brown<br />

world, where a mixed-race Trini can<br />

pass for <strong>—</strong> well, almost anything, it<br />

seems<br />

The <strong>Caribbean</strong> Airlines logo shows a hummingbird in flight. Native to the <strong>Caribbean</strong>, the hummingbird represents<br />

flight, travel, vibrancy, and colour. It encompasses the spirit of both the region and <strong>Caribbean</strong> Airlines.<br />



Cover Bemner Suse of<br />

Guyana’s Wai-Wai<br />

community at his home<br />

in Konashen<br />

Photo Pete Oxford<br />

This issue’s contributors<br />

include:<br />

Erline Andrews (“Jaws of life”, page 82) is an awardwinning<br />

Trinidadian journalist. She is a regular<br />

contributor to <strong>Caribbean</strong> <strong>Beat</strong> and her work has<br />

also appeared in other publications in T&T and the<br />

US, including the Chicago Tribune and the Christian<br />

Science Monitor.<br />

Paul Crask (“I woke up with an entire song in my head”,<br />

page 50) is a feature writer, Bradt Travel Guides author,<br />

and independent magazine publisher who has lived<br />

in Dominica since 2005. For information, visit www.<br />

paulcrask.com<br />

A Barbados-based Trinidadian, Ingrid Persaud (“Her<br />

side of the story”, page 52) was a lawyer and visual artist<br />

before turning to writing fiction. Her novel If I Never<br />

Went Home was published in 2014, and she was the<br />

2017 winner of the Commonwealth Short Story Prize.<br />

Franka Philip (“Some like it sweet”, page 40) loves to find<br />

the story behind the story in the food industry. A journalist<br />

for more than twenty years, she has worked in print,<br />

online, and radio in Trinidad and at the BBC in London. At<br />

the start of <strong>2018</strong>, Franka co-founded Trini Good Media, a<br />

website that hosts the podcast Talk ’Bout Us.<br />

Shivanee Ramlochan (“Bookshelf”, page 34) is a<br />

Trinidadian poet <strong>—</strong> author of Everyone Knows I Am<br />

a Haunting <strong>—</strong> arts reporter, and Bookshelf editor for<br />

<strong>Caribbean</strong> <strong>Beat</strong>.<br />

Donna Yawching (“Falling for Havana”, page 72) is a<br />

journalist and longtime contributor to <strong>Caribbean</strong> <strong>Beat</strong>.<br />

Born in Trinidad, she is based in Toronto, and has lived<br />

on several continents and travelled widely.<br />




Dear Valued Customers,<br />

We just concluded a busy and successful<br />

July/August travel peak period. Many<br />

of you would have travelled with us<br />

and enjoyed the benefits of <strong>Caribbean</strong><br />

Plus, our product which offers extra<br />

seat space and boarding benefits on<br />

economy fares.<br />

You would have used <strong>Caribbean</strong><br />

View, our free wireless inflight entertainment<br />

on the Boeing 737-800 fleet,<br />

which allows you to stream blockbuster<br />

movies, television programmes, games,<br />

magazines, and more <strong>Caribbean</strong> content<br />

to your personal devices via a browser,<br />

using the Bluebox Wow platform.<br />

We have expanded our <strong>Caribbean</strong><br />

Café, increasing the range of items<br />

available for sale on board the Boeing<br />

737-800 fleet. You may check the<br />

aircraft’s seat pocket to view the<br />

full catalogue of items which, from<br />

<strong>September</strong>, will include items from<br />

<strong>Caribbean</strong> manufacturers. Please note<br />

that we will maintain our regular offerings<br />

of free meals and sandwiches on eligible<br />

routes, as well as free refreshments<br />

like coffee, water, tea, juices, and soft<br />

drinks. However, blankets are available<br />

for sale in the economy cabin.<br />

Enhancing your travel experience is<br />

the motivation behind all we do, and we<br />

are thrilled to announce that, by the end<br />

of <strong>2018</strong>, <strong>Caribbean</strong> Airlines will have a<br />

new, dynamic mobile app.<br />

The new mobile app (available over<br />

iOS and Android) will, among other<br />

features, enable you to:<br />

• Book flights conveniently<br />

• Manage your booking<br />

• Check in quickly<br />

• View flight status<br />

• Obtain a mobile boarding pass<br />

• Create a private profile where<br />

you can opt to save important<br />

information securely (eg.<br />

passport, payment details)<br />

• Access exclusive offers<br />

• Review your past trips<br />

• Receive important passenger<br />

and flight notifications throughout<br />

your journey with us<br />

courtesy caribbean airlines<br />

These important amenities will<br />

provide you with the convenient service<br />

you deserve.<br />

Whatever the reason for your travel,<br />

be it business, vacation, visiting family<br />

and friends, wedding, sporting event, or<br />

culinary adventure, <strong>Caribbean</strong> Airlines<br />

will take you there and take care of you.<br />

<strong>Caribbean</strong> Airlines also provides<br />

cargo services within the <strong>Caribbean</strong><br />

as well as to North America, South<br />

America, and Europe. From perishable<br />

goods to heavy specialist equipment,<br />

we are skilled in cost-effective and<br />

timely transport to meet your demands.<br />

Our comprehensive route structure and<br />

dedicated freighter service allow us to<br />

transport a wide range of goods and<br />

live cargo. We also have a package<br />

service, JETPAK, which caters for<br />

packages of less than fifty pounds. We<br />

offer REAL-TIME Cargo Tracking,<br />

which enables you to know where your<br />

cargo/packages are at all times, and<br />

allows you to better plan and allocate<br />

resources as well.<br />

Cargo shipping will be even more<br />

effective going forward, as we build our<br />

cargo business. We intend to grow into<br />

an even more dominant player in air<br />

cargo, and estimate that our customer<br />

and revenue base will increase, as<br />

we continue to offer added value and<br />

expand our product portfolio.<br />

Our business is rapidly evolving, with<br />

technology and the changing needs<br />

of our customers driving the pace of<br />

that evolution. It calls for us to be a<br />

different type of airline: to be agile,<br />

bold, courageous, and flexible, to forge<br />

strong and lasting partnerships, and to<br />

be innovative.<br />

As a business, we keep asking<br />

ourselves what’s next <strong>—</strong> what do<br />

our customers want and what do<br />

they need? And we are constantly<br />

challenging ourselves to deliver the<br />

right products and services and a<br />

differentiated experience that gives you<br />

the convenience, the choice, and the<br />

freedom that you want.<br />

Please check the Need to Know<br />

section of the magazine for a full list of<br />

upcoming events for <strong>September</strong> and<br />

<strong>October</strong>, and take your complimentary<br />

copy of <strong>Caribbean</strong> <strong>Beat</strong> with you.<br />

Visit our website www.caribbeanairlines.com,<br />

like us on Facebook, and<br />

follow us on Twitter and Instagram<br />

@iflycaribbean.<br />

Thank you for choosing <strong>Caribbean</strong><br />

Airlines <strong>—</strong> we value your business and<br />

look forward to serving you throughout<br />

our twenty-destination network.<br />

Garvin Medera<br />

Chief Executive Officer<br />


wish you were here<br />

Sorin Colac/Alamy Stock Photo<br />


Willemstad, Curaçao<br />

Traditional seventeenth-century Dutch<br />

architecture adopts a tropical palette along<br />

the waterfront in the historic Punda district<br />

of Curaçao’s capital <strong>—</strong> famous for its jewellery<br />

shops, Floating Market, and the oldest<br />

synagogue in continuous use in the Western<br />

Hemisphere.<br />


NEED TO<br />

KNOW<br />

Essential info to help you make the most of<br />

<strong>September</strong> and <strong>October</strong>: what to do, where<br />

to go, what to see!<br />

stephanie keith/getty images<br />

Mas in the big city:<br />

feathers and sequins<br />

on Brooklyn’s Eastern<br />

Parkway<br />

Don’t Miss<br />

Break away on<br />

the Parkway<br />

It’s officially known as the West Indian Day<br />

Parade, but revellers across the <strong>Caribbean</strong><br />

diaspora know it as Brooklyn Carnival. On<br />

Labour Day (3 <strong>September</strong> this year) <strong>—</strong> drawing<br />

a crowd of more than a million, by some<br />

estimates <strong>—</strong> the action begins at dawn for<br />

J’Ouvert revellry and continues till nightfall on<br />

Eastern Parkway. New York City’s <strong>Caribbean</strong><br />

communities <strong>—</strong> Trinis, Jamaicans, Bajans,<br />

Grenadians, Haitians, everybody <strong>—</strong> come out<br />

in force for a day of parades, floats, and even<br />

pan. Soca? Yes. Wining? Of course? Acres of<br />

sequins and spandex and feathers? What you<br />

think? Pelau, jerk chicken, souse? Bring your<br />

appetite.<br />

How to get there?<br />

<strong>Caribbean</strong> Airlines<br />

operates daily flights<br />

to John F. Kennedy<br />

International Airport<br />

in New York City from<br />

Trinidad, Jamaica,<br />

and Guyana, with<br />

connections to other<br />

<strong>Caribbean</strong> destinations<br />

20<br />


Single Still Rums<br />

Beautifully crafted rums from our three heritage stills;<br />

EHP Wooden Coffey Still, PM Double Wooden Pot<br />

Still and Versailles Single Wooden Pot Still.<br />

These rums were laid down in oak barrels for<br />

12 years resulting in rich and diverse flavours.<br />

Crafted Richer. Aged Deeper.<br />

eldoradorums<br />

@ElDoradoRums<br />

eldorado_rum<br />

theeldoradorum.com<br />


need to know<br />

courtesy barbados food and rum festival/visitbarbados.org<br />

Must Try Foodie Bliss<br />

Barbadian mixologist David Barker<br />

serves up a cocktail that changes<br />

colour before your eyes: a mojito<br />

with red cabbage mint puree, John D.<br />

Taylor’s Velvet Falernum, and fresh<br />

lime juice dancing in harmony with<br />

Four Square Spice<br />

Cuisine is a satisfying way to explore a country <strong>—</strong> and not just for dedicated<br />

foodies. The inspiration and stories behind traditional or innovative recipes can<br />

take you on a culinary escapade into the unknown. And with three major food<br />

festivals happening across the <strong>Caribbean</strong> in <strong>September</strong> and <strong>October</strong>, there’s no<br />

better time to work up an appetite.<br />

Trinidad and Tobago<br />

Restaurant Week<br />

28 <strong>September</strong> to 7 <strong>October</strong><br />

trinidadtobagorestaurantweek.com<br />

Doubles in Debe,crab and dumpling<br />

from Store Bay, kebabs on Ariapita<br />

Avenue, Sunday dim sum: T&T’s<br />

cuisine reflects the country’s multiethnic<br />

roots. Spanish, African, Creole,<br />

Chinese, and Indian influences borrow<br />

from and hint at each other. Hints of<br />

Italian also infuse the Thai. The food<br />

completely engages your senses as you<br />

try to identify flavours. This is a foodie<br />

nation (and possibly a gym instructor’s<br />

dream). And for ten days each year, you<br />

can enjoy prix fixe menus with reduced<br />

prices at participating restaurants<br />

during Restaurant Week. So grab<br />

your aperitifs and feed your culinary<br />

curiosity.<br />

Must try: callaloo, Trinidad style <strong>—</strong><br />

rich, spicy, and dense with flavour<br />

Barbados Food and Rum<br />

Festival<br />

18 to 21 <strong>October</strong><br />

visitbarbados.org<br />

Every day in Barbados brings a new<br />

gastronomic adventure. It seems like<br />

the entire island is made up of chefs<br />

<strong>—</strong> whether formally trained or self<br />

professed. It’s no surprise so many<br />

Barbadian restaurants have earned<br />

Michelin stars and Zagat ratings. At<br />

the Food and Rum Festival, you’ll<br />

understand why some call Barbados<br />

the culinary capital of the <strong>Caribbean</strong>.<br />

From a Thursday night cook-off in<br />

Oistins to the Signature Rum Event on<br />

Friday, plus fine dining events pairing<br />

international and local chefs, the vibe<br />

ranges from down-home to elegant <strong>—</strong><br />

and everything is delicious.<br />

Must try: the classic, cornmeal<br />

coucou and flying fish, with a tall glass<br />

of Bajan rum punch<br />

Jamaica Food and Drink<br />

Festival<br />

20 to 28 <strong>October</strong><br />

jafoodanddrink.com<br />

From the high mountains to deep<br />

in the valleys, Jamaican food<br />

connoisseurs, their neighbours, and<br />

grandparents turn out for this annual<br />

all-inclusive festival. The extravaganza<br />

kicks off with Pork Palooza, featuring<br />

top-secret sauces, and even desserts<br />

with “a dangerous porcine twist.”<br />

Another night, dance with the dragons<br />

at Chopstix: a smorgasbord of sizzling<br />

favourites from all corners of Asia. And<br />

come back to the land of wood and<br />

water with Crisp: an event centred<br />

on fried fare coupled with ice-cold<br />

international and local beers. Imagine<br />

jerk fried chicken kicked up a notch<br />

with scotch bonnet and balsamic<br />

vinegar . . . Your mouth’s already<br />

watering.<br />

Must try: escoveitch fish, roast<br />

breadfruit, and festival, Jamaica’s<br />

unmistakeable sweet fried bread<br />

Shelly-Ann Inniss<br />

22<br />


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need to know<br />

courtesy the grenada tourism authority melanie lupoli/shutterstock.com<br />

Top Three<br />

Diving around<br />

Grenada<br />

On the surface, Grenada is breathtakingly serene. But beneath the deep blue sea,<br />

the shipwreck capital of the <strong>Caribbean</strong> boasts more than forty dive sites, and a<br />

seascape teeming with aquatic life. Here are three for your bucket list.<br />

Bianca C<br />

After you brave the strong currents, a<br />

look down the hull of this wreck, sunk<br />

in 1961, gives an inkling why it’s known<br />

as the Titanic of the <strong>Caribbean</strong> (below).<br />

Technical and recreational divers have<br />

also spotted barracudas and sharks<br />

near this spectacular site, which runs<br />

parallel to Whibbles Reef.<br />

Underwater Sculpture Park<br />

These artificial reefs (above right)<br />

perfect for exploration by children and<br />

beginners have been recognised as one<br />

of “earth’s most awesome places” by<br />

National Geographic. Each sculpture<br />

pays homage to Grenadian history and<br />

culture.<br />

Flamingo Bay<br />

Snorkellers hit the jackpot on the<br />

reef (above left): yellowtail snappers,<br />

seahorses, rope and barrel sponges,<br />

and elkhorn corals are just some of the<br />

marine species you’ll encounter. Divers<br />

at any level can venture to this site<br />

located in Grenada’s Marine Protected<br />

Area.<br />

No need to be an expert diver to<br />

participate in Pure Grenada’s<br />

Dive Fest from 3 to 6 <strong>October</strong>.<br />

You might start off on dry land, as<br />

the festival opens with a photo<br />

competition and launch party<br />

in Carriacou. The following day,<br />

the wreck and reef diving gets<br />

underway <strong>—</strong> Grenada has about<br />

fifteen wrecks in its waters. Of<br />

course, nothing says “I went<br />

diving” better than an iconic<br />

selfie, a wreck photo, or reef shot,<br />

so make sure to capture these<br />

moments before the final party<br />

and lionfish dinner. Who knows,<br />

your photo might be the winner of<br />

next year’s competition.<br />

SAI<br />

mark evans/courtesy the grenada scuba diving association<br />


need to know<br />

The <strong>2018</strong> Trinidad and Tobago<br />

Film Festival <strong>—</strong> ttff/18 <strong>—</strong><br />

runs from 18 to 25 <strong>September</strong>,<br />

with a programme of screenings,<br />

workshops, and industry events<br />

at venues around T&T. For full<br />

programme details, visit www.<br />

ttfilmfestival.com.<br />

Actor Nickolai Salcedo ( at left)<br />

and other members of the<br />

HERO cast<br />

courtesy caribbean tales<br />

Word of Mouth<br />

We need a HERO<br />

Cate Young reports on the historically inspired feature that opens the <strong>2018</strong><br />

Trinidad and Tobago Film Festival<br />

History enthusiasts are in for a treat at<br />

this year’s installment of the Trinidad<br />

and Tobago Film Festival, as the new<br />

feature from award-winning <strong>Caribbean</strong><br />

director and producer Frances-Anne<br />

Solomon makes its global debut.<br />

Starring Trinidadian Nickolai Salcedo<br />

in the title role, HERO: Inspired by The<br />

Extraordinary Life And Times of Mr<br />

Ulric Cross will be the opening night<br />

film at the <strong>2018</strong> festival. Inspired by a<br />

true story, and loosely based on Cross’s<br />

life, HERO examines the myth of the<br />

man known as the “most decorated<br />

West Indian of World War Two.”<br />

It follows Cross’s journey through<br />

the war and into his roles as a<br />

broadcaster, lawyer, and diplomat,<br />

as well as his political awakening<br />

and crucial role in independence<br />

movements across West Africa.<br />

As much of the work Cross did in<br />

his capacity as a diplomat in post-<br />

Independence Africa remains<br />

classified even after his death, the<br />

film incorporates archival footage<br />

to illuminate the “dynamic and<br />

transformative” political climate of the<br />

time, and “extrapolate and dramatise”<br />

the significant events of his life,<br />

according to Solomon.<br />

Lead actor Nickolai Salcedo notes<br />

many parallels between Cross’s life and<br />

the current global political climate.<br />

“We’re dealing with issues of race,<br />

reparations, and people wanting to<br />

regain their true sense of self as we<br />

have for centuries. The movies speak<br />

to now,” Salcedo says. “The players<br />

have changed in some cases, but it’s<br />

the same game. Who is being taken<br />

advantage of, who is banding together<br />

and who are the ones standing in the<br />

way of that?”<br />

HERO also deals with the extensive<br />

colonial pressures at play across the<br />

globe during Cross’s lifetime, including<br />

his decision to practice law in Ghana<br />

and Tanzania due to social barriers<br />

in the West, and his friendships and<br />

collaborations with journalist and<br />

activist C.L.R. James and Pan-African<br />

activist George Padmore, both fellow<br />

Trinidadians.<br />

Cross spent his life dedicated to<br />

public service, acting as a prominent<br />

jurist in Ghana and Cameroon before<br />

returning to Trinidad to serve as a high<br />

court judge. In 2011, he received the<br />

country’s highest honour, the Order of<br />

the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. He<br />

died in 2013.<br />

HERO is the long-awaited<br />

examination of an oft-looked-over<br />

hero, with a legacy that deserves to be<br />

preserved. As Solomon says, “Ultimately,<br />

the story is about us, about who we are<br />

as <strong>Caribbean</strong> people, and as citizens of<br />

the world.”<br />

The film’s international cast also<br />

includes Peter Williams (Stargate-<br />

SG1), Joseph Marcell (Fresh Prince of<br />

Bel-Air), Fraser James (Resident Evil)<br />

and Rudolph Walker (EastEnders),<br />

among others. Hero premieres on<br />

18 <strong>September</strong>, <strong>2018</strong>, at the National<br />

Academy for the Performing Arts in Port<br />

of Spain <strong>—</strong> with <strong>Caribbean</strong> filmmaking<br />

heavyweights in the audience.<br />

26<br />



The new Swift’s innovation<br />

Since Suzuki’s leading compact car<br />

made its debut in Japan, it has been<br />

well received with its innovative styling<br />

and exhilarating driving performance.<br />

The new model features clever design,<br />

convenience, and comfort in a stylish<br />

new package that has made it one of the<br />

<strong>Caribbean</strong>’s most popular hatchbacks.<br />

In a special interview, Chief Engineer<br />

and designer of the new Swift Masao<br />

Kobori gave us a “behind the scenes”<br />

look at the development of the model.<br />

“I want customers to feel uplifted<br />

the instant they see it,” he says, “the<br />

instant they get inside and step on the<br />

accelerator. The Swift will add a touch of<br />

excitement to their everyday lives.”<br />

With its wide and aggressive look, the<br />

exterior of the Swift exudes a muscular<br />

presence from a body that is shorter and<br />

lower. The blacked-out “A” pillars create<br />

the appearance of a “floating roof” and<br />

the LED signature illumination used in<br />

the headlamps and rear-combination<br />

lamps scream high-tech sophistication.<br />

A bold evolution of Swift DNA<br />

Sit inside and the bold evolution of the<br />

Swift’s DNA continues through four<br />

key themes: Sportiness, High Quality,<br />

Advanced, and Easy to Use. The<br />

instrument panel highlights a sense of<br />

nimble speediness, while sporty white<br />

accents and satin chrome accents<br />

are used throughout the cockpit in<br />

conjunction with a black tonal base,<br />

creating a stunning high-contrast interior.<br />

Once you’re seated, the impulse<br />

to take off immediately begins to well<br />

up inside, thanks to a meticulously<br />

implemented “driver first” design. The<br />

race car–inspired, D-shaped steering<br />

wheel, paired with front seats that<br />

firmly hold, and a centre console angled<br />

towards the driver, help form a more<br />

sporty, higher-quality environment that<br />

unifies car and driver.<br />

With the latest evolution of the Suzuki<br />

Swift, the love affair <strong>Caribbean</strong> people<br />

have with the Swift model is sure to<br />

continue.<br />

Contact your local Suzuki dealer<br />

today to arrange a test drive!<br />

For more information on the<br />

all-new Suzuki Swift, visit<br />


need to know<br />

cri1810/istock.com<br />

How You Say<br />

Talk like a local at<br />

Jounen Kwéyòl<br />

On the last Sunday of <strong>October</strong>, St Lucians celebrate<br />

their proud Creole heritage with an island-wide festival<br />

of music, cuisine, traditional dress (using the plaid fabric<br />

called madras) <strong>—</strong> and of course language. Don’t speak<br />

Kwéyòl? Here are some helpful phrases to help you fit in.<br />

Good morning<br />

Bonjou<br />

Good evening<br />

Bonswè<br />

Please<br />

Sou plé<br />

Thank you<br />

Mèsi<br />

What time is the concert? Ki lè spètak-la ka<br />

koumansé?<br />

Where can I get a bus?<br />

Koté mwen sa jwenn on<br />

machin twaspò?<br />

How far is the beach?<br />

Ki distans lans lanmè-a?<br />

I am a tourist<br />

Mwen sé an touwis<br />

I’m hungry!<br />

Mwen fen!<br />

I’d like to try the bouillon* Mwen vlé éséyé<br />

bouyon-an<br />

Where can I buy some madras? Koté mwen sa achté twèl<br />

madwas?<br />

I’ll be back next year!<br />

Mwen kay viwé lanné<br />

pochen!<br />

* Traditional dish of meat stewed with provisions<br />

With thanks to Hilary LaForce and John Robert Lee of the Monsignor<br />

Patrick Anthony Folk Research Centre<br />

28<br />


need to know<br />

The Read<br />

What he learned<br />

An excerpt from “Unaccounted for”, an essay by indigenous<br />

Trinidadian writer Tracy Assing, published in the recent<br />

anthology So Many Islands: Stories from the <strong>Caribbean</strong>,<br />

Mediterranean, Indian and Pacific Oceans (Peekash Press)<br />

Illustration by James hackett<br />

My father’s memory is good. So I ask him to talk to me for a<br />

while about what he learned growing up. He rattles off the<br />

names of animals and plants I have never heard before. Or, I<br />

think I have never heard before. It all sounds somehow familiar.<br />

“We were taught about snakes,” he says. “The dangerous<br />

ones, we can smell them, hear them, and avoid them. We<br />

were taught about the mapipire – balsain and zanana – coral,<br />

cascabel, mapamare, creebo, macajuel, tigre. The pretty,<br />

attractive ones were poisonous. Our teaching from age one<br />

to seven years was about seeing as a form of knowing, smelling<br />

as a form of knowing, and hearing as a form of knowing.<br />

“We were taught about scorpions <strong>—</strong> if stung by one, we<br />

can eat them. If we don’t like the [raw] taste, we can roast<br />

them in fire and then eat them. We were taught about Jack<br />

Spaniard wasps, which we call jep: jep cohong, jep tattoo, jep<br />

cesar. If stung by one, we must take three different types of<br />

bush, grass, or herb and crush the leaves in our hands and<br />

rub the juices on the jep sting to avoid swelling. Of course,<br />

all stings are more potent during the full moon, and although<br />

we know all these remedies we must avoid getting stung by<br />

bees, snakes, scorpions, jep. So, always be alert whenever in<br />

the forest, on the estate, or by the rivers.<br />

“We were taught about zagweeh, cheenee, santapee,<br />

congoree, tac-tac, marabuntas, fire ants, red ants, garapet,<br />

battimamzelles, butterflies. We were taught about insects<br />

with wings and without wings.<br />

“We were taught about the birds: kweleebee, kai, ramea,<br />

chat, viennal, taoday, cravat, picoplat, toucan, chikichong,<br />

semp, zotola, greeve, pawi, guacharo, gabila, tuvatuva. We know<br />

these birds by their marking and colour,<br />

by their mating calls and their distress<br />

calls. In order to catch them, we were<br />

able to feed them by calling them for<br />

food and using their distress call to get<br />

them closer to us. This ability comes<br />

from listening to the birds and mimicking<br />

their calls. The forest is like a school.<br />

“As children, we had lots of fun in the<br />

river. We would play ‘hide the stone’ in<br />

a pool. Which involved hiding a stone<br />

underwater and then the other people<br />

have to find it. We had swim races under<br />

water. This helped strengthen our lungs.<br />

Sometimes we would venture far up river or down river. We were<br />

taught about all the fish in the river. What was edible and what<br />

was not. The tayta, guabin, zangi, cuscorob, watamal, crayfish,<br />

maki, and buc. We would catch these fish with our hands or<br />

sometimes we use the old native plant, balbac. Our ancestors<br />

loved and respected the river and we did the same.<br />

“We were shown the trees and told the names and fruits.<br />

Kapok, guatacare, tapana, crapo, oilver, mahoe, ceret, galba,<br />

calabash, cazuka, anare, moriche, touca, balata, coffee, cocoa,<br />

roucou, cayoneg, caimit, cashima, cashew, mamisepote,<br />

aguma, guanabana, gree-gree, groo-groo, peewah, kereckel.<br />

“On our treks through the forest for dry wood for the<br />

fireside, we were taught about the animals, the trees, and<br />

the herbs. We were taught about the iguana, the agouti,<br />

quenk, tattoo, manicou, matapal, pillowee, porqupine. We<br />

were taught the hunt and the trails. There are ancient trails<br />

connecting each mountain region to the other.<br />

“We didn’t have money or a deed for land, but we were<br />

never hungry.”<br />

In Guyana, home to one of the <strong>Caribbean</strong> region’s largest First Peoples<br />

populations, <strong>September</strong> is officially celebrated as Indigenous Heritage<br />

Month, a chance to learn about the diversity, legacy, and cultures of Guyana’s<br />

indigenous peoples: the Akawaio, Arawak, Arecuna, Carib, Makushi, Patamona,<br />

Wai-Wai, Wapishana, and Warrau. Communities across the country stage<br />

exhibitions of art, dance, craft, food, native games, and sports.<br />

In nearby Trinidad and Tobago, a one-off holiday in <strong>October</strong> 2017 brought<br />

the country’s indigenous history to public attention. But the Carib community<br />

centred on Santa Rosa, near Arima, has commemorated its own Amerindian<br />

Heritage Week in mid-<strong>October</strong> for almost two decades, asserting the<br />

presence of a people and a culture in defiance of historical amnesia.<br />

30<br />


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Daniel Korzeniewski/shutterstock.com<br />

need to know<br />

Datebook<br />

More highlights of <strong>September</strong> and <strong>October</strong> across the <strong>Caribbean</strong><br />

Nevis Marathon and Running<br />

Festival<br />

6 to 8 <strong>September</strong><br />

Challenging marathon routes with<br />

enchanting views and distances<br />

suited for athletes <strong>—</strong> and stragglers <strong>—</strong><br />

at any level.<br />

Bonaire Sailing Regatta<br />

10 to 13 <strong>October</strong><br />

Sailors in all classes compete. There’s<br />

even a category for five-to-ten-yearold<br />

crews.<br />

COCO Dance Festival,<br />

Trinidad and Tobago<br />

26 to 28 <strong>October</strong><br />

The Contemporary Choreographers’<br />

Collective (COCO) presents the<br />

work of emerging and established<br />

choreographers from T&T and<br />

beyond, bringing together the worlds<br />

of arts and education. To mark its tenyear<br />

anniversary, the <strong>2018</strong> festival will<br />

feature the 2012 to 2017 winners of<br />

the COCO Choreographer’s Award.<br />

Word on the Street Festival,<br />

Toronto<br />

23 <strong>September</strong><br />

A wide window opens onto Canada’s<br />

literary scene, as authors, artists,<br />

publishers, and lovers of the word<br />

come together.<br />

www.thewordonthestreet.ca<br />

International Ballet Festival of<br />

Havana, Cuba<br />

26 <strong>October</strong> to 2 November<br />

<strong>Caribbean</strong> dance lovers are spoiled<br />

for choice in <strong>October</strong>. The stunning<br />

Gran Teatro is the principal venue<br />

for this celebration of ballet. Over<br />

twenty dance companies <strong>—</strong> including<br />

the London Royal Ballet, the Scala de<br />

Milan, the New York City Ballet, and<br />

the American Ballet Theatre <strong>—</strong> will<br />

perform impressive repertoires. With<br />

world premieres also scheduled at<br />

the Karl Marx Theatre and the Mella<br />

Theatre, Havana will transform into<br />

the beating heart of ballet.<br />

SAI<br />

World Cocoa and Chocolate<br />

Day Expo, Trinidad<br />

28 to 29 <strong>September</strong><br />

Did someone say chocolate? Trinis<br />

are in everything, people sometimes<br />

joke, including chocolate: this is<br />

where the Trinitario cocoa variety<br />

originated. Plus the University<br />

of the West Indies’ St Augustine<br />

campus is home to the International<br />

Cocoa Genebank, and the oldest<br />

cocoa research centre in the world.<br />

So the campus is the natural home<br />

for the WCCD Expo, bringing<br />

together emerging cocoa and<br />

chocolate entrepreneurs, and the<br />

chocolatiers who convert cocoa<br />

into an abundance of enjoyable<br />

products, edible and otherwise <strong>—</strong><br />

like this overwhelmingly chocolatey<br />

body scrub, which you can try<br />

yourself at home:<br />

1 cup raw cane sugar<br />

3 tbsp raw cocoa powder<br />

3 tbsp organic cocoa nibs<br />

1/8 cup almond oil<br />

1/8 cup cocoa butter (melted)<br />

1/2 tsp chocolate syrup<br />

5 drops Vitamin E oil<br />

Mix all dry ingredients together.<br />

Melt the cocoa butter, and stir in<br />

the other oils. Add the oil mixture<br />

to the dry ingredients and mix using<br />

a hand mixer. Add chocolate syrup<br />

and mix gently. Et voila! Apply to<br />

your skin for a luxurious chocolatey<br />

experience.<br />

Courtesy Eco-Truffles Lavish Body<br />

Treats<br />

iprachenko/shutterstock.com<br />


ookshelf<br />

The Art of White Roses<br />

by Viviana Prado-Núñez (Papillote Press, 192 pp, ISBN 9781999776824)<br />

It’s 1957 in Havana, and Adela can’t close<br />

her eyes to the trail of los desaparecidos.<br />

In the crumbling suburb of Marianao,<br />

she knows the names of the university<br />

students who go missing. She knows<br />

the city isn’t a safe place, that more is<br />

swept under the rug of complicit silence<br />

than can ever be aired aloud. When<br />

Adela’s cousin Miguel gets caught up in<br />

a bombing, the backlash of fear takes up<br />

residence in Adela’s blue-walled home:<br />

“If someone had stalked across the lawn<br />

and cracked the window open, they<br />

would have heard our hearts beating dull<br />

and muted, like the echo of someone<br />

tapping their fingers on the other side<br />

of a wall.”<br />

This is Viviana Prado-Núñez’s debut,<br />

The Art of White Roses, winner of the<br />

2017 CODE Burt Award for <strong>Caribbean</strong><br />

Young Adult Literature. The world it reveals to us is beset by<br />

suspicions, ravaged by everyday loss on a tragic scale, but the<br />

place itself is not immune to beauty. Whether it’s a box of<br />

brilliant red shoes, or a sumptuously fat lemon dangling just<br />

out of reach, the author shows us how<br />

portents of allure and pleasure still linger<br />

<strong>—</strong> even if those very symbols turn sour<br />

eventually. It’s this attention to detail<br />

that renders this an unforgettable first<br />

book, for young adults and adults alike:<br />

it lacks nothing of the careful suspense,<br />

the searing irony, the heartbreakingly<br />

staggered revelations that mark work for<br />

older readers.<br />

Even rarer still, The Art of White<br />

Roses is a compassionate novel without<br />

being a cloying one. It presents us<br />

with characters who are flawed and<br />

redeemable, from Adela’s own father<br />

Sebastián, full of false starts and halfbrewed<br />

lies, to Adela’s Tío Rodrigo, the<br />

once-burly policeman who shrinks in<br />

reverse proportion to the magnitude<br />

of his crimes. Prado-Núñez casts white<br />

roses into the thicket of this bitter revolution, charging<br />

an uncertain age with hard-won hope. This novel is for<br />

dreamers and revolutionaries: those who’ve disappeared<br />

and those who remember them.<br />

The Beast of Kukuyo<br />

by Kevin Jared Hosein (Blouse & Skirt Books,<br />

240 pp, ISBN 9789768267153)<br />

Looking for a Nancy Drew heroine?<br />

Keep looking. In Kevin Jared<br />

Hosein’s The Beast of Kukuyo,<br />

fifteen-year-old protagonist Rune<br />

Mathura is plucky and resourceful<br />

<strong>—</strong> but she has the sense to know<br />

there’s darkness in the world that<br />

a flashlight and can-do attitude<br />

can’t fix. When her classmate<br />

Dumpling Heera winds up dead,<br />

Rune knows that the baleful<br />

secrets stirring in Kukuyo Village<br />

can’t stay hidden <strong>—</strong> not forever. In this second-place<br />

winner of the 2017 CODE Burt Award for <strong>Caribbean</strong><br />

Young Adult Literature, Hosein delivers a hair-raiser of a<br />

tale, replete with small-time gangsters, sad prostitutes<br />

swaying to Sundar Popo ballads, and survival of the fittest.<br />

It’s tempting to call The Beast of Kukuyo the perfect<br />

Stephen King and Sam Selvon mash-up, but Kevin Jared<br />

Hosein’s voice is distinctively his own, tinged with dark<br />

humour.<br />

Home Home<br />

by Lisa Allen-Agostini (Papillote Press, 100 pp,<br />

ISBN 9781999776831)<br />

Where is it safe to lay your head,<br />

when it’s your thoughts that turn<br />

against you? Home Home, the<br />

third-place winner of the 2017<br />

CODE Burt Award for <strong>Caribbean</strong><br />

Young Adult Literature, lets<br />

us inside the mind of Kayla, a<br />

Trinidadian girl diagnosed with<br />

depression. Sent to recuperate<br />

at the Edmonton home of her<br />

lesbian aunt, Kayla’s uncertainty<br />

about her place in life is only one<br />

of the things that gives her pause. For instance, what<br />

does it mean to be LGBT? What does it mean when a<br />

cute boy who shares your taste in music also thinks you’re<br />

pretty? Home Home pulls no punches about an interior<br />

life with mental illness: Kayla is written compellingly, with<br />

compassion, sensitivity, and uncommon insight.<br />


ookshelf Q&A<br />

Kitch<br />

by Anthony Joseph (Peepal Tree Press, 296 pp,<br />

ISBN 9781845234195)<br />

To tell the story of Lord Kitchener,<br />

calypso’s grand master with his<br />

navel string buried in Arima,<br />

Anthony Joseph harmonises<br />

genres. Kitch combines the<br />

power of the archive <strong>—</strong> the tools<br />

of biography <strong>—</strong> with literary<br />

fiction’s capacity to colour grand<br />

narratives. What might seem like<br />

an unlikely marriage of form suits<br />

this lyrical homage to Aldwyn<br />

Roberts, Empire Windrush<br />

pioneer, the pennant-bearer for calypso in the Queen’s<br />

Britain. Joseph, a prolific poet and musical performer,<br />

brings a laden basket of skills to this neo-novel: the<br />

prose does not so much describe as it animates, and<br />

everywhere in this story, melody peals forth. Why have<br />

there been no substantial biographies of Kitchener<br />

till now? Perhaps because a conventional approach to<br />

storytelling might tame a remarkable life: Kitch goes<br />

liltingly off-script, and the results are visionary.<br />

Ricantations<br />

by Loretta Collins Klobah (Peepal Tree Press,<br />

128 pp, ISBN 9781845234232)<br />

From the vaults of Puerto Rico’s<br />

history, to the horizons of its<br />

contemporary life, Loretta Collins<br />

Klobah writes potent, spellbinding<br />

poems. Collins Klobah, who won<br />

the 2012 OCM Bocas Prize for<br />

<strong>Caribbean</strong> Literature for her debut<br />

collection, The Twelve-Foot Neon<br />

Woman, has wrought a second<br />

book that captivates while it<br />

dismantles complacency. Here<br />

are poems that work precisely on<br />

the imagination and wonderment of their reader. Steeped<br />

in the groundwater of Ricantations are the rising tides of<br />

women’s polyglot tongues: curious daughters, confident<br />

marketplace gitanas, mami watas with sharply erotic<br />

demands. The versatile, majestic energy of the feminine<br />

roves and somersaults in these poems, challenging the<br />

roots of virginity and harlotry in verse that stares the<br />

patriarchy down, Medusa-style.<br />

Reviews by Shivanee Ramlochan, Bookshelf editor<br />

Trinidadian Danielle Boodoo-<br />

Fortuné’s debut book of<br />

poems, Doe Songs (Peepal<br />

Tree Press, 80 pp, ISBN<br />

9781845234188), inhabits an<br />

exterior landscape of deep<br />

forest and rushing rivers, and<br />

explores an interior world of<br />

bloodlines and birth. In this<br />

Q&A, the author explains the<br />

significance of wilderness in<br />

her new poems.<br />

Doe Songs is a powerful first collection, one concerned<br />

with the relationship between our human world and the<br />

wilderness. Did you access an inner wildness to complete<br />

this body of poems?<br />

A sense of the inner wildness, the “untameness” that is always<br />

beneath the surface of people and places, is what drives many<br />

of the poems. In the process of writing and editing Doe Songs,<br />

I tried to access that inner wildness and to learn to see it in<br />

everything, to acknowledge that the domestic and the wild,<br />

the gentle and the feral are bound together so closely in all<br />

living things and places.<br />

Tell us something of what<br />

animates your mothering<br />

poems, which are dense,<br />

lush inhabitants of the world<br />

between mother and child.<br />

My mothering poems were<br />

written during the final<br />

trimester of pregnancy and in<br />

the first months of my son’s<br />

life. This period was so utterly<br />

strange and transformative that<br />

it allowed me to lift the veil, to<br />

see things in that in-between<br />

half-light. It gave me access to<br />

my mammalian creature self.<br />

The mother and child relationship is both so intimate and<br />

so fierce, and it completely transforms the way we see<br />

ourselves, our capacity for love and pain, the limits of hearts<br />

and bodies.<br />

The doe is a symbol of tenderness, but of surprising<br />

resilience too: this complexity in all things shines in your<br />

work. How has the doe as motif moved you as artist and<br />

writer?<br />

During the process of writing these poems, the doe kept<br />

coming back to me, until I could no longer ignore how central<br />

it was to the collection. The doe is both vulnerability and<br />

resilience. It reminds me of the power there is in tenderness,<br />

and of the value of intuition. For me, the doe is also<br />

motherhood, magic, and relationship with landscape.<br />



playlist<br />

Born in Darkness<br />

Freetown (Damascus Media)<br />

From lyrically drenched acoustic <strong>Caribbean</strong> folk<br />

music to island pop songs with metaphorical<br />

gravitas, the evolution of Freetown has been<br />

a revelation of the idea of crossing over.<br />

Making it into a global music market without<br />

“selling out” has been the mission of <strong>Caribbean</strong><br />

musicians and singers for decades. Born in<br />

Darkness has the aesthetic merit to breach the<br />

consciousness of audiences anywhere right now.<br />

A balance between seven full-length songs and<br />

four powerful interludes that have hit potential<br />

proves that producer Keron “Sheriff” Thompson<br />

of Differentology fame understands how to<br />

juxtapose these odes into popular soundscapes<br />

where <strong>Caribbean</strong> ideas can become universally<br />

relevant. Muhammad Muwakil and Lou Lyons,<br />

as crafty songwriters, show how personal angst<br />

can become cathartic <strong>—</strong> “Dem cyah understand<br />

this / Thought you could keep me down and<br />

sick / Underground, I’m volcanic / And I’m not<br />

dormant, no!” <strong>—</strong> to shine a light on our collective<br />

island importance. A winner.<br />

In the Moment<br />

Larnell Lewis (self-released)<br />

Toronto can seem a multicultural paradise,<br />

more so for a number of artists and a second<br />

generation from the islands. Drummer Larnell<br />

Lewis, of Kittitian heritage, is the premier<br />

drummer in the city, landing a job with Grammy<br />

winners Snarky Puppy and collecting a couple of<br />

statuettes for himself. On his debut album, he<br />

calls on his <strong>Caribbean</strong> diaspora friends and his<br />

Snarky Puppy bandmates to add to this novel<br />

referencing of jazz from the perspective of a<br />

black North American jazz musician who is not<br />

African-American, freed from conjecture and<br />

the obligations of jazz heritage. That freedom<br />

allows Lewis to explore rhythms and harmonies<br />

that suggest New Orleans (“Beignets”), gospel<br />

jazz (“Rejoice”), Latin jazz (“Coconuts”), fusion<br />

(“Change your Mind”), bebop <strong>—</strong> the solo on “No<br />

Access” is a drum masterclass <strong>—</strong> and tropical<br />

World Music (“Essence of Joy”). Memories and<br />

moments of Lewis’s life are freed to inspire this<br />

joyous set of ten sparkling tunes.<br />

Kontraband<br />

Kabaka Pyramid (Bebble Rock Music)<br />

Kabaka Pyramid belongs to a new generation<br />

of Jamaican reggae artists who are part of a<br />

noticeable renaissance in conscious music and<br />

roots reggae sounds that harkens back to the<br />

days of Bob Marley’s global domination. It’s not<br />

surprising, since this new album was executiveproduced<br />

by Bob’s sons, Junior Gong and<br />

Steven. That genetic heritage has guided this<br />

sixteen-track album towards a reckoning of<br />

social lyrics that address longstanding concerns,<br />

but with a sonic profile grounded in the twentyfirst<br />

century. Sarcastic jibes on the song “Well<br />

Done” <strong>—</strong> “Well done, well done, Mr Politician Man<br />

/ You’ve done a wonderful job of tearing down<br />

the country, Mr Demolition Man” <strong>—</strong> point to a<br />

growing cynicism and exasperation among the<br />

younger generation of <strong>Caribbean</strong>s. Whether<br />

politics, global concerns about refugees, or the<br />

efficacy of “herb,” a topical menu of subjects is<br />

assayed effectively with a few star collaborations<br />

to give this album impact.<br />

Single Spotlight<br />

Field Trip<br />

Jah9 (VP Records)<br />

Jah9 delivers her songs with a diction and<br />

enunciation that could make one forget<br />

Jamaican patois is the de facto language of<br />

reggae. This delivery further cements her<br />

identification with what she calls “Jazz in Dub<br />

. . . a rich imaginative blend of vocal clarity and<br />

complexity.” A well-articulated melody swings<br />

around an Afro-beat groove reminiscent of<br />

Fela Kuti to set this song on another level. Of<br />

the title, Jah9 explains that “the real field trip is<br />

within. That is the final frontier, and if we do this<br />

we will find new elements of our self,” giving a<br />

philosophical hook to a jam that does not stop<br />

throbbing. The musicianship on this single also<br />

reflects an improvised blues ambience, certainly<br />

when the tenor saxophone solo comes in near<br />

the end, reminding us that the jazz sensibility<br />

is not lost in production. Taken together, these<br />

elements point to a new World <strong>Beat</strong> feeling<br />

where the reggae is subsumed, but the beat just<br />

keeps grooving <strong>—</strong> like you will.<br />

Reviews by Nigel A. Campbell<br />


screenshots<br />

raped it became a service economy.<br />

That’s why I felt it was necessary to<br />

show the underbelly. In order to do that,<br />

I had to focus on the everyday people.<br />

When we hear about Jamaica we hear<br />

about Bob Marley and “No Problem.”<br />

But there are a lot of problems. I wanted<br />

to show the problems, but I also wanted<br />

to come with the good news.<br />

courtesy khalik allah<br />

“My understanding of<br />

Jamaica is spiritual”<br />

Khalik Allah, now thirty-two, shot to prominence with his first documentary,<br />

Field Niggas (2015), an immersive portrait of an intersection in Harlem in<br />

his native New York City. For Black Mother, his follow-up, Allah <strong>—</strong> also an<br />

accomplished photographer <strong>—</strong> ambitiously extended his canvas from a street<br />

corner to an entire nation, Jamaica, in a hypnotically impressionistic conjuration<br />

of his mother’s home island.<br />

Imagining Jamaica as a nurturing matriarch, and split into “trimesters,” Black<br />

Mother interlaces audio testimonies from ordinary Jamaicans with a collage<br />

of images of the island and its people, shot in a beguiling assortment of film<br />

formats. The result is a challenging work of visionary power, a tribute to everyday<br />

resistance and survival, and a cinematic representation of Jamaica unlike any<br />

before it. In this Q&A with Jonathan Ali, Allah discusses sidestepping island<br />

clichés, and the highly personal aesthetic he brought to bear on the film.<br />

What’s your relationship with<br />

Jamaica like?<br />

My mother is from Jamaica and my<br />

father is from Iran, so I have both these<br />

heritages within me. But because I<br />

grew up around a lot of my Jamaican<br />

family, I always felt more connected<br />

to Jamaica. In my childhood we were<br />

going to Jamaica frequently. As I got<br />

older, I would go on my own and spend<br />

time with my grandfather, a deacon.<br />

I would sit at his feet and receive<br />

wisdom that really structured my life,<br />

so my relationship with Jamaica stems<br />

from that.<br />

Is that what inspired your approach<br />

to making the film?<br />

I wanted to make a film about Jamaica<br />

that wasn’t about reggae. For me, my<br />

understanding of Jamaica is spiritual. It<br />

has always been a place where I’ve been<br />

able to go and be baptised in a sense,<br />

you know? So it was extremely important<br />

that I focus on the soul of the people.<br />

You also avoided the clichés often<br />

associated with “Brand Jamaica.”<br />

Those are the things people are familiar<br />

with. They’re used to the tourist<br />

attractions. Jamaica’s a poor country,<br />

remember. It was raped by the British<br />

through colonialism. And after it was<br />

Why the title Black Mother?<br />

Jamaica is the mother. It represents the<br />

earth, the food, the soil, the fruits, the<br />

vegetation, the fields, the water <strong>—</strong> all of<br />

that is symbolic of the mother. So the<br />

title truly comes from understanding<br />

that the mother is the doorway into this<br />

world, and into other worlds.<br />

You shot the film in different<br />

formats: Super 8-mm film, 16-mm<br />

film, and digital. Why?<br />

Jamaica is a very small island. It’s smaller<br />

than Long Island. It’s a whole country<br />

that’s smaller than a little piece of New<br />

York, but it’s a huge country in terms<br />

of its history and its spirituality and its<br />

relationship to the rest of the world. So<br />

using these different formats and building<br />

out the film like a collage was a device I<br />

used to show how dynamic Jamaica is and<br />

how many textures there are.<br />

Black Mother is asynchronous <strong>—</strong> the<br />

audio we hear does not match the<br />

visuals we see. This could prove a<br />

hurdle to some viewers. Does this<br />

concern you?<br />

My films challenge people to use their<br />

minds. You may have to work a little bit.<br />

You may have to apply some of your<br />

own consciousness in order to extract<br />

the meaning. I expect my audience<br />

to do that. And it’s the type of film<br />

that’s so dense and deals with so many<br />

different topics that I tell people, “Look,<br />

man, if you want to close your eyes and<br />

stop paying attention for a couple of<br />

minutes, that’s totally fine. You don’t<br />

gotta be stuck to the screen for every<br />

detail of the film. Drift away if you want.”<br />

Black Mother<br />

Director: Khalik Allah<br />

Jamaica/USA, <strong>2018</strong><br />

77 minutes<br />

38<br />



cookup<br />

Some like<br />

it sweet<br />


Illustration by<br />

Shalini Seereeram<br />

It used to be that sweet-toothed <strong>Caribbean</strong><br />

people were satisfied with a good oldfashioned<br />

sponge cake. But, as Franka Philip<br />

explains, the profusion of delectable dessert<br />

images on Instagram in recent years has<br />

raised expectations, and more sophisticated<br />

tastes. Bakers and pastry chefs across the<br />

<strong>Caribbean</strong> are keeping up, with unexpected<br />

flavours and elaborate techniques<br />

I’m the first to admit I’ve spent more than enough time on the social networking<br />

platform Instagram looking at “food porn.” That isn’t some kind of bizarre fetish <strong>—</strong><br />

it’s a term used to describe ridiculously amazing-looking food, food so gorgeous it<br />

makes you weak with desire.<br />

And, undoubtedly, much of my lust is reserved for gorgeous desserts, especially<br />

incredibly ornate cakes and anything that screams chocolate decadence.<br />

Social media <strong>—</strong> particularly Instagram, with its more than eight hundred million users<br />

<strong>—</strong> is the place where people with cameras who love food post everything from photos<br />

of their “best spicy doubles” to the high-end meal they just had at renowned restaurant<br />

The Cliff in Barbados. But Instagram doesn’t just titillate foodies like me <strong>—</strong> it’s also been<br />

pushing chefs and restaurants to raise their game on the presentation front.<br />

“Most of us who document our meals online are amateurs, but there exists a sizeable,<br />

and hugely profitable, industry of professional food bloggers and Instagrammers, whose<br />

pristine food styling sets the tone for a whole aesthetic movement,” says British chef and<br />

food writer Ruby Tandoh in her UK Guardian food column.<br />

This “aesthetic movement” in social media has also driven a whole new class of culinary<br />

entrepreneurs: cake and pastry makers. A decade ago, most people were satisfied<br />

with a moist chocolate cake, cheesecake, or a hearty pound cake for special occasions,<br />

but now customers <strong>—</strong> largely driven by social media and food television <strong>—</strong> are asking for<br />

bespoke cakes with more complex designs and a more creative fusion of flavours. And<br />

these cakes are not cheap. Interestingly, in the <strong>Caribbean</strong>, although many countries are<br />

facing difficult economic times, the demand for cakes and desserts is as huge as ever.<br />

In Trinidad, for example, brilliant cake designers can be found across the country.<br />

Sherikah Singh, the woman behind the Sundara Cake design studio in Central Trinidad,<br />

doesn’t have a storefront and conducts her business exclusively online. “I started building<br />

my business solely via word of mouth, so social media for business is a fairly recent choice<br />

for me. I’m still getting the hang of it, but so far it has been great,” she says.<br />

“I’m able to show more of what I can do to a wider audience. I’m garnering new followers<br />

every day, resulting in new clients for my business, with the majority of them staying<br />

with me long-term. People have almost instant access to me and my products, so the<br />

convenience for both myself and my clients is certainly an advantage.”<br />

Singh, who has been baking professionally for about fifteen years, believes that social<br />

media is a big factor in the rising demand for specialty cakes. “Most times, we see something<br />

we like online, then we find someone who can recreate it. What’s popular online<br />

also seems to be directly related to what becomes popular here [in Trinidad]. For instance,<br />



the increase in elaborate dessert tables at events, and our newfound love of<br />

French macarons.”<br />

Singh has developed a reputation for the innovative use of unexpected flavours<br />

in her cakes. “I’m known for my curry cake with coconut buttercream,<br />

my masala chai carrot cake with cream cheese buttercream and scratch-made<br />

salted caramel, and my ponche de crème cake at Christmas.”<br />

But the most popular cake among her clients is a classic rich chocolate mud<br />

cake with couverture chocolate ganache. “Can’t beat a good old-fashioned<br />

chocolate cake,” she notes.<br />

Meanwhile, award-winning Bajan pastry chef Javon Cummins has found<br />

that experiments with local products excite his clients. Cummins was<br />

awarded the title of Pastry Chef of the Year at the highly competitive<br />

Taste of the <strong>Caribbean</strong> event in 2017. He’s known as one of the most dynamic<br />

pastry chefs in the region.<br />

“There is a desire to push local desserts, but the thing is to elevate them<br />

while keeping that traditional flavour and taste,” he says. “For example,<br />

molasses is one of the ingredients in my smoked chocolate cake, and I’ve<br />

even used local sweet potato flour to make a decadent dark chocolate sweet<br />

potato brownie.”<br />

Another challenge for chefs and bakers are the myriad dietary issues their<br />

clients face. Port of Spain cake maker Lisa-Marie Stewart <strong>—</strong> known as the<br />

Cake Madame <strong>—</strong> suffers from nut allergies. Because of this, she makes it<br />

a point to tell potential customers they must inform her of any allergies or<br />

dietary options so she can customise her recipes accordingly. She now makes<br />

a range of gluten-free, flourless, and eggless cakes.<br />

Not only are people buying more cakes and desserts, they are also eager<br />

to learn to make them at home. In the short time they’ve been around,<br />

Check out our chefs and bakers on Instagram:<br />

Sundara Cake Studio: @sundaracakestudio<br />

Javon Cummins: @billionare_chef<br />

The Cake Madame: @thecakemadame<br />

The Academy of Baking and Pastry Arts: @thebakingacademytt<br />

the Academy of Baking and Pastry Arts in<br />

Port of Spain has taught hundreds of eager<br />

foodies to refine their technique. The Academy<br />

specialises in “artistry of patisserie,<br />

gateaux, and boulangerie” <strong>—</strong> or for those<br />

who don’t know much French, pastries,<br />

cakes, and bread-making. According to<br />

Rayne Kirpalani, director of the academy,<br />

the dessert and baking courses tend to<br />

attract caterers who want to beef up their<br />

dessert-making skills, as well as passionate<br />

home bakers.<br />

She explains that courses on classic<br />

cakes, classic cheesecakes, and macarons<br />

do well, but an unexpected favourite is<br />

cupcakes. “Wow, Trinis love a cupcake,”<br />

she says. “We do a course called Cupcakes<br />

Unlimited where we incorporate a lot of<br />

<strong>Caribbean</strong> flavours, incluing alcohol. So<br />

we have rum and Coca-Cola–flavoured<br />

cupcakes, Malibu pineapple and piña colada cakes.<br />

I find a lot of people are coming for new flavour<br />

creations, and to learn to master that technique.”<br />

Kirpalani also notes that many clients are keen<br />

to get into the catering business. “When people<br />

come to us, they say, ‘I’m starting my own business<br />

and I want to perfect these skills’ <strong>—</strong> they want to<br />

learn the proper methods, and so they really ask<br />

the chefs for a lot of tips.”<br />

As far as trends in desserts and baking go,<br />

Kirpalani believes people want to enjoy delicious<br />

desserts while keeping one eye on their health.<br />

“The gluten-free thing is still going very strong.<br />

Eggless desserts are as well.”<br />

Sherikah Singh looks to fields like art and<br />

architecture, culture and nature for inspiration,<br />

but her cakes are largely based on what will keep<br />

her customers happy. “It’s more a reflection of my<br />

clients rather than my personal design aesthetic.<br />

I’m hoping to show more of myself in my work<br />

going forward.”<br />

“I see a lot of highly textured cake designs, and<br />

more earth tones becoming a staple, as well as<br />

hand-painted designs,” Singh says. “We’re really<br />

looking at cakes as a blank canvas for expression.”<br />

For his part, Javon Cummins sees the classics<br />

as the basis for the new direction in cakes and<br />

desserts. “We are taking classic desserts and<br />

deconstructing them. We’re serving desserts<br />

in glasses, and mousse cakes are becoming much<br />

more popular.”<br />

And on Instagram? When I last lusted <strong>—</strong> I<br />

mean, looked <strong>—</strong> I was drawn to the feed of Chef<br />

Jason Licker, one of my favourites, who prides<br />

himself on being ahead of the curve. Who’s up for<br />

chocolate and caramel passion cake served with<br />

Chinese five spice chocolate cream? I know I am! n<br />

42<br />


Immerse<br />

Trinity Mirror/Mirrorpix/Alamy Stock Photo<br />

44 Backstory<br />

Remembering<br />

Windrush<br />

50<br />

Own Words<br />

“I woke up with an<br />

entire song in my<br />

head”<br />

50 Snapshot<br />

Her side of the story<br />

Trinidadian singer Mona Baptise arrives in Britain on the Empire Windrush, June 1948

ackstory<br />

Remembering<br />

Windrush<br />

Seventy years ago, the Empire Windrush docked at Tilbury in the River<br />

Thames, and hundreds of West Indian passengers disembarked. It’s<br />

remembered as the beginning of a period of large-scale immigration<br />

from the West Indies to the United Kingdom, and the dawn of a new<br />

multicultural Britain. A new exhibition at the British Library in London<br />

marks the anniversary of that storied day<br />

The history and culture of Britain have been<br />

shaped in all kinds of ways, obvious and subtle,<br />

by the country’s relationship with its former<br />

<strong>Caribbean</strong> colonies. When the first British settlers<br />

landed in St Kitts in 1623 with a royal patent from<br />

King James I <strong>—</strong> establishing the “mother colony”<br />

of the British West Indies <strong>—</strong> it began a centuries-long, worldchanging,<br />

and still ongoing exchange of people, commodities,<br />

language, culture, and ideas across the Atlantic.<br />

But in that long history of movement back and forth between<br />

the British Isles and the <strong>Caribbean</strong> archipelago, one moment has<br />

become especially celebrated: the arrival of the Empire Windrush<br />

on 21 June, 1948, with its more than eight hundred West Indian<br />

passengers. Legally British subjects, with rights of citizenship,<br />

they arrived in postwar London to try their chances in the<br />

imperial capital. They were not the first, but the extensive press<br />

coverage of their landing at the Port of Tilbury led to an association<br />

in the public memory between West Indian immigration and<br />

the Windrush.<br />

They were also certainly not the last. Encouraged by the<br />

UK government and industries hampered by labour shortages,<br />

thousands more West Indians travelled to Britain over the next<br />

decade. Taking up jobs with the National Health Service, British<br />

Rail, and London’s public transport, they helped the war-ravaged<br />

country get back on its feet. By the early 1960s, there were<br />

almost 200,000 people in Britain born in the West Indies.<br />

Inevitably, there was a backlash. West Indians in Britain<br />

faced racial prejudice in all forms, from rejections by potential<br />

landlords to outright violence. The intolerance and conflict of<br />

the 1950s and 60s continue to shape British society today. But<br />

the migrants who came to be known as the Windrush generation,<br />

and their children and grandchildren, also enriched the<br />

UK immeasurably. Twenty-first-century Britain is inconceivable<br />

without their contributions to politics, commerce, arts,<br />

and sports (just look at the England team at the recent FIFA<br />

World Cup).<br />

Windrush: Songs in a Strange Land draws on the extensive<br />

collections of the British Library to tell the story of the Windrush<br />

generation through documents, photographs, sound recordings,<br />

and other archival materials <strong>—</strong> looking for “the deeper reasons<br />

why the arrival of the Windrush became a symbol for the origins<br />

of British multiculturalism,” putting the wave of postwar migration<br />

into a wider historic perspective. As co-curator Elizabeth<br />

Cooper explains, the exhibition “seeks to open up a conversation<br />

about the ways slavery, colonialism, and race have through<br />

history structured British identity and society <strong>—</strong> a context that<br />

is today more relevant than ever, given the recent headlines<br />

relating to the Windrush generation.”<br />

She adds: “culture has been fundamental to struggles for<br />

freedom and belonging.” As visitors to the British Library<br />

explore the artefacts collected here, they’ll surely reflect that<br />

those struggles are far from over. n<br />


The Empire Windrush arrived at Tilbury<br />

with 1,027 passengers <strong>—</strong> more than<br />

eight hundred of them West Indian<br />

immigrants, considered UK citizens<br />

under the British Nationality Act<br />

Contraband Collection/Alamy Stock Photo<br />


courtesy the british library<br />


The migrants who came to be known as the Windrush<br />

generation, and their children and grandchildren, enriched<br />

the UK immeasurably. Twenty-first-century Britain is<br />

inconceivable without their contributions<br />

courtesy the british library<br />

Left This photo from the British Library exhibition<br />

depicts a newly arrived West Indian woman, waiting<br />

with her luggage<br />

Above In addition to artefacts from the British<br />

Library’s own collections, Songs in a Strange Land also<br />

includes objects borrowed from other institutions and<br />

from private collections <strong>—</strong> like this souvenir postcard,<br />

purchased on board the Windrush by Jamaican<br />

Winston Levy, which now belongs to his daughter<br />

Andrea Levy. A celebrated writer, Levy is best known<br />

for her novel Small Island, inspired by the lives of<br />

Jamaican immigrants in London<br />

Windrush: Songs in a Strange Land opened at the British Library on 1 June and runs until<br />

21 <strong>October</strong>, <strong>2018</strong>. For more information, visit www.bl.uk<br />



courtesy the british library<br />


Opposite page West<br />

Indian immigration to the<br />

UK didn’t start with the<br />

Windrush. This Second<br />

World War poster explains<br />

the contributions of West<br />

Indians in Britain to the war<br />

effort<br />

Right The 1959 novel<br />

To Sir, With Love, about<br />

a West Indian teacher<br />

working in an East London<br />

school, was based on the<br />

real-life experiences of<br />

writer E.R. Braithwaite,<br />

born in British Guiana.<br />

Braithwaite’s original<br />

typescript shows his<br />

extensive revisions, some<br />

of them made in response<br />

to racial tensions in the<br />

late 1950s.<br />

courtesy the british library<br />

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own words<br />

“I woke<br />

up with<br />

an entire<br />

song in<br />

my head”<br />

I<br />

come from a very musical family. My grandfather played several<br />

instruments and also sang, so my father was raised in an environment<br />

that was full of music. He wrote traditional songs for a folk group called<br />

La Jeune Etoile. He also played goatskin drum, harmonica, and twelvestring<br />

guitar.<br />

Like him, I developed a love of music as a result of growing up with<br />

it all around me. We did a lot of singing at home <strong>—</strong> the family would actually<br />

make a point of it <strong>—</strong> and my mum says I was just two years old when I started.<br />

We were like the Grand Bay von Trapps!<br />

Musical influences were diverse. My father listened to country music and<br />

reggae, so at home I would be exposed to a mixture of Kenny Rogers, Johnny<br />

Cash, Dolly Parton, and Bob Marley. Local music came from the likes of<br />

Ophelia Marie, Gordon Henderson, and the Midnight Groovers.<br />

Growing up here in Grand Bay was also a factor. Calypso, a very traditional<br />

Carnival, and the annual Fete Isidore were all vibrant events. People would<br />

compose songs especially for them <strong>—</strong> there would be colourful costume<br />

parades that began at the church just across the street, and they would draw<br />

in performers and crowds from neighbouring communities such as Petite<br />

Savanne, Bagatelle, Dubique.<br />

I studied music theory and learned to play classical flute at the Kairi School<br />

of Music in Dominica, which is sadly no more. I was also a member of its junior<br />

choir, and would often have lead singing roles in the school’s musical productions.<br />

When I was fourteen, I came fourth in a regional singing competition in<br />

Barbados, and it sparked something in me. I thought, I could do this, I could<br />

compete at a high level. In 1995, I won a song contest here in Dominica, and<br />

after graduating I went straight into music. I was bitten by the bug.<br />

At the age of sixteen, I joined a jazz band called Impact, where I was a<br />

vocalist and flautist <strong>—</strong> and where I met my bass-playing husband, who is now<br />

also my producer. I knew about jazz, but didn’t sing or play it before joining<br />

the band.<br />

Although I perform different genres, such as zouk and cadancelypso, I<br />

love the expressiveness of jazz, and I have had the opportunity to perform<br />

with jazz greats such as Chick Corea and Stanley Clarke. They were amazing<br />

experiences, and the fact that I sang and played flute with them on their tours<br />

Singer-songwriter Michele<br />

Henderson, performing at<br />

<strong>October</strong>’s World Creole<br />

Music Festival, on her<br />

musical childhood and<br />

her transition to the<br />

international stage <strong>—</strong> as told<br />

to Paul Crask, at her home<br />

in Grand Bay, Dominica<br />

Photography by Paul Crask<br />

made me feel even more determined to continue<br />

and succeed with jazz composition.<br />

Impact actually cut a jazz album called Islander<br />

before the band kind of fizzled out as an entity, and<br />

the members supported me as a solo artist. This<br />

gave me the opportunity to write and compose all<br />

my own songs, a process I really enjoy, and which I<br />

would like to do more of for other musicians.<br />

Composing music happens in different ways<br />

for me. Sometimes I just develop lyric ideas<br />

while I am working around the house and<br />

homestead, feeding the chickens, weeding vegetable<br />

beds, and so on. Then afterwards I figure out a<br />

melody that goes with it. Other times I get a tune in<br />

my head and the process works in reverse. On one<br />

occasion, in Paris, I woke up with an entire song<br />

in my head <strong>—</strong> I had a dream where I was singing<br />

this song, and I wrote down the entire thing in the<br />

morning. It was just there, waiting to come out.<br />

I compose songs in both English and French<br />

Creole, though I have not always spoken the latter.<br />

My grandmother outlawed French Creole around<br />

the house because it was viewed as a peasant<br />

language <strong>—</strong> she saw herself as a higher status, I<br />

suppose. The funny thing was she would actually<br />

reprimand us about it in French Creole. So,<br />

even though I was not allowed to speak it about<br />

the house or in the yard, I grew up hearing the<br />

language around me <strong>—</strong> it is the unofficial first<br />

language of Grand Bay.<br />

My father was also raised that way, yet he<br />

ended up composing many Creole folk songs.<br />

Even though Creole was outlawed at home, it was<br />


always in my head, and in the end speaking and writing songs in the language<br />

came to me quite easily.<br />

I have a following in the French islands, so composing and recording songs<br />

in Creole is a conscious decision that makes a lot of sense because, combined,<br />

Martinique and Guadeloupe are a huge listening audience, much bigger than<br />

here at home.<br />

So far, I have recorded six albums and put out a live DVD. Lately I have been<br />

doing a lot of travelling <strong>—</strong> both performing and trying to spend more time with<br />

“Sometimes I just develop lyric ideas while<br />

I am working around the house . . . Then<br />

afterwards I figure out a melody that goes<br />

with it”<br />

my two daughters, who are studying in the USA and Canada. But I feel that<br />

right now I would really like to write and produce more. I have tons of albums<br />

in mind. I would like to do a Christmas project with a focus on island traditions.<br />

I would also really like to take some of our local folk songs and put them to jazz.<br />

I have done this live with a song called “Sa Sa Ye Sa” <strong>—</strong> it’s on YouTube <strong>—</strong> and<br />

it’s a fun way to introduce and perform a traditional Dominica song to a new<br />

audience. It keeps it alive. So I would like to make an album with more of that,<br />

rearranging those old tunes into a Creole jazz style.<br />

Being an international artist comes with responsibilities, of course. I am a<br />

goodwill ambassador for Dominica, and have had<br />

the opportunity recently to perform at benefit concerts<br />

in the wake of Hurricane Maria. I was here<br />

during the storm. It was intense living right on the<br />

coast. Big trees came down, the church roof ended<br />

up in our yard, waves were coming right up against<br />

the wall. The strength of the wind was extraordinary.<br />

And the morning after, stepping outside to<br />

see the devastation was simply shocking.<br />

In light of Dominica’s recovery from all that,<br />

it will be nice to perform at World Creole Music<br />

Festival again in <strong>October</strong> <strong>—</strong> this time with Mizik A<br />

Nou All-Stars, which was a project that was started<br />

at the very first World Creole Music Festival [in<br />

1997]. The songs we composed back then were<br />

very popular on the radio, so it will be great to<br />

revive that repertoire. I’m looking forward to it. n<br />

Dominica’s World Creole Music Festival<br />

takes place annually over the final weekend<br />

in <strong>October</strong>. The <strong>2018</strong> festival will begin on<br />

Friday 26 <strong>October</strong> and end on Sunday 28<br />

<strong>October</strong>. For line-up and ticket information,<br />

visit www.dominicafestivals.com<br />



snapshot<br />

Her side<br />

of the<br />

story<br />

Photography by Mark Lyndersay<br />

The Naipauls are Trinidad’s most<br />

famous literary dynasty, and their<br />

story has been told, in fiction<br />

and memoir, by Nobel laureate<br />

V.S. Naipaul. For decades, writing<br />

was the exclusive domain of the<br />

Naipaul men <strong>—</strong> but a new memoir<br />

by Savi Naipaul Akal has changed<br />

that, and told a different side of<br />

the family story. Ingrid Persaud<br />

learns how The Naipauls of<br />

Nepaul Street came to be<br />

Savi Naipaul Akal exudes poise and presence.<br />

And charm. Buckets of charm. For our interview<br />

at her home in Valsayn, east of Port of Spain,<br />

she leads me to a table covered with a crisp<br />

white tablecloth weighed down by homemade<br />

cakes and finger sandwiches. The huge floral<br />

arrangement sitting in the middle stems from her own garden.<br />

I am here to find out what motivated her to trade the ease of<br />

her twilight years for the graft of writing her recently published<br />

memoir, The Naipauls of Nepaul Street, launched in April <strong>2018</strong> at<br />

the NGC Bocas Lit Fest.<br />

Akal offers a selection of teas from her family’s own luxury<br />

brand. I decide on the evocatively named Tobago Afternoon<br />

blend. As she pours, Akal remarks that although she knew the<br />

story of her parents, Ma and Pa, deserved to be written, she<br />

never imagined it would be by her pen. Writing was the purview<br />

of the Naipaul men <strong>—</strong> starting with her father, Seepersad Naipaul,<br />

and her brothers Shiva, who died young, and of course the<br />

Nobel laureate, Vidia <strong>—</strong> known to the world as V.S.<br />

If any of the five Naipaul sisters were to write the family<br />

history, then Kamla, the eldest, once seemed the most likely.<br />

Indeed, Savi halted work on an earlier draft of her book because<br />

Kamla had declared her intention to undertake a similar project.<br />

Despite their differences, Savi graciously gave way to her sister,<br />

reasoning that Kamla had eight years more information and<br />

perspective on their shared history <strong>—</strong> and, as first born, was<br />

entitled to a certain deference. But Kamla passed away in 2009<br />

without publishing a text.<br />

With Kamla gone, and Vidia now aged and incapacitated, it<br />

was Akal’s moment. The stories begged to move from her mind<br />

and become words on a page. Still, she dithered. But a chance<br />

lunch with Arnold Rampersad, emeritus professor at Stanford<br />

University, changed everything. He encouraged, no, insisted<br />

that Savi write her memoir. Jenny Naipaul, Shiva’s widow,<br />

echoed Rampersad. Akal is certain the book would not have<br />

happened without their active encouragement. Draft after draft<br />

landed on Rampersad’s desk. With kindness and patience, he<br />

read, argued, and gently pushed her, while Jenny did the final<br />

editing before UK-based Peepal Tree Press snapped it up.<br />

While she had never previously published anything, Akal found<br />

writing her memoir a natural and fluid process. I was stunned to<br />

hear that, even though her drafts were handwritten before being<br />

passed on to be typed up, it took her only eighteen months to<br />

complete her two-hundred-plus-page work. It turns out Akal has<br />

always been a secret writer, filling journal pages daily, the act of<br />

writing her mode of making sense of her lived experiences.<br />

As she speaks, her voice breaks slightly, tinged with regret at<br />

not having, in her eyes, a proper career. I find this interesting coming<br />

from a woman, now in her early eighties, who has had a portfolio<br />

of careers. In her time, Akal has been a respected high school<br />

teacher, a decent administrator, and for more than three decades<br />

a successful businesswoman running an upmarket boutique. All<br />

this she did while raising three impressive children and supporting<br />

her husband’s career as a much-sought-after physician.<br />

While Akal makes light of what she has achieved, it<br />

could not have been easy producing a book when so<br />

much has already been written about the Naipauls.<br />

A House for Mr Biswas (1961) is V.S. Naipaul’s highly fictionalised<br />

account of Pa’s relationship with his wife’s people <strong>—</strong> the wealthy<br />




and politically prominent Capildeo clan. Later, he also wrote<br />

explicitly of his father’s thwarted writing ambitions and his<br />

indebtedness to Pa in Finding the Centre (1984), and the family<br />

correspondence was published in Letters Between a Father and Son<br />

(1998). Whatever was not publicly known about Sir Vidia was<br />

exposed by Patrick French in his biography The World Is What It Is,<br />

published a decade ago.<br />

Yet in these narratives the Naipaul women are at best secondary,<br />

and sometimes almost invisible <strong>—</strong> even after Pa passed away.<br />

A corrective text was necessary. Brought up to fulfil the role of a<br />

Writing was the purview of the<br />

Naipaul men. If any of the five<br />

Naipaul sisters were to write the<br />

family history, then Kamla, the<br />

eldest, seemed the most likely<br />

traditional Hindu wife, Droapatie Capildeo, Ma, was by nature<br />

conservative. She obeyed her husband, brought up the children,<br />

and accepted her lot in life. Discipline in the form of quick slaps<br />

came from Ma, leaving Pa free to indulge their children. Whenever<br />

Pa, a journalist, regaled the family with embellished tales<br />

loosely based on events he covered for the newspaper, Ma would<br />

admonish him for filling the children’s heads with foolishness. Of<br />

all the siblings, it was Savi who was home the longest to enjoy<br />

Pa’s stories, and was perhaps closest to him. And of course it also<br />

meant she inherited the pain of her father’s unfulfilled ambitions.<br />

But Akal believes it is also time to recognise Ma’s contribution.<br />

The family could not have risen from their humble beginnings<br />

to produce a Nobel laureate in the lightning speed of one<br />

generation without her. Like many immigrants, both parents<br />

believed in the power of education to dig their way out of<br />

poverty. Usually this meant churning out children who become<br />

professionals <strong>—</strong> doctors, lawyers, or, at a push, accountants. But<br />

Pa had an audacious plan. They would write their way out. Ma<br />

may not have understood how this was possible, or even agreed<br />

with the idea, but she dutifully followed, endlessly sacrificing to<br />

help her husband fulfil his dream. Three generations later, look<br />

how far Pa’s crazy idea has come.<br />

Ma’s contribution wasn’t only in the scrimping and saving<br />

and making-do to ensure that both her sons <strong>—</strong> and,<br />

remarkably for that time, all five of her daughters <strong>—</strong><br />

received a university education. She was also the main repository<br />

of the family’s oral history. Much of the research for V.S. Naipaul’s<br />

books came from what Akal describes as savage “interrogations”<br />

of their mother. Ma remained proud and loyal of that son, despite<br />

finding out about both his knighthood and his Nobel Prize only<br />

from the newspapers <strong>—</strong> and she certainly was never invited to<br />

any of the celebrations.<br />

Akal’s memoir also charts Ma’s quiet path to a state of independence.<br />

Without seeking anyone’s permission, she took a job<br />

at her brother’s quarry, saving her wages to help the household<br />

and later paying for a trip to India which, at her insistence, she<br />

did alone. I ask Akal what else her readers might be surprised to<br />

learn. Her eyes twinkle. Unusually, for both her parents this<br />




was a second marriage. And while their family were atypical<br />

in being urban Indo-Trinidadians, many were surprised at her<br />

in-depth knowledge of the life of Indians in the countryside. Few<br />

also knew of the Naipauls’ precarious finances, never seeing<br />

beyond the smart dresses they sewed themselves or the polished<br />

wooden floors of their home.<br />

What I also discovered from The Naipauls of Nepaul Street<br />

was that the self-effacing woman in front of me had sacrificed<br />

her own education and intellectual fulfilment several times for<br />

what she saw as the greater good of her family. Akal possesses<br />

a deep sense of duty and loyalty to her family <strong>—</strong> a loyalty that<br />

meant she always kept Ma close, nursed her dying sister, and<br />

loves her youngest sibling fiercely, even if that baby sister, Nalini,<br />

is now herself a grandmother. Even as Akal exposes the chaos<br />

and uncertainty of their upbringing, it is clear it comes from a<br />

place of love.<br />

The quiet of the house is interrupted by her eldest son Rai<br />

dropping by for an unexpected visit. Her charming husband<br />

appears, and announces teatime is over. Would I try one of his<br />

famous martinis?<br />

And, just like that, I am welcomed into their daily routine of a<br />

dry martini, as we watch the sun set fire to the sky. n<br />

In Nepaul Street<br />

An excerpt from chapter three of The Naipauls of Nepaul Street, by Savi Naipaul Akal<br />

My father had bought the<br />

house in Nepaul Street<br />

from a young man and his<br />

mother, named Nieves. Of Portuguese<br />

descent, Mr Nieves worked as a<br />

solicitor’s clerk. He had supervised<br />

the building of the house, where sills<br />

and frames were often crooked (I<br />

know, because I made the draperies).<br />

Apparently his aged mother was no<br />

longer able to climb the steep and<br />

uneven steps to the upper floor.<br />

Our home, which seems so small<br />

today, was bright and beautiful and<br />

inviting. A two-storey building, the<br />

bedrooms and the bathroom were<br />

on the upper floor, while the livingroom,<br />

dining-room, and kitchen<br />

were on the ground floor. Upstairs,<br />

between the two bedrooms and<br />

facing the street was an open-sided<br />

gallery on the southwestern corner<br />

which was immediately turned into a<br />

half-bedroom for Vidia. The wooden<br />

partitions between the rooms had<br />

open woodwork grilles at the tops. The<br />

windows remained open except during<br />

rain, and the winds skipped through<br />

both bedrooms. The openness of<br />

the ground floor, with its lattice<br />

panels on which a bleeding-heart<br />

vine grew, mitigated the smallness of<br />

the house and allowed plenty of light<br />

and good ventilation. No part of that<br />

small, compact house was dark or<br />

claustrophobic.<br />

Our parents’ bedroom had its<br />

SlumberKing bed, with the hat-rack<br />

pinned on the back of one of its doors.<br />

A tiny desk was in the corner and later<br />

they would add a cypre wardrobe with<br />

a full-length mirror. The girls’ bedroom<br />

had a tall iron four-poster with a smaller<br />

bed in which Kamla and Shiva slept.<br />

There was room for a decent corridor<br />

between the beds. We also had a<br />

bureau with four drawers to hold our<br />

belongings and a draped makeshift<br />

cupboard behind one of the doors that<br />

held our dresses, with shoe-boxes<br />

on the top. The two-tiered cotton<br />

curtains, graduating from cretonne to<br />

broderie anglaise over the years, allowed<br />

privacy and easy laundering. All laundry<br />

was done by hand over a washtub by<br />

our mother.<br />

With Pa’s gardening skills, through<br />

each bedroom we could view greenery:<br />

the hills and acacia tree to the north,<br />

our neighbours the Sudans’ breadfruit<br />

tree to the south, and our struggling<br />

plum tree to the east, which finally<br />

grew into view bearing few fruit but<br />

shiny leaves. That the property faced<br />

west into the afternoon sun was a<br />

definite drawback. But with everyone<br />

out of the house except on weekends<br />

and during the school holidays,<br />

we managed the heat of the early<br />

afternoons. We had a very small yard<br />

with a curved driveway to the garage. In<br />

retrospect, the size of the plot made<br />

it easier to manage, with a tiny garden<br />

on three sides and a back area for the<br />

laundry lines.<br />

Our arrival at 26 Nepaul Street was<br />

unforgettable. There was a hubbub<br />

of activity involving only our family. Pa<br />

and Vido had to mount the beds while<br />

Ma and Kamla were putting up the<br />

salmon-pink draperies and encasing<br />

the cushions of the Morris chairs with<br />

matching flowered cretonne. The<br />

Morris chairs had come as part of the<br />

deal with the house.<br />

With polished floors and matching<br />

rugs, a small table and a shining brass<br />

pot with three legs and the heads of<br />

lions, and the smell of new linoleum on<br />

the kitchen floor, we were buzzing with<br />

joy and experiencing a lightness that<br />

would carry on for days. Mira, Shiva, and<br />

I had nothing to do but keep out of the<br />

way. Sati must have been doing some<br />

kind of pleasurable chore like hanging<br />

our teacups on the cup-hooks left by<br />

the previous owners. The Rediffusion<br />

box on the wall in the gallery upstairs<br />

provided news and music, and our<br />

world seemed complete. (These<br />

boxes, or closed-circuit transmitters,<br />

rented by the month and operated<br />

by Radio Trinidad, were everywhere in<br />

homes before radios became cheap<br />

and the government granted licences<br />

for other stations to operate.) With<br />

time, the old kitchen table that held<br />

our pots and pans would be replaced<br />

and Ma would enjoy working on her<br />

two-burner kerosene stove. We as<br />

children were happy and carefree,<br />

but we had no idea what this, our<br />

new home, would have meant to our<br />

parents, who had struggled over the<br />

years to get to home base.<br />

The Naipauls of Nepaul Street (ISBN<br />

97818452323648) is published by<br />

Peepal Tree Press<br />


ARRIVE<br />

pete oxford<br />

58 Destination<br />

Guyana by the score<br />

70 Neighbourhood<br />

South Coast, Barbados<br />

72 Explore<br />

Falling for Havana<br />

80<br />

In the Bag<br />

“In my dreams, my travel journals<br />

look like illuminated manuscripts”<br />

Guyana’s vast rainforests are home to hundreds of bird species and other extraordinary wildlife

destination<br />

pete oxford<br />

The Rupununi River is a wild<br />

playground at the heart of Guyana<br />

58<br />


Guyana<br />

by the score<br />

Guyana, on an island scale, is vast: 83,000<br />

square miles of Atlantic coast, mighty<br />

rivers, savannahs and forests stretching to<br />

the horizon. It can be overwhelming for a<br />

first-time visitor <strong>—</strong> so we’ll help you narrow<br />

it down. Here are twenty key places,<br />

events, and things that capture the true<br />

spirit of “the land of many waters”<br />

1 The Rupununi<br />

The Rupununi River <strong>—</strong> a tributary of the Essequibo <strong>—</strong><br />

lends its name to this expanse of rolling savannahs in<br />

Guyana’s southwest, bisected by the Kanuku Mountains.<br />

Sere grasslands dotted with sandpaper trees <strong>—</strong> named for<br />

the texture of their leaves <strong>—</strong> suddenly turn lush green with<br />

the arrival of the mid-year rains, and temporary lakes form<br />

as quickly as mirages. The river and its many creeks, lined<br />

by strips of forest, are home to dozens of extraordinary<br />

species: from giant river otters to parrots and macaws.<br />

Many indigenous communities of the Rupununi <strong>—</strong> such<br />

as Surama, Nappi, Rewa, and Wowetta <strong>—</strong> now run their<br />

own eco-tourism outfits, hosting visitors in rustic quarters<br />

and offering wildlife tours and trekking. And two of the<br />

immense cattle ranches established here in the nineteenth<br />

century survive as tourism outposts: Karanambo in the<br />

north and Dadanawa in the south, both offering familystyle<br />

rugged comfort.<br />



The celebrated Victoria<br />

amazonica lily, with its six-footwide<br />

leaves and night-blooming<br />

flowers, is a treasure of the<br />

Rupununi<br />

pete oxford<br />

2 Shell Beach<br />

4 Pakaraima Mountains<br />

Near Guyana’s northernmost point, past the mouth of the Pomeroon River,<br />

a ninety-mile stretch of untouched coast is the annual nesting ground for no<br />

fewer than four species of endangered sea turtles. Unlike the Atlantic mudflats<br />

further south, Shell Beach is made of up countless seashells pulverised<br />

to sand: perfect terrain for sea turtles to lay their eggs in excavated nests.<br />

Backed by mangrove forest and ité palms, the region is also famed for its<br />

diversity of bird species <strong>—</strong> everything from scarlet ibis to kingfishers, spoonbills<br />

to flamingoes. Visits to this remote region are organised via the Guyana<br />

Marine Turtle Conservation Society. Don’t be mistaken, this is no luxury<br />

vacation: the beach camp accommodation definitely qualifies as roughing it,<br />

but the extraordinary natural surroundings make it worth the effort.<br />

3 Iwokrama<br />

Near Guyana’s geographical heart, on the west bank of the Essequibo River,<br />

the Iwokrama International Centre for Rain Forest Conservation and Development<br />

manages 1,432 square miles of rainforest, a hotbed of biodiversity<br />

<strong>—</strong> and makes this pristine ecosystem accessible to visitors. A hike up Turtle<br />

Mountain to gaze down upon the unbroken forest, a nocturnal jaunt on the<br />

river looking for the bright eyes of submerged caiman, a heady climb along<br />

Iwokrama’s treetop canopy walkway <strong>—</strong> these adventures all help support<br />

the centre’s research and generate income to protect the rainforest for future<br />

generations.<br />

Extending over five hundred miles from west to<br />

east, the Pakaraimas are among the world’s oldest<br />

mountains, part of the 1.7-billion-year-old Guyana<br />

Shield. They form the northernmost boundary of<br />

the Amazon basin, as well as the border region<br />

dividing Guyana from its neighbours Venezuela<br />

and Brazil. Many of the Pakaraimas are tepuis,<br />

distinctive flat-topped mountains that seem to float<br />

above the clouds like islands <strong>—</strong> and mightiest of<br />

all is Roraima, where the boundaries of Guyana,<br />

Venezuela, and Brazil converge. The best way to<br />

visit? Try the annual Pakaraima Safari, in which<br />

a convoy of intrepid 4x4s make their way through<br />

valleys and over passes down to the Ireng River.<br />

5 1763 Monument<br />

Arguably Georgetown’s most significant public<br />

artwork, the 1763 Monument, designed by Philip<br />

Moore, stands at the head of Brickdam, one of<br />

the capital’s main avenues. Depicting the historical<br />

figure of the heroic revolutionary Cuffy, the<br />

monument commemorates the first major uprising<br />

of enslaved Africans in what was then Dutch Guiana<br />

<strong>—</strong> a full seventy years before Emancipation.<br />



The best investment opportunities are in<br />

Guyana<br />

As Guyana prepares to enter the oil and gas arena, it will<br />

also embark on the road to sustainable development.<br />

Guyana seeks the best mix of local and foreign<br />

investments to drive a dynamic, diversified, and evolving<br />

economy. Investment opportunities abound in sectors<br />

such as agriculture, agro-processing, tourism, and<br />

manufacturing.<br />

Guyana’s flat lands, rich soil, ample water resources,<br />

and temperate climate provide an incredible scope for<br />

investments in non-traditional agricultural cultivation<br />

of potatoes and onions, as well as tropical fruits and<br />

vegetables, including coconut, oil palm, plantains,<br />

pineapples, hot peppers, breadfruit, soursop, and<br />

ruminant production. Guyana’s unique geographic<br />

positioning and beneficial trade arrangements put it at<br />

the gateway of South America and the <strong>Caribbean</strong>, and<br />

allow for easy access to the North American market.<br />

Guyana offers remarkable investment prospects for<br />

eco-tourism and recreational facilities, with unspoiled<br />

rainforests, rivers, plains, and exotic wildlife as well as<br />

flora and fauna, plus increased opportunities in aviation,<br />

transportation, residential and commercial construction,<br />

accommodation, and healthcare.<br />

There are two international airports in Guyana with<br />

regular flights from several regional and international<br />

carriers, making this location accessible to international<br />

destinations.<br />

Contact GO-Invest for more information:<br />

Phone: +592-225-0658/227-0653<br />

Email: goinvest@govinvest.gov.gy<br />

www.goinvest.gov.gy<br />

7 Orinduik Falls<br />

Where the Ireng River on its southward journey tumbles over<br />

jasper terraces, the Orinduik Falls offer a dramatic setting of<br />

cascades and pools. The Pakaraima Mountains loom in the<br />

distance and on the far side of the river, five hundred feet away,<br />

is Brazil. Remote on the map, Orinduik <strong>—</strong> with its nearby<br />

airstrip <strong>—</strong> is actually a popular destination for tourists, as it’s<br />

often included in the itinerary for a Kaieteur day-trip. Pack your<br />

swimming suit and towel!<br />

8 Bartica and the Mazaruni<br />

At the confluence of the Essequibo, Mazaruni, and Cuyuni Rivers,<br />

Bartica still has a rough frontier charm befitting its status as<br />

the last outpost before the wilds of Guyana’s North West <strong>—</strong> the<br />

place where itinerant miners come to buy supplies, trade their<br />

mineral goods, and spend their hard-earned cash. The best<br />

reason to come here <strong>—</strong> if you’re not a budding gold prospector<br />

yourself <strong>—</strong> is the hour-long journey from Parika by speedboat,<br />

the perfect way to get a sense of the sheer size of Guyana’s<br />

largest river. Bartica is also the stopping-off point for one of Guyana’s<br />

key historical sites, the ruined Dutch fort of Kyk-Over-Al,<br />

on a small island in the Mazaruni. Thought to have been founded<br />

in 1613, the fort once represented Dutch colonial authority and<br />

ambition <strong>—</strong> but today all that’s left is a single stone arch.<br />

At Orinduik, the Ireng River<br />

cascades over jasper terraces<br />

6 Berbice<br />

The third of the original Dutch colonies <strong>—</strong> alongside<br />

Essequibo and Demerara <strong>—</strong> the region of<br />

Berbice, named for its main river, has long been<br />

celebrated as the birthplace of Guyana’s greatest<br />

cricketers and writers <strong>—</strong> and for its fertile land,<br />

where sugarcane fields and rice paddies line the<br />

coast. The capital, New Amsterdam, still boasts<br />

a series of historic buildings, documented by the<br />

Guyana National Trust in the New Amsterdam<br />

Heritage Trail. A day-trip here from Georgetown<br />

is a fine way to see the Demerara coast, with<br />

its many villages still marking the boundaries<br />

between the old coastal plantations, and preserving<br />

their names.<br />

pete oxford<br />


The Victorian clocktower of<br />

Stabroek Market is central<br />

Georgetown’s main landmark<br />

pete oxford<br />

9 Georgetown’s traditional architecture<br />

10 Stabroek Market<br />

The abundant timber of Guyana’s forests and the waterlogged soil of Georgetown<br />

led to a tradition of wooden architecture. Neglect, changing tastes,<br />

and fire have claimed many of the capital’s fine wooden residences, but<br />

enough of them survive to make it clear why Georgetown was considered<br />

the <strong>Caribbean</strong>’s loveliest city a century ago. You can do a self-guided tour on<br />

a morning’s stroll along Main Street and Camp Street <strong>—</strong> look out for traditional<br />

Demerara windows, intricate fretwork, and classical columns worked<br />

in native woods. And don’t miss St George’s Cathedral, with its pristine white<br />

exterior and awesome timber vaulting inside <strong>—</strong> completed in 1894, and still<br />

one of the world’s largest buildings constructed entirely of wood.<br />

The Rupununi Savannah is<br />

still the territory of traditional<br />

vacqueiros<br />

Stabroek was what the Dutch called their settlement<br />

at the mouth of the Demerara River. Centuries<br />

later, the name survives in Georgetown’s<br />

landmark Stabroek Market, with its clocktower<br />

rising above a boisterous square that serves as a<br />

transport hub. Built in 1881, it remains the heart<br />

of a city in a phase of rapid change. Many shoppers<br />

now prefer shopping malls and supermarkets,<br />

but Stabroek Market is still a must-see for<br />

anyone visiting Georgetown. Any and everything<br />

seems to be offered for sale under its two-acre<br />

roof: from vegetables and fruit from farms along<br />

the coast and gleaming piles of river fish to<br />

jewellery crafted on the spot from Guyana’s highquality<br />

gold.<br />

11 Lethem Rodeo<br />

pete oxford<br />

Horseback skills are still essential for many residents<br />

of the Rupununi, and once a year at Easter<br />

they gather in the plucky border town of Lethem<br />

to show off their tricks in the saddle. Vacqueiros<br />

(Portuguese for cowboys) in leather chaps and<br />

Stetsons vie in bronco-bucking and steer-roping<br />

competitions, with a funfair at hand to entertain<br />

the kiddies.<br />

62<br />


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From the vantage-point of<br />

a small aircraft, Guyana’s<br />

rainforest stretches as far as the<br />

eye can see<br />

12 Walter Roth Museum<br />

In an elegant old house on Main Street, the Water Roth<br />

Museum of Anthropology <strong>—</strong> named for a pioneering<br />

researcher of Guyana’s indigenous culture <strong>—</strong> houses a small<br />

but remarkable collection of artefacts from all of Guyana’s<br />

indigenous peoples (there are nine officially recognised<br />

“tribes,” depicted in a series of life-size paintings by artist<br />

and archaeologist Denis Williams, the museum’s former<br />

director). Look out in particular for the spectacular Wai-Wai<br />

headdresses decorated with macaw feathers.<br />

13 Castellani House<br />

pete oxford<br />

Once the official residence of Guyana’s president, nineteenth-century<br />

Castellani House, on the edge of Georgetown’s<br />

Botanical Gardens, is now home to the national<br />

art collection <strong>—</strong> over seven hundred paintings, drawings,<br />

sculptures, and works in other media. Here you’ll find<br />

Denis Williams’s acclaimed Human World (1950) alongside<br />

works by Aubrey Williams, Stanley Greaves, Philip Moore,<br />

Bernadette Persaud, and dozens more. Castellani House<br />

also hosts a regular film series, free and open to all.<br />



14 A Guyana reading list<br />

Out of a rich cultural tradition, Guyanese literature is especially celebrated.<br />

Where to start? Perhaps with The Guyana Quartet of Wilson Harris, who died<br />

in early <strong>2018</strong> <strong>—</strong> Guyana’s most eminent (and some might say most mindboggling)<br />

fiction writer, whose novels bring together elements of science<br />

fiction, philosophy, and historical analysis in an unmistakable landscape<br />

of forests and rivers. Or else with the poems of Martin Carter, Guyana’s<br />

literary conscience, whose subjects ranged from anti-colonial politics to the<br />

metaphysics of identity, and whose verses are imprinted in the memories of<br />

many of his readers. Or seek out the books of Jan Carew, A.J. Seymour, Ian<br />

McDonald (Trinidad-born, but Guyanese by adoption), Pauline Melville, Fred<br />

D’Aguiar, Jan Shinebourne, David Dabydeen, Mahadai Das, Oonya<br />

Kempadoo <strong>—</strong> the list is long, and growing.<br />

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Left Guyana’s diverse cultural<br />

mix includes traditional and<br />

popular Indian music and dance<br />

Below Sweetened coconut is<br />

the key ingredient in salara, a<br />

popular Guyanese pastry<br />

amanda richards<br />

15 Guyanese cuisine<br />

The country’s many ethnic influences <strong>—</strong> Amerindian, African, Indian,<br />

Dutch, Portuguese, Chinese <strong>—</strong> give Guyana’s cuisine a mouth-watering<br />

diversity. The cassava extract cassareep is the heart of pepperpot, perhaps<br />

the closest thing to a national dish <strong>—</strong> unless that’s metemgee, a stew of<br />

meat, fish, ground provisions, and coconut milk. Then there’s roti: some<br />

swear that Shanta’s on Camp Street in Georgetown is the next best thing<br />

to the homemade version. Cookup rice, garlic pork, fried river fish <strong>—</strong> that’s<br />

even before you come to desserts, like salara, which looks like a Swiss roll<br />

but is filled with sweet coconut, or pineapple tart. Just remember: an old<br />

saying claims if you eat labba (a kind of wild meat) and drink creek water,<br />

you’ll find yourself returning to end your days in Guyana . . .<br />

16 Diwali<br />

As in nearby Suriname and Trinidad, the Hindu festival of lights is a major<br />

celebration in Guyana’s calendar, with half of the country’s population<br />

descended from the Indian subcontinent. The days and weeks leading up<br />

to Diwali are a season of culture as much as faith, with numerous performances<br />

of music and dance. On the night of Diwali itself, illuminated<br />

parades bring a pageant of history to life in the streets, while Hindu Guyanese<br />

share magnificent feasts with their friends and neighbours.<br />

17 Essequibo resorts<br />

Think of an island resort, and you probably imagine something in the Grenadines:<br />

a white sand island surrounded by turquoise water. A Guyanese resort<br />

may indeed possess white sand, but the water is more likely to be a Coca-<br />

Cola–tinted river, its waters stained by the tannins of fallen forest leaves.<br />

And one of the most pleasant ways to experience the Guyanese rainforest is<br />

at one of the several resorts along and in the lower Essequibo River <strong>—</strong> Baganara<br />

Island, Shanklands, and Saxacalli are three of the best known. Here<br />

you’ll find comfortable cottages, ample meals made with local ingredients,<br />

traditional Guyanese hospitality, and the chance to explore river and forest<br />

with trained guides.<br />


Sleepin Hotels: truly “the place to be,” with<br />

low rates for five-star quality. Located in<br />

the heart of Georgetown, walking distance<br />

from the busy shopping areas, markets,<br />

supermarkets, and commercial banks. Enjoy<br />

regular karaoke nights and delight in tasty<br />

locally flavoured grilled dishes every night at<br />

the “Casino” location.<br />

At L. Seepersad Maraj & Sons, we don’t just<br />

sell quality jewellery at the best prices <strong>—</strong> we<br />

sell heirlooms for generations to come. Here<br />

at L. Seepersaud Maraj & Sons, we sell an<br />

investment that will only appreciate in value<br />

from generation to generation, while still<br />

being adorned and enjoyed the way it was<br />

crafted to be. Timeless treasures. Three<br />

generations strong. Trusted since 1935.<br />

Ramada is the ideal choice for the business<br />

or leisure traveller or event organiser, with<br />

fully refurbished guest rooms and event<br />

spaces, perfect for hosting spectacular<br />

social events and productive meetings.<br />

Experience live cuisine in Guyana’s first-ever<br />

teppanyaki restaurant. Our lively Poolside<br />

Restaurant and Bar is open twenty-four<br />

hours. Additionally, our onsite casino, movie<br />

theatre, games arcade, and fun park will add<br />

to guests’ leisure.<br />

amanda richards<br />


A calm stretch of the<br />

upper Essequibo, Guyana’s<br />

biggest river<br />

pete oxford<br />

18 Canals and kokers<br />

20 Kaieteur Falls<br />

Much of the inhabited Guyanese coast, home to the greater part of the country’s<br />

population, lies below sea level. For that, we can thank the ingenious<br />

Dutch, who spent generations perfecting the complex series of dykes, canals,<br />

and sluice gates of their own low-lying country <strong>—</strong> and then brought the<br />

technology and know-how to their Guyanese colonies in the seventeenth<br />

century. You can spot the signs on the drive into Georgetown from the airport<br />

along the Demerara, and all through the city, and the drainage system<br />

is worth a closer look. Water collects in the canals, and at low tide the sluice<br />

gates <strong>—</strong> still called kokers, a Dutch word <strong>—</strong> are opened to drain them into<br />

the sea. And the whole system depends on and is protected by . . .<br />

19 . . . the Sea Wall<br />

Stretching for miles and miles along the coast, this immense dyke shelters<br />

Georgetown and nearby villages, and also serves as a public gathering spot.<br />

At its western end, near the mouth of the Demerara, the Georgetown Sea<br />

Wall features a Victorian bandstand and benches for taking in the view over<br />

the Atlantic. Strollers and joggers go back and forth across the wall itself,<br />

which is kite-flying central during the Easter season. On Friday nights, the<br />

stretch of Sea Wall on the city’s eastern outskirts becomes an informal outdoor<br />

party, as people park their cars, turn up their sound systems, and crack<br />

open bottles of El Dorado rum.<br />

How could we complete the list without Guyana’s<br />

most celebrated natural attraction? Rising in the<br />

Pakaraima Mountains, the Potaro River flows<br />

across a great sandstone plateau, slowly eroded<br />

over many millennia. At the head of the Potaro<br />

Gorge, Kaieteur <strong>—</strong> as any Guyanese can tell you<br />

<strong>—</strong> is the world’s largest waterfall by volume, with<br />

a 741-foot plunge (that’s twice the height of Victoria<br />

Falls and four times the height of Niagara). The<br />

centrepiece of a national park, Kaieteur can be<br />

visited on an airborne day-trip from Georgetown<br />

<strong>—</strong> or you can opt for the more adventurous route,<br />

travelling upriver for four days and overnighting<br />

at the falls’ cosy guesthouse. n<br />

<strong>Caribbean</strong> Airlines operates several<br />

flights daily to and from Cheddi Jagan<br />

International Airport in Guyana, with direct<br />

routes to Trinidad and North America and<br />

connections to other destinations<br />


Vol.18 No.2 – <strong>September</strong> <strong>2018</strong><br />

T&T experts explore the<br />

business world’s latest cha lenge<br />


The digital<br />

imperative<br />

The future of work | Digital marketing<br />

The world of fintech | The digital landscape<br />

Contact Issue 2 cover.in d 1 08/08/<strong>2018</strong> 1: 5 PM<br />


Magazines | Books<br />

Company newsletters, histories,<br />

and reports<br />

Websites<br />

www.meppublishers.com<br />

info@meppublishers.com<br />

6 Prospect Avenue, Maraval, Port of Spain. Tel. (868) 622-3821 | Fax (868) 628-0639<br />



neighbourhood<br />

courtesy barbados tourism authority<br />

South Coast,<br />

Barbados<br />

The sheltered south coast of Barbados is a<br />

visitors’ playground <strong>—</strong> but alongside crowded<br />

beaches and lively nightlife, you’ll find lots of<br />

history and touches of nature, too<br />

Beach days<br />

There’s no point coming to Barbados and resisting<br />

the call of the sea <strong>—</strong> and the south coast boasts some<br />

of the island’s most accessible beaches. Accra may be<br />

the most popular, and it’s easy to see why <strong>—</strong> broad<br />

stretch of white sand, warm turquoise water, laidback<br />

beach bar, and ample parking. Further east,<br />

Dover Beach is popular on weekends and located on<br />

the very doorstep of St Lawrence Gap. Head towards<br />

Oistins and you’ll stumble on Enterprise Beach,<br />

known to many locals as Miami Beach (above), quiet<br />

on weekdays and packed on weekends.<br />

Streetscape<br />

The stretch of coast between Needham’s Point to the west and South<br />

Point to the southeast is Barbados at its liveliest, and the island’s<br />

tourism hotspot. Close to the airport, blessed with a succession<br />

of splendid beaches, and well-connected by public transport to<br />

Bridgetown, the south coast boasts dozens of hotels and resorts,<br />

interspersed with quiet residential streets (gaps, as Bajans call them),<br />

restaurants, and bars galore. Few buildings rise higher than the<br />

treetops, and neat gardens and flowering shrubs still outnumber neon<br />

signs. There are areas that seem to never sleep <strong>—</strong> see St Lawrence<br />

Gap on the facing page <strong>—</strong> and dozy corners designed for quiet retreat.<br />

The best way to take in the lie of the land <strong>—</strong> or, rather, the coast? A<br />

stroll along the boardwalk, which hugs the shore from Bridgetown,<br />

running south and east, with refreshing sea views and equally<br />

refreshing sea breezes.<br />

guy harrop/Alamy Stock Photo<br />

Come for the fish<br />

The small town of Oistins is the main fishing port and fish market in<br />

Barbados <strong>—</strong> the place to buy fresh flying fish to cook yourself at home,<br />

or, come Friday night, to enjoy the local delicacy prepared by the experts,<br />

delectably seasoned and fried over an open fire. The Friday-night fishfry<br />

is a Barbados must-see <strong>—</strong> or, rather, must-taste. And a must-dance?<br />

Because alongside numerous fish vendors and open-air bars flowing with<br />

rum and Banks beer, music fills the air and the party runs late.<br />


Vroom, vroom<br />

Car fanatics <strong>—</strong> we all know one of those <strong>—</strong> should make a beeline for<br />

Pavilion Court in Hastings, home of the Mallalieu Motor Collection. For<br />

decades, businessman Bill Mallalieu has indulged his passion for classic cars,<br />

and for the modest admission fee you too can marvel at stylish autos dating<br />

back to the 1940s, from some of the most celebrated names in motoring:<br />

Bentley, Daimler, Volvo. Each vehicle is kept in perfect running order, and if<br />

you’re lucky enough to meet Mr Mallalieu himself, you’ll soon discover that<br />

each comes with a story of speed and daring.<br />

abovebarbados.com<br />

lu lin/shutterstock.com<br />

courtesy ins and outs of barbados<br />

Mind the gap<br />

The most famous nightlife strip in Barbados,<br />

St Lawrence Gap has the proverbial something<br />

for everyone, from upscale dining to inexpensive<br />

street food, relaxed cafés to nightclubs pulsing<br />

through the wee hours, and bars of every<br />

description. This is the place to take in live music,<br />

have a first date, celebrate a special occasion,<br />

or drown your sorrows. The mile-long stretch of<br />

beachside road also includes hotels ranging from<br />

budget to budget-breaking, and even a church <strong>—</strong><br />

perhaps for Sunday morning meditations after a<br />

wild Saturday night out.<br />

Georgian style<br />

On the southern outskirts of Bridgetown, the Garrison is an open-air history<br />

museum. Once the headquarters of the British West India Regiment, its<br />

eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Georgian buildings surround the<br />

Garrison Savannah, formerly a military parade ground and now used for<br />

horse racing. Here you’ll find the National Cannon Collection, with more<br />

than two dozen historical armaments, and the landmark clocktower of the<br />

Main Guard building, now housing an information centre. The Barbados<br />

Museum occupies a building once used as a prison <strong>—</strong> some of the dark<br />

little cells are preserved as part of the exhibition displays, alongside period<br />

furniture, a map gallery to thrill cartophiles, and natural history specimens.<br />

Not far away, the George Washington House (below) is named for the United<br />

States’ first president, who lived here for a few months in 1751, visiting<br />

Barbados with his brother <strong>—</strong> the founding father’s sole foreign trip.<br />

Co-ordinates<br />

13º N 59.6º W<br />

Sea level<br />


Westend61 GmbH/Alamy Stock Photo<br />

<strong>Caribbean</strong> Airlines operates several flights each day to Grantley<br />

Adams International Airport in Barbados<br />



explore<br />


Falling for<br />

Havana<br />

Few cities in the world have such an<br />

aura of history and glamour as Havana.<br />

As Donna Yawching writes, the Cuban<br />

capital has its gritty side <strong>—</strong> right next to<br />

world-class architecture, amazing culture,<br />

and a spirit that has to be experienced to<br />

be understood<br />

Havana’s classic cars are an<br />

icon of the city<br />

Cuba: the very name evokes a social and political history that can fairly be called<br />

unique in the <strong>Caribbean</strong>, a history of revolution and defiance, of pride and pain<br />

and victory and more pain. It has stood unflinching against the greatest power<br />

in the world, and has suffered the consequences in countless ways <strong>—</strong> yet has<br />

somehow kept its sense of nationhood intact. Cuba, as one bus driver told me,<br />

is “una maravilla”!<br />

Many of the country’s hard realities can be ascribed to the infamous US embargo (known<br />

locally as El Bloqueo), which has crippled Cuba’s economy and development for more than<br />

half a century, forcing her inhabitants to develop a resilience and an ingenuity seldom seen<br />

elsewhere.<br />

Snubbed by the United States after Fidel Castro’s revolutionary army took control of the<br />

government on 1 January, 1959, the new administration turned to socialist Russia for support,<br />

and the rest was <strong>—</strong> sometimes very scary <strong>—</strong> history. When the Soviet Union collapsed<br />

at the end of 1991, the sugar-daddy relationship that had kept Cuba afloat also crumbled, and<br />

the fledgling nation found itself facing very difficult times indeed.<br />

Castro, always ready with a fine phrase, dubbed this time of deprivation the “Special<br />

Period.” The Cuban people, with their own wry humour, refer to it as “Los años de la vaca<br />

flaca,” the years of the thin cow. Basic foodstuffs were in short supply, and not only the cows<br />

were thin: it is estimated that the average Cuban lost about twenty pounds during the Special<br />

Period.<br />

The solution was inevitable: Cuba <strong>—</strong> a beautiful island with some magnificent beaches<br />

<strong>—</strong> turned to international tourism in a desperate quest for hard currency. A society that had<br />

long been shut off from the Western world was suddenly courting visitors from Canada and<br />

Europe. Americans were legally banned (by their own government, with the threat of severe<br />

penalties) from travelling to the island.<br />

danm12/shutterstock.com<br />



For years, Cuba’s tourism was restricted to the all-inclusive<br />

hotels in places like Varadero and Holguín, as the government<br />

attempted to safeguard the purity of its socialist revolution by<br />

keeping such crass capitalist enterprises in-house. But, under<br />

the table, a few people were still finding a way to skirt the rules,<br />

albeit on a very small scale. I recall my first visit to Cuba in 2006,<br />

when a local man approached me furtively and asked if I’d like a<br />

good home-cooked meal. My hotel’s food was uninspiring, to say<br />

the least, so I agreed <strong>—</strong> and had to follow him two steps behind<br />

so the ever-present police wouldn’t catch on.<br />

It was all very cloak-and-dagger, and, thankfully, no longer<br />

necessary. In the last decade, necessity and common sense have<br />

led to a loosening of these strictures, and the system of casas<br />

particulares <strong>—</strong> rentals of rooms<br />

in private households <strong>—</strong> and<br />

paladares <strong>—</strong> privately owned<br />

restaurants <strong>—</strong> came into existence.<br />

The casas now offer a<br />

budget-conscious way to visit<br />

the island, as well as a far more<br />

authentic cultural experience<br />

for those who believe that travel is more than just piña coladas<br />

and salsa lessons on the beach.<br />

Cubans have leapt onto the capitalist bandwagon with a<br />

gusto that must have made Castro’s revolutionary heart sink<br />

while he still lived. Anyone with a passable spare room can<br />

apply for a licence to put it up for rent. The resulting income has<br />

greatly improved the homeowners’ quality of life, and no doubt<br />

benefited the government’s coffers as well, since the rooms are<br />

highly taxed.<br />

As is always the case with tourism, this change has been<br />

a mixed blessing: in heavily marketed tourist areas such as<br />

Varadero, Viñales, and Trinidad de Cuba, almost every house is<br />

either a casa or a restaurant (or both), to the point where the town<br />

It takes time, and a certain mindset,<br />

to fall for Havana, which was once the<br />

pride of the Spanish empire<br />

is nothing more than a tourist playground, all authenticity lost.<br />

And, increasingly, people are leaving professional jobs because<br />

they can make more money renting out their guest room. Who<br />

can blame them? The official Cuban salary is exceedingly low by<br />

Western standards: anywhere from the equivalent of US$15 per<br />

month at the low end, to US$60 or so for doctors, for example.<br />

Meanwhile, the basic casa room rents for US$20 to 25 a night,<br />

and up, depending on location and facilities.<br />

And for a first visit to Cuba? The capital city is still the place<br />

to start.<br />

I love Havana: it’s a dynamic place, full of contrasts,<br />

frustrations, and rewards. But it takes time, and a certain<br />

mindset, to fall for this city,<br />

which was once the pride<br />

of the Spanish empire. It is<br />

a streetscape of beautiful<br />

historic buildings, and <strong>—</strong> right<br />

next door <strong>—</strong> crumbling ruins.<br />

The crippling of the Cuban<br />

economy by El Bloqueo left<br />

little money for maintenance, and magnificent buildings have<br />

literally fallen down.<br />

In 1982, UNESCO <strong>—</strong> describing the city as “the most impressive<br />

historical city centre in the <strong>Caribbean</strong> and one of the most notable<br />

in the American continent as a whole,” with “many buildings of<br />

outstanding architectural merit” <strong>—</strong> designated Old Havana and its<br />

fortification systems a World Heritage Site. That in turn triggered<br />

significant restoration works in the intervening years.<br />

Today, you will find lavishly restored buildings in some parts<br />

of the city (usually the tourist areas) and absolute squalour<br />

in others. Visitors with bemused faces stumble along on the<br />

erupted sidewalks, skirting piles of rubble and rubbish, trying<br />

not to look aghast. Yet, even on the worst-looking streets, this is<br />

In a traditional bar in Old<br />

Havana, there’s always<br />

time for a cigar<br />



75<br />


photosounds/shutterstock.com<br />

A leafy stretch of the Paseo del Prado<br />

the safest city I know, day or night. And the Cuban people, hands<br />

down, possess the most irrepressible warmth and joyfulness of<br />

spirit in the world. I wouldn’t say this if it wasn’t true. Any salsa<br />

club will bear me out.<br />

The trick to Havana is to ignore the grunge and seek out the<br />

culture. (Or, you could just stay in the Old City and down mojitos<br />

<strong>—</strong> that works too.)<br />

Museums abound, some large, some eccentric <strong>—</strong> like the<br />

Museum of Playing Cards, or the Museum of Firemen. Be aware<br />

that most of the documentation<br />

will be in Spanish, with<br />

no translations <strong>—</strong> a particular<br />

drawback in the culturally<br />

important Museo de la Revolución,<br />

where almost all of the<br />

exhibits need to be read. Other<br />

displays, such as the Museo<br />

de la Ciudad and the Museo<br />

Napoleónico, are more accessible,<br />

and worth a visit, if only because of the splendid buildings that<br />

house them. And anyone interested in art will be bowled over by<br />

the splendid collection of paintings in the Cuban arm of the Museo<br />

de Bellas Artes (situated right behind the Museo de la Revolución).<br />

In music and dance, too, Cubans are extraordinary. Some of<br />

the most exciting jazz to be heard anywhere can be found at La<br />

Zorra y el Cuervo, a nightclub on Avenida 23, any night of the<br />

week, starting at 10.30 pm. For salsa, the Casas de la Música<br />

(there are more than one, in different parts of the city) serve<br />

it up live and hot, and the locals take to the dance floor like<br />

The Cuban people, hands down,<br />

possess the most irrepressible warmth<br />

and joyfulness of spirit in the world.<br />

Any salsa club will bear me out<br />

superstars. For traditional Cuban music, the intimate Patio de la<br />

EGREM (on somewhat sketchy Calle San Miguel, if you can find<br />

it) swings to the rhythms of son, salsa, or rumba every evening<br />

at 6.30 pm, ending at 8 <strong>—</strong> and again, it’s a dance party where all<br />

are welcome. For the uninitiated, private salsa lessons abound<br />

in Havana <strong>—</strong> it’s the new growth industry. Take a few, then head<br />

to EGREM or the lovely Hotel Florida on Calle Obispo to show<br />

off your shoulder-shimmy.<br />

On Saturdays at 3 pm, check out the rumba jam at Calle 4<br />

#103, hosted by the Conjunto<br />

Folklórico Nacional, and note<br />

that Cuban rumba is not that<br />

tame stuff you see on Dancing<br />

with the Stars. On a more classical<br />

note, the Alicia Alonso<br />

Ballet Company is worldrenowned,<br />

and can often be<br />

found at the Gran Teatro on<br />

the Prado, but tickets go fast.<br />

The Gran Teatro is next door to the Capitolio, where the national<br />

government carries out its affairs. (The Capitolio was inspired<br />

by its Washington, DC, namesake, but <strong>—</strong> Cuban one-upmanship<br />

<strong>—</strong> its dome is twelve feet higher! It has recently reopened to the<br />

public, after eight years of restoration.)<br />

Meanwhile, the Teatro Nacional, near the Plaza de la Revolución,<br />

is where you’re most likely to find classical music, while the<br />

Teatro Melia, on Linea, offers a varied programme of popular<br />

performers and contemporary dance groups. Its garden patio is<br />

often the scene of live music and dancing.<br />


evijaf/shutterstock.com<br />

The streets of Old Havana are alive with traditional music<br />

Those are the formal attractions. But much entertainment is<br />

to be had just sitting on the Paseo de Prado and watching<br />

the world go by. The wide eyed visitors; the young (and<br />

not so young) Cuban girls in skin-tight clothing; the young men<br />

dressed head to toe in dazzling white; the noisy knot of older<br />

men arguing over sports at the top of their voices. The live music<br />

wafting from the sidewalk terrace of the historic Hotel Inglaterra;<br />

the crazy traffic circus of cars, buses, taxis, bici-taxis, and horsedrawn<br />

carriages, all competing for the same space. And in the<br />

background, the line of fabulous vintage convertibles, pink and<br />

yellow and blue, like a flock of exotic birds <strong>—</strong>high-finned Chevvies<br />

just waiting to whip you off on a tour of the city, racing down the<br />

Malecón with the wind in your hair. Yes, Havana can make this<br />

secret dream come true.<br />

The Prado is the promenade that delineates the entrance into<br />

Old Havana, where music and mojitos await on every corner.<br />

The Plaza Vieja, once the heart of the original city, has been<br />

splendidly restored with UNESCO’s assistance, and boasts<br />

what might possibly be the most eccentric piece of sculpture<br />

in the world, and certainly one of my favourites: a life-size<br />

Some Cuba dos and don’ts<br />

Cuba is a very special place, but unexpected things can lessen<br />

your enjoyment. Here is a short list of practical tips.<br />

1. Don’t, a big don’t, travel with US cash or credit cards.<br />

You will be charged a hefty (ten per cent) premium on<br />

cash before the actual exchange rates, and US-based credit<br />

cards like American Express are not accepted, even in banks.<br />

Blame it on the Bloqueo. Canadian and European cash and<br />

cards are fine.<br />

2. Do change a small amount of your cash into Cuban<br />

pesos, a.k.a. Moneda Nacional, which is the local<br />

currency used by most Cubans. It is useful for buying small<br />

things, like street snacks, fruit, and bici-taxi rides.<br />

3. Don’t expect to find wi-fi everywhere. It’s still a work<br />

in progress. Your host or hotel can help you figure it out.<br />

4. Don’t visit Cuba if you are physically handicapped,<br />

unless you have a lot of personal support. It is largely<br />

inaccessible to anyone with mobility issues. And washrooms<br />

will present insurmountable problems.<br />

5. Speaking (generally) of washrooms, do carry a stash of<br />

your own toilet paper at all times.<br />

6. Do, also, carry a plastic bag or shopping bag if possible.<br />

Many shops and groceries do not offer them with<br />

purchases.<br />


Martin Thomas Photography/Alamy Stock Photo<br />

bronze woman, naked except for thigh-high boots, seated on an<br />

oversized, um, male chicken (you understand my hesitation),<br />

and carrying a giant dining fork. You’ll have to journey far to<br />

beat that one! Other popular streets in the historic area are<br />

Calles Obispo and Mercaderes. Artists’ studios, legendary bars,<br />

and street musicians abound, and the architecture is frequently<br />

splendid. The cathedral is also lovely, if you’re lucky enough to<br />

find it open.<br />

Behind the Capitolio lies Havana’s version of Chinatown, possibly<br />

unique in the world, in that there are virtually no Chinese<br />

people, and <strong>—</strong> apart from an ostentatious arch at the mouth of<br />

Calle del Dragón <strong>—</strong> very<br />

little indication of Chinese<br />

culture. Apparently, there<br />

used to be a flourishing<br />

little community, but the<br />

word “socialist” in Castro’s<br />

revolution acted like magic.<br />

Bags were swiftly packed,<br />

and all that remains today<br />

is a small alley with two or<br />

three Chinese restaurants and caged songbirds for sale.<br />

Getting around Havana can be overwhelming to the<br />

newcomer. There are municipal buses, which the locals call<br />

gua-guas (“wah-wahs”) because of their noisy diesel engines in<br />

the old days. They cost next to nothing, and are usually jampacked.<br />

Avoid them, unless you really know your way around.<br />

Then there are the almendrones, which are the rattletrap old<br />

American cars dating from the 1950s, held together by faith,<br />

It’s more rewarding to slow down and<br />

explore Havana in depth than to spend<br />

only two days there and then rush off to<br />

Viñales or Cienfuegos or Trinidad<br />

Passing the time in Havana’s Plaza Vieja<br />

love, and duct tape. These are collective taxis (common in the<br />

<strong>Caribbean</strong>) which run particular routes within the city. They<br />

are very cheap, but again, you need to know your way around,<br />

and have a certain amount of patience, since they run at will.<br />

For the casual tourist, taxis or bici-taxis are the best bet, and<br />

quite reasonably priced.<br />

To get to other parts of the island, the best option is the<br />

Viazul, the national bus line designed for tourists. Unlike the<br />

local gua-guas, these are large, comfortable coaches with padded<br />

seats and purring engines. They leave and arrive pretty much on<br />

time, and are priced very reasonably. However, it is advisable<br />

to purchase tickets at least<br />

a day or two in advance.<br />

Other options are longdistance<br />

collective taxis,<br />

or renting a car. There is a<br />

rail network in Cuba, but it<br />

comes highly dis-advised<br />

by Cubans themselves. As<br />

they point out, there are no<br />

toilets on board!<br />

A common mistake made by visitors to Cuba is to think it’s “just<br />

a little island,” and try to visit too many places in a limited time.<br />

Cuba is actually quite big, and journeys take longer than you would<br />

expect. It’s more rewarding to slow down and explore Havana in<br />

depth than to spend only two days there and then rush off to Viñales<br />

or Cienfuegos or Trinidad or Santiago. Allow yourself to open up<br />

slowly to this esoteric island. Allow yourself to be surprised <strong>—</strong> and,<br />

ultimately, enchanted. n<br />



in the bag<br />

“In my dreams,<br />

my travel<br />

journals look<br />

like illuminated<br />

manuscripts”<br />

Georgia Popplewell <strong>—</strong> Trinidadian<br />

writer, media producer, and frequent<br />

traveller <strong>—</strong> on one essential item in her<br />

luggage: a decent notebook<br />

Photography by Georgia Popplewell<br />

A<br />

few months ago, I came across a tiny camel-coloured,<br />

leatherette-covered pocket diary, the kind that was popular<br />

years ago and often came with a miniature pencil that fit into the<br />

spine. This one was filled with notes and scribbles, including, on<br />

the January 3rd page, the Paris address of a writer I admired,<br />

scrawled in ballpoint ink that had soaked into the thin paper<br />

over time to give the letters an oily blue halo. What I was planning to do with the<br />

address I can’t now remember: stalking isn’t my style, but I might not have been<br />

averse to lurking in a nearby café and engineering a chance meeting.<br />

I have a cupboardful of such notebooks and diaries, in various styles and<br />

sizes and degrees of shabbiness <strong>—</strong> a tangible, if disorganised, record of parts<br />

of my life, including some I’d rather forget. Some are primarily work-related<br />

and filled with schedules and diagrams and notes and ideas for projects that<br />

never came into being and meetings I don’t recall having attended. But most<br />

are a hybrid, as I’ve never been good at setting firm boundaries between my<br />

work and play lives.<br />

A part of this record exists in digital form, in an array of text files created<br />

during the period when my faith in the security and everlastingness of digital<br />

media was unshaken, and I revelled in the illusion of control over the contents of<br />

these files, including the ability to search and find at will, and their near-invisible<br />

physical “footprint.” But lately I’ve returned to pen <strong>—</strong> mostly fountain <strong>—</strong> and<br />

paper, and my shelves have begun filling up once more. These tools have made<br />

a good dent in my wallet, for paper that tolerates liquid ink doesn’t come cheap<br />

these days. But I tell myself that in this time of devices and consumption a shelf<br />

of personal notebooks, even filled with little of consequence, is a sign that one<br />

has resisted, in some small way, the tendencies of the age.<br />

These days, my daily journal is an A5 notebook, often a hardcover, which<br />

measures roughly six by eight inches. A softcover A5 contains most things related<br />

to my work life. A pair of smaller notebooks live in<br />

my handbag, strapped together between leather<br />

covers <strong>—</strong> one for shopping lists, the other devoted to<br />

on-the-go journal entries, notes, and the odd sketch.<br />

Another small notebook sits at my bedside.<br />

This proliferation of notebooks has implications<br />

for travel, of course, especially in this era of<br />

shrinking baggage allowances, and while packing<br />

for a recent twenty-six-day, six-city trip, I decided<br />

to leave the A5s at home and experiment with a<br />

smaller format. I took along a few different sizes,<br />

but the final record of my travels ended up between<br />

the covers of three smaller notebooks, which<br />

turned out to be just the right size to carry around<br />

in my handbag for note-taking on the go, but still<br />

worked for “proper” journaling after hours.<br />

These tools have made a<br />

good dent in my wallet<br />

In my dreams, the pages of my travel journals<br />

look like illuminated manuscripts or high-class<br />

scrapbooks, richly embellished with watercolour<br />

sketches, gorgeous hand-lettering, and a carefully<br />

curated selection of museum tickets and other<br />

mementos from my travels. In reality, they’re mostly<br />

filled with my handwriting, which isn’t bad but hardly<br />

calligraphic, and the mementos are bundled together<br />

and stored away in a manila envelope.<br />

On this recent trip, however, I made a small<br />

step in the direction of improving the aesthetic<br />

appeal of my notebooks, by adorning the covers<br />

and spines with postage stamps. This had the<br />

added benefit of making them more easily identifiable<br />

on my bookshelves. Maybe this is the start of<br />

something. n<br />


ENGAGE<br />

catchlight lens/shutterstock.com<br />

88 Green<br />

Jaws of life<br />

94<br />

On This Day<br />

A plague from above<br />

Since Biblical times, locusts have been feared for the damage they can do to crops

green<br />

Jaws<br />

of life<br />

Sharks may be the most feared of<br />

ocean species, but that reputation<br />

belies their key role in keeping marine<br />

ecosystems healthy. In fact, a sea<br />

without sharks is a sea in dire trouble.<br />

As Erline Andrews reports, after<br />

decades of neglect, serious efforts<br />

are finally under way to protect the<br />

<strong>Caribbean</strong>’s sharks <strong>—</strong> which could be<br />

good for tourism, too<br />

In late 2017, aquatic environment experts<br />

from around the Americas came together at<br />

UN House in Marine Gardens, Barbados, for<br />

the region’s biggest-ever meeting devoted<br />

to the ocean’s most important resident. The<br />

building’s sleek exterior is dominated by<br />

glass panes as azure as the water off the beaches<br />

surrounding many <strong>Caribbean</strong> islands, making the<br />

location even more fitting.<br />

“Sharks play an important role in maintaining<br />

the balance of marine ecosystems,” said<br />

Vyjayanthi Lopez, a representative from the UN’s<br />

Food and Agricultural Organisation, welcoming<br />

more than thirty men and women from fifteen<br />

countries, which included the United States, the<br />

biggest, and Antigua and Barbuda, the smallest.<br />

The FAO organised the meeting.<br />

“Aside from contributing to the ecological<br />

sustainability of marine life,” Lopez continued,<br />

“the shark species also contribute to social and<br />

economic sustainability.”<br />


fiona ayerst/shutterstock.com<br />

The Barbados meeting was the culmination of a<br />

burst of activity within recent years, after decades<br />

of apathy that saw shark numbers dwindle because<br />

of overfishing and habitat destruction. About a<br />

third of shark and ray species in the Americas are<br />

listed as endangered, vulnerable, or threatened<br />

by the international organisation responsible for<br />

keeping track. But the IUCN Red List of Threatened<br />

Species has only been able to give assessments<br />

for species for which there are enough data<br />

to make a determination. Almost half of the sharks<br />

and rays in the region have been deemed “data<br />

deficient” <strong>—</strong> not enough information has been<br />

collected about them.<br />

To help make up lost ground in shark monitoring<br />

and protection, a couple of data collection<br />

projects started in 2012, with the Belize-based<br />

research organisation MarAlliance using underwater<br />

cameras, tagging, and other techniques to track<br />

sharks and rays in Belize, Cuba, and elsewhere<br />

in the region. In 2015, Florida International University<br />

started the Global FinPrint, a three-year<br />

underwater camera survey of sharks and rays<br />

around the world. Researchers in the <strong>Caribbean</strong><br />

countries of Belize, the Dominican Republic,<br />

Barbados, the Bahamas, and the Cayman Islands<br />

are participating.<br />

The only legally binding multilateral agreement<br />

to protect wildlife in the <strong>Caribbean</strong>, the Protocol<br />

Concerning Specially Protected Areas and Wildlife<br />

(known as the SPAW Protocol), last year for the<br />

first time extended protections to sharks and rays,<br />

prohibiting the commercial exploitation of one<br />

type of sawfish and listing whale sharks, oceanic<br />

About a third of shark and ray species in<br />

the Americas are listed as endangered,<br />

vulnerable, or threatened<br />

whitetip sharks, hammerhead sharks, and manta rays as vulnerable and in<br />

need of fishing controls.<br />

In 2015 and 2016, environmental philanthropist Richard Branson cohosted<br />

symposia in the Bahamas and Sint Maarten, bringing government<br />

leaders together to hear marine experts and activists promote shark sanctuaries,<br />

areas prohibiting shark fishing and the trading of shark parts. This led to<br />

a group of <strong>Caribbean</strong> countries declaring their waters as shark sanctuaries.<br />

Shark sanctuaries around the world are located in areas that rely on sun and<br />

sea to attract tourists. And the health of the sea relies on sharks, which are at<br />

the top of the ocean food chain. Like other predators, they control the populations<br />

of animals lower on the chain and maintain balance in nature.<br />

The Bahamas established the first shark sanctuary in the <strong>Caribbean</strong> in<br />

2011. It was followed by the British Virgin Islands (2014), the <strong>Caribbean</strong> Netherlands<br />

(Saba, Sint Eustatius, and Bonaire, 2015), the Cayman Islands (2016),<br />

Why sharks matter<br />

When most people in the <strong>Caribbean</strong> think<br />

of sharks, they either imagine them as<br />

scary predators <strong>—</strong> thanks to pop-culture<br />

depictions like Jaws <strong>—</strong> or, conversely, as a<br />

source of meat. But shark species play a<br />

major role in keeping marine ecosystems<br />

healthy. At the top of the ocean food chain,<br />

sharks help keep fish populations in check.<br />

When sharks disappear, other fish species<br />

can explode in numbers, throwing things<br />

off balance. Other carnivorous fish start to<br />

dominate, at the expense of algae-eating<br />

fish which keep coral reefs healthy.<br />

There’s another reason to protect sharks<br />

in the tourism-dependent <strong>Caribbean</strong>.<br />

Around the world, shark tourism is estimated<br />

to earn more than US$300 million per<br />

year, as eco-tourists pay to observe and<br />

experience sharks in the wild. It’s already a<br />

thriving business in the Bahamas, and other<br />

<strong>Caribbean</strong> countries stand to benefit also <strong>—</strong><br />

if they can keep their shark populations from<br />

disappearing.<br />

Sint Maarten (2016), Curaçao (2016), and Grenada<br />

(2016). “Our surveys have shown that most tourists<br />

come for our pristine waters and vibrant<br />

marine ecosystem,” says Johanna Kohler, a shark<br />

researcher and conservationist in the Cayman<br />

Islands. “Most divers love to see sharks when diving,<br />

and even tourists who don’t want to see a shark<br />

while diving or swimming appreciate knowing that<br />

sharks are present, because it is a well-known fact<br />

that sharks are important to our oceans.”<br />

One country on its own can protect the<br />

animals in its land space. The sea is a<br />

different prospect, especially in a region<br />

as small as the <strong>Caribbean</strong>. To have any real impact,<br />

efforts to protect marine life need the involvement<br />

of all or most countries in the region.<br />

“We’ve tagged a tiger shark in Sint Maarten,<br />

and it swam the breadth of the <strong>Caribbean</strong>,” says<br />

Tadzio Bervoets, who’s heading a research and<br />

public education project in the Dutch <strong>Caribbean</strong><br />

called Save Our Sharks. “It swam all the way to<br />

Trinidad, then it went to Barbados, hung out there<br />

for a while. Then it swam up to the Dominican<br />

Republic, almost made it to Jamaica. Now it’s<br />

hanging around Puerto Rico,” he says.<br />



Tagging a shark off Sint Maarten<br />

“It’s not like the shark is not going to go to St Lucia because there’s a risk of<br />

being caught there. A joint effort has to be put in place to manage our ocean<br />

resources sustainably.”<br />

The FAO’s <strong>Caribbean</strong> reps have put together what’s called an RPOA <strong>—</strong> a<br />

regional plan of action to protect sharks. The hope is that each country will<br />

take the RPOA and design an NPOA <strong>—</strong> national plan of action <strong>—</strong> that meets<br />

its own needs and abilities, empowered through legislation and enforcement.<br />

An IPOA <strong>—</strong> international plan of action <strong>—</strong> was already issued by the FAO<br />

at the turn of the century. Only four <strong>Caribbean</strong> countries <strong>—</strong> Cuba, Belize,<br />

Barbados, and Antigua and Barbuda <strong>—</strong> followed up with an NPOA. As laid<br />

out in the RPOA, shark conservation efforts would require research, training,<br />

enforcement, monitoring, public education, and financial investment. Countries<br />

are at different stages of making the commitment.<br />

Jamaica was not part of the FAO meeting, and it has not ratified the SPAW<br />

Protocol. The country’s attitude has a possible explanation in an academic<br />

survey of divers conducted between 2015 and 2016, to analyse the effectiveness<br />

of shark sanctuaries by comparing them to places without sanctuaries.<br />

The researcher couldn’t get participants from Jamaica <strong>—</strong> she was told, “there<br />

are no sharks here.” This may not necessarily be the case, Barbadian marine<br />

biologist Nikola Simpson explains.<br />

“The average individual is highly unlikely to see a shark where they usually<br />

swim. Most sharks are found further offshore,” she says. “It’s hard to tell<br />

what our regional population [of sharks] is because no one has really done an<br />

extensive study of it.”<br />

Trinidad and Tobago did have a representative at the FAO meeting. The<br />

country’s support for shark conservation is important, because it is a major<br />

shipping point in the shark fin trade, which provides the main ingredient for a<br />

popular Asian soup. The trade has been condemned because it leads to the cruel<br />

and wasteful practice <strong>—</strong> called finning <strong>—</strong> of cutting off a shark’s fins and throwing<br />

the dismembered animal, still alive, back into the sea to drown or be eaten.<br />

T&T also has its own popular shark-based dish: bake and shark. The<br />

country has ratified the SPAW Protocol, and at the FAO meeting indicated<br />

that it planned to draft an NPOA. In 2014, alarmed that it ranked high on a list<br />

of the countries that were the biggest exporters of shark fins, the government<br />

added T&T to the growing list of countries that banned finning. But there’s<br />

skepticism about how well the ban is being enforced.<br />

“We are an international shark trade hub,” says Trinidadian environmentalist<br />

Marc de Verteuil. “If we were an international ivory trade hub, there<br />

would be a greater sense of emergency.”<br />

Tadzio Bervoets/courtesy Nature Foundation Sint Maarten<br />

And as some countries decide on whether<br />

or when to act, there’s disagreement about<br />

how exactly to act. There are reasons to<br />

doubt the effectiveness of shark sanctuaries. “Any<br />

fishing, especially with nets and longlines, is going<br />

to catch sharks and negate the basis of a sanctuary,”<br />

says Rachel Graham, a renowned shark researcher<br />

and conservationist who founded and runs Belize’s<br />

MarAlliance.<br />

Sanctuary legislation mandates the release<br />

of incidentally caught sharks. But, says Graham,<br />

“fishers usually leave nets and longlines to soak<br />

for several hours if not overnight, and there is<br />

therefore little chance that most captured sharks<br />

or rays will survive. I much prefer a focus on banning<br />

the use of certain fishing gears that are really<br />

unsustainable, like nets. Or at least restricting their<br />

use during certain seasons.”<br />

Graham recommends “some really wellenforced<br />

closed seasons, so females can live to<br />

give birth and pups have a fighting chance to<br />

grow.” She adds: “And the areas where the young<br />

pups grow up <strong>—</strong> called nursery areas, which also<br />

benefit many other marine species when they’re<br />

young <strong>—</strong> might be set aside for more stringent<br />

protection.”<br />

The FAO researchers, writing in a report following<br />

the Barbados meeting, agree there’s no<br />

single way to protect sharks. It will take multiple<br />

different actions by each country in the region,<br />

making adjustments for the particular conditions in<br />

that country. This makes shark conservation in the<br />

<strong>Caribbean</strong> a complicated process. The FAO sets a<br />

long-term timeframe of seven to ten years for implementation<br />

of the recommendations in the RPOA.<br />

The worry, of course, is the likelihood of irreversible<br />

depletion of shark species, harming not<br />

only the environment and national economies, but<br />

robbing us of learning from and enjoying the presence<br />

of these often misunderstood creatures. Part<br />

of speeding up the shark conservation process is<br />

convincing people that sharks should be treasured,<br />

not feared.<br />

“I know people are afraid of them, but they’re<br />

amazing,” says Nikola Simpson. “When you see<br />

them in the water, it puts everything into perspective.<br />

They gracefully glide through the water.<br />

They’re beautiful.”<br />

“Quite often you’re lucky to see a shark,” she<br />

adds. “There’s a quote I use sometimes. I can’t<br />

remember who it’s by. It says, ‘If you’re in the ocean<br />

and you don’t see sharks, you should be afraid.’ If<br />

you are diving where you expect to see sharks and<br />

you don’t, then you know something is wrong.” n<br />



Never stop<br />

improving<br />

The new C-Class <strong>—</strong> Sportiness,<br />

redefined and refined<br />

The C-Class is known for its perfect proportions, its comfort, its<br />

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new C-Class Saloon is plain to see. Highlights include a modified<br />

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appeal, stunning LED headlamps, new Dynamic Body Control<br />

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The new lighting concept, new aprons, new colours, and new<br />

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The optional Dynamic Body Control adjustable suspension<br />

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Energising Comfort Control features ambient lighting with<br />

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drive, the new C-Class is on top form, when it matters.<br />

* Features available depending on the precise specification.<br />

The new C-Class Saloon has state-of-the-art features that<br />

make operating the car highly customisable. A new steering<br />

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Tortola <strong>—</strong> International Motors; St Lucia <strong>—</strong> JQ Motors Ltd.; Suriname <strong>—</strong> Rudisa Motor N.V.<br />


on this day<br />

A plague<br />

from<br />

above<br />

Thirty years ago, in the aftermath of<br />

Hurricane Gilbert, another apparent<br />

disaster arrived in the <strong>Caribbean</strong>, without<br />

precedent: a vast swarm of desert<br />

locusts, blown across the Atlantic. But<br />

as James Ferguson recounts, the<br />

voracious insects didn’t manage to thrive<br />

in our region<br />

Illustration by Rohan Mitchell<br />

A<br />

plague of locusts is not something to be taken lightly. When, in<br />

the Book of Exodus, God was threatening Pharaoh in order to<br />

force him to let the Israelites escape slavery in Egypt, He had a<br />

number of unpleasant sanctions in mind: frogs, lice, hail, boils,<br />

and locusts. “They will cover the face of the ground so that it<br />

cannot be seen. They will devour what little you have left after<br />

the hail, including every tree that is growing in your fields.”<br />

God was, of course, referring to the desert locust (Schistocerca gregaria),<br />

one of Creation’s less thought-through products. Plagues of these voracious<br />

creatures have been making a misery of the lives of farmers in the Middle East<br />

and Africa for thousands of years. Eating their own weight in vegetation each<br />

day, their arrival can spell disaster for almost any crop, ranging from rice to<br />

bananas.<br />

Locusts are most destructive when swarming in large groups (hence<br />

their Latin name), and can number up to a hundred billion in a vast cloud<br />

86<br />


Locusts are most destructive when<br />

swarming in large groups, and can number<br />

up to a hundred billion in a vast cloud<br />

covering as much as 1,200 square kilometres. The swarming process, which<br />

transforms the normally solitary insect into a tiny part of a ravenous horde,<br />

usually occurs after a period of drought, and is an aerial search for vegetation.<br />

As the locusts swarm, they reach up to two thousand metres in altitude,<br />

carried along by winds, and covering up to two hundred kilometres per day.<br />

They have gone as far north as Spain and Russia, and as far south as Kenya<br />

and Nigeria.<br />

With this in mind, you might be excused for thinking that with nearly<br />

five thousand kilometres of ocean separating the west coast of Africa and<br />

Barbados, the <strong>Caribbean</strong> would be safe from any locust-related plague. But<br />

you would be wrong. Thirty years ago, in early <strong>October</strong> 1988, the first-ever<br />

reported arrival of desert locusts in the region took place, due in large part to<br />

unprecedented meteorological conditions.<br />

The previous month had witnessed the devastating arrival of Hurricane<br />

Gilbert, which left a trail of destruction from the Windward Islands to<br />

Jamaica, before crashing into Mexico and Central America. A total of 318<br />

people lost their lives and damage worth an estimated US$2.98 billion was<br />

recorded between 8 and 19 <strong>September</strong>. But nature, it seemed, had not finished<br />

its destructive work. A series of tropical storms and depressions followed,<br />

including Hurricane Joan, which developed off the African coast on 5 <strong>October</strong><br />

and ravaged the region from 15 <strong>October</strong> to 2 November.<br />

According to one theory, the development of Joan coincided with locust<br />

swarms moving from the desert of Mauritania towards fertile Senegal, at which<br />

point strong winds blew many of the insects out to sea. “Swarms take flight during<br />

the day, increasing the possibility that thermal updrafts will carry the insects<br />

to high altitudes where they can be transported by fast-moving, upper-level<br />

wind currents,” said Professor Nathan Lovejoy of the University of Toronto.<br />

Pointing to another African coast tropical disturbance on 9 <strong>October</strong>, Calvin R.<br />

Grey of Jamaica’s National Meteorological Service observed that “It took six<br />

days for the Atlantic crossing, a distance of about three thousand miles. Fastmoving<br />

indeed. Now, a low-level jet of 29 to 40 miles per hour was associated<br />

with this tropical wave and the wind speeds decelerated rapidly on reaching<br />

the Windward Islands, possibly allowing the locusts to drop down in that area.”<br />

Vast swarms had been reported in the Cape Verde islands, and then ships<br />

further west in the Atlantic radioed news of sightings. The first evidence of<br />

their arrival was the infestation of an AMOCO oil platform thirty miles off<br />

the east coast of Trinidad, followed by further cases of positive identification<br />

in a dozen more islands. A subsequent report by the Inter-American Institute<br />

for Co-operation in Agriculture estimated that around one hundred million<br />

locusts had made the journey, with St Vincent and the Grenadines and Dominica<br />

worst affected. One of six swarms arriving in Dominica was thought to<br />

have numbered twenty million.<br />

Anxiety among regional governments was understandable. According to<br />

journalist Canute James, “The agriculture sector is the main support<br />

behind the domestic and export economy in most countries in the<br />

eastern <strong>Caribbean</strong>. Agriculture accounts for 28 per cent of gross domestic<br />

product in Dominica, 22 per cent in Grenada, and 14 per cent and 17 per cent in<br />

St Lucia and St Vincent, respectively.”<br />

But, despite these alarming numbers and<br />

statistics, damage was limited. In Dominica, the<br />

locusts fed on coconut and cedar trees and on<br />

some crops, but time was against them. There,<br />

and across the wider region, they began to disappear<br />

rapidly after a period of five to ten days.<br />

Their extinction seemed to be based on several<br />

factors. They were exhausted after their transatlantic<br />

odyssey and unable to recover. They were<br />

victims of local predators, especially cattle egrets<br />

and blackbirds, which feasted on this gastronomic<br />

novelty. Above all, they were out of their environmental<br />

comfort zone in the moist, tropical, and<br />

post-hurricane climate of the <strong>Caribbean</strong>. Desert<br />

dwellers, they were simply not cut out for a life in<br />

the islands.<br />

Yet the mystery remained of how the locusts<br />

had managed, for the first time in recorded history,<br />

to travel across the Atlantic. Certainly the exceptional<br />

weather conditions, with strong westerly<br />

winds propelling them from Africa, was a vital<br />

factor. But there was another, rather more grisly,<br />

hypothesis discussed in National Geographic News<br />

in December 2005:<br />

Another possibility is that locusts flying<br />

at the front of the swarm may have become<br />

exhausted and died in the ocean, forming floating<br />

mats of dead insects. Other members of the<br />

swarm could have landed on these mats.<br />

“Locusts are quite cannibalistic, so it seems<br />

very likely that they could have fed upon the<br />

corpses below, thereby obtaining enough<br />

energy to sustain additional flight,” said Greg<br />

Sword, a research ecologist with the US Department<br />

of Agriculture.<br />

Sword had interviewed Barbadians who<br />

reported that masses of dead locusts had been<br />

washed up on beaches for several days in November<br />

1988, thereby supporting this hypothesis.<br />

“Because a single swarm can contain billions of<br />

locusts, it could create a series of ‘rafts of the dead’<br />

and still contain enough live insects to reach the<br />

Americas in large numbers.”<br />

In any case, this particular plague was to prove<br />

short-lived in a region prone to other natural threats,<br />

not least hurricanes. But to return to plagues,<br />

Exodus, and the Israelites: it seems that locusts<br />

have become the snack of choice since an invasion<br />

in March 2013, in <strong>—</strong> Israel. Considered kosher,<br />

the insects are now receiving a taste of their own<br />

medicine, as they are farmed then deep-fried and<br />

devoured. You can even buy them ready-prepared<br />

under brand names such as Crunchy Critters. n<br />


puzzles<br />

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8<br />

<strong>Caribbean</strong> Crossword<br />

9 10 11<br />

Across<br />

1 Rich dairy dessert [10]<br />

6 French <strong>Caribbean</strong> music [4]<br />

9 Unkind [5]<br />

10 Rugby tussle [9]<br />

12 Root vegetable [7]<br />

13 Spice for a Bloody Mary [7]<br />

14 Big cats [7]<br />

15 On the ball [5]<br />

19 Bible song [5]<br />

21 Also known as channa [8]<br />

25 Gun [7]<br />

27 Worn from the waist down<br />

28 How we share photos these<br />

days [9]<br />

29 They’re above your eyes [5]<br />

31 They go with graces [4]<br />

32 Analogy [10]<br />

12 13<br />

14 15 16<br />

17 18<br />

19 20 21 22<br />

23 24<br />

25 26 27<br />

28 29 30<br />

31 32<br />

Down<br />

1 Cuba libre ingredient [4-4]<br />

2 They happen when oil and water<br />

mix [9]<br />

3 A pale raisin [7]<br />

4 Like a pudding [8]<br />

5 Martial art [6]<br />

7 Milky gems [5]<br />

8 It’s spoken in St Lucia [6]<br />

11 Oil giant [5]<br />

16 Trainees learn these [5]<br />

17 Aerial mosaic [5,3]<br />

18 Barbados horse track [8]<br />

20 Alpaca’s cousin [5]<br />

22 Used to pry [7]<br />

23 Continent across the Atlantic [6]<br />

24 Fertilised egg [6]<br />

26 Part of a step [5]<br />

30 Black ___ (covert missions) [3]<br />

Spot the Difference<br />

by James Hackett<br />

There are 12 differences<br />

between these two<br />

pictures. How many can<br />

you spot?<br />

Spot the Difference answers<br />

The man has different shoe styles; the woman has different prints on her dress; there are more details on the man’s cap; the man’s shirt is different;<br />

the woman’s handbag has different details; the woman’s hair is different; the man’s stall has a different sign; the top of the stall is in different<br />

colours; the stall’s umbrella has different patterns; the building at back right is different; there are birds in the sky in the left image; did you notice<br />

the hanging wires?<br />


Brooklyn<br />

cupcake<br />

dance<br />

dessert<br />

family<br />

fry<br />

hero<br />

horror<br />

icon<br />

Iwokrama<br />

Jaws<br />

jazz<br />

locust<br />

Macushi<br />

marine<br />

memoir<br />

Naipaul<br />

patisserie<br />

Word Search<br />

plague<br />

plaza<br />

Punda<br />

quarry<br />

reef<br />

salsa<br />

sanctuary<br />

sand<br />

scuba<br />

shark<br />

spirit<br />

statue<br />

surf<br />

swarm<br />

synagogue<br />

tea<br />

visitor<br />

S W A J N O C I E C N A D K O<br />

F R B F C D W U B F L Z Z A J<br />

A I U E E O G R S R U T R K N<br />

M O C E K O O W A Y A I O V F<br />

I M S R G O A D N D P R T Z P<br />

L E A A K R N P C E I I I E U<br />

Y M N L M A P A T S A P S U N<br />

A Y Y O S Q L T U S N S I T D<br />

S N P C F I A I A E R C V A A<br />

R J L U F H Z S R R Q U U T E<br />

O S A S R S A S Y T U P H S U<br />

R A G T U U U E O N A C M O G<br />

R L U A S C J R H K R A H S A<br />

O S E E M A R I N E R K B K L<br />

H A M T Z M H E R O Y E A F P<br />

Sudoku<br />

<strong>Caribbean</strong> <strong>Beat</strong> Magazine<br />

Medium 9x9 sudoku puzzle<br />

Sudoku 9x9 - Puzzle 3 of 5 - Medium<br />

<strong>Caribbean</strong> <strong>Beat</strong> Magazine<br />

Hard 6x6 mini sudoku puzzle<br />

Sudoku 6x6 - Puzzle 5 of 5 - Hard<br />

by www.sudoku-puzzle.net<br />

Fill the empty square with numbers<br />

from 1 to 9 so that each row, each<br />

column, and each 3x3 box contains<br />

all of the numbers from 1 to 9. For<br />

the mini sudoku use numbers from<br />

1 to 6.<br />

If the puzzle you want to do<br />

has already been filled in, just<br />

ask your flight attendant for a new<br />

copy of the magazine!<br />

2 5 1<br />

9 6<br />

4 6 3<br />

5 3 1 4<br />

6 2 8 7<br />

1 5 4 9<br />

5 1 2<br />

3 8<br />

4 8 7<br />

www.sudoku-puzzles.net<br />

6 3<br />

4<br />

2<br />

3 6<br />

5 2<br />

www.sudoku-puzzles.net<br />

1<br />

www.sudoku-puzzle.net<br />

Solutions<br />

<strong>Caribbean</strong> Crossword<br />

Word Search<br />

Sudoku<br />

Mini Sudoku<br />

Sudoku 6x6 - Solution 5 of 5 - Hard<br />

Sudoku 9x9 - Solution 3 of 5 - Medium<br />

5 3 4 2 6 1<br />

2 1 6 3 5 4<br />

3 6 2 4 7 5 9 8 1<br />

9 8 5 1 6 3 4 7 2<br />

7 1 4 9 8 2 6 3 5<br />

S W A J N O C I E C N A D K O<br />

F R B F C D W U B F L Z Z A J<br />

5 9 7 3 1 6 8 2 4<br />

6 4 3 2 9 8 5 1 7<br />

1 2 8 7 5 4 3 6 9<br />

8 5 1 6 4 7 2 9 3<br />

2 7 6 5 3 9 1 4 8<br />

4 3 9 8 2 1 7 5 6<br />

www.sudoku-puzzles.net<br />

A I U E E O G R S R U T R K N<br />

M O C E K O O W A Y A I O V F<br />

C<br />

1<br />

C<br />

9<br />

H 2 E E 3 S E 4 C A 5 K E 6 Z<br />

7 O U 8<br />

K<br />

O M U U A P W<br />

R U E L 10 S C R I 11 M M A G E<br />

4 6 5 1 3 2<br />

1 2 3 5 4 6<br />

3 4 2 6 1 5<br />

6 5 1 4 2 3<br />

www.sudoku-puzzles.net<br />

A L T T A O L Y<br />

C<br />

12<br />

I R S 32 C O M P A R I S O N<br />

I M S R G O A D N D P R T Z P<br />

L E A A K R N P C E I I I E U<br />

L<br />

14<br />

C E Y A A P O<br />

A<br />

23<br />

A S S A V A 13 T A B A S C O<br />

O I N R E I L<br />

E O P A R D S 15 A L E 16 R T<br />

A N Y 17 P<br />

O 18<br />

G<br />

P<br />

19<br />

S A 20 L M 21 C H I 22 C K P E A<br />

L 24 E O R E R<br />

F<br />

25<br />

I<br />

28<br />

I 26 R E A R M 27 T R O U S E R<br />

R I M B O W I<br />

N S T A G R A M 29 B R 30 O W S<br />

A<br />

31<br />

H A M T Z M H E R O Y E A F P<br />

O S E E M A R I N E R K B K L<br />

Y M N L M A P A T S A P S U N<br />

A Y Y O S Q L T U S N S I T D<br />

S N P C F I A I A E R C V A A<br />

R J L U F H Z S R R Q U U T E<br />

O S A S R S A S Y T U P H S U<br />

R A G T U U U E O N A C M O G<br />

R L U A S C J R H K R A H S A<br />

<strong>Caribbean</strong> <strong>Beat</strong> Magazine<br />


<strong>Caribbean</strong> <strong>Beat</strong> Magazine<br />


85% (<strong>2018</strong> year-to-date: 30 March)

<strong>Caribbean</strong> Airlines<br />


Trinidad Head Office<br />

Airport: Piarco International<br />

Reservations & information:<br />

+ 868 625 7200 (local)<br />

Ticket offices: Mezzanine Level, The Parkade,<br />

Corner of Queen and Richmond Streets,<br />

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Baggage: + 868 669 3000 Ext 7513/4<br />

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or + 268 462 0528 Mon, Wed, Sat.<br />

Hours: Mon – Fri 4 am – 10 pm<br />

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Reservations & information: 1 246 429 5929 /<br />

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City Ticket Office: 1st Floor Norman Centre Building,<br />

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Cuba (Havana)<br />

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Havana, Cuba<br />

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Airport: Maurice Bishop International<br />

Reservations & Information:<br />

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Terminal<br />

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City Ticket Office: 128 Old Hope Road, Kingston 6<br />

Hours: Mon-Fri 7.30 am – 5.30 pm,<br />

Saturdays 10 am – 4 pm<br />

Airport Ticket Office: Norman Manley Airport<br />

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Hours: 3.30 am – 8 pm daily<br />

Baggage: + 876 924 8500<br />

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Airport: Sangster International<br />

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/<br />

Across the World<br />

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Ticketing at check-in counter:<br />

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Hours: Flight days – Sat, Mon, Thurs 10 am – 4 pm<br />

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St Maarten<br />

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check-in ONLY)<br />

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Ticket office: ANR Robinson International Airport<br />

Baggage: + 639 0595 / 631 8023<br />

Flight information: + 868 669 3000<br />


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+ 800 920 4225 (toll free)<br />

Ticketing: Terminal A – departures level<br />

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Ticketing available daily at check-in counters<br />

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Caracas<br />

Airport: Simón Bolívar International<br />

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Airport: Johan Adolf Pengel International<br />

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(local); 1 868 625 6200 (Trinidad)<br />

Ticket Office: Paramaribo Express, N.V. Wagenwegstraat<br />

36, Paramaribo<br />

Baggage: + 597 325 437

NEW<br />


Welcome to<br />

The NEW way to be entertained!<br />

Use your personal device to stream Blockbuster movies, TV shows,<br />

games and more <strong>Caribbean</strong> content while in the air.<br />

How to access <strong>Caribbean</strong> View during your flight<br />

To enjoy Movies and TV, please simply download our free <strong>Caribbean</strong> View app via the<br />

Google Play Store and Apple App Store.<br />

Steps<br />

Enjoy free<br />

entertainment on<br />

your flight!<br />

Content is available only on selected flights*<br />

1. Ensure your device is in<br />

Airplane Mode<br />

2. Enable your Wi-Fi and select the caribbean_view network<br />

OR<br />

In preparation<br />

for your flight<br />

Download<br />

Get our free<br />

<strong>Caribbean</strong> View app<br />

before you travel,<br />

available via the Google<br />

Play Store and Apple<br />

App Store<br />

Charge<br />

Before boarding,<br />

ensure your device is<br />

fully charged<br />

3. Launch the <strong>Caribbean</strong> View App<br />

OR<br />

Open the browser on your device and enter<br />

www.caribbean-view.net into the address bar.<br />

Note: The <strong>Caribbean</strong> View App is required for playback of<br />

Movies and TV shows once using a smartphone or tablet.<br />

Scan the code<br />

Headphones<br />

Bring your<br />

personal headphones<br />

to enjoy our selection<br />

of entertainment<br />

Troubleshooting<br />

Unable to connect<br />

1. Switch Wi-Fi off and on<br />

2. Power the device off and on and repeat step 1<br />

Unable to view content<br />

1. Close and restart the browser and type<br />

www.caribbean-airlines.com<br />

2. If this does not work, try an alternate browser<br />

and type in www.caribbean-airlines.com<br />

3. Power the device off and on and try steps 1<br />

and 2 again<br />

Note: Chrome is the recommended browser<br />

for laptops.<br />

Terms and Conditions<br />

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classic<br />

It’s a brown<br />

world<br />

A favourite from the magazine archives:<br />

Caroline Taylor on the complications of<br />

her multi-ethnic heritage, first published in<br />

our January/February 2004 issue<br />

“<br />

Psssst! Red gyal! Spanish!”<br />

After “family,” those are<br />

the greetings I most often<br />

get from our always-friendly<br />

Trini male population. You<br />

may accuse them of being<br />

boldfaced, but you can’t say they don’t have a<br />

strong grasp of Trini ethnography. Brown skin<br />

and curly hair, like mine, usually mean a girl is<br />

one of two things: “red” (a white-and-black mix),<br />

or “Spanish” (some mix of white, black, Indian,<br />

Chinese, or any or all of the above). So Trinis<br />

basically have their finger on the ethnic pulse.<br />

Step outside of Trinidad, however, and it’s a<br />

totally different melting pot.<br />

I guess I should not have been surprised to<br />

find people in the United States misclassifying<br />

me. I spent the first two years of university in<br />

a sleepy New England town, where the school<br />

and the neighbourhood were mostly white. Most people thought<br />

I was either Latina or South Asian, until they heard me speak.<br />

The characteristic Trini singsong is a dead giveaway. But when<br />

in my third year I studied in New York and London, cities<br />

much more ethnically diverse and complex, I could have been<br />

anything. There seemed to be no end to the possibilities of who<br />

I was, or the ethnic groups who assumed I was one of them. In<br />

New York, people would start talking to me in Spanish. Not even<br />

a preparatory “Hablas español?” They were warm and familiar<br />

and treated me like a new neighbour. After sleepwalking through<br />

seven years of Spanish in school, I would try to stop them. “Lo<br />

siento, no hablo español!” I would protest. They would stare at me,<br />

baffled. Looking like this, how could I not be Hispanic, probably<br />

Puerto Rican or Dominican? (Actually, this was useful, because<br />

I discovered that nobody could work wonders with my hair like<br />

the Dominicans.)<br />

But I was claimed by other groups, too. Sometimes I was<br />

South Asian, sometimes Arab, sometimes even Jewish. Airport<br />

security officers regularly pulled me out of queues to see if I was<br />

a terrorist. I earned a multi-ethnic nickname: Lupe Muhammed.<br />

As politically incorrect as it comes in this xenophobic world, but<br />

there you are.<br />

Nobody in London talked to me in Spanish. The Hispanic<br />

community there is much smaller, mainly from Spain, with a<br />

few South Americans. But as I walked among the ethnic shops<br />

and neighbourhoods, I collected a whole new set of identities. I<br />

was definitely Middle Eastern, right? No, no, she’s North African,<br />

can’t you see?<br />

I had the greatest trouble with the Turks, who flatly refused<br />

to believe I was not Turkish. One of them even began speaking<br />

in Arabic, to see if I would give myself away by betraying some<br />

understanding of that language. Another, who ran a Turkish restaurant,<br />

was so intrigued that he started making plans to come to<br />

Trinidad to see for himself. Like a true Trini, I’m hoping to collect<br />

a commission from the Trinidad and Tobago tourist office.<br />

If you look at the ethnic cauldron that is the <strong>Caribbean</strong>, and<br />

the cosmopolitan cities of the north, it’s not hard to see that one<br />

day we shall be a beautiful, brown world. No more wrangling<br />

over classifications, no more “us-and-them.” So, as a born-andbred<br />

multi-racial Trini <strong>Caribbean</strong> girl, I am the face of the future.<br />

Take dat!<br />

I suppose there will still be light brown, dark brown, khaki<br />

brown, brown with kinky hair or straight hair, brown eyes or<br />

green. But I’ll leave that haggling to the next generation, and<br />

enjoy my ability to “pass.” At least it gets me a discount at that<br />

Turkish restaurant. n<br />

visual generation/shutterstock.com<br />


9 - 24 NOV <strong>2018</strong><br />






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