Caribbean Beat — March/April 2019 (#156)

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

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ADVERTORIAL

Welcome to the exhilirating Tobago Jazz Experience

Everything you need to know about Tobago’s premiere musical event

The Tobago Jazz Experience, as it’s now known, was started under another name in 2004 as a private

sector initiative, and ran for five consecutive years until 2008. World-renowned artistes like Elton

John, Sting, LL Cool J, and Diana Ross were some of the marquee names featured in the

previous Tobago Jazz Festival.

By 2009, the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) took hold of the reins. Recognising that over

the years patrons had come to enjoy more than just the scintillating headline acts gracing the

main stages, the festival was rebranded the Tobago Jazz Experience. This new version has

become an annual pilgrimage for family and friends who look forward to the easy-going vibe

on the island with one of the most iconic beaches in the world, Pigeon Point.

The Tobago Festivals Commission (TFC), the revitalised entity charged with sole responsibility

for putting on the event, brought us the 2018 edition of the Tobago Jazz Experience, where

audiences were treated to the music and moves of Michael Jackson-reincarnate, Ne-Yo; driven into

a frenzy by Fantasia, American Idol winner turned international crowd pleaser; and serenaded under the

stars by neo-soul exponent, Anthony Hamilton.

Not to be outdone, the 2019 edition of the Tobago Jazz Experience promises to be no less exhilarating, with one of

the world’s most beloved crooners, Michael Bolton, confirmed as a headline act. The other marquee performers are

yet to be named however, if the TFC’s short but impactful track record is any indication, we can expect that Bolton

will be accompanied by similar star power over the course of the Tobago Jazz Experience, running

from 25 to 28 April.

TFC Executive Chairman George Leacock, former national basketballer and sport administrator,

can be an intimidating personality for the fainthearted to interact with on a regular

basis. But his lifelong love affair with Carnival, and Tobago’s culture on the whole, makes

him the ideal person to charge the lead into such unfamiliar territory. As the founder of the

island’s first radio station, he knows all too well the challenges of forging a path where

none previously existed.

The Tobago Festivals Commission’s mandate

Other than the Tobago Jazz Experience, this iteration of the Tobago Festivals Commission has

been charged with managing all of Tobago’s other major festivals, including Carnival, Best Village, the Tobago Dragon

Boat Festival, Tobago Heritage Festival, and Tobago Blue Food Festival. A new feature event on the region’s sport tourism

calendar, the Pan Am Dragon Boat Club Crew Championships, carded for 22 to 24 March, is also under the purview

of the TFC.

Under the vigilant eye of the board, the TFC has adopted as its watchwords Economical, Efficient, and Exciting, with

a view to putting on events that are lean in their use of available resources, yet still entertaining for patrons. Though a

young organisation, the TFC is poised to chart a new course in festival management and event tourism. With a dynamic,

innovative team of youthful professionals under the stewardship of an eclectic Executive Chairman with a business

acumen like no other, it is clear that only the sky is limit.


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Contents

No. 156 • March/April 2019

80

57

50

EMBARK

IMMERSE

20 Wish you were here

Andromeda Gardens, Barbados

22 Need to know

Essential info to help you make the

most of March and April across the

Caribbean from music festivals

to Holi poems to Jamaica’s Champs

athletics extravaganza

40 Bookshelf and playlist

Our reading and listening picks

44 screenshots

Antiguan filmmaker Shabier Kirchner

talks about his new short, Dadli

46 Cookup

Resurrection rice

Brought to Trinidad from West Africa

via the United States, Moruga hill rice

was a staple of the Merikin community

for generations, writes Franka Philip.

Now entrepreneur Mark Forgenie

wants to make this traditional food

available to all

50 Closeup

Queen of queens

T&T’s self-proclaimed Queen of

Bacchanal is a Carnival mainstay. But,

two decades into her career, Destra

Garcia remains underestimated by

local fans and critics, argues Nigel

A. Campbell

57 Panorama

Stories of steel

Carnival is the season of steelpan.

But behind the Panorama stage,

the future of T&T’s national

musical instrument will be shaped

by administrators, craftspeople,

arrangers, and educators like

these men and women profiled

by writer Sharmain Baboolal and

photographer Mark Lyndersay

70 backstory

Forever prima

How did Havana come to be one of

the world’s leading centres of classical

ballet? Nazma Muller tells the story

of prima donna assoluta Alicia Alonso,

and her influence on generations of

Cuban dancers

74 snapshot

The inheritance of loss

Trinidadian filmmaker Mariel Brown

set out to make a straightforward

documentary about her writer father.

But as Unfinished Sentences evolved,

it turned into a nuanced exploration

of grief, family, and artistic ambition,

writes Georgia Popplewell

ARRIVE

80 Destination

Seven days in Tobago

A mere week could never be enough

to savour all the pleasure of Tobago

but Nixon Nelson suggests a

seven-day sampler, from beaches to

waterfalls to Store Bay’s curried crab

12 WWW.CARIBBEAN-BEAT.COM


CaribbeanBeat

An MEP publication

90 Offtrack

Makonaima’s treasure

Karasabai, a Macushi community in

Guyana’s Pakaraima Mountains, is

rich in wildlife and legend alike, writes

Annette Arjoon-Martins

94 Personal tour

Good prospect

From architectural landmarks to a

growing foodie scene, the Brooklyn

neighbourhood of Prospect Heights

home to Trinidad-born architect

Roxanne Ryce-Paul may be rapidly

gentrifying, but it still holds on to

elements of its history

98 Home ground

Home to Antigua

Returning to Antigua after eight years

away, Bridget van Dongen couldn’t

wait to re-introduce herself to the

island that made itself her home

ENGAGE

106 Discover

As deep as it goes

The portion of the sea below two

hundred metres is our planet’s biggest

habitat, and the least known. Erline

Andrews meets Trinidadian marine

biologist Diva Amon, pioneering deepsea

research in our region

Business Development Manager,

Tobago and International

Evelyn Chung

T: (868) 684 4409

E: evelyn@meppublishers.com

Business Development

Representative, Trinidad

Tracy Farrag

T: (868) 318 1996

E: tracy@meppublishers.com

Editor Nicholas Laughlin

General manager Halcyon Salazar

Design artist Kevon Webster

Production manager Jacqueline Smith

Web editor Caroline Taylor

Editorial assistant Shelly-Ann Inniss

Media & Editorial Projects Ltd.

Business Development

Representative, Trinidad

Mark-Jason Ramesar

T: (868) 775 6110

E: mark@meppublishers.com

6 Prospect Avenue, Maraval, Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago

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

E: caribbean-beat@meppublishers.com

Website: www.meppublishers.com

Barbados Sales Representative

Shelly-Ann Inniss

T: (246) 232 5517

E: shelly@meppublishers.com

Read and save issues of Caribbean Beat on your smartphone,

tablet, computer, and favourite digital devices!

110 on this day

A flag on the island

When a British military force landed in

Anguilla fifty years ago, it was a strangely

anachronistic moment in Caribbean

colonial history but one that

Anguillans welcomed with open arms,

suggests James Ferguson

Printed by Solo Printing Inc., Miami, Florida

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

subscription. Copyright © Caribbean Airlines 2019. All rights reserved. ISSN 1680–6158. No part of this magazine may be

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

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

Website: www.caribbean-airlines.com

112 puzzles

Enjoy our crossword and more!

120 classic

A dip into Caribbean Beat’s archives:

Kellie Magnus on Kingston’s “running

commentary”

The Caribbean Airlines logo shows a hummingbird in flight. Native to the Caribbean, the hummingbird represents

flight, travel, vibrancy, and colour. It encompasses the spirit of both the region and Caribbean Airlines.

WWW.CARIBBEAN-AIRLINES.COM

13


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email: tobagoresorts@gmail.com


Cover The eye-catching

fruit of the Clusia tree,

known locally as the

autograph tree or parrotapple,

in the rainforest of

Tobago’s Main Ridge

Photo Sean Drakes/Alamy

Stock Photo

01 05

2019

MAY

MAY

This issue’s contributors include:

Erline Andrews (“As deep as it goes”, page 106) is an

award-winning Trinidadian journalist. She is a regular

contributor to Caribbean Beat and her work has

also appeared in other publications in T&T and the

US, including the Chicago Tribune and the Christian

Science Monitor.

Sharmain Baboolal (“Stories of steel”, page 57) is a

Trinidadian journalist and broadcaster with thirty-seven

years’ experience working from Port of Spain. She was

awarded T&T’s Humming Bird Medal (Gold) in 2012.

Nigel A. Campbell (“Queen of queens”, page 50) is an

entertainment writer, reviewer, and music businessman

based in Trinidad and Tobago, focused on expanding

the appeal of island music globally.

Mark Lyndersay (“Stories of steel”, page 57) is a

Trinidadian photographer and journalist. His BitDepth

is the longest running newspaper column reporting on

technology in the country.

Georgia Popplewell (“The inheritance of loss”, page 74)

is a media producer, journalist, and editor from Trinidad

and Tobago, who is currently managing director of the

international citizen media project Global Voices.

In our January/February 2019

issue, the photograph of maswoman

Tracy Sankar-Charleau on

page 67 was incorrectly credited

to photographer Jason Audain.

The image should have been

credited to Maria Nunes.

Apologies to both photographers

for this error.

WWW.CARIBBEAN-AIRLINES.COM

15


A MESSAGE From OUR CEO

“We must push one common intention, for a better life in the region.”

Dr Leroy Calliste, “the Black Stalin”

Welcome to Caribbean Airlines your

authentic Caribbean air carrier! Thank

you for flying with us.

It’s the time of year many of us look

forward to, when the spirit of Trinidad

and Tobago Carnival fills us with feelings

of festivity and freedom. The sounds,

the sights, the music, and the energy of

the world’s greatest street party have to

be experienced to be believed. All the

details of this and many other wonderful

festivals and events that form part of

the Caribbean calendar can be found in

the Need to Know section of this magazine

on page 22.

One of the great aspects of our festivals

is that they are a shared occasion,

made complete by the sense of togetherness

with one’s “Caribbean family.”

This concept is at the core of Caribbean

Airlines’ new campaign for 2019: the

Caribbean Identity. In the words of calypsonian

Dr Leroy Calliste, the Black Stalin,

in his seminal song “Caribbean Man”, “first

of all your people need their identity.” The

Caribbean Identity is the culture and the

spirit of our many diverse nations, united

by a shared sea and our similar and

powerful heritage. It is an affirmation of

what makes the Caribbean people and

region unique.

Our campaign will showcase the very

best of the Caribbean, reflected across

our airline, from branding to community

activities to our presence at festivals

and major events in the destinations we

serve.

We begin with our partnership with

Trinidad and Tobago Carnival, which we

are supporting in a number of ways, with

sponsorship of:

• The Red Cross Children’s Carnival

Caribbean Airlines Skiffle Steel

Orchestra

• The National Carnival Commission

of Trinidad and Tobago (NCC)

• Pan Trinbago

• International soca icon Machel

Montano’s signature event, Machel

Monday, and his G.O.A.T (Greatest

of All Time) Carnival Tour 2019,

which will take soca music and the

Caribbean Airlines brand to the

world

The Caribbean Identity campaign was

rolled out to all Caribbean Airlines destinations

in February, including Guyana,

where we were the Official Airline of

Mashramani and will soon be the Official

Airline of Guyana Carnival in May.

In Jamaica, Caribbean Airlines is

the Official Airline of the Reggae Girlz,

the first Caribbean team to reach the

FIFA Women’s World Cup. We are also

a sponsor for Reggae Sumfest, one of

the largest reggae music festivals in the

world.

Also coming soon in 2019 is the

Caribbean Airlines Mobile app, which will

revolutionise your travel experience with

us. In addition, soon you’ll be able to

book your entire vacation, including hotel

and other options, with Caribbean Vacations

and Tours the latest expansion

of our product offering.

Our technology partner for this

exciting initiative is Busy Rooms, who

will supply a state-of-the-art booking

system and platform where you can

book specially crafted vacation packages.

We are passionate about creating

world-class vacation experiences

for you, right here in the Caribbean

and throughout the world. Caribbean

Airlines looks forward to collaborating

with tourist boards, hotel associations,

and tour operator associations across

the region, as we market various destinations

through our new Caribbean

Vacations and Tours.

In the meantime, please check out our

LIMBO Fare promotion, which offers low

fares aimed at encouraging you to visit

new destinations and to re-visit some of

your favourites.

Caribbean Airlines is your airline, your

brand we belong to you, the people

of the region. Our connection with the

Caribbean goes beyond the thousands

of people we transport every day. Our

connection speaks proudly and loudly to

the vibrancy of our cultures, the energy

of our music, the splendour of our landscapes

and, of course, the heart of

you, the people.

Thank you for choosing the authentic

Caribbean air carrier. Please take your

complimentary copy of Caribbean Beat

magazine as a tangible memoir of your

travel with us.

You can find us at www.caribbeanairlines.com,

on Facebook, Twitter, and

Instagram @iflycaribbean.

Garvin Medera

Chief Executive Officer

16 WWW.CARIBBEAN-AIRLINES.COM


wish you were here

Andromeda Gardens, Barbados

In 1954, when Iris Bannochie began planting a sixacre

garden on family property near Bathsheba, no

one could have guessed it would become one of the

Caribbean’s horticultural treasures. Named for the

heroine of Ancient Greek myth, and now owned by

the National Trust of Barbados, Andromeda Gardens

is a lush retreat perched on a hillside above the

island’s dramatic east coast, with a collection of over

six hundred tropical plants.

20 WWW.CARIBBEAN-BEAT.COM


WWW.CARIBBEAN-AIRLINES.COM 21

Andre Donawa Photography


NEED TO

KNOW

Essential info to help you make the most of

March and April: what to do, where to go, what

to see!

courtesy CLAY J’Ouvert

Don’t Miss

J’Ouvert in

T&T

Vibrations from music trucks jumpstart

your biorhythm early on Carnival

Monday morning (4 March), the true

start of Trinidad and Tobago’s annual

festival. Mud, paint, powder, and

chocolate cover your skin, honouring

the rituals of J’Ouvert. Joyful shrieks

announce those about to get dirtied.

From 4 am to after sunrise, revellers

dance and chip through the streets

to soca, pan, and brass music. And the

action is not just in “town”: outside

Port of Spain, J’Ouvert flourishes in

communities around the twin islands,

from San Juan to Couva, Arima to San

Fernando, Scarborough to Point Fortin.

The J’Ouvert bug is contagious just

watch the smiling bystanders who are

now gloriously anointed.

Shelly-Ann Inniss

How to get there? Caribbean

Airlines operates numerous flights

daily to Piarco International Airport

in Trinidad from destinations in the

Caribbean and North America

22

WWW.CARIBBEAN-BEAT.COM


need to know

Melinda Nagy/Shutterstock.com

Top Five

In the groove

From the waves lapping at our shores to our rhythmic

accents, the Caribbean is a naturally musical archipelago.

And brilliant dry season weather brings a chorus of amazing

music festivals across the islands, where international

celebrities headline alongside treasured local talent. Here are

five of the best in March and April, to add the right notes to

your travel plans.

SXMusic Festival

13 to 17 March, St Martin

For five days, escape into an alternate universe like a movie

set, with your closest friends carefree and forever dancing

to music by over fifty world-class house and techno DJs.

sxmfestival.com

Jazz Artists on the Greens

6 April, Trinidad

Carnival is over, but the musical energy still thrives, in a

different genre, with no shortage of Creole jazz and smooth

jazz, jazz fusion, and more. Relax on your blankets to the

sounds of artistes from St Lucia, Cuba, and T&T.

jaotg.com

Tobago Jazz Experience

25 to 28 April

Why don’t we paint the town, and all that jazz!

Tobago’s annual musical bonanza is filled with dynamic

performances inviting you to leave your troubles at the gate.

tobagojazzexperience.com

Carriacou Maroon and String Band Music Festival

26 to 28 April

You won’t want to wake up from this dream. Steeped

in African traditions, the festival presents an allround

experience of Maroon culture, food, and music

in an atmosphere where strangers become friends.

carriacoumaroon.com

Barbados Reggae Festival

27 to 30 April

Barbados might not be your first thought for reggae, but if

you’re looking for a fix, this festival has all the ingredients.

Listen out for Bajan artist Buggy Nhakente alongside

international talent in this completely immersive experience.

thebarbadosreggaefestival.com

24 WWW.CARIBBEAN-BEAT.COM


SAVING HER LIFE

TAKES ALLIES

With our Caribbean allies, the SickKids-Caribbean Initiative is transforming the diagnosis and

care of children with cancer and blood disorders in six Caribbean countries. But to fund the

Initiative, we rely on our philanthropic allies: donors who’ve given $1 million CAD each. Thanks

to their remarkable generosity, we’ve screened 57,790 babies for sickle cell disease. We’ve

trained 27 nurses and three fellows. And we’ve built seven telemedicine facilities, connecting

Caribbean health-care professionals to each other, to SickKids, and to the world.

THANK YOU TO THESE GENEROUS DONORS:

Wes and Christine Hall McCaig Magee Family LesLois Shaw Foundation

Join us: sickkidsfoundation.com/caribbean


need to know

Ready to Wear

Keep it clean

As each new year begins, a fresh start is a

common and hopeful resolution. For 2019,

Trinidadian clothing label The Cloth, led by

designer Robert Young, has offered a new

collection called Clean Slate, with no expiry date.

For over three decades, The Cloth has been

known for its storytelling through intense colours

and intricate appliqué, but Clean Slate offers a

pared-down look. “It deconstructs our heritage,

our patterns, and these saltwater boundaries, to

figure out how we can move a little differently,”

says the label. These sophisticated minimalist

designs executed in light Baltic flax linens, with

special attention to the finer details speak for

themselves. You too may be inspired to find a

different voice, while staying true to your origins.

For more information and the full Clean

Slate lookbook, visit thecloth.com

Photography courtesy

The Cloth

Models, from left: Gabriella

Bernard, Laura-Lee Williams,

and Glenesia Wilson

26

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WWW.CARIBBEAN-AIRLINES.COM

27


need to know

On View

Sharjah Biennial 14

At first, a bleak and empty desert

landscape, where reddish sand

stretches to the horizon. A group of

men arrive, dressed in identical white

shirts and grey trousers, and a series

of pickups deliver building materials:

bricks, ropes, iron poles. The men

start to erect a scaffolding structure.

Gradually it rises to form a cube, three

storeys above the sand. What kind

of construction might this be, in the

middle of nowhere, a roofless object

that seems more like an abstract

instigated by the Trinidadian artist in

the desert of Sharjah, commissioned by

the Sharjah Biennial, and ultimately paid

for by the state coffers of the small but

immensely wealthy Persian Gulf state,

one of the United Arab Emirates.

Running since 1993, the Sharjah

Biennial is the biggest contemporary

art event in the Gulf states. In its

fourteenth iteration running from 7

March to 10 June, 2019 it assembles

more than eighty artists and includes

over sixty newly commissioned works.

on a common factor in the histories

of the Caribbean and the Persian Gulf:

“transplanted labour.” His structure

in the desert was “obviously not a real

construction site.” Rather, it was an

experiment. “I wanted to see, and to

listen to, who would be doing the actual

work” specifically, the workmen who

wittingly participated in the project

were labourers from South Asia, who

make up much of Sharjah’s labour

force. “I realised that everyone involved,

including myself, in this act of labour, was

from an elsewhere,” Cozier says. “Some

children appeared and were playing

around all over our chosen temporary

site. They were behaving as if we were

disturbing their playground or backyard.”

Courtesy Christopher Cozier/Sharjah Art Foundation

Still from elsewheres

are beginnings and

endings (video, 2019), by

Christopher Cozier

sculpture than a habitable dwelling?

But the men aren’t alone: a ragtag

bunch of small boys wander around,

alternately observing and ignoring the

workmen’s labour. These scenes of

mysterious activity are intercut with

abrupt jumps, either back or forward

in chronology, to the time before the

scaffolding was built or perhaps after it

was dismantled.

elsewheres are beginnings and

endings is a video work by Christopher

Cozier (produced in collaboration

with Maya Cozier and Shari Petti),

documenting a ritual of labour

Under the general title Leaving the

Echo Chamber, the Biennial is divided

into three distinct exhibitions, one

of them organised by Guadeloupean

curator Claire Tancons, known for her

engagement with artists working in

Caribbean performance traditions.

Tancons’s “open platform of migrant

images and fugitive forms” features

works by artists from around the

globe, including Cuban Carlos Martiel

and Puerto Rico’s Jennifer Allora and

Guillermo Calzadilla.

Invited to create a new work in this

context, Christopher Cozier reflected

It remains for the Biennial audience

drawn from a jetsetting global art

elite to put the pieces together, or

perhaps to merely acknowledge a fact

we ought to already know. Behind the

smooth, shiny surfaces of capitalism

and its cultural manifestations, the

hardest, dirtiest labour that makes it

all possible is done by men and women

from elsewhere, working for minimum

wages often invisible, silent, ignored,

until someone pulls back the veil.

Philip Sander

28 WWW.CARIBBEAN-BEAT.COM


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Tortola International Motors; St Lucia JQ Motors Ltd.; Suriname Rudisa Motor N.V.

www.mercedes-benzcaribbean.com


need to know

How You Say

Nautical

lingo

The fine weather of March and April

comes with a slew of regattas across

the Caribbean, from Antigua to Bequia

to the British Virgin Islands. The

exhilaration of slicing through the

water and the flapping of sails in the

wind entice many landlubbers but if

you’ve never set foot on a boat, some

of the crew’s language may confuse

you. Here’s a handy guide for those

who can’t even tell mast from sail.

Bow or stern?

Let’s start with the most

basic of basics: the bow is

the front of the vessel, and

the stern is the back

Port or starboard?

Facing the bow, port is your left, while

starboard is your right

Heeling

When the boat tilts into the water, due to the

force of the wind

Gybe

To change direction by turning the

stern of the boat through the wind,

in order for the wind to come from

the other side of the vessel

Tack

Your nautical course relative to

the wind: if it’s blowing over

the port side, you are on a

port tack. To tack as a verb,

however, is to change

direction by turning the

bow of the boat through

the wind

Dima Oris/Shutterstock.com

Ready about!

Prepare the boat for tacking!

Man overboard!

Hope you’re wearing your lifejacket . . .

30 WWW.CARIBBEAN-BEAT.COM


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need to know

Doha

There are many provinces in British Guiana:

some queer, some miserable, depending

LightField Studios/Shutterstock.com

on your own eyes. Everyone knows

the wondrous village

Golden Fleece in Esiquibo District.

Where Pandit Paramanand resides

is renowned both here and abroad.

Again I bow before Rama; also I bow

The Read

Lalbihari Sharma’s

Holi Songs

In 1916, a small pamphlet of verses with the title Damra Phag

Bahar was published in Bombay. Its author, Lalbihari Sharma, had

left India some years before, bound for what was then British

Guiana, as an indentured labourer. No one knows exactly how

many copies of Sharma’s pamphlet were actually printed, how far

it circulated, or why this pioneering publication the only known

literary work written by an indentured labourer in the Anglophone

Caribbean was eventually forgotten.

But not forever: a century later, in a sequence of events

combining sheer luck with archival doggedness, researcher Gaiutra

Bahadur unearthed a fragile copy of Sharma’s verses at the

British Library, and passed the text along to Guyanese-American

poet Rajiv Mohabir. Capable in Bhojpuri the native tongue of

both Sharma and his own grandmother Mohabir produced a

translation now published as I Even Regret Night: Holi Songs

of Demerara (Kaya Press), giving today’s readers thrilling,

tantalising glimpses of life in a plantation community in the era of

indentureship.

Sharma’s Holi Songs, as the title suggests, are verses intended

to be sung in the month of the Hindu festival of Holi, usually called

Phagwah (its Bhopuri name) in the Caribbean. These songs, Mohabir

writes, “remind you of comfort, of home, of the gods and that

this suffering is temporary” drawing on traditional devotional

poetry, Sharma’s memories of his youth in India, and the landscape

of Guyana’s Demerara coast, where he created a new life for himself,

and a new home.

before the wise one’s feet,

the foundations of my life.

Chautal

The bright Sita gained Rama’s dark body

as a husband. Adorned in jewels,

her friends sent her off

to the garden to distract her.

Rama and Lakshman’s hearts

now hers. Sita opened

her mouth but no sound came out,

looking around she saw her friends

and blushed. Praying to the goddess

her face flushed. Beholding Sita’s blush

Rama’s stalwart heart stirred.

Sita’s face like the moon. Ram’s eyes

like chakor birds, there in the garden

Sita’s friends burned with jealousy.

Bringing flowers, the brothers depart.

Ulara

Lalbihari says, “Rama’s feet won my heart.”

My love, do not vex.

What I say

And what I don’t say

Is only what I’ve seen.

What use is anger?

Celebrated in Guyana, Suriname, Trinidad, and other parts of the Caribbean in late March this year, Phagwah also

known as Holi is the Hindu spring festival, an extravaganza of coloured liquid and powders, music and merriment.

32

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need to know

Kevona Davis of Edwin Allen

High School won the girls’

100m and 200m races, both

in records times, at CHAMPS

2018

Gilbert Bellamy/Photosbybellamy

On the Field

Calling all CHAMPS

Kellie Magnus explains why Jamaica’s high school athletics championships

loom large on the sports calendar and predict future Olympic stardom

Maybe it’s the statues of track legends

that adorn the grounds of Jamaica’s

National Stadium. Olympic medalist

Don Quarrie stands guard at the

entrance, while Arthur Wint, Herb

McKenley, Merlene Ottey, and Usain

Bolt beckon athletes from other points

of the complex. Maybe it’s the rhythm

of history decades of tradition, glory,

and sweat baked into the floor and

walls of the McDonald Tunnel, through

which the athletes pour onto the track.

Maybe it’s the hopes and dreams of an

audience 35,000 strong, who strain the

stadium’s capacity and roar athletes

on to break records with astonishing

predictability. Whatever the reason,

when the stadium opens on 26 March,

the expectation for greatness will

already have been set.

Its official name is the ISSA/

Grace Kennedy Boys and Girls

Championships. Jamaican track

fans know it as CHAMPS. In 2019,

the five-day carnival of running

celebrates its 109th year. Hosted by

the Inter-Secondary Schools Sports

Association, CHAMPS is the premier

high school athletic competition in

the Caribbean, and the biggest high

school athletic event in the world. The

Boys Championships began in 1910

as a competition between a handful

of prominent high schools at another

storied Kingston location the cricket

grounds at Sabina Park. The Girls

Championships started in 1914, settling

into an annual schedule in the 1960s.

The two were merged in 1999.

The result is a solid week of athletic

excellence with sprint events (100m,

200m, 400m, 800m, 100m/110m

hurdles) and the 1500 arranged by class

and gender. Open distance events

including the 5,000m and the 2,000m

steeplechase and a full array of field

events high jump, long jump, triple

jump, pole vault, discus, shot put, and

javelin (girls only), plus the heptathlon

round out the schedule. Then there

are the relays hotly contested

4x100s, 4x400s, and medleys featuring

Jamaica’s top thirty-two teams, their

places won by times at sanctioned

meets on the country’s grueling high

school athletics calendar.

High school loyalties run deep in

Jamaica, and the CHAMPS trophy tops

the list of local prizes worth bragging

rights. The three-thousand-plus

athletes who will take to the track

this March represent more than one

hundred schools. But in 109 years, only

sixteen schools have won a CHAMPS

title. Longstanding rivals Kingston

College and Calabar High School will

resume their battle this year, with

Calabar looking to extend their sevenyear

winning streak and add another

precious title to the three they need

to surpass KC as the boys’ school with

the most CHAMPS titles. Meanwhile,

recent Girls Champs’ powerhouse

Edwin Allen High School will need many

more wins to surpass Vere Technical’s

twenty-two.

But while loyal alums come for the

contest, most of the crowd in the

stadium comes for the show. Qualifying

and finishing times at CHAMPS,

particularly in Class 1 (ages sixteen to

nineteen) rival those of any international

track meet. The 2018 staging

saw twenty-one record-breaking

performances. And each year reveals a

new cast of athletics stars likely to shine

in Jamaica’s already bright constellation

for decades to come.

34

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need to know

Finding the rhythm at the

New Fire Festival’s drum

circle

Joshua Cazoe, Courtesy NEW FIRE festival

Word of Mouth

Light a New Fire

Shelly-Ann Inniss learns how a Trinidadian music festival with green roots tries to

spread a hopeful message of change

Picture the lush grounds of a historic

cocoa estate in Trinidad’s Maracas

Valley. Surrounded by natural rainforest

and the meandering Acono River, yogis

do their practice. Nearby, artists focus

on their canvases, people shop for

innovative goods at an artisan’s market,

while others play games or participate

in workshops of all kinds. Meanwhile,

from a vibrantly decorated stage, the

lyrics and harmonies of musicians and

poets fill the air.

This is the vibe audiences have

come to anticipate at the New Fire

Festival, which returns this year to the

beautiful Ortinola Estate (running from

12 to 14 April), for a weekend of fun,

feel-good activities that manage to do

good, too.

The brainchild of the Trinidad and

Tobago Bridge Initiative a non-profit

connecting people through sustainable

cultural, environmental, and economic

practices New Fire blazes with a

solid lineup of musical acts. For 2019,

that means performances from Isasha,

Nex Chapta, Caleb Hart, Jivanna, and

festival favourite Freetown Collective.

True star power will come from calypso

legend David Rudder, who will headline

as the new “Master of Fire.” The

Ortinola stage, it’s safe to say, will be lit.

Then there’s the everything else that

makes New Fire a full-day experience:

you can watch belly dancing, make

your own up-cycled jewelry, try moko

jumbie stiltwalking or capoeira, and

more. To help you shed your cares

and find your inner spark, experts will

lead sessions in art therapy, dance and

drama therapy, aromatherapy, and even

horse therapy. And if it all sounds so

good you never want to leave or if

you just want a chance to be one with

nature, unplugged from social media and

everyday noise New Fire caters for

that, too, with colourful tents creating a

camping area.

Zero waste is the goal throughout

the festival, with single-use plastics

banned by organisers. Audiences and

campers are encouraged to bring

their own reusable water bottles, and

vendors will gladly fill your reusable

food containers. Unlike your average

Trini fete, New Fire is “based on

environmentalism and sustainability,”

says festival director Elize Rostant.

Fire is an element of transformation,

the organisers remind us, and every

year New Fire tries to influence lives

in a fun, positive way, appealing to

the community-minded, and anyone

interested in safeguarding our planet

and environment. For New Fire regulars,

the festival has become a pilgrimage

they anticipate year after year.

This is the dream: that in this

ever-complicated life we live, there’s

another world away from the everyday.

One where happiness is not faked,

inner peace is not compromised,

and positive energy flourishes. You

can breathe fresh air, be mindful of

the environment, learn and develop

sustainable life skills, relax and enjoy

stellar entertainment above all, try

something new. Sounds a little farfetched?

Just maybe, the New Fire

Festival is the fuel you need to ignite

that hopeful flame.

36

WWW.CARIBBEAN-BEAT.COM


Escape the

ordinary. Discover

Hyatt Regency

Trinidad.

WWW.CARIBBEAN-AIRLINES.COM 37


need to know

Calvert Jones, Courtesy St Vincent and the Grenadines Tourism Authority

Datebook

More highlights of March and

April across the Caribbean

St Vincent and the Grenadines National Heroes and Heritage

Month

March

Traditional food, concerts, and a host of cultural activities celebrate

SVG’s heritage (above), all month long. On Indigenous People’s Day,

commemorations take place on the Grenadine island of Balliceaux

St Patrick’s Day, Montserrat

17 March

Don your green and join the joyful

masses in parades, a soca monarch

competition, the St Patrick’s Cultural

Pageant, and a Freedom Run and Walk

around the Caribbean’s Emerald Isle

Oistins Fish Festival, Barbados

20 to 22 April

Every Easter weekend in the fishing

village of Oistins, families come

together for karaoke, boat races, road

tennis competitions and, of course,

food. Do you think you can eat the

most fish cakes?

Delphi/Shutterstock.com

Easter, around the Caribbean

21 April

Each island has its own cherished

Easter traditions from kite

tournaments in Trinidad to a rodeo in

Guyana, Easter bun in Jamaica, and

goat-racing in Tobago

Jamaica Carnival

25 to 28 April

Throughout the season, Jamaican and

international soca and dancehall artists

headline fetes. Charge up with high-energy,

fun-filled events in Kingston and Ocho

Rios, and get ready to crush the road!

Fusion Adventure Races,

Trinidad

27 April

Athletes discover the hidden treasures

of the island from a unique perspective

as they compete in an adventure race

through the forest, starting at Maracas

Bay on Trinidad’s scenic north coast

38 WWW.CARIBBEAN-BEAT.COM


JOIN US FOR

Carriacou Regatta Festival

2-5 August 2019

Spicemas Carnival

7-13 August 2019


ookshelf

Unwritten: Caribbean Poems After the First World War

edited by Karen McCarthy Woolf (Nine Arches Press, 124 pp, ISBN 9781911027294)

If war songs praise bloodied heroes, then

the unsung ballads of martial engagement

point to those soldiers blotted out of

the hymnals. So it has largely, historically,

been, in Britain’s paltry recognition of the

Caribbean servicemen of the First World

War. The 1915 British West Indies Regiment,

the BWIR, enlisted roughly fifteen thousand

men across eleven battalions: many of

those men never made it home.

Who would the black Caribbean Siegfried

Sassoons and Wilfred Owens have been,

if allowed prominence to tell their own

stories? Unwritten which assembles ten

commissioned poets and one essayist,

from the Caribbean and its diaspora

speaks into history’s silencing void, pulling

WWI testimonies, fragments, and elegies

into contemporary verse. These poems strive not only to

describe our maligned military volunteers, but to imagine

what they might have said, and what their loved ones might

have endured. Potent among these is Guyanese-Grenadian-

British Malika Booker’s “Her Silent Wake”, which chillingly

centres a mother’s loss of her war-slain

son, a mother who seethes, “that bitch of a

stepmother England built a forest / of bones

for rats to feast on succulent black men, the

scent of her / actions rancid as hell.”

Though they speak in the main of families

and lineages long deceased, the poems

in this anthology are blisteringly, tenderly

stitched through with the personal. Take

Trinidadian Jay T. John’s stirring, powerfully

sentimental imagining of the pioneering

social worker Audrey Jeffers, “There

are days where my hands”, which names

Jeffers’s home street, summoning the

domestic anchor of “Aunt Sherry’s gallery,

where pools of / cool cotton lay draped

before us, when a pricked finger was the

only / worry of blood.”

Unwritten doesn’t wrestle the poetic crown from Wilfred

Owen or his brethren. It demonstrates, with all the resonant

urgency of a mission long past due, that black Caribbean

post-war survival needs deserves its own soldiers’ and

storytellers’ crowns here, too.

Theory

by Dionne Brand (Knopf Canada, 240 pp, ISBN

9780735274235)

Teoria, a graduate student

mired in the completion of

an increasingly elaborate PhD

thesis, is easily distracted from

the purity of academic purpose

by three very different, sensually

compelling women lovers. A

novel of scholarly frustration and

heartbreak hullabaloo might be

desiccated in anyone but Dionne

Brand’s hands: Theory, a genrecrumpling

philosophy of a story,

shows up the dustiest, most

terminally hidden corners of the human heart, and reveals

the aching limitations of a thinker’s intellect. Looking up

at the window of one of their lovers, Teoria nocturnally

muses, “Does she see me there, dressed in paper, dressed

in the cuts on my fingers from turning pages?” Don’t be

surprised if this sharp, erudite novel, as much thought

experiment as it is institutional critique, keeps you up late

at night with your own ponderings on unfinished romances

and languishing dissertations.

The Art of Death: Writing the Final Story

by Edwidge Danticat (Graywolf Press, 200 pp,

ISBN 9781555977771)

“Sometimes we must become

our own holy places, roaming

cathedrals, and memory

mausoleums,” pronounces

Edwidge Danticat. No stranger

in experiencing ultimate

loss, and writing it on the

page, the Haitian-American

novelist and essayist guides

us through the sepulchral

cloisters of mortality through

the testimonies of others.

Using the lives, deaths, and

creations of Gabriel García Márquez, Sylvia Plath, Ta-

Nehisi Coates, Audre Lorde, and others both perished

and present, Danticat reveals the underpinnings of our

obsession with passing on, peering into portals such as

the rise of self-penned obituaries, and the ravaging grief

left in suicide’s wake. When the author describes her own

mother’s death from cancer, her sorrowful gratitude leaks

with illuminating light.

40 WWW.CARIBBEAN-BEAT.COM


ookshelf Q&A

The Ice Migration

by Jacqueline Crooks (Peepal Tree Press, 144 pp,

ISBN 9781845233587)

As daringly necessary a series

of stories about cross-border

movements as Britain presently

needs, The Ice Migration sinks

its roots into the land, exploring

the intertwined bloodlines of an

Indo-Jamaican family caught up

in the rigours of indentureship.

Spanning a century of slavery’s

clutches, migration as escape

route, duppies who work

mischief and offer comforts

alongside the living, and the

keeping and shattering of secrets, these tales are acts of

ambitious cartography, showing in exquisite diction how

spirits converge where unfinished business and blood

debts linger, haunting the earth as much as those who

walk it. From the bullock carts of Calcutta to the rag-andbone

man’s Southall horse and cart, we are transported by

these tellings.

Forged from the Love: Colin Laird,

Caribbean Architect

by Robert Clarke (The Colin Laird Project, 196 pp, ISBN

9789768280107)

“I was first completely

enthralled by his drawings, which

I considered artworks,” says

architect Sean Leonard upon

discovering technical designs by

Colin Laird. Architecture as art of

the most socially engaged order:

this was Laird’s driving ethos,

proof of which lies in his literal

landmarks of our Caribbean.

Clarke’s assiduous research

reveals the distinguished

socialist’s commitment to leaving public and private space

better-equipped to serve the needs of all people, from

politicians to proletariat. As much visual treasury as moving

biography, Forged from the Love presents handwritten

letters and family photographs alongside other touching

ephemera. Laird’s legacy lives on, in buildings as much as in

the progressive goodwill his architecture inspired.

Reviews by Shivanee Ramlochan, Bookshelf editor

Jamaican-British poet

Raymond Antrobus talks

to Shivanee Ramlochan

about how hearing loss

has primed him to write

deep-reaching poems, in

his debut collection The

Perseverance (Penned

in the Margins, 91 pp,

ISBN 9781908058522).

The Perseverance bravely and unapologetically

demands space for D/deaf voices. How do you

hope readers will hearken to this call?

My writing process for this book was a “project of listening,”

given how much time I spent with all the voices in it. I hope

I manage to inspire others to care as much about listening

as they do about speaking. When I first worked with CODA

(Children of Deaf Adults) ten years ago, I noticed how deaf

awareness gave them patience and a presence that made

them (generally) wiser than their years. The book directly

addresses hearing people and points out ways that their

culture doesn’t consider us, but I hope it also celebrates our

presence in the world.

Your poems are bridges spanning worlds of

experiences: D/deafness, dislocation, the

difficulty of family trauma. Tell us about how

you construct these bridges.

The Perseverance is in conversation with lots of poets and

poems I admire that also grapple with loss and trauma. From

Hannah Lowe, Kei Miller, and James Berry to Shara McCallum

and Linton Kwesi Johnson, Caribbean poets inform my

poetics heavily, as do deaf poets like Ilya Kaminsky, Meg

Day, and Raymond Luczak. Also, John Betjeman’s poem

“Portrait of a Deaf Man” showed me you could portray a

deaf person powerfully but also truthfully in a poem. If I’ve

been successful, then The Perseverance is no more about

deafness than it is about communication, connection,

language, education, and family.

Do languages of love persist for you, in music

as in poems?

Records and tapes my parents played while I was growing

up influenced my poetics. Becoming a teacher really gave

me perspective in how lucky I was to have parents who were

curious about the world and wanted me to question things

not everyone gets that. The building of my language of

love probably came from music, because there was always

something playing when I entered my parents’ houses (they

lived separately). This means Prince Far I, the Heptones, Nina

Simone, and Bob Marley are sounds associated with my homes,

and therefore an important part of my language of love.

WWW.CARIBBEAN-AIRLINES.COM

41


playlist

Keshav & Rakka present

Badang! Riddim

Various artists (Badang! Records/Monk Music Co.)

Trinidad Carnival is here, and the sounds of

Carnival are at their peak. A notable feature this

year is the predominance of the riddim one

musical bed for multiple singers to exploit with

unique songs or lyrics as the driver of the frenzy.

Another feature is the globalisation of soca, with

the introduction of producers from outside the

Caribbean exploring this music and distributing

it for other Carnivals worldwide. DJ Rakka from

Belgium has teamed up with UK-based Trinidadian

producer Keshav Chandradathsingh to create a

skeletal drum-centric riddim that allows for the

words of a number of major soca artists to “ride.”

Rhythm more than harmony drives this music,

prosody more than melodic variation is the key

to hooking audiences. The stars are all out on

this EP: superstar Machel Montano, chart topper

Kevin Lyttle, lyrical geniuses Chromatics and MX

Prime, and hot steppers Olatunji and Ricardo Drue

make up the cast.

The Complete Cuban Jam

Sessions

Various artists (Craft Recordings)

Between 1956 and 1964, the major Cuban record

label Panart captured the sounds and descargas

improvised musical jam sessions of the most

innovative native musicians on the island. With

the freedom of jazz and the soul of Cuba, this is

“a stylistic and historic panorama of Cuban music,

from big band son montuno to Afro-Cuban rumba,

mambo, cha-cha-chá, and country acoustic guajira

music,” as described by compilation label Craft

Recordings. This bit of history is here remastered

for a new generation and collected in a five-LP box

set (five CDs are another option), offering a unique

glimpse of the zeitgeist of the nation during and

after the Cuban Revolution, which nationalised

Cuban culture and record companies. Legends

of Cuban music recorded in that loose setting

include mambo co-creators (and brothers) bassist

Israel “Cachao” and pianist Orestes “Macho” López,

alongside jazz drummer Guillermo Barreto and

other pioneers. A keepsake for the ages.

Single Spotlight

Rag Storm

Super Blue, featuring 3 Canal (Chinese

Laundry Music)

The music of Trinidad Carnival changed forever in

1991, when Austin Lyons known to the world

as Super Blue instructed masqueraders to “get

something and wave.” The energy and focus of the

Road March tune of which Super Blue already

had three became anthemic signals to abandon

one’s inhibitions and “mash up the place.” Since

1980, when he won his first Road March, until the

present, his is the template followed by just about

every soca singer trying to get the attention of the

masses. In 2019, alongside seminal rapso group

3 Canal, Super Blue is describing what will be the

inevitable outcome when ears hear this jam: “Jump

and jump up / Jump and rag up / Is mas’ and tempo

/ When Super leh go.” In other words, this music will

have bodies defying gravity while enthusiastically

twirling bandanas. The world welcomes the rebirth

of Super Blue, who in the early 2000s descended

into “hell,” with the battle scars of a vocal rasp as a

reminder that he is forever the party soca king.

XtraOrdinary

Triple Kay International (self-released)

Dominica’s Carnival, or Mas Domnik, is a pre-

Lenten festival like Trinidad and Tobago’s, and

in 2019 the music of local favourites Triple

Kay International is the soundtrack for revelry.

The band, which performs zouk, compas,

reggae, cadence, dancehall, and in this case

Dominica’s native bouyon music, squares

up against any naysayers who think they could

outrank it. “Who’s coming with me / On this epic

journey / To build a legacy / To be extraordinary?

/ We bigger than, better than, better than any

competition / Competition flat!” Confidence

indeed, but when a sample from Queen’s “We

Are the Champions” invades the chorus

not once, but twice you know this is not

arrogance, but a tongue-in-cheek retort to

everyone that you have to come good to even

be on the same page. As a musical mélange of

creole fiddle, saxophone, and drums alongside

modern drums and keyboards, the sound

resonates like a Trinidad power soca but with

that instrumentation, you know Dominica’s

originality is ever present.

Reviews by Nigel A. Campbell

42 WWW.CARIBBEAN-BEAT.COM


eyond ordinary...

...Explore the extraordinary Caribbean island.

Unspoilt, untouched, undiscovered Tobago

TobagoBeyond.com | #101ReasonsTobago


screenshots

courtesy rathaus films

“I would love

to break down

the way we’ve

been taught to

tell stories”

As a New York–based cinematographer, Antigua’s Shabier Kirchner has

been making a name for himself shooting films for other filmmakers on

the US indie scene. He’s worked on a number of acclaimed features,

and last year the film-industry magazine Variety put him on its list of

ten cinematographers to watch.

Recently, Kirchner got the opportunity to turn his camera on his

homeland, in the service of telling his own cinematic story. Set in

the neighbourhood of The Point, adjacent to Antigua and Barbuda’s

capital St John’s, Dadli the title is the familiar form of Wadadli,

Antigua’s indigenous name is an entrancing sensorial experience, an

impressionistic assemblage of assorted

shots of people, places, and things. One

of the film’s subjects, the teenaged

Tiquan, provides a poignant voiceover

narration about life in The Point, and

thus some semblance of a story.

Conventional storytelling isn’t

the point, however: Dadli draws its

power from the cumulative effect

of its imagery, the camera capturing

everyone and everything it sees with a

piercing empathy. Jonathan Ali speaks

to Kirchner about filming this almost

accidental project.

How did Dadli come about?

I got hired as part of the second-unit

team on this feature film, Wendy [by

US director Benh Zeitlin]. We were

shooting on film, and before we started

I decided to refresh myself with the

format. So I called my first AC [assistant

camera] and we got ourselves a 16-mm

camera and two cans of film and went

to a village in Antigua called The Point.

And I decided to document. I had no

idea anything was going to come from

that. It wasn’t until after Wendy that I

revisited the footage.

What is it about The Point that made

you shoot there?

The Point has an interesting history.

It’s the last tenement yard system that

exists in Antigua. It’s also one of the first

villages where the slaves revolted the

slaves were made to live on top of their

burial grounds. Today it’s one of the

poorest areas, but it shares a port with

cruise ships. So there’s this interesting

duality between the history of the island

and present-day tourism. Currently the

government is bulldozing the area,

turning it into commercial fisheries, so

it was a great time to archive it.

How did Tiquan come to be the voice

of the film?

While I was shooting this test footage,

there was no agenda. I wasn’t looking for

a main character. We weren’t recording

sound, so there weren’t any interviews. I

was just walking around shooting things

that were interesting. It wasn’t until

many months later that we realised

there was this boy who kept appearing

in the footage. So Tiquan became the

force behind the narrative. After we

had an idea of what we wanted the

film to be, we tracked him down and

interviewed him.

Dadli provides an impressionistic

viewing experience rather than a

conventionally told story. Does one

form of filmmaking hold a particular

appeal over the other for you?

In the not-so-exact words of [French

filmmaker] Robert Bresson, there are

two types of cinema: the type that

employs plot and narrative to drive

the story, and the type that employs

the camera to do so. I’ve always been

attracted to the latter. This project in

particular was purely the camera.

Having made Dadli, are you planning

on making more of your own films in

the Caribbean?

It’s all I think about, really. I would love to

break down the way we’ve been taught

to tell stories. The Caribbean is so full

of untold narratives, I would love to

share as many as I can with the world.

My production company, Rathaus, has

optioned a book by a Caribbean author

that is currently in development.

Dadli

Directors: Shabier Kirchner and Elise

Tyler

Antigua and Barbuda

14 minutes

44

WWW.CARIBBEAN-BEAT.COM


cookup

As children, Mark Forgenie and

his brother would play in the

“coffin” under his grandparents’

home. This eight-foot-long chest

was actually a rice box, where

his uncles would store the rice

farmed on the many acres of land his family worked

in Moruga, deep in south Trinidad.

At Christmas time, this large box would be filled

with rice, and it would fall to Mark and his brother

to scoop it out and process it for older relatives to

cook. “We’d put it in the mortar and pound it for

a good forty-five minutes to shell it out, then we’d

throw it up and fan it until it was clean,” Forgenie

recalls. “That would always break up the rice, but

you’d get nice red rice that way.

“The tradition was, from the start of December

through January we would eat rice on a Sunday.

On Saturdays, we would pound the rice and the

men would cook the ‘Creole rice’ in different

ways. A lot of times with coconut milk. Sometimes

they would parch it with bene [sesame seeds] and

sometimes with bird peppers.”

This rice Forgenie grew up eating is African

Oryza glaberrima, known locally as Moruga hill

rice. It was introduced to Trinidad by the Merikins,

a group of African-American soldiers who fought

for the British in the War of 1812. Forgenie himself

is a descendant of the Merikins. The soldiers were

each given several acres of land in Trinidad as their

reward for fighting for the Crown. The rice native

to West Africa had previously been grown in the

Carolinas and the state of Georgia, where many

of these soldiers were born. It was grown by the

Merikins because of its hardiness and long shelflife.

This red rice has never been a mainstream

product in Trinidad, as it’s grown and consumed

mainly in Moruga and surrounding areas. For

years, hill rice production and consumption was in

decline something Forgenie realised only when

his father suffered a health crisis in 2009.

“My father had a small stroke, he had a clot on

his brain,” Forgenie says. “The neurosurgeon, who

is from Moruga, told my Dad he had to change his

lifestyle my Dad loved to eat bacon, pudding,

and ham every morning, so his cholesterol was too

high.” As part of his recovery, the doctor mandated

that the elder Forgenie drink porridge made from

hill rice twice a day.

At the time, Forgenie was living in north

Trinidad. He dropped everything to head to

Moruga to his uncle’s home. When he got there,

he expected the rice box to be full but, to his

dismay, there were just five pounds of rice.

Resurrection

For generations, communities in

south Trinidad have grown a special

variety of hill rice brought from Africa,

with a unique flavour and health

benefits. When entrepreneur Mark

Forgenie learned that the Moruga

hill rice he grew up eating was about

to disappear, he saw an opportunity.

Franka Philip investigates

Illustration by Shalini Seereeram

rice

“I grew up knowing these boxes to have four

hundred pounds of rice, so I was shocked. I asked

him what was wrong, why was there no rice.” Forgenie

recalls. “He told me ‘none of your cousins are

interested, everybody is either working offshore,

driving maxi taxi nobody wants to work the

land, nobody is interested in the rice.’”

Forgenie thought this situation was unique to

his family, but he soon discovered the lack of interest

in farming the rice was widespread in Moruga.

He had not known this tradition, this “unique

thing” he had grown up with, was dying.

And how could he know? At the age of eighteen,

Forgenie left Trinidad and headed to Britain,

46 WWW.CARIBBEAN-BEAT.COM


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47


where he joined the Merchant Navy. He spent

eleven years working on tankers in the Middle

East, Southeast Asia, and South America far

from verdant and fertile Moruga. He returned

to Trinidad in 2003, launched his own marine

services company, and took up residence near

Port of Spain. Rice farming was the furthest thing

from his mind.

After speaking with his uncles at the time of

his father’s illness, Forgenie started exploring the

reasons why hill rice had declined so badly, and

sought to rediscover for himself the art of rice

farming. His first stop was the farm of Miss Patrice,

an eighty-six-year-old woman.

“I was working for myself, so I had the time,”

Forgenie says. “For two months, I would drive

down on a weekend, stay at my family’s house

in Basse Terre, and go see what Miss Patrice was

doing. Soon enough, I realised that rice work is so

labour intensive, it just turns you off.”

“The tradition was, from the start of

December through January we would eat

rice on a Sunday,” says Mark Forgenie

But he was not dissuaded. Inspired by what

his father’s neurosurgeon had told him about the

benefits of hill rice, Forgenie felt he had to do something.

“Dr Maharaj never did the research, but

had anecdotal evidence from his stroke patients

who used the rice as a porridge every morning

and evening as part of their therapy. He said they

recovered in half the usual time, and ninety per

cent of them recovered. I realised there was a

medical and scientific thing about this rice, that’s

not like other rice.”

So, since 2009, when his father had that stroke,

Forgenie supported by his wife Cassie

has been literally travelling the world to

find ways to make the farming of Moruga hill rice

more efficient and profitable. He set up Vista Dorado

Estates on his family’s land, with the belief that

farming could be made easier if there was equipment

suited to the hilly terrain of Moruga. “I knew the

answer was mechanisation, but there was no research

about it. I went to the Ministry of Agriculture and

they said they tried it, but they failed.”

He was told by ministry officials that he should

expect to fail as well, as there was no equipment on

the market that could help. Forgenie was amazed

at the negativity. However, once you meet Mark

Forgenie, it doesn’t take long to recognise that he’s

passionate, determined, and extremely astute.

After failed experiments with local heavy

equipment distributors, Forgenie sat down and

drew a model of the kind of equipment he felt was

needed for the terrain in Moruga. His quest for the

right equipment took him to China, where he met

with a company who bought one of his designs.

They were so impressed, they took it into mass

production, and Forgenie is now the Caribbean

distributor.

Having solved that part of the equation, it was

all systems go. The Forgenies set out their plans for

getting Moruga hill rice into the mainstream, via

their company Caribbean Sea and Air Marketing.

They worked closely with government agencies,

and developed highly positive relationships with the

Intellectual Property Office and ExportTT, Trinidad

and Tobago’s national export facilitation agency.

ExportTT helped the Forgenies with courses

in key areas like the principles of packaging and

labelling. And in 2018, Caribbean Sea and Air

Marketing received a TT$317,000 grant from the

Ministry of Trade to improve technology in their

manufacturing process.

“As an outsider, someone who never grew up

in Moruga, I wondered, why is this rice not on the

shelves?” says Cassie Forgenie. “We had to package

the rice professionally, because traditionally,

it was sold in a paper bag at the San Fernando

Market.”

She explains that a major turning point came at

T&T’s 2018 Trade and Investment Convention, one

of the biggest trade shows in the Caribbean. Here

the Forgenies met with officials from S.M. Jaleel,

a beverage company that sells their drinks up the

Caribbean and through the Caribbean diaspora.

The result was an international distribution agreement

for Moruga hill rice. You can now find Vista

Dorado Moruga hill rice on the shelves at all major

supermarkets in T&T.

I’ve tried the rice myself, and I can attest to

its delicious nutty flavour, particularly enhanced

when cooked with coconut milk and bay leaf.

Vista Dorado’s lineup includes plain rice as well

as varieties flavoured with geera, lemon pepper,

and even Scorpion pepper, for adventurous types.

You can also try that healthy porridge, made with

ground rice flavoured with cocoa, nutmeg, and

other spices. A small cookbook is in the works.

After the Forgenies received their government

grant, an editorial in the T&T Newsday called it

“a healthy serving of good sense, reminding us

of how our unique place in the world, our unique

history, can be leveraged as a resource to return

us to the path of economic growth.” Plus, Moruga

hill rice is delicious a winning formula in the

ongoing campaign to make the most of indigenous

Caribbean foodways. n

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Immerse

Rick Rudnicki/Alamy Stock Photo

50 Closeup

Queen of queens

57 Panorama

Stories of steel

70 Backstory

Forever prima

74 Snapshot

The inheritance of loss

Carnival season brings renewed attention and anxiety to the state of the steelpan, T&T’s national musical instrument


closeup

Queen

of queens

She’s the self-proclaimed Queen of

Bacchanal, and a reliable favourite on

T&T’s Carnival scene. But, twenty years

into her career, local fans and critics still

underestimate the unstoppable Destra

Garcia, writes Nigel A. Campbell. As

the music industry evolves, he argues,

it’s time to rethink what we mean by

“biggest” and “best” and acknowledge

Destra’s international reputation

Photography by Frame Photography,

courtesy Bamboo Entertainment

Last October, the US National Public

Radio website published an essay

declaring Trinidadian soca star Destra

Garcia the “liberator of revelry.” That

essay was part of a series “dedicated

to recasting the popular music canon

in more inclusive and accurate ways” in order

to “challenge the usual definitions of influence.”

Destra is “broadening the sound of soca,”

argued writer Keryce Chelsi Henry an external

viewpoint that illustrates something taken for

granted in Trinidad and Tobago: Destra Garcia

is the bellwether among women soca artists in

the music industry. The reach of her influence,

I’d argue, has made this soca star a music icon

outside her native country, even dwarfing her local

reputation. And that influence is no longer centred

on Trinidad Carnival. Destra is now international

and perennial.

To suggest subjective classifications like “best”

or “biggest,” it’s useful to have the imprimatur of

some objective measurements. In this modern

age of music, when data is king and “likes” and

“follows” matter more than universally diminishing

record sales, Destra with her entire catalogue

on all the major digital music platforms has the

numbers that matter. They make a solid case for her

ascension beyond her self-declared role as “Queen

of Bacchanal” to the more apt title “Queen of Soca.”

Looking at the numbers on popular social media

platforms like Instagram and Facebook, Destra is

indeed the queen, with metrics beyond other women

soca stars like Alison Hinds and Fay-Ann Lyons,

rising talent Nailah Blackman, or even calypso

legend Calypso Rose. Only soca superstar Machel

Montano betters her on Instagram, while Destra is

the clear leader on Facebook among all performing

soca artists worldwide, with over 323,000 followers,

as of December 2018. That includes a strong fan

base in the Caribbean diaspora worldwide.

Even so, soca’s popularity, and the stars who

make this music regional if not global, are still

operating within confined niche markets, even

as the sound and rhythm of soca are tapped by

today’s urban pop stars as a sonic bed for charttopping

hits. The social media numbers for the

most popular soca artists pale in comparison to the

major artists of other genres: Bajan Rihanna has

close to 80 million followers on Facebook, while

Trinidad-born Nicki Minaj has 41 million, and

Cardi B of Trinidadian and Dominican parents,

and arguably the hottest thing right now is just

beginning, notching just over six million followers

on the platform.

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As for Destra, she may have a bigger impact regionally and in

the diaspora than at home in Trinidad. The Fader, the high-profile

music magazine based in New York City, noted in a 2016 review

of her career that Destra “tours globally year-round, connecting

with her international fan base via trilingual capabilities she

speaks English, Spanish, and French and the universal

language of wining.” That universal appeal is endorsed by her

tireless touring in 2017, she fell from a stage in Bermuda,

breaking her ankle, but continued touring and performing, wearing

a cast. She has headlined festivals and other events in the

US and Canada, the Netherlands, every island in the Caribbean

archipelago, Guyana and Venezuela on the South American

mainland, and even in Dubai. The global marketplace is her

oyster, and soca is her ticket to the world.

Destra went to primary and secondary school in Woodbrook

and then St James, on the other side of Port of Spain, and in

that milieu, she excelled at singing calypsos in the various

competitions organised for school children by organisations like

the National Carnival Commission. She remembers that initial

breakthrough. “My teacher, Janice Roach, was the one that

found I had a good voice, a good tone, and she found that I was

brave. She wrote my very first calypso, ‘Common Entrance’, and

entered me in the primary schools’ competition. And I won. My

Born and raised in the tough Laventille district of east Port

of Spain, Destra Garcia is both a product of her community

and a patient student of an industry that rewards the

deserving and confines the ordinary to the pages of journeyman

chronicles. The late V.S. Naipaul wrote that “small places with

simple economies bred small people with simple destinies.” Some

Caribbean people like Destra take such a statement as a

challenge, rather than an indictment.

The reach of Destra’s influence has

made this soca star a music icon

outside of her native country, even

dwarfing her local reputation

52 WWW.CARIBBEAN-BEAT.COM


first try, my first attempt at singing in public after she trained

me to use the microphone.

“I was only ten,” she continues. “It was just an eye-opener

to me. I enjoyed the attention, I enjoyed the applause, I enjoyed

being on that stage, and I never looked back.” The spirit of that

early mentorship paid major dividends during her secondary

school years, when she enjoyed an unprecedented winning

streak, this time composing her own calypsos.

While her school provided the foundation for a career, her

family and their influence built the framework. The Garcia

home was a house of music: Destra’s mother was into soul,

her father was into Bob Marley, her grandparents were into

old-time kaiso. Her relatives included working musicians

playing steelpan and jazz. That “good voice” Destra’s teacher

Miss Roach heard was touched by all these musical connections,

as well as church and gospel music, developing into a

signature powerhouse vocal instrument instantly recognisable

among soca fans.

Once Destra left school, she began to experiment with

R&B in both solo and girl-group formats, and was sought

out to record tracks to be “shopped” abroad by an American

A&R executive. An unplanned setback with that project led

her to “try soca.” An initial partnership with singer Third Bass

While her school provided the foundation

for a career, her family and their

influence built the framework. The

Garcia home was a house of music

on the track “Just a Friend” began her professional soca career

in 1999, leading to frontline vocal roles in the bands Roy Cape

All Stars and Atlantik, before she struck out on her own. Destra

Garcia the music businesswoman was born. As accolades began

to pile up, there could be no turning back but the slings and

arrows of the professional soca circuit lay ahead.

The plight of women soca artists in a music sector and genre

dominated by men was quickly obvious. “We have to work twice

as hard as men to actually reach on their level,” Destra says. “And

sometimes we are on their level, but we’re still not on their level

in terms of how the world sees it . . . At the end of the day, you

do what you need to do: you remember who you are, you stay

focused, and you go out there and just get it done,” she explains.

Over the years, she sometimes displayed a perturbing selfdoubt

and awe under the pressure of the soca competition stage,

but was steely, determined, and even bellicose when confronted.

She reflected on that reputation in a television interview: “In the

past, a lot of people have said, Oh, Destra has a hot temper. Destra’s

mouth too hot.” A media darling one day, a target for derision

the next. Those days are over, she says, now that she is a mother.

Some might argue Destra is yet to achieve the two most

important measures of soca stardom in Trinidad and

Tobago: a Road March title, for the most popular song on

the road during Carnival, and a Soca Monarch crown. It raised

questions in 2003 when she was unexpectedly “denied” the Road

March for her anthem It’s Carnival a hit to this day in Carnivals

the world over. Her “rival” or, more accurately, her colleague

in the soca fraternity Fay-Ann Lyons has both titles, plus a

distribution deal with US-based label VP Records that should

guarantee some chart action for her albums.

Yet this seems to not matter to the cognoscenti, or to Destra’s

fans, who dote on her every offering for the annual Carnival

celebration. The key to her domination is the near-universal adulation

for her among the network of Caribbean and international

Carnivals that ape the ethos of T&T’s annual celebration. Then

there’s Destra’s impact on the performance aesthetics of many

younger soca singers.

Back in 2006, Caribbean Beat described Destra as “perky and

girlish, a Trinidadian version of an American pop princess . . . her

stage act is G-rated, but still just sexy enough for her to maintain

credibility on the Carnival scene.” In 2019, the twentieth year

of her career, not much has changed, except now the curves

are real. Her public image is iconic voluptuous, sultry and

unmatched by new interlopers on the soca scene. And in that

two-decade career, Destra has had one reliable hit a year, including

classics like 2015’s “Lucy”.

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53


So how has Destra survived all these years? Establishing a

footprint outside the home market early in one’s career pays

dividends in the segmented global music marketplace. The

importance of “the brand” in the new music industry has not

escaped her. Amazingly or confusingly, if you are new to her

music Destra Garcia boasts three distinct brand identities,

or three alter egos: Destra, the soca queen who launched her

career in 2009; Lucy, her wild-child avatar from the hit song;

and Queen of Bacchanal (or QoB), the fashion icon who “does

mash up de place.”

The question of “escaping” her Laventille roots still subliminally

resonates in her music. Laventille was and is a crucible of

creativity for original Trinidadian culture. But there is a perpetual

battle among Caribbean artists over “keeping it real” not diluting

the brand with obvious crossover elements. Over the years,

Destra’s brand of crossover soca has deliberately interpolated

elements from global pop music. “It’s Carnival”, written by Kernal

Roberts, liberally samples Cyndi Lauper’s hit “Time After Time”;

2004’s “Bonnie and Clyde” draws on 1980s Norwegian pop group

a-ha’s “Take On Me”. The results have resonated in the international

advertising and marketing sector. Captain Morgan’s Parrot

Bay Rum used “Bonnie and Clyde” as the theme music for a TV ad

campaign in the US, for instance, while Digicel signed Destra as its

first woman endorser in the Caribbean in 2006. Even the island of

Antigua, a leading wedding and honeymoon destination, wanted

to cash in on her fame by suggesting that her nuptials would be

held there in 2018 (a claim denied by the artist).

54 WWW.CARIBBEAN-BEAT.COM


Ten essential Destra tracks

It’s Carnival (2003):

The international anthem of

Caribbean Carnival ever since.

A winner in everyone’s book

Mash Up (2004):

Rapid-fire instructions that

drive feters to, well, mash up

the place

Bonnie and Clyde (2004):

On the surface, a song of

desire for a long-lost one,

but actually about a rag that

was lost at Carnival. Allegory

gone wild

I Dare You (2007):

The ultimate come-on, if

you’re able. Permission is

granted

Bacchanal (2009):

An anthem for Carnival

that suggests we leave our

inhibitions at home

Cool It Down (2011):

A production by the Bajan

team D’ Red Boyz that finds

a melodic centre outside of

Trinidad influences

Call My Name (2012):

A reminder to her fans that

she is the elixir for their

happiness

Keep on Wukkin’ (2012):

The perfect tune for a couple

to wine to. The groove

is addictive, instructions

included

Lucy (2015):

It’s either an autobiography

in song or an invitation for

women listeners to proudly

connect with their inner wild

child

Family (2018):

A soca star recognising who

is by her side through thick

and thin. Danceable, too

And corporate entities and tourist boards aren’t the only

ones seeking out some of Destra’s musical energy. Both Nicki

Minaj and Broadway star Heather Headley have spoken of their

interest in potential collaborations. “Destra’s got a great, great

voice,” Headley said, “and it would be fun at some point to just

sit down and figure it out.” The T&T diaspora and our stars in it

have heard that powerful, clear voice.

Journeys to the top never follow a straight line. In Destra’s

case, her path has followed the ups and downs of a life shaped

equally by island influence and the DNA of family and ambition.

Where it matters, the apparently ageless Destra Garcia is

already a global player and her ability to fascinate audiences

everywhere in the excitement of soca music is the key to a future

that won’t be slowing down soon. n

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55


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56

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panorama

Stories

of steel

The steelpan is one of Trinidad and Tobago’s proudest

achievements, and there’s no bigger event in the national

calendar than the Panorama competition finals on Carnival

Saturday night. But if the invention of the pan in the 1940s and

the adventures of the early steelbands are the stuff of both

legend and history, the instrument’s survival in the present

day and the survival of the communities that have grown up

in and around panyards is a matter of science, education,

economics, and, yes, politics. Behind the glory of the Panorama

stage are the many stories of the organisers, administrators,

craftspeople, composers, and arrangers who will steward the

steelpan into the future like the women and men profiled

in the following pages by writer Sharmain Baboolal and

photographer Mark Lyndersay

A modern touch: notes on a

new steelpan are marked using

pre-cut magnetic stencils.

Roland Harragin’s pan tuning

factory delivers small runs of

instruments now, but maintains

a tradition of hand-crafting of

the instrument that reaches

back to its beginnings in

Trinidad and Tobago

57


The president

Growing up in Tobago, Beverly Ramsey Moore was banned from

the panyard mere feet from her family home. It was no place for a

girl, people said. Half a century later, she proved that the panyard

like the boardroom is definitely the place for a woman, with her

groundbreaking election as president of Pan Trinbago

lthough it was just five footsteps away from

A

the front door of her childhood family home,

Beverley Ramsey Moore was banned from

entering the Katzenjammers Steel Orchestra

panyard, pioneered by her father and uncles in

Black Rock, Tobago. Half a century ago, a panyard was very

much a man’s world.

Rather, it was in the privacy of his bedroom that Ramsey

Moore’s father Hugh taught his eldest daughter to play Michael

Jackson’s “Ben” on the tenor pan, when she was just fourteen

years old. “In those dark days,” she recalls, “it was taboo.”

Four decades later, in October 2018,

Ramsey Moore was elected president

For years, Beverly

Ramsey Moore had

tapped on the ceiling,

until the glass shattered

with her runaway victory

of Pan Trinbago, the umbrella body for

steelbands in Trinidad and Tobago the

first women to hold this challenging

office. For years, she had tapped on the

ceiling, until the glass shattered with her

runaway victory against “an army of men

who think it belongs to them,” as the nowfifty-eight-year-old

grandmother puts it.

Once again, she went against her

father’s advice. “Why don’t you leave those people alone?” Hugh

Ramsey asked, knowing the controversy that led to the bankruptcy

and near collapse of Pan Trinbago. “I am a fighter. I want

to help to fix it. Daddy, I am a game changer,” Ramsey Moore

replied, reminding him of her track record.

A relentless dedication to community service had evolved

into a career in politics, as Ramsey Moore served two terms as

representative for Black Rock in the Tobago House of Assembly,

from 1996 to 2000. Then she was called on to help Katzenjammers,

the “family” steelband. The gender taboo was a thing of

the past, but her attempts to reorganise were still a battle.

Ramsey Moore’s narrative about “human capital development”

did not sit well with the few remaining members of the

steelband, but she earned the right to proceed, by one vote.

Over the years, she pulled the Katzenjammers community back

together, until they earned the title of Medium Band Champions

in the National Panorama competition in 2011 and 2012.

By then, Ramsey Moore had moved on from being a band

representative to a role as the only woman on the Pan Trinbago

executive, encouraged by her peers because of her outspokenness

at meetings.

Was there a point of weakness when she thought, this is not a

woman’s business? “Never!” is her emphatic reply. “I see myself

as my family. We are leaders in the Black

Rock community, and I fear no foe,” she

explains. In the Pan Trinbago boardroom

she was confronted with toxic masculinity,

but she stood firm. “I knew they did

not know what they were doing, but I kept

on insisting on a structure, openness, and

good governance.”

Now she finds herself at the helm of

Pan Trinbago and T&T’s entire pan community,

staring into a financial abyss.

In her first ninety days, she came under enormous pressure

from both the T&T government and Pan Trinbago’s member

steelbands. She shrugs.

Navigating the 2019 Carnival season and Panorama competition

is the first order of business. But there is heavy rebuilding

work to be done, in the interest of not only financial survival, but

better governance and accountability. For one thing, Ramsey

Moore has promised to strip apart the constitution under which

she was voted into office and repair the organisation’s weaknesses.

“When communities embrace the steelbands once again,

they won’t have the challenges they now face,” she says, ready

for the uphill climb. A woman’s work is never done.

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59


ow do you breathe life into metal? With a hammer.

H

When Roland Harragin was learning the

art of steelpan half a century ago, the process

was written nowhere. It was a matter of trial

and error, and the most intriguing musical instrument of the

twentieth century was developed along with the tools used to

lovingly coax music from steel. It was and is a perfect balance of

the scientific and the spiritual for the men who have made tens of

thousands of instruments without a blueprint. “When you come

to a hammer and say you are looking for a note, it has to be inside

of you for it to come out,” says Harragin.

The molecular structure of the steel, the degree of heat, and

the measurements of the notes on any of the nine pans, ranging

from tenor to bass, can now be learned in a structured way,

because of the cornerstones laid by tuners like Ellie Manette and

Anthony Williams, along with second-generation craftsmen like

Harragin. “Those before me got an inspiration” he says. “They

were scorned by society and stayed in the backwaters to create

this instrument.”

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The tuner

Born the year before the steelpan

made its international debut,

Roland Harragin has spent his life

perfecting the science and art

of crafting pans, tending steel

to create beautiful notes. Skilled

tuners are a dying breed in T&T,

he says and how will pan survive

without them?

Harragin himself has crafted steel drums in Europe,

North America, and Japan, and for at least fourteen different

steelbands in T&T. He’s also the builder of the G-pans used by

Trinidad and Tobago’s National Steel Symphony Orchestra. Still,

he believes, “we have only scratched the surface . . . When I die,

all my technical knowledge is going with me, because it is not

documented.”

Born in 1950 and growing up on Schuller Street in east Port

of Spain, Harragin became associated early on with the Joyland

Steel Orchestra. The steelpan was in its rudimentary form, intro-

duced to the wider world at the Festival of Britain in 1951, where

the Trinidad All Steel Percussion Orchestra (TASPO) performed

to amazed audiences. “Everyone was experimenting,” Harragin

recalls, “and hid things from one another, so you could not go

around anybody to learn to tune a pan . . . It was really noisy,

because there were no harmonics, and the sound was irritating

to society, but the guys who were developing the instrument

were not seeing that.”

In 1968, after hearing a performance by Pan Am North Stars

at Queen’s Hall in Port of Spain, the visiting British professor

John Russell introduced the idea of concert pitch a consistent

standard for tuning musical instruments to the pan community.

“It made us on par with any orchestra in the world,”

Harragin explains, “and the sound was further enhanced in 1970,

when Rudolph Charles chromed the pan and created different

instruments.”

Without skilled tuners, there is no steelpan. “But very few

people know how to make the instruments from scratch,”

Harragin says. “Now, we are in a crisis here in Trinidad. We do

not have a drum factory to turn out the same metal consistently,

and we will never have it even in my lifetime,” he predicts.

“All the strides are taking place in the Midwest USA. They

will do it better, because they have the time, the money, and the

technical know-how.

“The whole world wants this, and here at home we are losing

our key people, with their knowledge,” Harragin says on a

pessimistic note, after a lifetime of making music possible.

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The

metal men

oland Harragin doesn’t like his raw materials.

R

He isn’t happy with locally manufactured

steel drums, because they lack the precise

and robust seal of factory-made metal containers

intended to contain industrial liquids.

But he also doesn’t care for repurposed drums previously

used for chemicals he calls them “poison drums,” with a

distinct sneer, and won’t work with them.

And when Harragin realised he no longer liked “making

morning” working until dawn to mass-produce drums for

steelbands across T&T he scaled back an operation that

once piled up drums as high as the first floor of his Belmont

home to just fifteen to twenty instruments a month.

He does like his team, though, and is particularly fond of

the Codrington brothers, Kaijah and Kareem, part of a pan

family led by their father Cary. The work they do emphasises

hand craft.

Pans are forged with hammers and chisels, a process

that’s approached with a jeweller’s respect for materials

and executed with a mix of intuition, tactile response, and a

decades-old tradition of metallurgy.

The steady process of sinking the

drum begins with a mallet covered

with duct tape, shown here, then

continues with a pneumatic

hammer after the basic shape

is achieved. This speeds up the

smoothing process from hours to

minutes

Mark Lyndersay

62

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Kaijah Codrington marks

the surface of the steel

drum prior to sinking it

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Roland Harrington has

created templates to mark

the segments of each type of

drum. This one will become a

double tenor

The Codrington brothers

work together to mark off

the note segments on the

sunken steel surface

64 WWW.CARIBBEAN-BEAT.COM


To create the notes on the drum’s

surface, the metal surrounding

each note segment is hammered in,

leaving the raised bumps that are

responsible for the music. Special

care is taken to separate the

resonance of each note segment,

so that it doesn’t bleed into the

one next to it

The cut and shaped drum

is heated prior to tuning, to

temper the steel and remove

any impurities from its surface.

For all but bass drums,

Harrington uses both ends

of the steel drum to create

instruments, but occasionally

the steel will fail, ruining the

instrument while it’s being

made. The gas-fired rig

completes the burning of the

steel in less than five minutes.

The drum will then be tuned,

chromed, and fine-tuned again

before it’s ready for its new

owner

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The teacher

Traditionally, in T&T’s steelpan community, music is learned by ear

and preserved in individual memory. But the scarcity of written

documentation means that musical innovations of the past are

often inaccessible. Music professor Mia Gormandy-Benjamin is

working to change that, and train a generation of pan musicians

with the skills to create a true archive of pan

ow are we supposed to continue as a society if we

don’t know the ideas of our pioneers?” asks Mia

Gormandy-Benjamin. “How are we supposed to

develop and create new ideas if we do not know

what the old ones are? If they have it locked up?”

For Gormandy-Benjamin, these aren’t rhetorical questions:


H

rather, they form part of the foundation for her work as assistant

professor of music at the University of Trinidad and Tobago

(UTT), where she trains a rising generation of steelpan musicians

laying the ground for what she hopes

will be a tectonic shift in steelband culture.

To harness the boundless energy of

young steelpan students, making them a

part of that change, Gormandy-Benjamin

is well prepared. Pan has been the focus

of her academic life, including twelve

years in the United States, starting when

she embarked on her journey at Northern

Illinois University as a teenager in 2005.

Confident with a résumé that already

included performances in the US, Austria,

and Australia, the young Gormandy-

Benjamin quickly learned that, although she was among the best

that Trinidad had to offer, she had to up her game.

Eventually, the award-winning 4.0 GPA student who was

NIU’s Most Outstanding Woman of the Year for 2011, when she

graduated with a master’s degree in steelpan performance

found new purpose when she decided to pursue a doctorate. “I

chose topics that involved the steelpan in Trinidad,” she says. “I

found that a lot of information I was looking for wasn’t readily

available, until my teacher suggested I study ethnomusicology.

Her academic quest led her to Florida State University, where

“How are we supposed

to develop and create

new ideas if we do not

know what the old

ones are?” asks Mia

Gormandy-Benjamin

she became the first steelpan player awarded a grant by the

American Musicological Society, to do research for her dissertation

on pan in Japan.

“Going abroad was eye-opening,” Gormandy-Benjamin

recalls. “In Trinidad, we think we are the land of steelpan, and

we are the only ones to play. In the United States, there are

more steelbands than we have in Trinidad, and steelpan teachers

have resources to get assistance. In Japan, like elsewhere,

there is a hunger for our rich cultural history.” At home, meanwhile,

a lack of access to formal musical

training and documentation limits the

development of many promising pan

players.

Gormandy-Benjamin is working to

change that. At UTT’s performing arts

academy in Port of Spain, she engages her

students to help shape a bank of information

through PanNotation, an online database.

“Students won’t just have access to

it, but can have their research papers or

performances published,” she explains

with enthusiasm.

The surge of musically literate students entering the panyards

a domain where for decades players prided themselves

on learning “by ear” means a significant and growing change

in the steelpan fraternity. Whereas in the past as recently as

the 1990s landmark music from Panorama winners was transcribed

and sold overseas with no permission from the steelband

virtuosos, the new corps of trained musicians can transcribe

and document the arrangements created each year, keeping

it in T&T’s archives: a resource for composers, arrangers, and

musicians of the future.

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67


The arranger

When Renegades won the 2018 National Panorama

Competition, it signalled a return to victorious form for the

legendary steelband and a career highlight for Duvonne

Stewart, one of the most talented and ambitious of the new

generation of pan arrangers


I

take a song about a minute and ten seconds in

duration, and turn forty-eight bars into three

hundred bars of music, with sheer creativity of

self-spontaneous arrangement with nine different

voices applied through the steelband,” says

Duvonne Stewart, summarising the all-important role of musical

arranger.

“I have etched my name in a space where it cannot be erased

anymore,” declares the forty-two-yearold,

whose sixteen years as an arranger

have earned him twenty-one competition

victories but none as meaningful as

bringing the 2018 National Panorama title

home to the BP Renegades, the band that

bred and nurtured him after he left his

home in Tobago and moved to Trinidad at

the age of nineteen.

It was Renegades’ first Panorama victory

in the seven years an almost Biblical

term since Stewart was handed the

band’s arranger’s baton, previous carried

by the late and legendary Jit Samaroo,

whom Stewart idolised when he was a player with Renegades in

the 1990s. In the nine years from 1989 to 1997, under Samaroo’s

direction, Renegades won the Panorama title six times.

Stewart’s talent is homegrown, but it was during a three-month

stint at the University of Nantes in France, where he taught a

series of masterclasses, that he truly blossomed. “I was thinking, I

am the best, until I landed in Paris in 2002 and threw my ego into

the River Seine and started from scratch,” he says.

On returning to T&T, Stewart’s ambitions were translated

into a series of Panorama victories with bands in the east, north,

“I am trying to send

the message clearly,”

says Duvonne Stewart,

“without trying to be

difficult, or two or three

notches above the

average listener”

and south of Trinidad, while he steadily earned respect in the

international steelband diaspora as well, arranging for bands

in Britain and the United States and engaging students at the

University of Liverpool and Howard University in Washington,

DC. “I could see the transition process of a new generation of

arrangers,” he recalls. “Somebody had to open that door.

“In the 80s and 90s the arrangements that came from the

virtuosos were very technical to articulate,” says Stewart. But

now, “A new generation has evolved. Raw.

Uncut. Unplugged. I am trying to send

the message clearly, without trying to be

difficult, or two or three notches above

the average listener, without them being

misled.”

For last year’s Panorama, Stewart created

a phenomenal arrangement of “Year

for Love”, a statement song by Aaron

“Voice” St Louis about gang warfare in

east Port of Spain, which has claimed

several lives close to the Renegades family.

“I want to tell the story real and true,”

Stewart says.

And in 2019, he is once again treating with a fundamental

problem in his community: the male-female relationship. “It’s

the reality for families that reside around the band, and I will

paint that picture with my music,” Stewart promises. At the

Renegades panyard in Port of Spain, he’s assembled a cadre of

international players from bands he has arranged for in the US,

Britain, France, Japan, and St Vincent.

And he’s ready to step into the hallowed halls of T&T’s music

history: this era, he boldly predicts, will come to be called the

Duvonne Dynasty, taking up the mantle of earlier virtuosos. n

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69


ackstory

History and Art Collection/Alamy Stock Photo

Forever

prima

For decades, Cuba has been considered one of the world’s leading

centres of classical ballet which is partly thanks to the efforts,

inspiration, and sheer talent of Alicia Alonso, the country’s first

prima ballerina assoluta and co-founder of the world-acclaimed

Ballet Nacional de Cuba. Nazma Muller tells the story of this

international dance legend, still going strong at ninety-seven

70

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separate surgeries she spent two years recovering, confined to

her bed for long periods. Fernando helped his wife to “learn” new

roles by demonstrating her steps with her fingers.

Alonso returned to New York and the Ballet Theatre in

1943. Unexpectedly, and almost immediately, she was asked to

replace the company’s injured prima ballerina and dance the

lead in Giselle one of the most challenging roles in the classical

repertoire. Despite her severe vision problems, requiring the use

Unexpectedly, Alonso was asked

to replace the company’s injured

prima ballerina and dance the

lead in Giselle one of the most

challenging roles in the classical

repertoire

Opposite page Alicia

Alonso and Reyes

Fernández in Giselle, 1960

Left Cuba’s Ballet Nacional

performing in 1974

Keystone Pictures USA/Alamy Stock Photo

Beneath the chandeliers of Havana’s Gran Teatro

Nacional, the packed rows buzzed with anticipation.

Then a murmuring spread through the crowd, and

suddenly everyone was on their feet applauding,

as the grand dame of Cuban ballet was led to her

seat. The standing ovation for Cuba’s first prima

ballerina assoluta, Alicia Alonso, was a spontaneous outpouring of

respect for the woman who, along with her husband and brotherin-law,

created the world-acclaimed Ballet Nacional de Cuba.

It may seem strange that this salsa-loving people embraced

ballet Cuba is the first and only Caribbean country to produce

a world-class company. Like so much that is Cuban, the Ballet

Nacional is the result of grit, innovation, and passion. The love

affair between Alicia and Fernando Alonso gave birth to a style

of ballet that mesmerised the world.

As iconic as Fidel Castro himself, Alicia Ernestina de la Caridad

del Cobre Martínez y del Hoyo, born on 21 December, 1921,

is loved and respected by the Cuban people for her contribution

to the arts. As a child, she studied flamenco in Spain, then ballet

in Havana, where she met her future husband, a fellow ballet student.

As a teenager, she was so dedicated to her craft, Fernando

recalled, that she would answer the door in pointe shoes.

When Fernando moved to New York City in 1937, Alicia, sixteen

years old, managed to join him, and the two subsequently

married. A year later, she enrolled at the School of American

Ballet, taking a break to give birth to their daughter Laura the

following year. In 1938, she made her US debut in the musical

comedy Great Lady, and in 1939 she joined George Balanchine’s

Ballet Caravan.

In 1940, Alonso moved to the newly formed Ballet Theatre

(later the American Ballet Theatre), but after just one year she

suffered what might have been a death blow to her career, when

her right retina detached during a performance. After three

of extra-bright lights to guide her during performances, Alonso

stunned the critics with her spellbinding portrayal. A legendary

career was now under way.

Giselle remained one of Alsonso’s signature roles, alongside

other classics like Swan Lake and Sleeping Beauty.

Promoted to principal dancer of the Ballet Theatre,

she remained with the company for five years before starting

to tour as a guest dancer with partner Igor Youskevitch. Over

the next fourteen years, her performances took her around the

world, dancing at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow and the Kirov

in Leningrad the first Western dancer to perform in the Soviet

Union as well as the Paris Opera, with an annual guest role

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71


In July 2018, the Ballet Nacional

de Cuba was declared part of the

cultural heritage of Cuba . . . “where

the tradition of theatrical dance

merges with the essential features

of the national culture”

Young dancers of the

Ballet Nacional

with the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo from 1955 to 1959. Her own

company, co-founded in Havana with Fernando and his brother

Alberto in 1948, was renamed Ballet de Cuba in 1955, but closed

the following year because of financial difficulties.

Then came 1959, the Cuban Revolution, and the rise to power

of Fidel Castro. A supporter of the revolution, Alonso was given

a grant of US$200,000 by Castro to found a new dance school,

the Ballet Nacional de Cuba, where her husband joined her in

training a new generation of talent.

Fernando was an innovative teacher. Combining his understanding

of physics, kinesiology, and anatomy with traditional

ballet training, he was instrumental in developing the Cuban

style of ballet, which couples classical rigour with the physicality

of Latin dance. His experience of coaching Alicia through her

near-blindness also influenced his method, which included a

balance exercise where dancers had to shut their eyes.

He had studied techniques from France, Italy, Denmark, Russia,

and Britain, which he used to develop his own methodology.

The resulting Cuban technique has its origins in the Russian

Vaganova method, which emphasises the entire body. The torso

is the foundation of all movement, so the dancer is trained to have

a strong and well-aligned torso. Movements are achieved through

control of the core, so actions are very clean and precise. What

distinguishes the Cuban method from the others is its romantic

feel. It also combines high Russian extensions and jumps with

intricate Italian footwork, French arm artistry, and British attention

to detail, adding expressiveness and drama to classical ballet

movements. The Cuban method revolutionised ballet, you might

say, with its superb technique and impeccable footwork.

As a symbol of Cuban artistic achievement, the Ballet Nacional

was allowed to tour the world, performing its renditions of classics

like Les Sylphides, Coppélia, and, of course, its signature work,

Giselle. The US barred the company from performing during the

Cold War, prompting the dance critic for the New York Times, Clive

Barnes who saw the Cubans perform in Canada in 1971 to

write, “We may be so struck by the way they dance Swan Lake

that as a nation we may spontaneously demand Fidel Castro as

president.”

Alongside her role as teacher and mentor, Alonso continued

to dance, into her eighth decade. In 1995, at the age of seventytwo,

she gave her last performance. Four years later, UNESCO

awarded her the Pablo Picasso Medal for notable contributions

to arts or culture. The Ballet Nacional itself received the Grand

Prix at the Paris International Festival of Dance in 1970.

Cuban government funding for the Ballet Nacional

continues to this day. The directors scour the island for

gifted students, searching Cuba’s fourteen provinces

for children with aptitude for the art: musicality, good body

proportions, and the ability to follow simple steps. The training

is intense, with students required to dance from 7 am to 1.30 pm,

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Prisma by Dukas Presseagentur GmbH/Alamy Stock Photo

their studies covering character dances, folklore, African dances,

historical dances, salon dances even a bit of piano, French, and

music sight-reading. And Alicia Alonso herself now ninetyseven

remains at the helm.

During the eight years of their training, Ballet Nacional students

receive financial support from the government. If they become

one of the forty professionals the school turns out annually, they

earn a salary on par with that of doctors and skilled workers. Boys

are encouraged to audition as much as girls and, despite Cuban

machismo, many have become professional dancers, encouraged

by the rewards of being part of the Ballet Nacional.

Case en pointe is Carlos Acosta, perhaps the most famous

ballet dancer today. Born in Havana, he trained at the Ballet

Nacional before joining Britain’s Royal Ballet in 1998, and has

achieved a stellar international career, while also founding the

dance company Acosta Danza in Cuba.

In July 2018, in celebration of its seventieth anniversary, the

Ballet Nacional de Cuba was declared part of the cultural heritage

of Cuba. The declaration was signed by Minister of Culture

Abel Prieto. The document recognises the Ballet Nacional as

“the ultimate expression of the Cuban school of ballet, which has

achieved its own physiognomy where the tradition of theatrical

dance merges with the essential features of the national culture.”

If you need further evidence of Cuba’s central role in contemporary

ballet, consider the biennial International Ballet Festival

of Havana, founded in 1960 and now named in honour of Alicia

Alonso. Leading companies, dancers, and choreographers from

around the world have taken the stage at the Gran Teatro,

with performances including 198 world premieres to date. It’s

an extraordinary example of ballet’s essential combination of

tradition and innovation and its presiding presence is still the

prima ballerina assoluta herself. n

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73


snapshot

In the opening sequence of Unfinished Sentences, over fauxgrainy

footage of two little girls playing on a beach in the

golden light, the narrator relates an anecdote from her

childhood. She’s talking to her father, reminding him of

the time she and her sister were visiting him in Jamaica

and he asked them to each write a story. She wrote hers

from the point of view of a crab who drowns after being placed in

a bucket of water. After reading the story, the father explained that

she couldn’t write about herself drowning, because she’d be dead.

The narrator is filmmaker Mariel Brown, and she recalls that

moment as the dawning of her awareness of death. But it’s also a

formative and strikingly un-writerly bit of creative advice,

a case of a father’s anxieties overriding his artistic impulses.

A dead narrator is a perfectly acceptable literary device, but

an eight-year-old child must first learn the rules of life. It’s a

dilemma with which many parents would probably identify: how

to educate a child without stifling her creativity or invalidating

her view of the world?

Brown’s father is the late Trinidadian writer Wayne Brown,

and the film that premiered at the International Film Festival

of Panama in April 2018 is not the one she originally set out to

make. “It was a completely irrational project from start to finish,”

she tells me, months later.

Not long after Wayne succumbed to lung cancer in 2009, at

age sixty-five, Mariel, stricken with grief and panic “I was

terrified that all of his friends were going to die any minute now,”

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The

inheritance

of loss

Unfinished Sentences began

as a straightforward biography

of filmmaker Mariel Brown’s

late father, the Trinidadian

writer Wayne Brown. But over

the film’s eight-year evolution,

writes Georgia Popplewell,

it turned into a nuanced

exploration of grief, family

trauma, and the ambitions and

fears of the budding artist

Photography courtesy Savant Films

Unfinished Sentences

includes re-enactment

scenes featuring actor

Renaldo Frederick (left) as

Wayne Brown, and Che and

Alessan dra Jar dine as his

young daughters

she says feverishly began interviewing his contemporaries,

thinking she would make a biographical documentary about her

father as a literary figure.

Grief was also taking an unpredictable toll. Behind the

compulsion to memorialise her father was the fact that he had

almost literally disappeared from her imagination. “I’m looking

for him in my memory,” she says, “and I’m not finding him, and

I’m wanting to talk to him.”

Around 2013, with hours of interviews with the likes of writers

Ian McDonald, Edward Baugh, Mervyn Morris, B.C. Pires, and

Rachel Manley under her belt, Mariel realised she was “being

led down the road of including myself.” She resisted that impulse

for a long time. “Because I started out as a journalist, the idea

of putting myself into the story was anathema to me,” she says.

“I was desperate to make sure the film wasn’t self-indulgent. I

didn’t want it to be just a little film about me and Daddy.”

Whether a film is “little” or “big” depends less on the

subject than on the depth and quality of the themes it

explores. Unfinished Sentences is about a literary figure

who deserved to be better known. It’s about how human beings

are shaped by place and circumstance and race and history.

But it’s also about a special and difficult relationship,

which is set up early in the film with the recounting of Mariel’s

origin story. She is the first of Wayne’s two children, born after

her British mother, Megan Hopkyn-Rees, had suffered a series of

miscarriages. According to family lore, Wayne conjured Mariel

into existence “He seemed to write me into being,” she says

in the film’s narration assuring Megan that as soon as they

moved to England she’d have a successful pregnancy.

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75


Unfinished Sentences

cast and crew filming a

scene at the Trinidad

Yachting Association

Mariel embraces the story wholeheartedly who wouldn’t

want to be the product of art and magic? “I do believe Daddy

was prescient,” she tells me. “That, in a way, is what made the

relationship so hard. It became sort of a burden. Up to my teens

I loved the fact that I was special.”

Unlike her younger sister Saffrey, who once said to Wayne

“I don’t need to read you you’re my father,” Mariel chose a

career as a filmmaker, further cementing Wayne’s role in her

life as creative touchstone. In the film, she refers to him as “a

landmark by which I could always find myself. If you were to die,

I would surely lose my way.”

Few of the interviews Mariel did in that initial rush to immortalise

her father made it into the final version of the film, which

required a new set of questions

to be asked. She re-interviewed

her mother and her father’s

close friend Rachel Manley.

Her younger sister Saffrey

would become one of the film’s

key figures.

Mariel already knew a great

deal about her father’s life. “He

was incredibly communicative

with Saffrey and me,” she

tells me, “which was unusual among West Indian men of his

generation.” Wayne also left a meticulous archive that included

both letters he’d received and carbon copies of ones he had

written. “There were folders of literary letters, Rachel letters,

Tony letters [from the late Jamaican poet Anthony McNeill],”

Mariel says. There was also a “Sas and Boo” folder, containing

letters he’d exchanged with his two daughters. Several of the

“Boo” letters that was his pet name for Mariel are quoted

in the film.

Along with the writer’s sense of posterity, Mariel attributes

Wayne’s compulsion to collect and catalogue to the fact that

he was the last descendant of his family. “The Vincent Brown

line ended with Daddy, and I guess he felt a great responsibility

to keep things.” Also present in Wayne’s trove were the letters

between him and a Scottish pen pal named Rhona, with whom

he had corresponded in his late teenage years and early twenties.

The portrait that emerges of

Unfinished Sentences’ two main

subjects is rich and emotionally

complex, which means it isn’t

always flattering

In the 1990s, Rhona tracked Wayne down and wrote to him that

she was downsizing her possessions; she offered to send him the

letters he’d written to her. For Mariel, these letters were documentary

gold, giving her access to her father as a young person

“discovering poetry, meeting Derek Walcott . . . the struggle

within his family.”

The film recounts the trauma of Wayne’s early life: the death

of his mother just days after his birth, and later of the aunt who

raised him; of his family’s upper-middle-class preoccupation

with skin colour and its effect on a boy who happened to be

born darker than was desirable; his fraught relationship with his

father, a renowned jurist. “The loss of his mother was probably

the most profound loss that stayed with him for his life,” says

Mariel. “Death was a constant

in his life, and death is everywhere

in his work.”

Unfinished Sentences traces

the trajectory of Wayne and

Mariel’s relationship as childhood

reverence gives way to

what Mariel comes to see as

a wilful refusal on her father’s

part to accept the person she’s

becoming. It weaves interviews,

readings of Wayne’s prose and poetry and letters by Trinidadian

actors Nigel Scott and Nikolai Salcedo, and Mariel’s narration

together with visuals of family photos, image-and-text animations,

and home-movie-style reenactments of moments from the lives

of the family, featuring Renaldo Frederick and Sophie Wight as

convincing stand-ins for a younger Wayne and Megan.

There are only a few glimpses of the actual Wayne in

action, from an interview Mariel filmed in 2004. He’s already

white-haired, wielding a packet of Benson and Hedges with a

chain-smoker’s absentminded dexterity. That, plus some audio

from a 1987 radio interview with an unnamed journalist, provide

the only instances in the film of Wayne as a living person, of

his deep, measured voice with its cadences of educated Port of

Spain. On her last trip to see him in Jamaica, Mariel took along

her camera equipment, hoping to interview him again. But it was

too late: during her visit Wayne would die.

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Filmmaker Mariel Brown and

voice actor Nikolai Salcedo

in the recording studio

The portrait that emerges of Unfinished Sentences’ two main

subjects is rich and emotionally complex, which means it

isn’t always flattering. Mariel’s mother Megan and younger

sister Saffrey, in particular, don’t pull punches in their assessments

of the two.

“You were always a drama queen,” Megan says early in

the film. Saffrey puts part of the blame for the difficulty of the

relationship on Mariel’s alleged inability to let things go. Megan

recounts Wayne’s fear, on their return to Trinidad, of being perceived

by his peers as being the kind of man who would engage

in housework or child care.

The Jamaican poet Mervyn

Morris is obviously choosing

his words carefully when he

says that Wayne was “pretty

sure who were his friends.”

As she grows older and

more aware of her father’s

relative fame and talent as a

poet and writer, Mariel has

to acknowledge that this talent hasn’t translated into material

success, which makes her anxious about her own future as a

filmmaker. The narration and excerpts from their letters to each

other chronicle the sometimes brutal antagonism that develops

between them as Mariel grows up. “You tore me to shreds with

your words,” Mariel says in the film, “as though the I that I was

meant to become had already been decided by you, and you

were angry with the person I was actually becoming. How could

you know who that would be?”

Unfinished Sentences took eight years to make, and its painstaking

evolution is evident in the film’s nuance and quality.

As she grows older, Mariel Brown has

to acknowledge that her father’s

literary talent hasn’t translated into

a material success

Mariel says the feedback she received after showing a rough

cut first to a group of friends and colleagues (myself included)

in Trinidad, and then at Primera Mirada, the works-in-progress

section of the International Festival of Panama, was critical.

“Getting notes will be something I’ll definitely do on the next

project,” she says.

Another first was working with actors on the reenactments. “I

enjoyed engaging in a fully creative process and pushing myself.

As I move forward, this is the kind of the direction I want to go

more in.” Also “revelatory” was the collaboration with composer

Francesco Emmanuel, and

working for the first time with

a professional sound designer.

For Mariel, unveiling this

very personal film to a wider

audience was understandably

daunting. “I was nervous

about whether it would reach

people,” she tells me, “whether

it would connect, whether it

worked on that level.” In her hotel room before the first screening

in Panama, she felt physically sick.

“It was after [that] first screening that I got a sense that it was

working and connecting with people on many different levels, in

terms of family relationships, in terms of grief, in terms of living a

life of creativity . . . in terms of anxiety and mental instability,” she

says. “I was astonished and delighted by the kinds of questions I

got in the Q&A and afterwards, when people kept coming up to

me and talking about their own experiences of being a struggling

writer, struggling to commit to that, suffering with crippling

anxiety. All these stories emerged. And that made me feel brave.” n

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ARRIVE

dbimages/Alamy Stock Photo

80 Destination

Seven days in Tobago

90 Offtrack

Makonaima’s treasure

94

98

Personal Tour

Good prospect

Home Ground

Home to Antigua

Antigua’s Nelson’s Dockyard, a haven for sailing ships for centuries


destination

Seven days

in Tobago

Could a week ever be enough to savour the delights of

Tobago, one of the Caribbean’s most picturesque islands?

Nixon Nelson gives it a try

Just twenty-five miles long by six wide,

a daub of brilliant green on the map of

the blue Caribbean Sea, Tobago may

seem like the kind of place you can get

to know in just a few days. But there’s

more to Trinidad’s littler sister isle

than at first meets the eye. These hundred square

miles conceal more secret nooks and little-known

pleasures than you’d expect, and it can take years

decades to experience them all. Just ask

those visitors who’ve returned here, again and

again, unable to get Tobago out of their heads.

(Why’d you want to?)

We can’t all give everything up for a life on the

beach, and the average Tobago visitor must tear

herself away long before she’s ready. Yet there’s

no reason you can’t experience the full diversity

of this extraordinary island on a week-long trip

without running yourself ragged. Here’s a sevenday

itinerary to show you Tobago’s best.

80 WWW.CARIBBEAN-BEAT.COM


Day one

We know the number one reason

you came to Tobago: the glorious

beaches. So no dithering: your

first day should definitely be spent

finding and savouring your ideal

stretch of tree-shaded sand and

expanse of glimmering water.

Head up the Leeward Coast,

past Plymouth, and explore the

succession of quiet, uncrowded

bays Castara, Englishman’s

Bay, Parlatuvier, Bloody Bay, Man

o’ War Bay where on a good

day you’ll have the beach almost

to yourself, far from the madding

crowds around Crown Point.

The brilliant blue waters

of Parlatuvier Bay

Michaela Arjoon

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81


Argyle Falls is the most

celebrated of Tobago’s

waterfalls

Nicolas RINALDO/shutterstock.com

82

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Day two

Having seen Tobago’s Leeward

side, let’s take the Windward

Road and investigate the more

rugged Atlantic-facing coast. Just

before the village of Roxborough,

turn inland towards Argyle Falls,

the best known and tallest of the

numerous waterfalls that rush

through Tobago’s forested hills. A

short hike brings you to the foot of

Argyle’s three levels of cascades,

with their small pools perfect for

an invigorating plunge.

Day three

Did Argyle give you a hankering to

see more of Tobago’s lush interior?

The rainforest of the island’s Main

Ridge, protected by law since

1776, is home to an estimated one

hundred bird species, including

six different hummingbirds, plus

manakins, trogons, and motmots.

Well-maintained trails allow you

to plunge into nature, and most

hotels or tour companies can

introduce you to a knowledgeable

guide. Take your hiking boots and

binoculars!

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The houses of Scarborough ascend

their hill overlooking the harbour

Day four

Day five

robertharding/Alamy Stock Photo

After experiencing some serious nature, let’s

take a day to explore Tobago’s human history.

Start in Scarborough, the island’s capital, with

its colourful houses ranging up the slopes

above the harbour. At the top of (aptly named)

Fort Street, you’ll find Tobago’s best preserved

historical site, Fort King George. Built by the

French in 1781 as one of the island’s chief

defences, the hilltop fort was later renamed

for King George III after the British recaptured

the island. Today’s fort-museum includes

preserved historic buildings, a collection of

eighteenth- and nineteenth-century cannon,

and amazing views of the bay below.

Now head out of Scarborough towards

Plymouth, one of Tobago’s most historically

fascinating sites. In the seventeenth century, a

group of colonists from what was then called

the Duchy of Courland today’s Latvia

established a settlement here. The unapologetically

modernist Courland Monument commemorates

this chapter of the island’s history.

Nearby Fort James has a commanding view of

Courland Bay, and near its entrance you’ll find

the curiosity known to locals as the Mystery

Tombstone. Here lie Betty Stiven and her infant

child, deceased in 1783, and memorialised with

a riddle which has entertained passersby for

over two centuries.

Pigeon

Point

Store Bay

All this gallivanting works up an appetite, and it’s also nice to

have a day where you just stay put. There are worse places to

be lazy than popular Store Bay, a long stone’s throw from the

airport at Crown Point and almost always busy. Still, the gently

curving beach is just big enough to evade the crowds (except

perhaps on weekends), and this is also the place to experience

one of Tobago’s essential culinary delicacies, curried crab and

dumplings. The simple food huts above the bay named for

their various, but invariably female, proprietors offer friendly

conversation and home-style food. Be warned, there is no prim

way to eat curried crab: this is a hands-on, shell-crunching,

sauce-dripping dish, at least if you enjoy it the right way.

Plymouth

Englishman’s

Bay Parlatuvier

Castara Bay

TOBAGO

Scarborough

Man o’ War Bay

Speyside

Charlotteville

84

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JADE MONKEY

EAT

Bambú

GIFT & COFFEE SHOP

Rare & exotic arts and crafts

made in the Caribbean

Now GRAB & GO healthy meals

PLAY

#199 Milford Road, Crown Point, Tobago

T. 868-639-8133

E: mariela0767@hotmail.com

DRINK

CAFÉ • casino • bar

CROWN POINT TOBAGO

CASINO/BAR: 868 631-0044/0500

JADE CAFÉ: 868 639-8361

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85


imageBROKER/Alamy Stock Photo

86

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Day six

Celebrated for its dive sites, Tobago may not boast the water

clarity of some other Caribbean islands to the north. But the

outflowing silt from Venezuela’s Orinoco River which can

sometimes cloud Tobago’s waters also provides rich nutrients

that feed the extraordinary marine diversity of the island’s

reefs. The best way to see this for yourself is a diving or

snorkelling expedition, which you can arrange through one

of Tobago’s highly experienced dive operators. Whether your

primary interest is coral, fish species, or shipwreck exploration,

there’s a site for every level of scuba experience. Manta

rays, sea turtles, and the world’s biggest brain coral all await

you below the surface.

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87


Day seven

Michaela Arjoon

Sometimes the best plan is to end as you started with

a blissful day at the beach, and after a week in Tobago

you’ve probably figured out your personal favourite. But

don’t miss a visit to Pigeon Point, even if it’s the island’s

ultimate tourism cliché. There’s good reason why this

long, palm-fringed, sandy stretch is Tobago’s classic postcard

view. And the best time to take it all in just might be

sunset, as the sky turns brilliant hues of pink and orange

behind the Pigeon Point jetty. The sea laps gently at your

feel, the beverage in your hand is still frosty, and probably

you’re already dreaming of your next visit because, no,

seven days in Tobago could never be enough. n

ADVERTORIALS

Tropikist Hotel

Gently nestled against the warm, calm, turquoise waters

of the Caribbean Sea, Tropikist Beach Resort is beautifully

landscaped on five acres of luscious gardens, with its own

private beachfront, two pools, and a breathtaking view of

the setting sun, making it a perfect choice for your ideal

Caribbean vacation, for both local and international guests.

Jade Monkey

Located in Crown Point, Jade Monkey Casino, Bar, and Café

is, as the locals say, “de best place to lime” in Tobago. The

bar, known for its packed dance floor, is open every day of

the week. Next door is the café, which specialises in various

succulent seafood dishes. We also have the most popular

casino on the island, filled with a wide choice of slot machines

and roulette and card games. Each night there are cash

giveaways, free drinks, and dinner available. So next time

you’re in Tobago, don’t hesitate to stop by.

Flambowl

An Asian-style grill offering delicious hibachi bowls with rice

or noodles and your choice of vegetables in several unique

Asian sauces with a local splendour, plus gourmet burgers,

hot dogs, cheese steak sandwiches, and lots more. Come

taste a new way to customise your grill experience.

Skewers

A unique Middle Eastern grill serving Arabic-style cuisine

infused with delectable local flavour. We offer all the meats

served with traditional tasty Arabic sides, all with an exquisite

local flair. Experience the unrivalled taste of Skewers, with

over a decade of consistent perfection.

Shaw Park Complex

Home to stunning local art and a stellar event team who

ensure an exceptional and tailored experience for every

guest, the 5,000-capacity Shaw Park Complex is a modern

centre for the arts which features both theatre and

conferencing capabilities.

Relax… Rejuvenate… Reconnect

• Warm friendly service

• Peaceful cosy rooms

• Fabulous restaurant

• Organic kitchen garden

• Yoga, tai-chi and massage

• Live band on weekends

• small, intimate, weddings,

retreats and events

Come home to yourself… come home

to Kariwak… where Tobago begins.

868 639 8442

info@kariwak.com

www.kariwak.com

@kariwakvillage

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89


offtrack

courtesy reel guyana

Makonaima’s

treasure

In the foothills of the Pakaraima Mountains, near Guyana’s

geographical heart, the community of Karasabai may seem

isolated on the map, but it’s an epicentre for lovers of

wildlife and adventure, writes Annette Arjoon-Martins

and it’s also rich in folklore and legend

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Karasabai’s Kezee Eco

Lodge is named for the

rare sun parakeet, which

can be found nearby

A T L

A N

T I C

L A

O C

E A N

U E

E z

V E N

PAKARAIMA

MOUNTAINS

georgetown

S

U R

KARASABAI

I N

Lethem

A

M

E

B R A

Z I L

Karasabai is celebrated

among serious birders:

it’s one of the few places

where the endangered sun

parakeet can be found in

the wild

The Guiana Shield, a two-billion-year-old geological

formation spread across six countries, is well

known to adventurers and scientists as an ecoregion

of global significance, with a rich biodiversity.

Stretched across the middle of this shield lies

Guyana itself, a country crisscrossed by rivers,

dotted with hundreds of waterfalls, with expansive pristine rainforests

and towering mountains.

Most impressive of these are the Pakaraimas, a vast expanse

of flat-topped mountains spread across the borders between

Venezuela, Brazil, and Guyana. Just south of the Pakaraima

range, surrounded by breathtaking landscapes, rich biodiversity,

and fascinating folklore, is the indigenous community of

Karasabai an emerging destination for community-led and

-owned tourism.

Karasabai is a key place in the folklore of Guyana’s indigenous

Macushi people, intertwined with the mythical personality of

Makonaima. One of the legendary visitors to Earth from whom

indigenous peoples are descended, Makonaima had a twin

brother named Pia, and a group of sisters collectively called the

Pakaraimas. The “Tales of Makonaima’s Children” are Macushi

creation stories, and here you’ll find the legend of how Karasabai

got its name.

In Macushi, kala sa means “treasure chest” and pai refers to the

deepest part of a body of water, such as a river or lake. The story,

handed down through generations, is that Makonaima passed by

a creek where a treasure chest was located, and chose to turn it

into stone. (Local belief is that anything that crossed Makanoima’s

path, and which he did not want to be lost, was simply petrified.)

The bay of the creek where the petrified treasure chest lies the

kala sa pai is now called Karasabai.

Today, Karasabai is celebrated among serious birders for a

different reason: it’s one of the few places globally, and the only

location in Guyana, where the endangered sun parakeet (Aratinga

solstitialis) can be found in the wild. Known locally as the kezee,

or “flying jewels,” the sun parakeet is an important motif in

Karasabai’s tourism identity for example, lending its name to

the brand-new Kezee Eco Lodge at the foot of a nearby mountain.

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Dedicated birders like to start early, and the sun parakeet

tour calls for a sunrise start and a short journey by 4x4 across

the savannahs, skilfully navigating around the large termite

mounds which stand like silent sentinels. Next comes a two-hour

boat trip on the Ireng River, meandering through the valleys of

spectacular mountains offering stunning vistas, high and low,

for miles on end. Puffs of noisy blue-and-gold and red-andgreen

macaws emerge from the mist-covered, thickly-forested

riverbanks, and fly low overhead. Finally, the “flying jewels”

appear, in flocks of dozens, making intermittent stops to feed on

wild fruits on either side of the river. The boat captain masterfully

manoeuvres his small vessel, following the birds to ensure

photos or videos.

The riverbanks are dotted with pristine sandbanks, perfect

nesting and basking sites for giant river turtles. And since the

Ireng is a tributary of the Amazon, lucky visitors may also spot

a very rare and much-prized pink river-dolphin (Inia geoffrensis).

The boat captain knows the most frequented pools, and is

also adept at communicating with the dolphins to increase the

chance of visitors getting that glimpse of a lifetime.

For the more adventurous, Karasabai also offers opportunities

for mountaineering, with a variety of peaks of various sizes

and terrain, depending on levels of skill. The most popular

mountain hike is on Saddle Back Mountain, with a cleared trail

and a benab rest stop, and the added attraction of a cave full

of archaeological treasures.

The Pakaraima mountains are considered deeply

spiritual territory by Guyana’s indigenous peoples not only

for their rich cultural value, but also for the provision of natural

resources. In indigenous culture, lucky charms known

locally as binas are used extensively for catching fish and

game, and sometimes, it is believed, even a husband or wife.

To the northwest of Karasabai is one particular mountain

where the binas for everything are said to be found. Many

moons ago, stories say, there was a big flood which affected

The Pakaraima mountains are

considered deeply spiritual territory

by Guyana’s indigenous peoples

the indigenous peoples and all the animals in the area. They

sought refuge on top of this particular mountain, but there

were tensions within the group and they fought among themselves.

Those that died, both humans and animals, grew back

as plants which are now known as binas. For example, if a deer

was killed and came back as a plant, it can now be used to

catch deer. Ordinary persons are prohibited from visiting the

mountain to collect the binas: only the Shaman, who possesses

the power to calm down the animal and human spirits, can

perform this task.

WaterFrame/Alamy Stock Photo

The rare pink riverdolphin,

which visitors to

Karasabai can sometimes

spot in the Ireng River

92 WWW.CARIBBEAN-BEAT.COM


A sociable species, the sun

parakeet is usually found

in flocks of up to thirty

individuals

Travel tip

The best time to visit Karasabai?

Dry season weather makes overland

travel easier, and the village is the

first stop for the annual North

Pakaraimas Mountain Safari, around

Easter.

Another local landmark with its own

folklore is Tiger Pond, with its Macushi

name derived from the words ludule

(“tiger”) and kuppu (“pond”). When the

pond is displeased, some believe, a white

cat emerges from the water and attacks

young children. The terrible sounds that

sometimes emanate from the pond are

also bad omens.

You may hear stories like these,

perhaps, on a tour through Karasabai’s

lush cassava farms to witness farine and

cassava bread production, and to sample

the potent local alcoholic beverage known

as piwari. On sale is a wide range of handicraft,

including intricately carved woodwork

pieces depicting the various animals

you may have encountered on your visit.

Hand-carved from a prized wood known

locally as “tigerwood” for its distinctive

patterns, beautiful jewellery boxes are

adorned with the forms of the giant river

otter and yes the sun parakeet. Or

look for one of the detailed needlework

panels made by Karasabai’s craftswomen,

each requiring hours of delicate work.

A splendid sun parakeet rendered in

coloured thread may be just the keepsake

to remind you, years later, of a visit to this

corner of Guyana shrouded in legend. n

imageBROKER/Alamy Stock Photo

Caribbean Airlines operates

daily flights to Cheddi Jagan

International Airport in Guyana from

destinations in the Caribbean and

North America. Local airlines operate

daily flights from Georgetown to

Lethem, with overland connections

via bus or 4x4 to Karasabai

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93


personal tour

Stuart Monk/Shutterstock.com

Good

Prospect

courtesy the brooklyn museum

The Brooklyn neighbourhood of

Prospect Heights is home to cultural

institutions, a thriving foodie scene,

and a Caribbean community still holding

on despite rampant gentrification. It’s

also home to Trinidad-born architect

Roxanne Ryce-Paul, who reveals the

hints she shares with visiting friends

94 WWW.CARIBBEAN-BEAT.COM


Like the rest of Brooklyn, the neighbourhood

known today as Prospect

Heights was once the territory of

the indigenous Lenape, and then a

landscape of Dutch colonial farms.

In the mid nineteenth century, as

Brooklyn still an independent city began to

sprawl inland from its harbour, the famed landscape

architect Frederick Law Olmsted laid out

526-acre Prospect Park, and the Brooklyn city fathers

established a series of cultural institutions

nearby, to rival Manhattan’s. The neighbourhood

of brownstone townhouses and grand apartment

buildings on the slope immediately north of the

park soon became known as Prospect Heights.

In the second half of the twentieth century, the

traditionally Irish, Italian, and Jewish residents of

Prospect Heights were largely replaced by African-

Americans and migrants from the Caribbean. The

Caribbean influence is still obvious in the neighbourhood’s

streets, with Jamaican and Trinidadian

accents never out of earshot, soca music blasting

from the occasional passing car, and the annual

Labour Day Carnival parade route running along

Eastern Parkway.

But, as with most New York City neighbourhoods

with good housing stock and subway access,

the past fifteen years have seen another major

demographic shift. Priced out of Manhattan, young

and mostly white professionals have flocked to

the neighbourhood, and all the characteristics of

gentrification have followed.

When Trinidad-born architect Roxanne Ryce-

Paul and her partner, artist Nicolas Touron, moved

to Prospect Heights in 2001, it was still very much a Caribbean-feeling place. Specialising

in urban planning, historic preservation, and sustainable architecture, Ryce-Paul

currently works at the NYC Department of Design and Construction, which means

a daily commute north to Queens. But on weekends she enjoys spending time in her

home neighbourhood, learning more about its architectural history and little-known

Caribbean connections, and sharing them with visiting friends. Her personal tour of

Prospect Heights leans heavily on its cultural riches and its diverse culinary scene.

Opposite page The Brooklyn Museum

(above) has the second-largest collection

of artworks in New York City including the

sculpture Martinique Woman (below), by

Malvina Hoffman

Above The monumental

Art Deco entrance of the Brooklyn Central

Library

Leonard Zhukovsky/Shutterstock.com

Start with the landmarks

Eastern Parkway, Prospect Heights’ southern boundary, is

where you’ll find some of Brooklyn’s grandest public buildings.

The Brooklyn Museum of Art, says Ryce-Paul, “is the NYC

public museum where you can see yourself represented as artist

and as subject, regardless of who you are and from where you

have come.” She singles out two favourite artworks among the

museum’s collection (the second largest in New York City): Martinique

Woman (1928), a sculpture by the American artist Malvina

Hoffmann, and A Storm in the Rocky Mountains, Mt Rosalie (1866),

a monumentally scaled landscape painting by Albert Bierstadt.

A short walk away, the Art Deco headquarters of the

Brooklyn Central Library is “one of the most magnificent buildings

in the city,” says Ryce-Paul. “The gold leaf relief at the

entrance beckons, the plaza receives, and the curved façade

embraces the book lover. It also excels by hosting a diverse and

compelling range of services and programming for the community.

I like to walk through the building on my way home just

to feel Brooklyn.”

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The library faces right onto Grand Army Plaza, the vast ovalshaped

entrance to Prospect Park that also serves as a memorial

to the Union Army in the US Civil War. It includes a triumphal

arch of stone with bronze sculptures. Ryce-Paul tells visitors to

look closely at the group of soldiers depicted on the arch’s righthand

side: in the foreground you can see an African-American

soldier, rarely depicted in Civil War memorials.

Work up an appetite

Grand Army Plaza is also a good place to start a foodie’s

exploration of Prospect Heights, thanks to the popular Saturday

Farmer’s Market. “Provisions are priced higher than neighbourhood

food and drink,” says Ryce-Paul, “but the produce are

just-picked fresh eggs, bakery goods, meat, pickles all arrive

that morning from upstate New York and rural New Jersey.

GrowNYC’s Food Scrap Composting then collects your farmer’s

market food waste to replenish the earth and grow more food.

Closed loop!”

Ryce-Paul and Touron (who’s a former chef) enjoy cooking at

home, with organic produce from the farmer’s market and the

nearby Park Slope Food Co-op. But when they’re in the mood

to eat out, there’s no shortage of options within a few blocks of

their apartment.

“Cheryl’s Global Soul [on Underhill Avenue] is where you must

be first thing on Sunday morning only to discover as you turn

the corner that all of Prospect Heights is there before you for

brunch, no joke.” When she’s in the mood for Caribbean food?

“When you can’t be in Trinidad, you eat at Sugarcane [on Flatbush

Avenue].” And Japanese is a longtime favourite. “Geido [Flatbush

Avenue] does much more than excellent sushi. There is Japanese

home-style donburi, ramen, soba, izakaya and the pickled

vegetables and ginger are some of the best ever.” A few blocks

away, “Chuko [Vanderbilt Avenue] is radicalising

vintage Japanese. No sushi here, but you can do a

side-by-side tasting test of traditional versus avantgarde

Japanese culinary delights.”

When the weather is hot? Ryce-Paul strolls

over to nearby Crown Heights and Island Pops

[Nostrand Avenue], run by Trinis Khalid and Shelly

Hamid. “Boozy lollies, snowcone, Mackeson

chocolate or orange bitters ice-cream . . . The other

day, in a Guinness caramel ice-cream delirium, I

dreamed pennacool on the menu.”

Green days

Manhattan’s Central Park is world-famous, but

true Brooklynites will tell you that was merely

Olmsted’s warm-up for his true masterpiece,

Prospect Park, with its rolling Long Meadow, a

rugged forested section called The Ravine, and

lake and boathouse. That’s the place to “make

friends with the greedy swans and wild geese,”

says Ryce-Paul, while in the summertime Breezy

Hill is where you’ll find the collection of trendy

food trucks called Smorgasburg.

But her number-one spot for relaxing outdoors

is the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, tucked between

Prospect Park and the Brooklyn Museum.

Founded in 1910, it boasts a celebrated Japanese

Felix Lipov/Shuterstock.com

Left The bronze sculptures

on the triumphal arch in Grand

Army Plaza include a depiction

of an African-American soldier

Opposite page Springtime in

the Brooklyn Botanic Garden:

cherry trees in bloom

96 WWW.CARIBBEAN-BEAT.COM


NattyC/Shutterstock.com

Garden, a collection of plants inspired by Shakespeare’s plays

and poems, and an esplanade of cherry trees that turns into a

rioting froth of pink blossoms in the spring. When it’s cold, the

tropical greenhouse with cocoa and coffee trees, heliconias,

and even a mango tree remind Ryce-Paul of home. “Then

there is the racoon tree, where we have, over many years, seen

new little families emerge from a hole in the trunk.”

Culture-hopping

The Brooklyn Academy of Music (or BAM) in Fort Greene a

short journey north from Prospect Heights by subway or even

on foot is one of NYC’s most innovative performing arts

venues, with a year-round programme including theatre, opera,

and film. “A prominent start to the summer is Dance Africa,”

says Ryce-Paul, “which is as much a community celebration as

a presentation of the dance arts of the African diaspora. In the

autumn, there is the Next Wave Festival” twelve weeks of

groundbreaking performances “and the BAM Rose Cinema

screens new and emerging films.”

Prospect Heights is also home to two small but beloved

independent bookshops “thriving despite the relentless

charge from characterless retail that sells everything and

leaves you empty.” Café con Libros [on Prospect Place] is

a feminist community bookstore, “really just an extension

of home, when you invite friends over. Warm, intellectually

stimulating, human.” Three blocks over, Unnameable Books

[Vanderbilt Avenue] “passes under the radar until you know it

and it knows you then there is no reason to buy a book from

Amazon, ever again.” One friend who visits Brooklyn annually

is notorious for leaving Unnameable with a stack of at least a

dozen books, every time.

Caribbean Airlines operates several flights daily to

New York City’s John F. Kennedy International Airport

from Trinidad, Guyana, and Jamaica, with connections to

other Caribbean destinations

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97


home ground

Home to

Antigua

Returning to Antigua after eight years,

Bridget van Dongen couldn’t wait to reexperience

the sights and delights of the

island she’s come to call home. Here’s her

itinerary for a mini-vacation that shows

you Antigua at its best

Eight years ago, I took a chance, and moved with my family from

Antigua to Trinidad. Two months ago, we came back home.

While I wasn’t born in Antigua, I lived here for twelve years from

the age of twenty-four. I met my husband here, and our daughter

was born in Antigua. I became a naturalised citizen. We had a

mostly good life with problems here and there.

So why did I leave? This magazine is one reason during my eight years

in Trinidad I was part of the editorial team for Caribbean Beat. But I never

stopped thinking of Antigua as home and, eventually, I decided the life I

wanted for my family was here. The very day we returned, I knew we’d made

the right decision. Since being back, we’ve won a pub quiz, had a curry lime for

old friends, and I had the chance to play tourist with my friend Nikita, visiting

from New York, which helped me to re-acquaint myself with my home.

On Nikita’s first day here, we started with a drive around the island. Starting

from Halcyon Heights, on the hill above Dickenson Bay, we drove through

the outskirts of St John’s, the capital, down to Jolly Harbour, on the west coast.

Antigua’s recently had a lot of rain, according to my friends, so the countryside

is lovely and green, with thousands of pale yellow butterflies everywhere. At

Jolly Harbour we stopped for our first dip in the sea. The colour of the sea on

that side of the island ranges from bright turquoise blue to a milky teal colour

when the groundswells stir up the powder-white

sand. Nikita wanted to stop and relax, and it was

tempting, but I was on a mission. I wanted to get

to Falmouth Harbour by lunchtime, as there was a

specific place I’d been dying to visit.

But first there was the drive around the south

end of Antigua. We drove past Darkwood Beach

and remarked that we had to come back to try

the Swash Inflatable Water Park, anchored just

offshore. Then we turned through Urlings and

Old Road, stopping to purchase some bananas

and what is still, to me, the sweetest pineapple

in the world, the Antiguan Black. Old Road joins

the main road to English Harbour at Swetes, right

98 WWW.CARIBBEAN-BEAT.COM


mbrand85/Shutterstock.com

in front of the church of Our Lady of Perpetual

Hope painted Pepto-Bismol pink, an unmissable

landmark.

Cresting Horsford Hill, we finally saw the

magnificent vista of Falmouth Harbour with its

yachts at anchor, a sight I’d really missed. As we

descended to the coast, I told Nikita about the

time, many years ago, when a hurricane caused a

landslide on that very hill, which everyone around

pitched in to help clear including my friend

Caroline and me. A few years ago, Caroline and

her husband Simon opened Papa’s by the Sea in

Falmouth, with a beautiful setting right on the

water. The beer was ice-cold and our lunch was

delicious. When I remarked on the irony of a New

Yorker ordering a roti from a British chef in Antigua,

Nikita just kept chewing.

Leaving Falmouth, we drove past Willoughby

Bay, through Bethesda. Apparently eight

years away means misremembering certain

roads, as I’d intended to navigate us to Devil’s

Bridge, but we ended up instead on the road past

Potswork Dam, the largest water catchment in

Antigua. When I realised we’d taken a wrong turn,

I rang my friend who runs PAAWS, an animal

rescue organisation, in Parham a village with

a history as Antigua’s first British colonial capital,

The view down to English

Harbour

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99


BANANA PANCAKE/Alamy Stock Photo

Cresting Horsford Hill, we finally saw the

magnificent vista of Falmouth Harbour with its

yachts at anchor, a sight I’d really missed

founded in 1632. Nikita loves animals, and PAAWS

allows visitors to the island the opportunity to play

with the rescues. We spent a bittersweet half hour

playing with puppies and dogs, and lamenting that

we couldn’t take them all home with us.

On our way home, we hit up Dickenson Bay

which, since I left, has become even more commercialised,

with nearly every inch covered in beach

chairs to rent. But that doesn’t take away from the

loveliness of the water. So while Nikita enjoyed

himself on a jet-ski and paddle board, I took a

swim: the way every day in Antigua ought to end.

The next day was dive day. Nikita is an

avid scuba diver. He’s dived all over the

Caribbean, from Mexico to the Dominican

Republic to Tobago so there’s no way he would

have missed out on Antigua.

We booked a dive with Indigo Divers in Jolly

Harbour. Don McIntosh is an old friend, and he

invited me to join them on a two-tank dive on

Cades Reef, off the southwest coast. The last

time I’d dived was in Tobago, where I was a little

disappointed with the day’s murky conditions.

Cades Reef was a different story: the water clarity

was amazing, and we saw a wide variety of

fish and coral. I thought we’d spot more lionfish,

but we glimpsed only one, which our divemaster

tried to spear, but just missed. She told us that

because divers often kill the lionfish a harmful

invasive species and leave them for other fish

100 WWW.CARIBBEAN-BEAT.COM


nikita prokhorov

to eat, there are often black-tipped sharks hanging

around the dive sites, but we weren’t lucky

enough to see one. I did, however, manage to

brush up against some fire coral. In all my years of

living in the Caribbean and exploring its waters,

I’d successfully avoided a close encounter with

fire coral, and I’m glad because weeks later my

arm was still enflamed and itching.

The next few days were beach days, including

that promised visit to the Swash Water Park. It’s

a great way to tire out over-energetic kids (and

adults). I was exhausted within fifteen minutes, but

my daughter and Nikita had a blast for a full hour.

We also hosted a housewarming curry lime

for a few friends, with lots of beer, rum, and

laughter and, of course, a Trinidadian chicken

curry cooked by my husband. In true smallisland

fashion, I’d contacted someone on Facebook

for something totally unrelated, and when I

mentioned we’d be visiting Roti King in St John’s

for the dhalpuri, this total stranger mentioned

that his Guyanese mother made roti also. While

it wasn’t quite as good as the ones from Ali’s in

St James in Trinidad sorry, mom! it still

mopped up that delicious curry and everyone

loved the meal.

Opposite page The

Copper and Lumber

Store, one of the historic

buildings in Nelson’s

Dockyard

Above The Pillars of

Hercules

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101


Two days before Nikita flew back to New

York, we took another trip around the

island, this time by sea. Adventure Antigua

offers various boat tours, but my favourite has

always been the Xtreme Circumnav. The staff

on the boat were super-friendly, though the day

started overcast and slightly chilly. All along the

way, our guides pointed out areas of interest on the

mainland, sharing tidbits of history.

The sun was peeking out by the time we stopped

for lunch at Green Island. The menu was simple

but delectable: barbequed chicken and pasta with

salad, plus, I’m told, the best banana bread in

Antigua. After lunch came a fast run down the east

coast and into English Harbour Antigua’s most

celebrated historical site, and one of only a handful

of working Georgian dockyards left in the world, a

safe haven from storms for centuries. Named for

the Royal Navy’s Admiral Horatio Nelson, who was

stationed here from 1784 to 1787, Nelson’s Dockyard

has a fascinating history, with well-preserved

heritage buildings and a museum.

We kept count of superyachts

and multi-million-dollar homes

on the shore, pretending they

belonged to us. Doesn’t hurt

to dream, right?

Dickenson Bay

Darkwood Beach

Jolly Harbour

St John’s

AntiGua

Rendezvous Bay

Falmouth Harbour

English Harbour

Willoughby Bay

Green Island

After a brief history lesson, we moored off the Pillars of Hercules, an

unusual natural limestone formation at the mouth of English Harbour. It was

time for some snorkelling. By now the sun had fully emerged and the water

had warmed up, so we all stayed in as long as we could. Our last stop before

home was Rendezvous Bay, for rum punch (delicious and quite strong), and

then a run around the southwest coast, back up to Dickenson Bay. Along the

way, we kept count of superyachts and multi-million-dollar homes on the

shore, pretending they belonged to us. Doesn’t hurt to dream, right?

While it was a lot of fun playing tourist, by the time you read this, I’ll have

started a new job (or begged for my old job back at the magazine). My minivacation

was a great reminder why so many people come to Antigua to enjoy

the tourist lifestyle. But when I sip my coffee each morning and look out at the

incredible view from my balcony, I know the decision to move back to Antigua

may have taken a while to make but it’s one I won’t regret.

The delicious view from

Green Island

John King/Alamy Stock Photo

102 WWW.CARIBBEAN-BEAT.COM


C

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104 WWW.CARIBBEAN-BEAT.COM


ENGAGE

Mickyteam/Shutterstock.com

106 Discover

As deep as it goes

110

On This Day

A flag on the island

Hydromedusae jellyfish are among the creatures that inhabit the deep sea, the region below two hundred metres


discover

courtesy NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research

Diva Ammon retrieving a new species

of deep-sea sponge collected from

the Marianas region of the Pacific

As

deep

as it

goes

The deep sea defined as parts of the

ocean below two hundred metres is our

planet’s biggest habitat, and also its least

known. Caribbean islands are surrounded

by the deep sea, but few of our scientists

have the resources to explore the region.

Erline Andrews meets Trinidadian marine

biologist Diva Amon, who’s working to

change that

106 WWW.CARIBBEAN-BEAT.COM



I

went

had a window in my cabin,

to the Antarctic one

year,” says Diva Amon. “I

and I was brushing my teeth

one morning, looking out the

window, and all of a sudden

I just saw this thing go by. I was, like, ‘What

was that?’”

“I looked out the window,” she continues,

“and there were so many penguins

outside swimming away, doing their

thing. There were penguins around the

ship every day.”

Amon’s job gives her experiences that

are the stuff of dreams and movies. Back

home in Trinidad for the holidays, she’s

seated on the couch in the living room

of her Maraval house, describing life on

board a marine research ship.

“There were humpback whales literally

where that chair is every day,” she

says, pointing. “People don’t get to do that

on a day-to-day basis.”

Amon is the only deep-sea biologist in

the Caribbean which is disturbing, considering

the importance of the deep sea.

More than two hundred metres beneath

the surface of the ocean, pitch black,

high-pressured, and extremely cold, this

region is the earth’s largest habitat, teeming

with life, much of it undiscovered.

It helps regulate the world’s climate

and cycle the nutrients that support the

marine life many people depend on for

their livelihood.

In 2014, Amon was part of a team that

explored the deep sea around the country

of her birth, Trinidad and Tobago, for only

the second time in history. It was the first

time Caribbean scientists were involved.

Caribbean nationals’ lack of involvement

with the depths of the ocean is sadly

ironic, because the history of deep-sea

exploration is intertwined with that of the

Caribbean, T&T in particular.

The first real mission to observe life in

the deep sea was launched off the coast of

Bermuda in 1934. The scientist involved,

American William Beebe, used a spherical

vessel called the Bathysphere, and set

a record at the time for the deepest dive

by a human being. He later founded a

research station in Trinidad, and died and

was buried on the island in 1962.

The expense and expertise needed to

carry out deep-sea exploration are partly

why it’s rare in small, poor countries.

But this makes it no less necessary in

these places than in big, rich countries.

The 2014 expedition on board the

American research ship Nautilus and

using remotely operated vehicles (ROVs)

which carried cameras rather than human

beings to the deep sea explored areas

off the coast of T&T and Grenada over

fourteen days.

A subsequent paper co-authored by

Amon and other members of the team

argued that as oil-and gas-producing T&T

moves towards deep-sea drilling, it is

necessary to try to better understand the

possible impact of such activity on that

environment. The expedition also looked

at parts of Grenada’s Kick ’em Jenny, the

only active underwater volcano in the

Caribbean, which scientists are anxious

to learn more about.

At the Trinidad sites, the expedition

found more than eighty species of animal,

including five that were newly discovered,

and unusually large mussels and tube

worms. In a video about the experience,

Trinidadian marine biologist and UWI

lecturer Judith Gobin, who helped organise

the trip, held a sub-sandwich-sized

mussel that she said was the largest ever

found. “We don’t do deep-sea research in

the Caribbean, because nobody will fund

it at the moment, but Diva and I are trying

to change that,” Gobin says.

The creatures were found around

areas called cold seeps, where methane

sprouts from cracks in the sea floor

and feeds the bacteria that sustain the

deep-sea food chain. Cold seeps are

associated with petroleum deposits.

Previous research suggests there may be

as many as eighty-five off the east coast of

Trinidad alone. “This should be something

we’re proud of,” says Amon. “Just

like we’re proud of our Caroni Swamp

and the beautiful birds that live there, and

the important role that mangroves play. It

should be the same for the deep sea.

“There are so many species there,”

she adds, “probably loads that are new to

science, some that could have properties

that could help us at some point in the

future. Apart from all that, they’re just

incredibly beautiful.”

Amon, now thirty-one, traces her

own interest in the sea back to

her early childhood. “My parents

took me to the beach all the time, and I just

became fascinated with the ocean,” she

says. Amon, her father, and her younger

sister also sailed competitively.

Her fascination with the marine environment

was reflected in her academic

performance. A graduate of St Joseph’s

Convent in Port of Spain, she earned the

second-highest mark in the world in the

Cambridge A-level geography exam. She

“Because the deep ocean has been so far

removed from the average person . . . next to

no one knows that deep-sea mining is on the

horizon,” says Diva Ammon

was awarded a national scholarship and

studied at the University of Southampton,

where she learned about the deep sea for

the first time.

Over her career, Amon has taken part

in fifteen deep-sea expeditions, eight of

them in the Caribbean and its environs.

Most of the explorations were conducted

using ROVs. Three times she descended

the depths herself in machines called submersibles.

On every trip, she and other

researchers have discovered new animals

and information about the deep sea.

Amon is currently on a fellowship at

the Natural History Museum in London.

Before that, she was one of a team of scientists

exploring the Clarion-Clipperton

Zone (CCZ), a 4.5 million-square-kilo-

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107


Descending into the depths in the

submersible Nadir, off the St Peter

and St Paul Rocks in the mid-Atlantic,

off the coast of Brazil

Courtesy Novus Select

metre stretch of the Pacific Ocean under

international jurisdiction. Corporations

are eager to begin mining the deep sea

for precious metals found mainly around

structures called hydrothermal vents.

Like cold seeps, the vents are formed

from chemical-rich fluid escaping fissures

in the sea floor, and they support

immense biodiversity. The International

Seabed Authority is currently coming up

with mining rules and regulations. Amon

and other scientists were hired by one

British company to find out as much as

they could about the marine life and their

habitats in the zone.

“Because the deep ocean has been so

far removed from the average person, that

out-of-sight, out-of-mind characteristic

means that next to no one knows that

deep-sea mining is on the horizon, that

our oceans may be changed irreparably in

the future, and it can change our environment

irrevocably,” she says.

It’s a major story, with Amon quoted in

a slew of media reports over the last year.

And the prominence of voices like Amon’s

is important.

Caribbean nationals’ lack of involvement with the

depths of the ocean is sadly ironic, because the

history of deep-sea exploration is intertwined

with that of the Caribbean, T&T in particular

“Because only rich, developed countries

are able to do deep-sea science,

it means that the deep-sea community

is predominantly white,” she explains.

“Now there’s this global conversation

about managing and conserving our

oceans, and many people are missing

from that conversation.”

So Amon has conceived a venture

called My Deep Sea, My Backyard a oneyear

project that provides scientists in

Kiribati (a small Pacific island nation) and

T&T with deep-sea research cameras,

ROVs, and training in how to use them.

It exposes the public, especially kids, to

the wonders of the deep sea around their

home islands. The project is sponsored

by the National Geographic Society,

the Inter-American Development Bank,

the University of the West Indies, and

other organisations, and is working in

conjunction with SpeSeas, an NGO Amon

co-founded last year with other T&T

scientists and environmentalists.

“We hope we will take everything

we’ve learned in the year the project runs

for all the good and all the bad and

make a model that can then be rolled

out to other developing countries,” says

Amon, who was given the first-ever

Award for Excellence in Deep-Sea

Research from the International Seabed

Authority last year.

The project, Amon says, is really

about showing young people “you can do

this too. Anybody can, if given the right

resources.” n

108 WWW.CARIBBEAN-BEAT.COM


HELP PROTECT THE FOOD SUPPLY AND

NATURAL BEAUTY OF THE CARIBBEAN

Declare

Agricultural

Items

1

3

2

6

4 5

7 8

.com

9 10 11

12 13 14 15

16 17 18

19

20 21

22

23

24 25 26

27

29

U.S. Department of Agriculture

U.S. Customs and Border Protection

Caribbean Plant Health Directors Forum

28

ACROSS

3. The chosen spokesperson for the Don’t Pack a

Pest program.

6. Pests and disease can be transported through

_______.

9. U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP)

conduct inspections at various _______ of entry

that are pathways for the introduction of pests and

disease.

11. Unsuspecting _______ bring in food, plants

and other agricultural items containing harmful

pests and diseases.

12. Approximately 50,000 species of plants and

animals have _______ the United States.

14. Any good that is made from animal or plant

materials is an _______ item.

16. Passenger _______ is a critical component of

the Don’t Pack a Pest program.

17. Visit DontPackaPest.com to _______ yourself

on prohibited items.

20. The global economy spends $1.4 trillion

annually combating _______ species.

21. Straw hats and other woven goods can carry

the red palm _______ which causes severe

damage to palms and banana trees.

23. Is the Caribbean spokesperson for the don’t

pack a pest program.

25. A _______ dog is trained to target a specific

odor, thereby locating prohibited items.

26. Unprocessed _______ like carved masks and

other handicrafts can potentially harbor invasive

insects.

27. The Asian citrus psyllid is a vector that

carries huanglongbing, also known as _______

greening disease and arrived in the U.S. on

imported items.

28. Help _______ our food supply.

29. Each year these types of pests destroy

about 13 percent of the U.S. potential crop

production, that’s a value of about $33 million.

DOWN

1. The giant African land _______ is one of the

most damaging pests in the world because it

consumes at least 500 types of plants, can cause

structural damage, and can transmit disease.

2. Even one piece of _______can transport

harmful pests.

4. If you do not declare agricultural items, you

can be subject to _______ between $1,100 and

$60,000.

5. An invasive species can be any kind of living

organism, or even an organism's seeds or eggsnot

native to an _______ and causes harm.

7. Before traveling with agricultural items you

should ask yourself can I _______ it?

8. _______ all food and agriculture items when

you enter the United States or other countries.

10. Agricultural risks grow with the ever increasing

amount of this.

13. The USDA and state departments of

agriculture work together to _______ introduced

pests.

15. All agricultural items are subject to _______,

to try and detect and prevent the unintentional

spread of harmful invasives.

18. An acronym meaning animal and plant health

inspection service.

19. More that 110 CBP agriculture _______ teams

provide screening for agricultural goods.

22. APHIS and PPQ are acronyms meaning

animal and plant health inspection service

and plant protection and quarantine which are a

part of what U.S. federal department?

24. When you travel please remember Don't

_______ a Pest!

25. On an typical day CBP inspectors will _______

352 pests at U.S. ports of entry and 4,638

quarantinable materials, including plants, meat,

animal byproducts, and soil.

ANSWER KEY

ACROSS 3. Linus 6. travel 9. ports 11. travelers 12. invaded 14. agricultural 16. awareness 17. educate 20. invasive 21. mite 23. Sassy 25. detector 26. wood 27. citrus 28. protect 29. insect

DOWN 1. snail 2. fruit 4. penalties 5. ecosystem 7. bring 8. declare 10. trade 13. eradicate 15. inspection 18. APHIS 19. canine 22. USDA 24. pack 25. discover


on this day

A flag on

the island

Fifty years ago, a British military force

landed on a tiny Caribbean island to

be welcomed with open arms. The

“invasion” of Anguilla was an odd and

maybe anachronistic moment in the

Caribbean’s colonial history but,

James Ferguson suggests, it left

Anguillans with exactly what they

wanted: a version of independence

Illustration by Rohan Mitchell

From Haiti’s revolution of 1791 to the more peaceful mass

movements of the 1930s onwards in the English-speaking colonies,

the modern history of the Caribbean has been determined by a

rejection of foreign rule and a desire for independence. While not

all territories have opted for autonomy, the great majority have,

creating nation states out of colonial dependencies. Few citizens

of the contemporary Caribbean would want to turn the clock back and find

themselves ruled from London or Madrid.

Needless to say, of course, there is always an exception to prove the rule,

and here it takes the form of a direct appeal to the former colonial power to

re-establish control over the territory in question. I can think of only two such

cases in the Caribbean. The first occurred in 1861, when the president of the

Dominican Republic, confronted by political chaos and bankruptcy, asked

Queen Isabella II of Spain to reconvert the country into a Spanish colony after

seventeen years of independence (the US and France had already declined

the offer). It ended messily: after two years of inept and repressive colonial

administration, a popular insurrection turned into guerrilla war, and the Spanish

were finally kicked out for good in 1865.

The second case was much more recent, and featured a tiny, formerly

British colony, best known today for its stunning beaches and luxury resorts:

Anguilla. And this incident bizarrely culminated

fifty years ago, on 19 March, 1969, with a British

military invasion of the island.

Anguilla had long been a remote outpost

among Britain’s Caribbean possessions. Small

and mostly arid, it was not suited to plantationbased

agriculture, and as such had fewer enslaved

Africans than nearby islands. The French made

a couple of half-hearted attempts to seize it, but

the British retained control from its first colonisation

in 1650. Its insignificance was illustrated by

the fact that it was not considered worthy of its

own governor, and was administered first from

Antigua and then, from 1825, from St Kitts. This

arrangement fuelled resentment, as Anguillans

viewed the legislative union as inefficient and discriminatory.

A petition of 1872 requesting direct

rule from London was ignored.

A further cost-cutting exercise in 1882 saw

Anguilla pulled into the three-island union of

St Kitts-Nevis-Anguilla, part of the Leeward

Islands Federation. Nobody, however, thought to

consult the people of Anguilla, who endured great

hardships and mass emigration due to famines and

the shockwaves of the 1930s Great Depression.

The British persisted with the three-island model,

first as a crown colony in 1956 and then as a selfgoverning

associated state in 1967. This effectively

handed over control of Anguilla to the majority

legislators in St Kitts.

This unwanted alignment was to prove a

tipping point in Nevis and Anguilla, which both

viewed themselves as deprived of resources and

development by the biggest of the three islands.

In one instance, Canada had donated funds for

a pier to be built in Anguilla. The money went to

St Kitts, where the pier was duly constructed

instead. The premier of St Kitts-Nevis-Anguilla

was Robert Bradshaw, a tough veteran trade unionist,

who seemingly had little time for Anguilla. “I

will not rest,” he allegedly once said, “until I have

reduced that place to a desert.” Discontent simmered

in Nevis even after the granting of limited

self-rule, but in Anguilla, where no such concession

was made, anger would soon turn into open revolt.

110 WWW.CARIBBEAN-BEAT.COM


Three months after the official celebration of associated statehood in

February 1967, a group of locals ejected seventeen Kittitian policemen

from Anguilla, thereby removing whatever authority Premier Bradshaw

thought he had. A provisional government was formed, the Union Jack was

raised over the police station, and a referendum rather unambiguously recorded

1,813 votes in favour of secession from the new state and five against. Attempts

were made by Britain to resolve the impasse, but most Anguillans remained

resolutely opposed to rule from St Kitts. Robert Bradshaw, meanwhile, furious

that a group of Anguillans had staged an abortive kidnapping attempt on him,

claimed that Anguilla had been infiltrated by the US mafia, and demanded that

Britain invade and stop the secession movement.

An air of farce was rapidly surrounding proceedings when another

overwhelming referendum result was followed by Anguilla declaring itself

an independent republic, with Ronald Webster as its leader. This prompted a

visit on 11 March, 1969, from a British junior minister, William Whitlock, in

search of an “interim agreement.” His mission was not a success. He snubbed

Webster and patronised those who had turned out to greet him by having

his staff distribute leaflets outlining British proposals in the words of a

local journalist, “as a farmer might throw corn to fowl.” After a few armed

supporters of Webster turned up, Whitlock decided to call it a day and flee.

With Anguilla now a rogue state, it faced the military might of imperial

Britain, which arrived eight days later in the form of 135 troops from

2nd Battalion, the Parachute Regiment, and forty Metropolitan Police

officers. Disembarking into smaller vessels from a frigate (there was,

of course, no pier) in the pre-dawn darkness,

they were momentarily alarmed

to see flashes coming from the beach.

But these were not gunshots, but

the flash bulbs of photographers,

many foreign, who had been

tipped off about the “invasion”

named Operation Sheepskin.

In fact, there was no resistance whatsoever, not

least because the return of the British was precisely

what the Anguillans wanted. The paratroopers

were soon replaced by unarmed personnel from

the Royal Engineers. One policeman recalled,

“The vast majority of Anguillans were very nice

to us and we very quickly dispensed with carrying

arms and reverted to our more normal situation

that of being Bobbies, policing by consent.” Many

could not believe their luck at being posted to this

friendly, if undeveloped, island.

The incident was widely mocked around

the world as the ailing British Empire’s “Bay of

Piglets.” But the people of Anguilla were to have

the last laugh. In 1976 the island was given its

own constitution, and on 19 December, 1980, it

was formally separated from St Kitts-Nevis as a

British dependency, a status it retains today

renamed as a British overseas territory. The

Anguillans finally achieved their aim and,

into the bargain, the massive infrastructural

improvements carried out by the Royal

Engineers and largely paid for by London paved

the way for the island’s transformation from

an impoverished backwater into today’s

tourist mecca. n

With Anguilla now

a rogue state, it

faced the military

might of imperial

Britain, which

arrived in the form

of 135 troops from

2nd Battalion,

the Parachute

Regiment, and forty

Metropolitan Police

officers

WWW.CARIBBEAN-AIRLINES.COM

111


puzzles

1 2 3 4 5 6 7

Caribbean Crossword

8 9

Across

8 She keeps up the pace for twenty-six miles [10]

9 Smaller than small [4]

10 Traditional re-enactment on Trinidad’s Carnival

Friday [9]

11 Yes, that suitcase is mine! [5]

13 Country occupied by settlers [6]

14 A charitable gift [8]

15 Tending to intrude [8]

18 Imaginary demons [6]

20 Marine species bad for coral reefs [8]

23 The Caribbean’s ballet capital [6]

25 Rascal or scoundrel [5]

26 Underwater vehicle [9]

28 Galvanised metal [4]

29 Fleshy-leaved plants [10]

Down

1 Little biscuit made with ground almonds [8]

2 This grass grows as tall as a tree [6]

3 Runny eyes [6]

4 Bare a horse [8]

5 That was another time [3]

6 Fit for the track [8]

7 Deep blue grows on trees [6]

12 Not for but against [4]

16 I declare [8]

10 11

13 14

15 16 17 18 19

20 21 22 23 24

25 26

27

28 29

17 Bird of scarlet reputation [4]

19 Worth more than the paper it’s printed on [8]

21 Reminds you of something famous [6]

22 Meaty loin [6]

23 Made you laugh [6]

24 Skip these to the chorus [6]

27 How you measure your tyre pressure [3]

12

Spot the Difference by Gregory St Bernard There are 13 differences between these two pictures.

How many can you spot?

Spot the Difference answers

Chequered flag is narrower; black and white squares on flag are swapped; horns of old goat in red vest are longer; “AT” printed on old goat’s vest

is changed to “4”; hair of female goat in pink shorts is longer; female goat’s top is longer; red balisier plant is added to background; running goat’s

pants are shorter; grass in running goat’s mouth is shorter; running goat’s necklace is removed; right pincer of blue crab with trophy is raised; blue

crab’s glasses are removed; purple crab with red sneakers is replaced by red crab with purple sneakers.

112 WWW.CARIBBEAN-BEAT.COM


Antarctic

arranger

biennial

Bolshoi

cassava

crab

creek

depression

dive

drum

dumpling

Easter

Giselle

granite

Holi

kite

Word Search

mas

mussel

Panorama

panyard

parakeet

pier

pineapple

poet

prima donna

queen

script

slipper

soca

tenor

torso

vent

B Q X P A N O R A M A O M Z E

S O C A O S L I P P E R A H Z

R P L H O L I D U M P L I N G

G R B S P A R A K E E T M A S

D I K H H T E N O R A A U S P

E M A I P O M D I V E R S C G

P A P N T I I V A T E R S R R

R D A M T E N S Q T D A E I A

E O N G L A S E S Q R N L P N

S N Y T I A R A A F U G P T I

S N A O C S E C C P M E I B T

I A R R G V E N T R P R E U E

O B D S N D K L N I A L R N L

N S P O E T F G L W C B E C N

X B I E N N I A L E C R E E K

Sudoku

Caribbean Beat Magazine

Medium 9x9 sudoku puzzle

Sudoku 9x9 - Puzzle 4 of 5 - Medium

Caribbean Beat Magazine

Hard 6x6 mini sudoku puzzle

Sudoku 6x6 - Puzzle 3 of 5 - Hard

by www.sudoku-puzzle.net

Fill the empty square with numbers

from 1 to 9 so that each row, each

column, and each 3x3 box contains

all of the numbers from 1 to 9. For

the mini sudoku use numbers from

1 to 6.

If the puzzle you want to do

has already been filled in, just

ask your flight attendant for a new

copy of the magazine!

2 7 1 5

5 6

8 6 2 3

5 2 7 3 6

8 2

3 4 8 9 1

1 9 7 5

7 4

6 3 5 9

www.sudoku-puzzles.net

4

5

2 1

3 2 6

1 2 3

1

www.sudoku-puzzles.net

www.sudoku-puzzle.net

Solutions

Caribbean Crossword

Word Search

Sudoku

Mini Sudoku

Sudoku 6x6 - Solution 3 of 5 - Hard

Sudoku 9x9 - Solution 4 of 5 - Medium

2 4 3 6 5 1

6 1 5 4 3 2

6 2 4 7 3 1 8 5 9

5 1 3 8 9 4 2 7 6

9 7 8 6 5 2 3 4 1

B Q X P A N O R A M A O M Z E

1 5 9 2 7 3 4 6 8

4 8 7 5 1 6 9 2 3

2 3 6 4 8 9 7 1 5

3 4 1 9 6 7 5 8 2

7 9 5 1 2 8 6 3 4

8 6 2 3 4 5 1 9 7

www.sudoku-puzzles.net

S O C A O S L I P P E R A H Z

R P L H O L I D U M P L I N G

G R B S P A R A K E E T M A S

4 2 6 3 1 5

3 5 1 2 6 4

1 6 4 5 2 3

5 3 2 1 4 6

www.sudoku-puzzles.net

M

8

C

10

M

1

B

2

R

3

C E I H R S E

U

4

A R A T H O N E R 9 T I N Y

I N C 29 S U C C U L E N T S

C M E S A H D

A N B O U L A Y 11 C L A I M

E

5

A

6

7

I

D I K H H T E N O R A A U S P

E M A I P O M D I V E R S C G

C

13

I

15

R O M D 12 A E G

O L O N Y 14 D O N A T I O N

O L T I

N V 16 17

18

A S I V E I

N C U B

19 I

L

20

I

21

N B A

O N F I S H

22 H

23 A 24 V A N A

R

25

C O S A U E K

O G U E 26 S U B M A R I N E

N N 27 P N O S O

Z

28

X B I E N N I A L E C R E E K

N S P O E T F G L W C B E C N

P A P N T I I V A T E R S R R

R D A M T E N S Q T D A E I A

E O N G L A S E S Q R N L P N

S N Y T I A R A A F U G P T I

S N A O C S E C C P M E I B T

I A R R G V E N T R P R E U E

O B D S N D K L N I A L R N L

Caribbean Beat Magazine

WWW.CARIBBEAN-AIRLINES.COM

Caribbean Beat Magazine

113


90% (2019 year-to-date: 6 February)


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(local); 1 868 625 6200 (Trinidad)

Ticket Office: Paramaribo Express, N.V. Wagenwegstraat

36, Paramaribo

Baggage: + 597 325 437


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OR

In preparation

for your flight

Download

Get our free

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before you travel,

available via the Google

Play Store and Apple

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classic

Running

commentary

James Hackett

Kellie Magnus describes the soundtrack

to a Kingston run first published in our

March/April 2006 issue

Every great run has a soundtrack.

When I first fell in love with running,

it was scored by my favourite

songs. In those pre-iPod days, I ran

with a CD belt, so each run took on the

mood of whatever album I grabbed

on the way out the door. Saucy, tempo runs to Carlos

Santana. Slow, contemplative runs to Monty Alexander.

Speedwork to a medley of old funk jams.

But then I decided to train for the New York City

Triathlon, a road race with a strict no-music policy.

I tuned in to a completely different soundtrack

the sound of my feet hitting the pavement, the

rhythm of my own breathing.

When I lived in Manhattan, my running

soundtrack was mostly of my own making, save for

the occasional honk of a car horn, the dreaded sound

of a faster runner’s footsteps coming up behind me

or, worse, the shout of “On your left” as he or she

went by. I ran mostly in Central Park or on the West

Side Path, where my usual eight-minute-mile pace

attracted no attention and gave me enough chances

to yell my own gleeful “On your left.”

Now I live and run in Kingston. And there’s a

whole new soundtrack to get used to.

“Yes, Fitness.”

“Gwan through, Veronica.”

“Lawd Jesus. Done now, man. You a go run off

the good batty weh God give you.”

I’m running laps in Kingston’s Emancipation

Park when I realise the commentary is directed at

me. I am not a morning person, and I hate to run

on a treadmill. I like to run at night to purge the

day’s drama from my body. And I like to run alone.

If I could, I’d run on the street, but the first time I

tried this, at dusk one evening, my intended long

run turned into speedwork as a madman chased me

down Constant Spring Road. That leaves me with

Emancipation Park a flat, paved, five-hundredmetre

loop that stays open till 11 pm, and comes

with ample lighting and a pool of commentators

who would do well on the European circuit.

Most of my fellow park users turn out for a walk. Young couples stroll arm

in arm. Groups of friends walk briskly. There are usually just a few joggers,

and very few women run. I rarely hear threatening footsteps, but the commentary

comes in a steady torrent. Respect, concern, even anger the comments

are as varied as the people who deliver them.

“Looking good, my girl.”

“Yow, da gyal yah can run.”

“She nuh hah nuh man? If she did have a man, she wouldn’t a run so.”

At first the commentary threw me off. I ran with a hat pulled low over my

face, no matter how late it was, and I would slow down apologetically to pass

walkers. Now that I’ve tuned in to it, I use it to gauge how well I’m doing. On

a slow day, I attract no attention. On average days, I get a nod and a “Yes,

Runner.” There’s a simplicity and an elegance to “Runner.” It used to be my

favourite title until one fast Friday night, when I was upgraded to “Runnist.”

I could go back to running with music, but I’ve grown accustomed to the

unpredictability of my very own Greek chorus. Like the perfect dancehall

song, their rapid-fire delivery and lyrical dexterity ride the rhythm of my

breathing and footfalls. Sometimes I struggle to keep my form, as on a recent

Sunday afternoon when I ran by a bridal party posing for pictures.

Bridesmaid 1: She nuh know seh if she run so fast she a go tired.

Bridesmaid 2: If you did do likkle a dat, you frock wouldn’ tight so.

One evening during the World Championships I was running in a yellow

tank and black shorts, a hastily borrowed green scrunchie in my hair. I ran by

a group of elderly women walking.

“Poor soul, she mussi never make the team.”

Late one Monday night, I’m on mile seven of an eight-mile run when I hear

footsteps. I look over my shoulder and see a blond man, mid-forties, bearing

down on me. His gait and pace tell me he’s a runner. His presence in this park

tells me he’s a tourist. I pull to the right to let him pass but as he goes by I

change my mind and adjust my pace to stay just off his left shoulder.

We pass a group of four men walking.

“She keeping up with him.”

I pass the tourist. He passes me. I stay off his shoulder. Three loops later,

we pass the men in the same spot.

“Stay with him, my girl.” It is whispered urgently, as though there were a

stake in the outcome.

A thousand metres later, I am still off the tourist’s shoulder. I am at the end of

my planned run. I am tired. But I look up and see the group of men just ahead.

I mutter “Left,” and pull by. Neither the tourist nor his legs answer.

I sprint by the group.

“Yes, my girl. Show him, yes.”

“Show him seh is Jamaica him deh.” n

120 WWW.CARIBBEAN-BEAT.COM


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