Archives For trinidad

I’m fascinated by the media. I have been and continue to be a consumer, albeit in a more selective manner now than ever before. I have been a contributor of both advertising and editorial content.

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The Savannah is the centre of attention in the week of Carnival, but unless you’re an ardent jogger or use it as a roundabout, it goes completely unnoticed for most of the year.

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how low can we go?

September 1, 2011 — 1 Comment

As an expat, I was trying to avoid making a public comment on the state of emergency in Trinidad. I’m not there, haven’t been there for a while, so I have no real concept of what’s going on a daily basis.

And here comes the ‘but’

One of the things I’ve always been proud of is good or ill you can say your piece and they’re always people who would. You don’t have to like them or what they were saying but they could and often times did.

In 2003 Trinidad was tied for 5th with Denmark in the World Press Freedom index and it was moment of true pride for me. Since then we’ve consistently slid down the ladder and in the 2010 index, we lay sandwiched between Latvia and Poland in 30th.

To compile this index, Reporters Without Borders prepared a questionnaire with 43 criteria that assess the state of press freedom in each country. It includes every kind of violation directly affecting journalists (such as murders, imprisonment, physical attacks and threats) and news media (censorship, confiscation of newspaper issues, searches and harassment). And it includes the degree of impunity enjoyed by those responsible for these press freedom violations.

Worldwide Press Freedom Index 2010
How the index was compiled

I thought I would be content to keep my mouth closed and let the state of emergency pass and for the government to realise what an abject failure that particular exercise was until this showed up in my news feed. Really, we’re keeping company with Egypt and China? For all the wrong reasons no less? Drafting legislation to deal with the regulation and monitoring of social media? Have these people been paying attention? What kind of backward, ignorant, clueless thinking is that? Oh wait, it’s the same kind of thinking that brought the state of emergency into play in the first place.

fun in the sun

June 25, 2009 — 1 Comment

good times, good people, good food, good music. everything you need for a good vacation

i’m in trinidad for a week, primarily for this reason:

My first born

My first born

father/daughter dance

father/daughter dance

there and back again

December 5, 2007 — Leave a comment

i’m back. safely and in one piece. been back since friday, just haven’t got the motivation to write anything before today.

as much as i generally dislike american, i have to say i was impressed, all my flights were early. don’t know if it’s the days i flew but we left on time and arrived early. although flying through MIA, i’m not sure how much of a blessing that is. 

miami international airport is one of the worst airports i’ve ever been in. classing it with third world airports would be an insult to those airports. it’s grimy, it’s hot, even at night and you’re hard pressed to find a power outlet. that may be my own pet peeve, but how the hell could you not have a power outlet at the gate of an international flight?

trinidad was… wow. too many cars, not enough roads. so much construction. i vaguely remember the oil boom of the late 70s, early 80s and the behaviour seems very reminiscent of those halcyon days, but we all remember how those ended. 

thank you all for you condolences.

on the road again

November 26, 2007 — Leave a comment

i’m heading to trinidad tomorrow afternoon. and there can be only one reason for such a sudden trip. 

interestingly i’m not as freaked out or stressed as when my mother called last week. even my mother seem calmer, 90 plus years is a long and fruitful rally and my grandmother told my mother she was tired. i guess she was ready to move on. i can only hope i’ll live as long as she did. in her lifetime she’s travelled by horse drawn cart, train, automobile and airplane, been witness to the two world wars, communicated via mail, phone and electronically. she had an amazing life and i’m proud to be her grandson. i have her stories to pass on and in that small way i can keep her alive.

i`ve always know that Trinidadians were copy cats but the incident in Port of Spain yesterday is incredibly saddening for me. not necessarily because i thought that Trinidad was immune to terrorism, i mean we`ve had armed insurrection before. we`re generally laid back as a people but there`s always been a breaking point.

but there are marked differences between insurrection, terrorism and a prank gone throughly awry. and from all indications it appears that yesterday`s… i don`t even have words for it, in Port of Spain may have been a prank that went heniously wrong. there is no rhyme or reason for it. compounding this are the idiots that are crying wolf and wasting the resources of the minimally trained police and emergency services by calling in bomb threats.

this is not a slight to many of the people who choose to protect and serve in Trinidad, but the percentage of people who join the police and armed forces out of a desire to make a difference as opposed to not having any other options and seeing an opportunity for a steady paycheque and get off on the power trip are slim.

the fact that one of my daughters was in Port of Spain less than three blocks away still has my stomach in knots. some of it is fear but most of it a bubbling rage that someone would dare to put my child in danger for what is most likely a prank. i understand that there are people injured and thankfully no one is dead; yet. but i`m mostly blind to that because this is my child.

when i was 14 i expressed an interesting in joining the priesthood. the priest i expressed that desire to, said the day i became a priest the earth would open up and swallow my parish.

i suppose i should quantify his response, before i expressed my desire to join the priesthood, i was commenting on what a cushy gig it seemed like; your choice of the ladies, free room and board and a car; i was thinking practically. some years later he and i had an opportunity to converse and he asked me if i was still interested in joining the clergy, but by that time i was completely disenchanted with the church. strangely, `our` new pope leaves me with the same bitter aftertaste i had when i abandoned the church.

growing up in Trinidad, i got a radically different perspective on Catholicism. i grew with a local archbishop and mass in English, even the hymnal was filled with songs written for us, by us. there wasn`t a church choir worth its salt without a pannist and a rhythm section. the church was us and we were the church and part of that was the fact we lived in a plural society.

our nation`s motto is every creed and race find an equal place and at least on the surface it applies. there are Christians of every denomination, Muslims, Hindus and if at no other time, we appreciate each other for the holidays. we celebrate, Christmas, Divali and Eid off the top, plus a bunch of others in between. we don`t have a large Jewish community otherwise they would be in the mix as well.

my point in all of this; the new thrust of the papacy seems geared towards extremism and exclusion which will continue to push more and more people away from the church.

next week is carnival in Trinidad. actually as we speak frenzied preparations are ongoing, there are fetes every night this week leading up to the two day orgy of excess that carnival is. by this time next week, the streets will be swept and the penitent will be lining in churches all over the country to receive their ashes.

and i`m missing it.

well i`m not really missing it, i think i`m missing the idea of being in Trinidad for carnival, particularly since this is the second successive one and at the rate the USCIS does things it may be at least two more years before i get to experience another.

it`s not like there are new things to be experienced. i`ve been involved in carnival in one form or another since i could walk. my mother; surprise of surprises; used to be this huge carnival junkie and every year, we`d pack  the Mini full of food early on J`ouvert morning to watch ole mas and the other J`ouvert competitions, on Tuesday the process would be repeat for the `pretty` mas only this would be an all day event. i can`t remember if my mother was responsible for my school bring out a band or if there was one before that and she just took charge, but every year of my primary school education the weekends before the actual two days of carnival were filled with various children`s parades. in my high school years i wasn`t a direct participant, i would accompany my mother reluctantly to go see the parade of the bands but i was really interested.

after high school however, i discovered the joys of mas making and mas camps and helped make costumes. i also discovered the joys of feteing and actually playing mas as adult. i`ve partied the entire week before carnival, followed a band around just for the music for two days, followed a band around for the sole purpose of taking photos, built an ubiquitous carnival magazine, slept through j`ouvert, worked during carnival while people were feteing outside.

i really have been there and done that and got the t-shirt, so there is nothing specifically that i`m missing besides the ability to decide how involved i want to be this year.