Posts Tagged ‘trinidad guardian


The Last Day of Christmas

I love Christmas.  Even though I don’t get to do all that I’d like to do, its always been a special time of the year for me.  Its the music on the radio…  The cleaning…  The shopping… The preparation… The anticipation…   The gift-giving…  The gift-receiving!

Too bad it only lasts for 12 days…

As Christmas comes to a close, I just want to share some of our local (Trinbagonian) Christmas traditional music: Parang.

parang performance

Parang performers... performing! (Image taken from the Trinidad Guardian)

Here are some performances from the 2009 National Parang Champs – Los Alumnos de San Juan – that I was able to capture while attending the 1st annual “Jazzang” (a mashup of the words “Jazz” & “Parang”).   Hosted by the Jazz Alliance and Phase II Pan Groove (in their panyard) the event was well attended and very enjoyable.  I’m looking forward to attend the next one!

Peace and Rice and ALL the very best for the new year!

Enjoy the videos…


Generation Lion Jouvay

After a five year leave of absence, I decided to play J’Ouvert (pronounced “joo vay”) again this year.

[Go Trinidad&Tobago]

Each year at 4 am on Carnival Monday, Carnival begins under a cloak of darkness. Fuelled by exhilaration and the energetic rhythms of soca music, revellers take to the streets for the predawn party of J’Ouvert.

J’Ouvert from the French ‘jour ouvert’ or ‘day open’ is almost ritualistic in its celebration of the darker elements of the island’s folklore and history. Bathed in chocolate, mud, oil and paint, bands of revellers depict devils, demons, monsters and imps. Choose your medium of expression; J’Ouvert is a time for loosening of inhibitions.

via TRINIDAD & TOBAGO – Carnival.

I chose to play with “Generation Lion”, a band fronted by an old schoolmate of mine, Rubadiri Victor.  “Generation Lion” is the title of a magazine he produces which highlights Trinidad and Tobago’s social, cultural and sporting groundbreakers.  Its the largest glossy magazine in the Caribbean (its usually over 300 pages long), and its in its 4th printing.

Here’s some of the action I encountered on the road…

I’m on my way to get some more Carnival pictures… see you soon!

Peace and Rice,



The Bell Tolls for Thee, CIB

A few years ago, one of my ‘pumpkin-vine’ uncles gave my father a gift of a Clico Investment Bank (aka CIB) clock.  With a modern look, crisp lines, and a clean design, it soon assumed pride of place in our living room.  It replaced our old clock, which we relegated to a back room of the house.

After a while, we realised that its batteries needed to be changed more frequently than the old clock.  There were several times when someone left the house late due to the clock’s lagging.  Once we realised what the deal was, we did our best to ensure that we always had a fresh supply of batteries nearby.

Then, one day, the clock simply stopped working.

My CIB Clock

My CIB Clock

We changed the batteries; bought new ones in case the set we had were bad…  Nothing.

My father asked me to fix the clock.  “Try something… see if you can get it working, or else throw it away.”

“Pops, I’ve tried everything I could think of to get it working again… nothing I do seems to work.”

“Ah, well… it served its time.  Pity, though… it was a good clock.”

I hang the clock up on the back wall.

“You keeping it?”

“Yeah… leave it with me.  I’ll carry it to get fixed or something when I have the time.”

So the old (but still working) clock was restored to its place in the living room, and the CIB clock hung forlornly on the back wall.

Months pass.  Then… this happened:

(video: CL Financial bailout – pt1/3 | The Trinidad Guardian)

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “CL Financial bailout – pt1/3 | The Tr…“, posted with vodpod

CL Financial Bailout Newsday Cover

CL Financial Bailout 4

With all the tension and uncertainty in the air, I decided to carry the clock to get fixed on Saturday.

“How much will you charge me to fix this clock?” I ask, showing the shop attendant the back of the clock.

After inspecting the clockwork mechanism in the back, she says “(TT) $60 (about US$9.50)…  and we’ll replace the entire clock mechanism for you, too.  It needs to change.”

“No problem.  You take LINX?


“Cool… I’ll wait.”  I hand her the clock.

“Oh!” the shop attendant exclaims.  “Its a CIB clock!!!”

“I figured since they needed to fix the company up that it was time I got the clock fixed up too!”

She laughs.  “Yeah… they really need to get that whole money thing sorted out.”

I wait around for awhile, then decide to leave and return later for the clock.

When I get back, the watch repairman hands me the clock.  “The battery leaked out and spoiled the clock.  We put in new clockwork with a new battery.”

“Where’s the old clock mechanism?” I ask.

“I threw it in the bin.  Its of no use”

“Can I get it back?  I want to take a look at it.”

“Sure… its a paper dustbin, so it should still be fairly clean.  Let me put it in a bag for you…”

He takes it out and shows me the stains the battery acids left behind.

“You need to be careful not to let the same thing happen to the new clockwork,” he said sighing. “Change the battery every 3 months.”

“For whatever reason, this clock eats up batteries, and sometimes we only remember to change it when it starts losing time.”

“Hmm… strange.  Anyway, you take care.”

“I will.  You too.”

When I get back home, I show my father the clock, and the old mechanism.

I put the clock back up on the wall…

The one in the back room of the house.

Peace and Rice,



More video on the CLICO takeover, here and here.

Follow the story, here.

Here are some historical tidbits from 2004 on Clico’s moving and shaking.

“Clico invests in art” – Trinidad Guardian Jul 15, 2004

SEC, Clico squabble over ‘energy’. Fight over fund – Trinidad Guardian Jul 17, 2004

“‘Best of times’at Clico’s ammonia plants” – Trinidad Guardian Nov 4, 2004.

“Bank now a subsidiary as Duprey takes Republic” – Trinidad Guardian Nov 16, 2004.

“Duprey has Global plans for Republic” – Trinidad Guardian Nov 18, 2004.

Remember, hindsight is always 20-20.


A Lincoln Moment

Its been a tough time for me, trying to keep up-to-date with all the happenings around the world.  These days with the workload on my plate, I hardly even have time to read the local newspapers, which, if you know me, is something I try to do everyday… at least!

Anyway, yesterday I got a chance to read November 10th’s Trinidad Guardian, where I happened upon this article by local Roman Catholic priest, Fr. Henry Charles.  Fr. Charles graduated from law school a few years ago, and he usually puts an interesting, well researched and written spin on the news of the day.

Last Monday’s column was no different. I’ve copied it here for you to read.  If you click on that last hyperlink, you’ll be taken directly to it.  As per usual, I’ve tried to illustrate the column with appropriate images and hyperlinks.


A Lincoln Moment

by Fr Henry Charles.

Trinidad Guardian, Monday Nov. 10, 2008.

Bounce With The PastIt may be just coincidence that President-elect Barack Obama represented the state of Illinois, the same state as that of Abraham Lincoln, but no politician, black or white, in living memory resembles the great American president as much as he.

During the campaign his opponents strove to make his gift of oratory a liability. Hillary Clinton remarked at one point that while she and John McCain brought experience and achievement to the table, Obama brought a speech.

This denigration of speeches was mind-boggling, when one recalled even such a figure as John Kennedy, but most especially when the giant called Lincoln came to mind. Most people who can recall Lincoln’s Gettysburg address or the second inaugural know little of his programmes or policies, but none can quote either locution without experiencing an immediate elevation of the heart and mind.

Obama may have won the presidency through a disciplined campaign and a comprehensive ground strategy, but in my estimation he won it especially though his words.

Larger Than Life

Lincoln had other speeches, lesser known but no less significant, which addressed divisions as grave as those inherited by Obama—a fact he himself recalled on his victory night. “We are not enemies, but friends,” he said, quoting Lincoln at the close of his first inaugural. “We must not be enemies.”

“Though passion may have strained,” Lincoln went on, “it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every heart and hearthstone all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely as they will be, by the better angels of our nature.”

The immediate context of this appeal was a divided society in the wake of a bloody civil war, but the sentiments speak, as Obama saw, as much to divisions in contemporary America (and we can add) as to many other societies around the globe, including ours. “The better angels of our nature.”

Politicians rarely summon us to the transformation implied in that vision. We are more used to divisions being solidified and exploited. We have become used to having enemies. It is something the global community, and not America alone, is summoned to go beyond. This is surely one of the principal challenges laid down by Obama. Admiration alone is not enough.

McCain attempted to define Obama as a radical in the last days of the campaign, and in a sense he was right. In fact, Obama proposes a change far more radical than McCain and his most diehard supporters could imagine: a transformation. The politics of Obama is the politics of faith in the prospect of democratic renewal; in the dream that divided peoples could unite around common purposes and lower partisan barriers to make possible dramatic shifts in the way a society relates to itself and the world.

We Support HimThe anticipation of a differently-united diverse society was most evident in the character of the celebration that greeted the closing of the polls in California. The power of the moment was something everyone felt, not African-Americans alone. Who would ever have thought to see a day in America when white people would cry with joy over the elevation of a black man? It was a moment of astonishment and vertigo.

For African-Americans though, as Eugene Robinson of the Washington Post reminded, the moment was also personal. Obama is not a president for black Americans but for all Americans. And yet it would be historical myopia of the worst sort not to see in him a miraculous culmination of black hope.

What would Frederick Douglass, WEB De Bois, Booker T Washington, Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth, and The Road to the White HouseMartin Luther King Jr have said, Henry Louis Gates asked, “if they could know what our people had at long last achieved (after) all those slights and rebuffs and recriminations, all those rapes and murders, lynchings and assassinations, all those Jim Crow laws and protest marches, those snarling dogs and bone-breaking water hoses, all those beatings and all those killings, all of those collective dreams deferred…all the unbearable pain of all those tragedies?”

Obama’s victory is not redemption for all this history. It is rather the symbolic culmination of the centuries-long struggle for freedom, the grand achievement of a great collective dream.

People now quote a saying of Robert Kennedy’s that there would be a black president by 2000. According to Gates, the award for prescience goes to Jacob K Javits, a liberal Republican senator from New York. In an essay entitled “Integration from the top down” (with the subtitle “The ultimate colour line”), printed in Esquire magazine in 1958, Javits wrote:

barack-usain-bolt-obama“What manner of man will this be, this possible Negro presidential candidate of 2000? Undoubtedly, he will be well-educated. He will be well-travelled and have a keen grasp of his country’s role in the world and its relationships. He will be a dedicated internationalist with working comprehension of the intricacies of foreign aid, technical assistance and reciprocal trade…Assuredly, though, despite his other characteristics, he will have developed the fortitude to withstand the vicious smear attacks that came his way as he fought to the top in government and politics…”

In the same essay Javits predicted the ascendancy of the first black senator (Edward Brooke in Massachusetts since 1966) and the first Supreme Court Justice (the great Thurgood Marshall in 1967).

This was very keen prescience. When we consider Obama’s many-sided, extraordinary gifts, it’s remarkable how accurately Javits hypothetically drew his background and character.

Obama’s presidency will not wield magic. The number of teenage pregnancies will not diminish overnight, nor will the levels of drug addiction in the black community. His achievement will not make black children learn to read and write as if their lives depended on it, though already not a few of them have drawn great inspiration in the moment.

One thing is unquestionable. A barrier has been crossed, an iron ceiling shattered. A man whose cultural and genetic heritage is so secure, he can transcend it, has become the leader of the free world. His victory means not just another “morning in America.” In the words of the black spiritual, it’s one “great getting’ up morning.”


Badge? What Badge?

[via Pundit Kitchen.  Frolin, thanks!]


Anyway, while I still have your attention, check this out…

Trinidad Noir; Publishers: Akashic Books
edited by Lisa Allen-Agostini & Jeanne Mason
Mystery/Fiction Anthology | A Trade Paperback Original
ISBN-13: 978-1-933354-55-2 l 300 pages | $15.95
Forthcoming: August 2008

The Caribbean provides no shelter from the delicious terror of the Akashic Noir Series.

Brand-new stories by: Robert Antoni, Elizabeth Nunez, Lawrence Scott, Ramabai Espinet, Shani Mootoo, Kevin Baldeosingh, Vahni Capildeo, Willi Chen, Lisa Allen-Agostini, Rian Marie Extavour, Keith Jardim, Jaime Lee Loy, Darby Maloney, Reena Andrea Manickchand, Judith Theodore, Tiphanie Yanique, and others.

Trinidad Noir delivers all the crime a reader expects from Akashic’s Noir Series: murder, kidnapping, rape, drugs, prostitution, theft, extortion, and more. Yet in fictionalizing crime in the real crime setting of Trinidad, [the] acclaimed authors … have created a decidedly literary noir collection.

These authors’ quality characterizations, plots, and styles concurrently reveal the country’s darkness and its appeal with an unexpected and gratifying result: In their captivating and occasionally humorous stories, the Trinidad that emerges is as intriguing and contradictory as the island and its people. Trinidad Noir is as much a delightful crime romp as it is an expose of the seedy side of life.

Lisa is someone I went to University with (she did English Literature, while I was an Electrical Engineering student).

If I’m not mistaken, this is her first published work as an editor.  She’s written for a variety of publications [Trinidad Guardian, Caribbean Beat] for many years, and I even had the privelege of playing the lead role in a small play she wrote when we were final year students!

You can pick up the US edition of the book at the publisher’s website, and/or at  The Caribbean and UK editions are yet to be released [I guess the major difference between would be the spelling?].

And, yes… I still am on hiatus!  I just had to pop-up to lend some support to a peep!  😆

I’ll be back, though!

Peace and Much Love.


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