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Category Archives: Caribbean

Caribbean cruises, Cancun and London are popular vacation destinations for Americans –

Posted: February 26, 2017 at 11:38 pm

Caribbean cruises and Cancun are the top two international vacation destinations for Americans in 2017 just as they were last year, but with the value of the U.S. Dollar at near record highs, London moves up a notch to number three in a new survey of travel professionals.

As part of its annual Travel Trends Survey, Travel Leaders Group polled 1,689 of its U.S.-based travel agency owners, managers and frontline agents about the international destinations theyve booked for 2017.

A Caribbean cruise is the number one international destination for 2017, as cited by 37.6 percent of respondents. Caribbean cruises are followed by (2) Cancun, Mexico, 31.2 percent; (3) London, 26.9 percent; (4) European river cruises, 21.8 percent; (5) Rome, 20.5 percent; (6) Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, 17.3 percent; (7) Paris, 15.4 percent; (8) Mediterranean cruises, 15.1%; (9) Montego Bay, Jamaica, 14.4%; and (10) Playa del Carmen/Riviera Maya, Mexico, 12.5%.

Fans of Caribbean cruises will have more options in 2017, with several new ships setting sail from South Florida including Royal Caribbeans Harmony of the Seas, the worlds largest cruise ship. Highlights include 20 dining options, a full-service spa, seven iconic neighborhoods to stroll through, a kids water park and the tallest slide at sea.

Pristine beaches make Cancun one of Mexicos top tourist destinations. But theres plenty of entertainment to go with the sand and sun.

The Brexit decision by British voters to leave the European Union has sent the pound plummeting, making a London vacation significantly less expensive than its been in years. Among the years must-see events will be a tribute to Princess Diana on the 20th anniversary of her death.

Kensington Palace opens Diana: Her Fashion Story opened last week, with some of her most iconic outfits on display.

European river cruises continue to find exciting ways to tempt travelers.

Avalon Waterways is offering a new 9-day trip along the Danube from Linz, Austria, to Budapest, Hungary. The journey includes excursions for passengers who want to maintain an active pace, from a running tour of Vienna to canoeing, hiking and biking.

The city of Rome celebrates its birthday on April 21, and the Natale di Roma is a fun time to be in the Italian capital, with street performers, historic reenactments, parades and live music spread out across the city. Therell be special events in the week leading up to the celebration, too.

Travelers seeking relief from the winters cold will find a haven in sunny Punta Cana, in the Dominican Republic. A highlight is the Punta Cana Carnival on the second Saturday in March, featuring a parade of dancers and musicians that offers a showcase for the countrys rich culture.

More Americans are booking trips to Paris in 2017, as the City of Light moves up to 7th place in the survey, from 11th in 2016. Iconic attractions like the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame will be joined by a new museum dedicated to designer Yves Saint Laurent.

To plan a vacation anywhere in the world, contact Travel Leaders/Fly Away Travel 541-672-5701.

Reporter Dan Bain can be reached at 541-957-4221 or e-mail at

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Rekindling the Caribbean Renaissance…70 years on – Jamaica Observer

Posted: at 11:38 pm

I offer support for the objectives of Black History Month by placing on its agenda the need for an urgent Caribbean dialogue on the development challenges facing our people. Where we have reached in our historic flight to freedom as a community needs to be assessed, and the depth of our dedication to promoting popular democracy should to be reviewed at this time.

We are gingerly entering the second, potentially seismic, phase of regional nation-building. This, in 2017, cries out for reflection. Already it presents itself as a significant marker in our regional affairs and a disruptor of global systems and sensibilities. But critically, it is the 70th anniversary of that seminal sequestering of Caribbean political and civil rights leaders at Montego Bay, Jamaica, in 1947, where they outlined the road map for regional development.

The 1947 summit, following the publication of the Moyne Report into the workers democracy wars of the 1930s in our Caribbean region, set the course with manifesto-style declarations that framed the first phase of the regional development agenda. Political and labour leaders were never clearer in their representation of the will of the people. They were morally courageous, fiscally sound, and financially futuristic. It was the regions first collective rising of its political leadership.

The moment and movements were clearly defined and the political leadership was hell-bent on justice, freedom, and dignified democratic development. From Montego Bay, the Caribbean Renaissance was launched.

On its 70th anniversary, there is a growing feeling of flux in Caribbean fellowship, and the 1947 declarations for development seem fractured by fiscal stress. Policy priorities are less people-centred and more consistent with our external financial circumstances. The top public priority is global alignment for economic growth. But economic alignment options are demonstrating that they can be socially damaging to the governance fabric of society. This is not an easy enterprise.

Communist China, our fastest-emerging partner, is now the avid advocate of free trade and open borders, while quintessentially capitalist America the ancient opportunity provider is evangelical about trade protectionism and building borders. Britain, always crisp and clear on which side its bread is buttered, has moved to abandon the European Single Market and Economy, and is reckoning on returning its gaze to the recently relegated Commonwealth.

Within these global goings-on, we are seeking to determine our domestic direction and destiny. There is intense internal anxiety. At the heart of it is the growing realisation that economic growth has been persistently elusive while social growth is now rejected as too expensive.

Finding balance between these equally important agendas can no longer be taken lightly. The 2016 Human Capital Report of the World Economic Forum, for example, states clearly that investing in social growth, in the human resource, goes beyond the importance of the economic growth imperatives. It states: A nations human capital endowment the knowledge and skills embodied in individuals that enable them to create economic value can be more important determinants of long-term success than virtually any other resource.

The strategic reasons that informed the Montego Bay declarations were clear enough:

that the imperial oppression of our people was over, dead and awaiting burial;

that the West Indies was one social community awaiting formal political integration and economic rationalisation;

that regional institutions, like the West Indies Cricket Board which was forged exactly 20 years earlier, would be created to mobilise the best of our collective abilities for practical regional action;

that greater social growth, in addition to economic growth, was urgently needed to end majority social exclusion, historical structural inequality, and entrenched racial and class bigotry; and

that our English-speaking subregion should breach imperial barriers and reach across the blue aisle to pursue greater trade and investment with the wider Caribbean.

Where have we reached with respect to implementing the 1947 Montego Bay Manifesto? Clearly there have been many significant successes. Victories arising from the vision are everywhere discernible. Equally true is that some vanquished efforts are etched deeper in our consciousness, largely because they were bruising and bloody.

From Montego Bay we took off with dazzling speed in 1948. For four decades a transformation trail was blazed within the region. With the decade, for example, the political federation project was implemented but soon gave way to a plurality of singular nation states. The fragmented configuration has not produced a better life. The colonial carcass was only partially buried, and in a shallow grave to boot.

The social growth agenda was respected at the outset. Launched in 1948 in spectacular fashion was The University of the West Indies missile, which when nationalised in 1963, and recharged by Sir Arthur Lewis as an indigenous engine, dedicated itself to regional economic transformation, ethnic equality and social justice, and to popularising the principle of mass political participation.

Beyond the boundary of formal politics, George Headley, born in Panama to a black Bajan father and a Jamaican mother, ended six decades of leadership apartheid in the regional cricket culture in 1948, when in the Test against England at Kensington Oval he became the first player from the poor classes to captain the West Indies team. In this Test Series the three Ws Everton Weekes, Clyde Walcott and Frank Worrell made their international debut. With Sonny Ramadhin our first phenomenal innovator of Indian origin, they boldly launched our first West Indian bid for a world title in 1951. Indeed, 1948 was the greatest of modern Caribbean years.

Today, gaining ground as a research hypothesis is that the 1947 regional development framework has been largely defeated and set aside. It is purported that a less ideologically bold and more functionalist regional leadership has revised the agenda and invested it with considerably reduced idealism, increased insularity, and greater programmatic pragmatism.

A conclusion drawn is that our region is off track in respect of sustainable development, having effectively distanced itself from the 1947 beacon. Within this narrative, the community is defined as manifesting many of the classic symptoms of intellectual fatigue and exhaustion. Citizens are said to be riddled with self-doubt, and primed for a race to further fragmentation.

Finally, and tragically, it is suggested that as a community we now see the primary opposition to our indigenous ideas and ideals as residing within. As a consequence, we have turned inward our vexation, violently unleashing rage upon ourselves.

The current United Nations Development Report for the region tells the bleak picture: that deep-seated social inequalities and injustices reside at the core of our fractures and failures, and are the main root of shortfalls in economic growth expectations. Our region, for example, sits at the bottom of the hemispheric ladder in respect of youth (18-30 years) enrolment in higher education, professional development, and technical training. Within the wider Caribbean family context, our English-speaking sub-community occupies the basement.

Equally disturbing is the inference within the report that our social capital that is, the cognitive and technical skills set, both in quality and quantity of our citizens is inadequate for the attainment of the level of economic growth pursued. It has been known for decades that a shortage of critical skills, more so than capital, holds back our development. Nearly 60 per cent of our citizens, for example, continue to reside in shockingly shabby material and institutional environments to which we have become far too tolerant. Abject poverty is on the increase. Rising crime rates and general social insecurity in many communities seem unresponsive to the attainment of baseline economic growth.

Commitment to wealth creation, however, must be firm and unwavering. Research and innovation and dynamic entrepreneurship are inseparable. But economic growth must not be seen mechanically as a precondition for social growth. Low productivity is as much socially caused as it is economically impactful. It is no coincidence that our regional economy has shown the most sluggish recovery in the hemisphere from the 2008 global financial and trade recession. Inevitably linked to this chain of causality is our possession of the lowest levels of formal research, higher education enrolment and skills, and professional training. It is drastically narrowing broad-based economic participation and engagement. It is impaling the peoples innovation impulse, endangering entrepreneurial flair and creativity, leading inexorably to diminished competitiveness and less wealth creation.

The rhetorical reference in the region to the vital role of small and medium-sized businesses in economic growth strategies points to the ultimate importance of the social growth agenda, and urgently awaits actualisation.

The social economy, then, is equally important in viewing and measuring what we have attained and where we are today. In the Test cricket arena, for example, our fall from global awesomeness to local awfulness tells the surreal story of rising economic growth and falling social growth. We are the only competing Test nation in which senior players effectively reject national representation. By snubbing national selection in favour of personal marginal enrichment, they are preventing us from deploying our best and finest in the international arena. We are crippled by our inability to be cohesive.

What is important here is that citizens are casting aside community needs and placing self above state as a post-International Monetary Fund sensibility. The idea that the state has cut adrift vulnerable citizens as a conditionality of its own survival has engendered this social backlash. It has bred a political culture that will soon be entrenched with the potential to ultimately subvert the sustainability of sovereignty. This is but one example.

Our collective victories and successes since 1947 constitute the Caribbean Enlightenment and Renaissance. It is necessary to rekindle the fire of 1947. This 70th anniversary presents a lens through which we can enlarge our comprehension of the 1947 moment. It is now time to review the mission and movement since Montego Bay.

A 21st century review of the Montego Bay Manifesto, therefore, is required in order to grasp the relatively greater opportunities that only a regional approach can garner. The New World Group that constituted our finest intellectual and public advocacy intervention should be revisited and brought back fit and equipped for purpose. New World 2 for the 21st century is a good beginning.

Achieving greater social equality and mobility for the masses of citizens is as valuable as the fiscal empowerment of entrepreneurs for wealth creation. The legal right of indigenous African and Asian-descendant peoples in the Caribbean to reparatory justice for crimes committed against their communities under slavery and colonialism is as important to nurturing social growth as sensible monetary measures are to encouraging investment. We in academia and in industry, along with the State and civil society, must move swiftly towards consensus to push forward our societies and economies with innovation and technology within the context of regionalism.

The return to self-confidence to promote self-determination will not be without sacrifices. We must resolve to share this burden equitably within our regional community. This is the only way to avoid a future of further fragmentation and mutually assured deterioration. It is one way to rebuild trust in Caribbean fellowship and citizenship that is the hallmark of sustainable growth. Marcus Garvey preached this philosophy across our region before 1947, and Frank Worrell proved it thereafter.

A balanced approach to social growth and economic transformation can produce the political consciousness and corporate sensibility necessary to make many of the difficult public choices. This is the core of what we idealise as the Nordic Model. It is also the enduring feature of the Social Partners Protocol that continues after two decades to provide hope for the people of Barbados.

It is the decline in social growth in recent decades, for example, that has frustrated general support for important initiatives such as public sector reform and indeed land reform. It has also inhibited the pace of economic diversification of the traditional economic sectors.

Repurposing the passion of 1947 for regional action is entirely necessary and possible. It is a precondition for upsizing development on multiple fronts while we imagine the state of our sovereignty in 2047. Let us, then, begin a refined reflection in this year. Our precious Caribbeanness is the prime asset to be centred, cared for and celebrated as we stir our collective energy.

This is also a prime time for the academic community to move to the fore, once again, and give of its best. It must intellectually stimulate rather than frustrate the higher aspects of our collective Caribbean consciousness. Fancy fiscal footwork will not by itself generate the context for the greater growth needed.

In this regard, the entire regional university sector can and must do more. It has to step up its strategies many notches and engage both the social and economic growth paradigms with greater aggression and alacrity. This Black History Month in 2017 is as good a time as ever to begin rekindling the Caribbean Renaissance.

Professor Sir Hilary Beckles is Vice Chancellor of The University of the West Indies and chairman of the Caricom Reparations Commission.


Rekindling the Caribbean Renaissance…70 years on – Jamaica Observer

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5 Budget All Inclusive Holidays in the Caribbean – Caribbean Journal

Posted: at 11:38 pm

Youre sitting on the beach, reaching for another ice-coldpia colada, looking up at a spectacular Caribbean sky.

There are great beach getawaysfor every kind of traveler, but theres a misconception that al all inclusive holiday is always overly expensive.

Thats not the case.

You see, going all-in doesnt have to mean going all out when it comes to the budget; yes, there are all-inclusive holidaysthat offer dreamy beaches, modern amenities and serious bang for your buck all over the Caribbean.

From chic Barbados to the beach-filled Bahamas, weve selected five of the Caribbeans best budget all-inclusive hotels, where you can add up the savings as you soak up the sun. CJ Travel Editor Sarah Greaves-Gabbadon offers up five all-inclusive holidaysfrom around the islands.

RIU Republica, Dominican Republic Adults in search of sun, sea, and sand with premium booze, plentiful dining options and free WI-FI on the side can find it all at this 1,000-room resort thats possibly the best bargain in Punta Cana.

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5 Budget All Inclusive Holidays in the Caribbean – Caribbean Journal

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Employee Poaching a Growing Concern for Caribbean Hoteliers … – TravelPulse

Posted: at 11:38 pm

PHOTO: Sandals Negril, Jamaica. (Photo via Flickr/Gail Frederick)

As foreign hotel developments surge in the Caribbean, a growing number of local hoteliers are faced with the prospect of losing talented, long-standing employees. The employees are being approached by the newer, international properties with the promise of better money and benefits.

I dont like what I am seeing, in some instances where a new property is being built in the Caribbean and there are not enough skilled workers to man the operations, we just seem to be stealing each others staff, said Karolin Troubetzkoy, president of the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) in an interview with the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC).

Troubetzkoy, who is also an hotelier, said the practice could ultimately lead to a lower customer satisfaction rate across the region.

For his part, St. Lucias prime minister, also the nations former tourism minister has said, It is a free market and labour is free to move wherever it wants to be able to move.

However, he also added that it was bad planning on the part of new hotels to not implement their own training programs in advance of opening.

At issue is that many of the locally owned hotels and brand spend significant time and money on employee training programs, only to have those employees lured away by international properties. Attracted by the higher wages, the employees leave, but then often find themselves in career situations that offer no further advancement.

The CHTA president has said that personnel development is at the forefront of the associations agenda for the year, and the CHTA will be amping up training programs region-wide.

Sandals Resorts International, a Caribbean-owned and operated company, has said it does not condone employee poaching, a practice it calls unethical and fragmenting. But, says the resort company, it is also a reminder that hoteliers should invest in high-quality training programs for their employees, which can go a long way in helping guard against such activities.

Sandals offers training and certification programs for employees at all levels, including scholarship programs for secondary education up to doctorate degrees. In Saint Lucia alone, Sandals has provided training for more than a thousand employees in the past few years, at no cost to the employee.

It is clear that some of the larger, foreign brands simply do not have the capacity to train, nor do they care to invest in training, which has led to the concern expressed by the CHTA about them enticing workers away from established organisations that have invested in building the tourism sector over many years, said Sandals Resorts International in a statement. Many of these workers may find themselves in an environment that does not offer opportunities for further development like Sandals provides with the SCU which means that their personal growth may be stunted unless they take money out of their own pockets to invest in training and development.

We must find a way of training everybody and having more skilled workers available, not just in customer service but in culinary arts, and the technical side such as in IT technology maintenance, there are lots of job opportunities in the tourism sector, said Troubetzkoy to the CMC.

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Study on Rising Costs of Fishing Concluded for Caribbean states – (subscription)

Posted: February 25, 2017 at 3:45 pm

Claudia Stella Beltrn Turriago, economic consultant, interviewing fishers at Northern Fishermens Cooperative in Belize City, Belize (Photo: CRFM)

BELIZE CITY, Belize,Friday February 24, 2017 A landmark study to look at the impacts of rising cost factors on fishing operations in the Caribbean has been concluded.

And theCaribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM), in collaboration with FAO, will convene a validation workshop at the United Nations House in Barbados next Monday and Tuesday to review the findings and chart the necessary course of action.

At that meeting, CRFM Executive Director Milton Haughton will present a general overview of the project and explain what the workshop is expected to achieve. The background, findings, conclusions and recommendations of the study will be presented by Claudia Stella Beltrn Turriago, economic consultant, for final refinement.

The study, carried out in select CRFM member states, focused on factors such as capital, labour, maintenance and energy costs.

Participants at next weeks meeting will review and finalize the formal report on the findings of the study, as well as propose workable policy options and strategies to improve efficiency, productivity and sustainability in the fisheries sector. The broader aim is to improve competitiveness and profitability at the local, regional and international levels.

The initiative will also inform strategies to protect against future economic shocks, reduce barriers to market access, and compensate for price fluctuations for fisheries produce by building on the value-added dimension of the industry.

Last May, the CRFM convened a meeting of fisheries experts in Barbados to create a roadmap, including the best methodology for the study. They also selected the beneficiary countries targeted for fieldwork and remote surveys, which entailed surveys of small-scale and industrial fishers, suppliers, traders and exporters.

Later that same month, the consultant commenced field visits to Belize, St. Kitts and Nevis, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines. She also conducted remote surveys for Guyana, Grenada, Colombia, and Trinidad and Tobago.

All 17 states which are members of the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism, as well as countries covered by a UN/FAO project on the Sustainable Management of Bycatch in Trawl Fishing in Latin America and the Caribbean (the REBYC-II LAC), funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF), are expected to benefit from the broader application of the studys findings.

The CRFM will prepare a policy brief for action by Caribbean leaders, to highlight the major findings and recommendations, including policy options and strategies to increase efficiency, productivity and sustainability of the fisheries and aquaculture sector, while reducing economic risks.

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Caribbean’s carnivals tip their hats to Trinidad – – MyAJC

Posted: at 3:45 pm

We Caribbean carnival devotees, counting down the days until the regions biggest bacchanal erupts on the streets of Port of Spain, Trinidad, on Feb. 27 and 28, have a dream. A dream that one day carnival will grace us with its life-affirming presence not once a year but once a month. That one day all of humanity can pause during mundane daily routines and take solace in the fact that right now, somewhere in the world, life is being measured out in music and dance and feathers and glitter, not conference calls and crowded commutes: Somewhere, it is carnival.

That dream may be turning into reality.

Throughout 2016, tens of thousands of revelers flocked to over a dozen destinations to partake in carnival celebrations. From Jamaica to Los Angeles, London to Bermuda, Cayman to Toronto, they indulged in costumed parades, extravagant fetes and frenetic soca concerts, and were living proof that Caribbean carnival culture is growing globally, thanks, largely, to one island: Trinidad.

Carnival to Trinidadians is like soccer to Brazilians, said Wayne Henry, a founder of ValeVibe, a 23-year-old Trinidadian events company. In the past, weve tended to keep our culture to ourselves, but now Trinis have gained the confidence to export something we certainly do well: party and have a good time.

This exportation call it the Trini-fication of carnival has become the antidote to what Trinidadians call tabanca: heart-wrenching post-carnival pain fueled by the knowledge that the next bacchanal is a whole year away. Now theres a calendar that starts in Trinidad during the traditional pre-Lent celebration and concludes in October at Miami Carnival, with global and regional carnivals scheduled almost monthly in between. Its a movement documented by booming media entities like the fastidious, a global carnivalgoers bible and piloted by young Caribbean entrepreneurs who take having a good time very, very seriously.

Trinidad-style carnival fetes, after all, are not mere parties but full-on productions, transforming the days surrounding the parade into an unofficial competition: Which modish fete will not only eclipse the more traditional elements of carnival the parade, the calypso contests, the competition for carnival king and queen but also outdo others in terms of venue, food, DJ lineup and musical guests? Think of a raucous dance party against a backdrop of flamingos in Miami; amid the roller coasters of Coney Island in New York; on a boat down the Thames in London; deep in the sugar cane fields of Barbados.

If I can give a party in a volcano before it erupts, Ill do it, said Jules Sobion, the chief executive of a Trinidad events company called Caesars Army. Having attended his signature event, A.M. Bush, on three islands, I believe him. Annually thousands of revelers including, last year, Rihanna, who partied with Caesars Army on her home island, Barbados scramble for tickets to line up at 3 a.m., follow music and drinks trucks through fields, cover themselves in paint and hose themselves down as the sun comes up. The dancing persists till noon.

We do the unexpected, Sobion explained. What does Caesars Army do? We export fun.

The result is more than fun its a financial boon.

Carnivalgoers are a niche market thats growing and will continue to grow, said Roscoe Dames, the chief executive and managing commissioner of the Bahamas National Festival Commission. Four years ago his team was given a government mandate to create a carnival as part of an effort to lure tourists and stimulate the creative sector. The result, started in 2015 in Nassau and Grand Bahama Island, was Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival, which fuses the countrys carnival traditions (known as Junkanoo) with a contemporary festival. The Bahamas, like many islands, wanted to maintain its own inimitable flavor while importingTrini styles.

The bedrock of the festival is our local music and culture, Dames said, but we looked at presenting the full spectrum of the Caribbean: Cuban bands, reggae, soca, Haitian zouk, as well as local rake-and-scrape and goombay music. Last year, he added, it attracted upward of 60,000 participants and established itself as a major player in the Carnival market.

Other destinations Jamaica, Grand Cayman, Grenada, Washington, D.C. have long staged carnivals outside the traditional pre-Lent time frame, but are seeing their festivities flourish as Trinidadian brands move in and bring avid fans with them. Among the biggest draws to any carnival is a party presented by Scorch, a Trinidad entertainment company that includes a media and publishing arm, a local TV show and a music production house. Its raucous parties held in places like London, Toronto, Barbados and, this year, Dubai are the ones many desperately try to get into but few can fully remember the next day (there is no hangover like a Scorch hangover, many a carnivalgoer has avowed).

Scorch is really a regional thing, meant to connect all the islands cultures, said its chief executive, Kwesi Hopkinson. So when we arrive at a particular carnival, its an endorsement, a seal of approval that, Yes, this carnival is officially happening.’

Not all islands are eager for that Trinidadian seal, though. When Bermuda started a carnival in 2015 on its Bermuda Heroes Weekend, it barred promoters from other islands.

When the Trini promoters come into any jurisdiction, the local promoters lose out, explained Jason Sukdeo, the president of BHW Ltd., the carnivals corporate entity on the island. I want Bermuda carnival to be for Bermuda, to make money for Bermuda. For us to set up a carnival and watch money go overseas is not what we want.

But Jeremy Nicholls, a Barbadian promoter who runs some of the most popular events at Barbados Crop Over, that islands carnival, which is the regions second biggest, disagreed.

Trinidadians coming here bring people with them, he said. They have a wider reach, and this has a ripple effect; these visitors will go to the big Bajan parties, too. So at the end of the day, its about us coming together. His company, Roast, exports its brand to five other carnivals, he said.

For other enterprising Trinidadians, concerns are cultural, not financial: Will the dissemination of its carnival water down its profound history in the region, a history that stretches back to the 18th century, as European colonizers feted Lent with masked balls and their slaves followed suit, incorporating West African traditions into the revelry?

What I definitely dont want to see, with Trinis carrying our culture throughout the region, is the homogenization of carnival, said Anya Ayoung-Chee, a designer who is a onetime Miss Trinidad and Tobago and the 2011 winner of Bravos Project Runway. Ayoung-Chees online Canyaval shop sells all things modish; her company also stages parties and has its own costume section in the parades of six carnivals.

My focus is always, how do we think about it beyond copy-and-paste, from island to island? she said. How do we preserve traditions, but also how can we hybridize, recognizing that carnival culture is always evolving?

To that end, the kickoff event she staged at the Afropunk Festival in Atlanta last October was inspired by JOuvert, the sunrise carnival ritual populated by folkloric characters such as stilt walkers and jab-jabs, or devils.

I fused JOuvert traditions with New Orleans big bands and other cultural elements that have been influenced by the essence of carnival, all coming from the same history: Brazil, New Orleans, and so on, Ayoung-Chee said. The idea is to showcase how the history of carnival manifests itself way outside of the Caribbean context.

And thats whats exciting to me about exporting Trinidadian culture globally, she added. Not just representing the Caribbean but experimenting with our evolution, with what we could be on a global stage.


Baz Dreisinger, a New York City-based professor and journalist, has been writing about Caribbean culture, music and art for two decades.

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Those Caribbean medical schools are looking more and more attractive – Washington Post

Posted: at 3:45 pm

February 24 at 6:00 PM

Why the United States is no longer turning up its nose at Caribbean medical schools

Usha Lee McFarling at

When Tavinder Singh took the MCAT, the California native dreamed of going to medical school. And then his scores came back too low for him to get in anywhere in the United States. So he packed his bags for the island of Dominica and enrolled at the Ross University School of Medicine.

Ross is one of the dozens of for-profit medical schools scattered throughout the Caribbean that market themselves mostly to folks in Singhs position. These schools have often come in for criticism, what with their hefty price tags, large class sizes and high dropout rates, writes Stat Newss Usha Lee McFarling. Even their mere location can be a negative for students. Theyve heard all the jokes about studying anatomy on the beach with Mai Tais in hand, McFarling notes.

But a massive physician shortage is transforming those views, McFarling writes in a recent article that tackles Why the United States is no longer turning up its nose at Caribbean medical schools. Their graduates typically have a tough time landing a residency, a credential thats required to practice medicine in the United States. So theyre eager to take positions anywhere, including in poor, rural, and underserved communities, McFarling says.

Once someone is wearing that white coat, school names dont come up much. Patients tend to be more interested in how theyre being treated, says McFarling, who highlights the example of Moazzum Bajwa, a Ross graduate and a second-year resident at the Riverside University Health System Medical Center in Moreno Valley, Calif.

Over the course of an hour-long appointment, retired carpenter Jos Luis Garcia, 69, doesnt just get the exam he was expecting. Bajwa also draws him a detailed diagram to explain how blood sugar levels work. They discuss thanks to Bajwas fluent Spanish whats causing stress in Garcias life, including his wifes recent brain surgery. At the end, Bajwa offers a hug.

This is a very great doctor, Garcia tells McFarling. Normally, I dont feel important.

Vicky Hallett

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Help find Philly sender of message in bottle found on Caribbean island –

Posted: at 3:45 pm

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Help find Philly sender of message in bottle found on Caribbean island –

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Caribbean Warned To Prepare For More Severe Storms – (subscription)

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ROSEAU, Dominica, FridayFebruary 24, 2017 Organization of Eastern Caribbean (OECS) member states have been urged to prepare for more extreme weather conditions and natural disasters as a result of climate change.

The warning came from Crispin dAuvergne, St. Lucias chief sustainable development officer as he contributed to a panel discussion at an OECS climate change forum in Dominica, part of the Vini Koz (Lets Chat) Series that engages citizens in discussion and debate on development opportunities and challenges facing the region.

According to dAuvergne, a 2008 environmental study showed that while St Lucia sees an average of one to two Category 4 or Category 5 hurricanes per year, it is likely to increase to four or five hurricanes of that magnitude each year.

Citing another study, he said rainfall in the Caribbean is expected to increase by 25 to 50 percent in the next five decades. These extreme weather patterns will become the new normal, he said, adding that because the frequency and intensity of extreme weather conditions is likely to increase, the Caribbean should plan accordingly, preparing for more severe natural disasters like droughts, hurricanes and floods.

After Dominica was devastated by Tropical Storm Erica in August 2015, the Minister for Health and Environment, Dr. Kenneth Darroux, said Dominica had never seen a disaster of such proportions in terms of damage to infrastructure and the loss of life. Infrastructural damage was estimated at $1.4 billion. Minister Darroux said the storm caused the government to revisit its land use, policies, and regulations.

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Senate gives nod to Caribbean Maritime University – Jamaica Gleaner

Posted: at 3:45 pm

An untidy committee session of the Upper House yesterday marred what was an otherwise rare sitting of the Senate, where not a single senator opposed the bill to make way for the Caribbean Maritime Institute Act, to now be known as the Caribbean Maritime University Act.

Senator Ruel Reid, who piloted the bill, also deputised for Leader of Government Business Senator Kamina Johnson-Smith, who was absent.

The bill was passed with 26 amendments in front a gallery filled with students and lecturers from the Palisados, Kingston-based institution.

The 10 senators who spoke yesterday gave glowing tributes to Dr Fritz Pinnock, who is slated to become the first president of the university. They were unanimous and generous in their praise of his visionary leadership, the discipline of the students, the economic opportunities the university has brought to the nearby communities, the marketability of the students and the economic benefits the graduates will bring to the Jamaican economy.

Reid praised Pinnock for his trailblazing effort in creating a niche market university while supporting the need for maritime clubs across the island.

Senator Mark Golding praised the effort of Pinnock for creating an institution of international repute, while he used the opportunity to tidy elements of the language of the bill.

Senator Don Webhy said the university should be marketed as a foreign exchange earner, while Senator Wensworth Skeffery said he hoped the way was being paved for individuals from rural Jamaica to study there.

Senator Kavan Gaye said it was significant that it was coming to the Upper House on the 133rd birthday of Sir Alexander Bustamante – a champion for port workers, while Senator Floyd Morris praised the effort of former minister Horace Clarke for planting the seed which has led to the CMU.

Senator Angela Brown-Burke said the university was providing training for women in non-traditional areas, and Senator Lambert Brown went copiously through the bill to make sure that workers’ rights were protected.

An untidy session followed when the Senate was dissolved into a committee to consider the clause by clause amendments. Senators were asked to vote on amendments they did not have, as insufficient, correct copies of the amended sections were unavailable.

In one instance, one copy of the amendment was sent to the Opposition benches for the five senators, with Reid intructing them to “share”. Reid found himself reading and re-reading amendments, plus making trips to his “technical people” for advice on aspects of the bill, much to the disinterest of government senators, who found other ways to amuse themselves.

Brown’s concern that the minister appeared to have a strong hand in the selection of the council members was rejected.

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Senate gives nod to Caribbean Maritime University – Jamaica Gleaner

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