Sep 28, 2011

“Unite to End Violence Against Women" | UN Panama Workshop

Some alarming statistics were revealed in a United Nations report on violence against women in the Caribbean region. The release disclosed that domestic violence across the region was indeed very alarming. Some of the places included in the release depicted the same alarming trend in places once thought of as being free of these activities. Of course crime exists in every society but when it hits at home it becomes a problem that has to be addressed. The UN has decided to do something about it. The have created a campaign named "Unite to End Violence Against women" and have invited 27 artistes from the region that includes the Caribbean and Latin America to participate in a three day workshop in Panama.

The statistics revealed that in 2009 there were 434 reported rapes in Trinidad and Tobago... What? Yes, that is more than one rape per day. Clearly, domestic violence is a problem in the region. We are not alone in the region with violence directed against women. Barbados, The Bahamas, St. Kitts all these countries had alarming rates of violence against women.  The article that I read in the Trinidad Guardian newspaper also indicated that "in Jamaica 49 per cent of girls surveyed between the ages of 15 and 17 reported some level of coercion.” 

These acts of crime, acts of violence, this gruesome trend needs to be stopped. The artistes invited to the workshop, according to the UN release “will come together and generate compelling messages and other initiatives to raise awareness and advocate for an end to violence against women and girls.” 

Representing Trinidad and Tobago are recording artistes David Michael Rudder and Destra Garcia. It is hoped that they will return with messages of hope, messages of peace and love that will have impact on the society at large. These artistes will, though their involvement in this workshop, share their knowledge with other artistes who may, in the end, bring hope and a renewal of love through their music as they pass forward this renewed awakening of love and respect for women and young girls in the societies of the Caribbean and Latin America. 

We can only hope that this trend towards violence towards our women, young and old, and even our children does not continue and that as our societies develop we constantly look over our shoulders for instances of violence and report these matters to the relevant authorities to act, to defend, the human rights of these individuals to live with respect and to walk the streets without fear of harm. We can only hope for success!

Sep 27, 2011

TriniBago listed on "10 laws to avoid around the world"!

I was reading an article entitled "10 laws to avoid around the world" from a website named "matador life". Of course I am posting here tonight because Trinidad and Tobago made the list. The following is the post about Trinidad and Tobago as it appeared on the web page... The heading reads, "Trinidad and Tobago: G.I. NO!"

"Whether you’re planning a WWII reenactment or just have terrible taste in fashion, be advised that it is illegal to wear camouflaged clothing in Trinidad & Tobago. The law exists to prevent people from imitating military and other officials. You can be detained and have your camouflage items seized by authorities–that is, if they can find you."

So what is it about this post that caught my eye? I am sure you saw the same thing I did and noticed the same thing that cause me to stir in my seat. It is the final five words of the post: "If they can find you."

Now you can understand why we need to get things right at home and more importantly ensure that the image and results of the security forces have impact not only on the criminals but the World stage. Our image is not good from those on the outside looking in... 

Sep 26, 2011

No Parang for 2011!

Well it looks like the current State of Emergency has snared another victim - Parang! Parang as in no parang festival for 2011.  The National Parang Association recently cancelled the official launch date that was scheduled for September 17, 2011.

The follow up news in not good. Many Parang bands are reporting cancellation of party engagements, the bread and butter of these bands for the Christmas season.  This has nothing to do with the competition but if these bands can't go out  and earn income the same will apply for the competition venues. Most of the competitions take place around the country late into the night. This does not bode well with the current State of Emergency and curfew hours that apply from 11:00 pm to 5:00 am. 

If the State of Emergency is not lifted then the the National Parang Association should become creative and hold the competition during the day on the weekends. Saturday and Sunday could work. People who love Parang would make the effort to attend. If this is done then they would be able to get the government prize monies that would be needed during this period. Some money is better than none at all!

Yes we love our Parang but we have to obey the laws of the land. It is unfortunate that so many people would be affected because of the SoE. It is an unfortunate situation but I have to say, "Country First!"

Sep 21, 2011

Pan-Jazz in the Savannah

Pan Yards are abuzz with activity as they prepare to challenge each other for this year's inaugural First Citizens International Steelpan-Jazz Challenge. The Trinidad Guardian Newspaper ran an article indicating that top bands Witco Desperadoes, Sagicor Exodus (final year of Sagicor sponsorship), bpTT Renegades and RbC Redemption Sound Setters will challenge each other in a lineup of some of the best bands in the country for Pan Supremacy in the Pan-Jazz music category. 

This is not Panorama but the competition has the same feel in the panyards. The size of the bands playing would not be the same as for the panorama competition with bands selecting between 8 and 12 musicians to use whatever selections of pan to get their unique sound. There will be a list of 20 songs to choose from with the preliminary round requisition of one song. Bands selected for the next round will then have to play two songs from the same list. This year marks the tenth year of the Trinidad and Tobago Steelpan and Jazz Festival and will be featured on the following dates: October 1st. and 28th. at the Queens Park Savannah. 

The Trinidad Guardian Newspaper article can be read in its entirety at this link: Top bands, arrangers take Pan-Jazz challenge.

Sep 20, 2011

Just a Reminder | Trini 2D Bone!

Sometimes we need to be reminded about the things that make us smile. Sometimes we need to go back to a time and place that makes us feel oh so good! I have been away from sweet Trinidad and Tobago for a very long time but still yearn for the place of my birth.

Sometimes all it takes is the music of a time that felt really good to show us that these troubled times that we are now experiencing will soon past. We need to go back to a time and place that still makes us smile. I love my country, I love my people and if only we can get past our selfishness, racial prejudices and choose instead to show some tolerance then we can return to that time that kept us smiling. If only we can achieve that I know then that we can bring the past into the future for a better Trinidad and Tobago. I love my country... Sweet 'TnT'!

The following YouTube video of Sir David Rudder and Carl Jacobs singing about our homeland is a reminder that we should sometimes ignore the newspapers and do something that brings back sweet good feelings of Sweet 'TnT'!

Sep 18, 2011

Trini Good Eh Boi! | Curfew Party "Tawk"!

"Tinidadians good eh boi"; I say that with emphasis on the way a Trinidadian would interpret it and not its literal meaning of something good had taken place. It means that one should expect anything from a Trinidadian!

Now, having said that, I want to jump right into my segment of "Trini good eh boi" this morning. The recent State of Emergency and the curfew hours that have been put in place have been severely criticized in many circles. This is the opportune moment for persons opposed to the current government or those who like to engage in semantics to jump on the "let's pong dem" parade. We are talking about people living overseas (and at home too) who will criticize for criticizing sake.  They will say, "we are not against the State of Emergency just the way it was implemented." They will take the opportunity to suggest that the current "hot spots" selected were not done based on science or facts relating to crime but was based on a race bias.

As I write this (Sunday morning eh) I can recall Damion Melville saying, "I love this place". In this respect I would venture to say I love this place because you have to expect anything and it will make you raise an eyebrow and wonder. Then you will say... "Only in Trinidad these things can happen." 

This morning I was following a conversation on the Internet that was meant to poke a little fun at the PP Government.... However, the tone of the conversation changed when "Miss Bake and Shark" had her say. Take a look at the following conversation that took place in an 'open chat service' provided by Chatango this Sunday morning. OK, I changed the names of the persons chatting but let's call them, "Yuh Lie", "Trini Bush Rum" and "Best Sandwich on Maracas beach".

Yuh Lie: "I see Dana Seetahal says its LEGAL to have Lock down Curfew Parties, and the Police are "farse an outa place" to caution against it!!   She din use those exact words but it amounts tu dat."

Trini Bush Rum:  "Dat is ah smart oman Yuh Lie."

Best Sandwich on Maracas beach: "Last curfew women got drugged and raped in these parties and they could not even run. So a word to the wise is sufficient."

Best Sandwich on Maracas beach: "The public did not know because the victims were ashamed etc. but men perverts caused themselves to be locked in with lots of unsuspecting women just having fun."

Trini Bush Rum:  "Why oman cant stay home in curfew time?dey aint have kids /dat why d system is so screwed up."

Yuh Lie: "They still had recourse to the law, as in any other situation, but like you say, caution is needed."

Best Sandwich on Maracas beach: "Perverts use all loopholes to prey on victims especially that they cannot escape. the door is locked."

Best Sandwich on Maracas beach: "Strictly it is not illegal but it is dangerous."

Yuh Lie: "As usual, you are right."

So instead of making Dana Seetahal the morning heroine and the PP government the black sheep this morning, we got a look at the same situation from another person's perspective. This is what we have in Trinidad today. A few looking for any reason to criticize (right or wrong) instead of supporting the initiative of the government to try and right years of mismanagement and wrong doing. It seems like everyone is against the country now from the UN and their recent report comparing Port-of-Spain to Bhagdad to Trinis at home and especially those living abroad who simply don't like the fact that the PP government is in office. 

Yes this government may have faltered in the ways and means of implimenting certain aspects of the current State of Emergency. We also know that the secrurity services may over-react when dealing with persons who knowingly or unknowinly break the curfew regulations; however, I must emphasize that we must support the efforts of the government to set things right. The ship is sinking and the bailout, however it is implimented at this time, must but be supported... Are you on board or will you simply bail out on your government and country now?

Sep 16, 2011

"Curfew Parties" | Busted!

The Police are getting into the action but not like the police officers at the Brooklyn Labor Day Parade who were caught of camera wining down to sweet Soca music.  In Trinidad and Tobago the police service are now cracking down on the now famous "Curfew Parties". So don't expect any wining to the sounds of sweet Soca music from the Trinidad and Tobago Police or Military personell - it is now going to be a curfew party bust!

The police are aware of the fact that many night club owners have been 'profiting from the curfew' by promoting and staging "Curfew Parties". Things will change quickly and it is expected that the  police will be on the lookout for these promotions.  The night club owners or promoters of these parties will be fined a considerable sum for staging these events. 

Here is the link to an article in today's Trinidad Express about the new role of the Police service as it relates to stopping theses parties: STOP THE DANCE

Sep 15, 2011

"Lock Up or Locked in" Fetes in Trinidad

"Dey cyar stop the party!" Not even the State of Emergency could stop Trinidadians from partying! The latest and greatest innovation for the party scene is to get in before the curfew starts and stay in until it ends - that is the safe thing to do but we are not talking about staying at home.

One one think that the sensible person would head home and stay inside to respect the curfew and be safe. However, Trinis are innovative and their desire to party has created a new type of party scene. Now we have "Locked in parties"!

It is now a joke: Get in before the curfew starts and party until 5:00 am. You are locked in for the party and at the same time avoid getting locked up for breaking the curfew hours. This is very interesting because it says a lot about the people's general attitude... State of Emergency just can't stop the partying. We like to party too damn much; isn't time we get serious?

Well here is an excerpt from an article in today's Trinidad Express Newspapers, "Earlier, a 50-year-old Laventille man was sentenced to 30 days in prison after he pleaded guilty to breaching the curfew, while a homeless man was ordered to pay $1,000 forthwith or spend six weeks in prison."  If you break the curfew it can cost you in time spent in jail and also in your bank account. Link to the Express article here: "Don't take the curfew lightly".

I just love my country and my people but they just love to party a little bit too much. The idea is not just to go and lime or to party and have fun but more so to have a story to tell about the day they partied heartily during the curfew hours!

Carnival Gone Crazy | Less is More!

The word coming out of Trinidad is that three major Carnival 2012 presentations have already been sold out. Trinidad Carnival Diary ( has reported that the bands Tribe, Bliss and Yuma have reached the maximum sales output... So dey say!

Now I have taken a look at some of the costumes designed for next year (online photos) and I can tell you that it will be a sight for sore eyes. If only the models on the web pages were the ones on the streets on Carnival day then for persons like me... It would be a heavenly view.  However, that is not the case and the masqueraders come in all sizes and shapes. However, it should be noted that Trinidad has some of the most beautiful Carnival masqueraders with the exception of Brazilian Carnival (allyuh could steups all allyuh want but that is the case). 

However, have you noticed that the costumes are becoming smaller and smaller? Next year there is a clever ploy in that the top and bottom pieces are very tiny but there is a piece carried on the masquerader's back to give the illusion on 'big mas'. What is even more apparent is the price. Less is more and in this case it is more money. However, that does not seem to deter these revellers. They have already forked out the cash to the point where in September 2011 bands have already closed registration. 

Carnival is big business but the only sad thing about it is that the engine that drives the mas is left with very little. The Calypsonians who started it all get a meagre share of the carnival bounty. The steel bands, Soca artists are the engines that create this madness but it is the mas creators whom are raking in the monies. 

It has been rumoured that some of the actual costumes have been created overseas (China) cheaply and sold for the Trinidad Carnival at very steep prices. As I mentioned before less is more. They are spending less and profiting more but what about the engine that drives the mas? 

What do you think should be done to help bring about some equity and ensure that the Calypsonians, Soca artists and steel bands, all share in the bounty of the Carnival season. 

Sep 14, 2011

Crime does Pay | Is this the start of Amnesty in Trinbago?

"Dial 625-4932 or 623-8440 to get out of your life of crime." Source Article: via Trinidad and Tobago News Blog. "Gangsters 'dial' out of crime."

Regular citizens get one number to dial for help and that is 999 but those who lead a life of crime, who indulge in criminal activities get two numbers to call.

Ring... Ring... Ring... Hello, my name is Death and I want to change my life. I understand that you want me to become a productive citizen and earn a decent living. It is unfortunate that I joined that gang and had to kill so many persons. Lord I lost count of the amount of robberies I committed and the persons I capped. However, I am very fortunate to have you as a forgiving father figure for the nation. As of this day I promise to change my life. I am signing up for the program and expect my monthly stipend of $1,500.00 to be deposited to my numbered bank account. 

Hello, one has to be fool to think that real criminals will come to this program and disclose their deeds. But then again if I am in charge of that program I would really want to know who I am dealing with and what crimes he or she committed. I understand what they are trying to do but it is a difficult pill to swallow because the headache simply does not want to leave this aching head. Just the thought of excusing these people give me a headache!

Look, Mr. Philbert just enforce the law and become more vigilant. Crime should not be excused. There are too many innocent persons who have lost loved one through criminal activities. We need to get them and punish them. If you want to forgive them then go to Arima and finish the church and become the forgiving father figure you want to portray for the nation.  In the interim, as Acting Commissioner of Police , the law abiding citizens of Trinidad and Tobago would prefer if you hunt them down and bring them to justice!

Sep 13, 2011

Limers Beware | National past time in jeopardy!

The Art of the Lime: This is how 'Trinis' hang out... With friends doing nothing or just having a good time talking about anything or everything. It could be lots of fun but could also end up in brawls (especially when alcohol  is involved). Most of the time the Lime is all about hanging out and having a good time. 

Oh my... Looks like the national past time is in jeopardy with the police now turning their attention to 'Limers' who like to take the practice to the limit regarding the curfew hours. Looks like if the lime is really good it could get you in hot water with the law. The habit of liming late or too close to the curfew start time then trying to beat the clock to get home was address by Deputy Police Commissioner Mervyn Richardson. The following is a quote from an article published in today's Trinidad Guardian Newspaper

“We have noticed since the curfew was put in place that every night people seem to be ‘liming to the max'. “People will tend to lime until five to 11 or quarter to 11 and in some instances these people either go to a police station and seek a one night pass and some are inebriated with good stuff,” Richardson said.

The message here is a simple one put the brake on the lime because "what sweet in goat mouth does sour in he bam bam!" It does not matter how sweet that lime is one should respect the SoE curfew hours other wise "crapo will smoke yuh pipe"!

Sep 11, 2011

Please say it isn't so! |"Most Dangerous in the World?"

I have finished putting the final touches to a post about "Boy Boy and the Magic Drum" while listening to the bard tell the story in music - the song Magic Drum sung by Machel Montano. I was about to go to bed but decided to take a look at the Trinidad Express before taking a shower and going to bed... This was 1:53 am when I say the article, "POS the new Baghdad". I cringed and groaned after reading the first two paragraphs.

"Trinidad and Tobago now rivals Jamaica as the most violent country in the Caribbean, with the number of annual murders rising sharply from 98 to 550 over the last decade, with some areas in the Port of Spain police division being listed among the most dangerous in the world.

This is the finding of a new United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) draft report on Human Development and Citizen Security in the Caribbean, which noted, among other things, that the murder rate for Port of Spain was comparable to that of Baghdad.

The report also cites information stating that illegal guns are being rented for robbery and murder for as little as $100 an hour."

I don't know about most of you who like to say "Trinidad is nice, Trinidad is a paradise", well watch out because the UNDP plans to release this report later this year and it does not look good for people wishing to visit our homeland.

The article in the Trinidad Express has much of the findings that most people have been asking the government to detail recently since the State of Emergency was implemented. If this does not say something about the need for the SoE then what does? I am saddened but not surprised... It is apparent tat there is an undeclared State of War taking place between the gangs of the country with the government protective services attempting to protect the citizens of the land.

These hardened criminals are giving our nation a bad reputation and it will be magnified when the UN publishes that report later in the year. The government is trying to do something about the current situation but there are those who still believe that it is all about race.... Did someone say "God Save the Queen?"

Sep 9, 2011

Point Fortin Highway | Signed under the PNM Administration

"The PM also claimed that the contract for the project was signed under the last PNM administration before the PP Government came into office.' Source article: Trinidad Guardian

There is so much fuss about the construction of this new highway. I have heard so many conversations on the radio where callers have chastised the present administration for proceeding with the construction of the highway. They insist that the monies should be used, instead, to give civil servants the pay raises they 'deserve'. 

I have always said that Trinidadians are a difficult bunch to deal with and it is quite apparent that in this situation they want to 'have their cake and eat it at the same time'. I am not going to get myself caught up in the politics or 'politricking' of the day but come on people... Do you think the Prime Minister is telling a lie when she stated that the project was an initiative of the previous administration?

You are damned if you do and the same applies if you don't!

Sep 5, 2011

Curfew Hours Pushed Back in Trinidad and Tobago

The Government of Trinidad and Tobago with a majority vote of 28 to 10 decided to extend the current State of Emergency until the first week of December. The original declaration that was instituted on August 21 will now be extended a further three months. However, The hours of the curfew will now be from 11:00 PM to 4:00 AM.

There was traditional politics in the Parliament where we had all government ministers voting to extend the State of Emergency and all the opposition members present voting to prevent the continuation of the State of Emergency. Two opposition members were missing for the vote. Ex Prime Minister Patrick Manning who represents San Fernando East and Patricia McIntosh who represents Port-of-Spain North/St.Anns were absent.

There was drama and some 'picong' (teasing/stinging remarks made in a jesting manner) as government and opposition members went after each other to score points with the citizenry. In the end the government had it way and the emergency laws were extended a further three months.

"It is now or never", said the Prime Minister as she concluded the debate proceedings. She gave notice of a plan of action to deal with the criminal activities in the land. She advised the people that the government was not targeting PNM areas in the country. The  Prime Minister assured the nation that “We will continue to target so-called business that supports criminal activity and that are aligned with it and which provide a cover for crime and criminal activities.” Well the nation wants to hear these words but at the same time they want to see the results. Most people think that the government is playing politics and are only targeting the 'small fish' while allowing the 'big fish' to continue pillaging the nation. The blogs and chat boxes continue to say that the current State of Emergency is a joke. The Prime Minister is not concerned about what people think but continues with the belief that the efforts of the government will bring some peace in the land.

The Prime Minister also revealed that along with the State of Emergency and the 'plan of action' efforts will be made to transition the society into one that is peaceful and productive. She spoke about the implementation of social programmes and other ministerial initiatives which the government hopes will give the nation's youth some hope.

The new hours of the State of Emergency will ease the burden placed on the nation giving people enough time to conduct and finish business before getting home in time to their families. Let us all hope the same is not true for the criminals whom are also monitoring the situation.

This part of the year is the lead up to Christmas... Parang festivities will surely be affected by this State of Emergency. I am sure we will be reading about this soon. In the interim let us keep hope alive and leave it all in the hands of those whom are responsible for National Security in Trinidad and Tobago.

Sep 4, 2011

New York Panorama Results 2011

It is Panorama again but not in Trinidad but at the Brooklyn Museum in New York City. This can mean only one thing, Carnival is here again! Yes, it is Labor Day Carnival celebrations in the Big Apple and West Indians are dancing and feting bringing the sounds of the Caribbean to life in the Tri-State area. The West Indian Community with special reference to the Trinidadian sector of the communities know and love the Brooklyn 'steelbands' very well and will be out in force to support "we own tonight". Let's hope the judges don't leave people upset this evening. 

It is 'Pan in Yuh Pwefen' tonight and we like it so! Surely it sounds like Trinidad Panorama but the interviews and the voices heard are not the same that we are accustomed to hearing back home. The voices have an American accent mixed in with various 'twangs from the Caribbean diaspora'. It is unique but unusual at the same time. This year, in Trinidad and Tobago, we lost the golden voice of Allyson Hennessy, a voice that Trinidadians identify with Carnival and Carnival broadcasts. Here in New York (this year for the first time) the TCN network  in conjunction  with the WIADCA presented the  events free via the Internet. The voices doing the broadcasts were not familiar but the feel of the event was enough to keep us logged on to the Internet watching the event and at the same time, anticipating the results.

However, one must also keep in mind that the songs played at this competition have already been masterly arranged and heard at Trininidad's Panorama Competition. As a result, there was a very relaxed atmosphere surrounding the competition from where I sat as compared to watching and experiencing Panorama in Trinidad and Tobago (not the Big Yard and not the big name bands that we are accustomed to hearing). The songs were not new and as they say, "been there done that before"! Then again, this is their 'Big Stage|Big Yard' but it is not the Queen's Park Savannah and truly not the real Big Stage that Trinidadians know and love so much. None of that mattered  because it was 'Pan' and we love our 'Pan' to the extent that at 2:31 am on Sunday morning I was up watching the final band, Harmony Music Makers, play their final notes to Destra's "Calling Meh". What can I say... I have a weakness for our National Instrument. The following are the results as announced early this morning (time to go and sleep).

2011 Brooklyn WIADCA Panorama Results are as follows:

Band Name: ADLIB STEEL ORCHESTRA 458 points
Tune played: Do Something For Pan
Composed By: Len ‘Boogsie’ Sharpe
Sung By: Sache Alexander
Arranger: Andre White
Tuners: Fitz Worrell / Patrick Worrell / Desmond ‘Mappo’ Richardson

Band Name: CASYM  456.5 points
Tune played: Doh Be On Dat
Composed By: Arddin Herbert & Ricardo Jones
Sung By: Roland Remy Yearwood
Arranger: Arddin Herbert

Band Name: D’RADOES  451points
Tune played:Trini
Composed By: Rodney ‘Benjai’ Le Blanc
Sung By: Rodney ‘Benjai’ Le Blanc
Arranger: BJ Marcelle

Band Name: PAN SONATAS  448 points
Tune played: It’s Showtime
Composed By: Edwin Pouchet/ Alvin Daniel
Sung By: Anslem Douglas
Arranger: Yohan Popwell
Tuner: Bertran ‘Birch’ Kellman

Tune played: Doh Be On Dat
Composed By: Arddin Herbert & Ricardo Jones
Sung By: Roland Remy Yearwood
Arranger: Arddin Herbert

Tune played: Trini
Composed By: Rodney ‘Benjai’ Le Blanc
Sung By: Rodney ‘Benjai’ Le Blanc
Arranger: Leon ‘Foster’ Thomas
Tuner: Roland Harrigan

Tune played: Calling Meh
Composed By: Ken ‘Professor’ Philmore / Mark LoQuan
Sung By: Destra Garcia
Arranger: Keith Roberts
Tuner: Roland Harrigan

Tune played: Advantage
Composed By: Kernel Roberts
Sung By:Machel Montano
Aranger: Freddy Harris III
Tuner: Anthony Neal

Tune played: Calling Meh
Composed By: Ken ‘Professor’ Philmore / Mark LoQuan
Sung By: Destra Garcia
Arranger: Eddie Quales

Tune played: Soca Night
Composed By: Blackie
Sung By: Blackie
Arranger: Glen Gabriel
Tuners: Kim Wong & Kevin Griffith

Tune played: Calling Meh
Composed By: Ken ‘Professor’ Philmore / Mark LoQuan
Sung By: Destra Garcia
Arranger: Cieon Gomez

Band information presented here was obtained from the WIADCA site.





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