It was an active week in the Caribbean blogosphere, with most of the buzz coming out of Jamaica and Trinidad & Tobago:
In Jamaica, much of the discussion focused on the incessant rainfall, which caused serious flooding in several parts of the island this past week. “I drove through the bog walk gorge on Friday evening and believe me, it is a sight when that Rio Cobre river is as angry as it has been in all this rain,” wrote CoolDestiny on Sunday as the island braced for more bad weather in the coming week. Also blogging about the weather were Fyr and Mad Bull and Stunner posted some photos of flooded streets in Kingston and a broken bridge. Charles Matheson wrote a short but detailed account of some of the weather-related goings-on, saying that “The Yallahs Fording in St.Thomas is impassable, so is the Bog Walk Gorge and Barry, several roads in and around Spanish Town are inundated, so too several communities in the Sunshine City of Portmore. There are communities in the parish of Clarendon that are also marooned,” and on Wednesday reported on heavy traffic jams between Kingston and Portmore. Stunner was ecstatic to catch a glimpse of the sun on Friday, a sentiment echoed by Dr. D.
Scratchie blogged about the weather too, but was also concerned with National Heroes Day, and indeed, the Jamaican blogosphere wasn't short on buzz about social and cultural issues. Mad Bull welcomed the return of “cultural songs” to the Jamaican music scene. Group blog Jamaica Culture and People solicited opinions on the legalization of marijuana while participant Missie raised the topic of traditional Jamaican attitudes toward care of the elderly and wondered how these might have changed. Missie also contributed an enticing photo of a traditional Jamaica breakfast and a re-post from the blog forum about the evolution of Red Stripe Beer.
Speaking of Red Stripe, Owen had some reservations about a Red Stripe-sponsored competition in which the first prize is a Hummer: “Wouldn't it be better to have the prizes be 20 cheap cars instead of just one expensive one?” he asked. And Dr. D. took on the topic of remittances, saying, “I get the impression that lots of our people feel that their folks ‘up so’ serve one sole purpose……to send money and consumer goods for them, as fast as a magic wand can be waved.”
Visitors to the country had things to say as well. Berkman Center Clinical program participants filed audio reports about their time in Jamaica and one of them is keeping a journal. Ethan Zuckerman also blogged about “sitting in a conference room in Kingston, surrounded by telecoms employees, prison wardens, recently released former inmates, high school principals and a couple of somewhat confused Harvard professors” at the “Cyber Strategy for Caribbean Business Leaders” conference in Kingston and observed that in spite of the island's relatively small size, “almost everyone in the world has an impression of Jamaica – accurate or not – connected to Bob Marley, Red Stripe beer, reggae, ragga, dancehall… In the sense of “nation brand”, Jamaica’s got an extraordinarily strong one.” Nesson was there as well and talked here and here about the event.
Trinidad & Tobago
A bomb blast in the district of St. James on the evening of October 14–the country's fourth for the year–had the T&T blogosphere abuzz with activity. On the evening of the incident Caribbean Free Radio provided blow-by-blow reports taken mainly from the television news. The following day Sirius83's Journal of Insanity posted a few screen caps and Taran Rampersad offered an update and some analysis. Despairing responses came from Small Island Girl, independence of mind and Sinpo, who made the point: “At least when bombs go off in other countries, someone makes a statement detailing the reasons why. In this case, no one has said anything.”
Free Trinidad was nonetheless hopeful when Yasin Abu Bakr, mastermind of the July 27 1990 coup in Trinidad and Tobago, was taken into custody on the night of October 14 (Bakr was released on Monday), though Free Trinidad was not amused when the Prime Minister refused to reveal the identity of “Mr. Big”, the person he claimed was responsible for the bombings. Equally unimpressed was Seldo.
The government response to the incident, in fact, occasioned a call for civil disobedience from Nicholas Laughlin, who commemorated his third anniversary as a blogger with a flurry of posts this week. Laughlin commented on the destructive wave surges on Trinidad's north coast (which also affected the Guyana coast), linked to an article about the Guyanese climber attempting to scale Mount Roraima from the Guyana side and scooped the local newspapers with the news that a local surfer had called Trinidad and Tobago's Met Office to warn them that the waves were coming but was ignored, but he didn't think too much of TIME magazine's “100 best English-language novels from 1923 to the present” list (though he did note the two Caribbean inclusions). All this while performing his duties as a judge for the inaugural Derek Walcott Fiction prize. Further unproductive statements from the government made Laughlin even more determined to participate in the anti-crime rally on Saturday, which Taran Rampersad may also attend. Rampersad also speculated on the cause of the “rogue waves” on the north coast and weighed in on the RSA Adelphi Charter, as did Jacqueline Morris, who asked as well why the Caribbean isn't talking about Internet governance. Jonathan Ali wondered whether a letter from the chairman of the Committee for Social Transformation to the newly-appointed High Commissioner for Canada (who has been reported as saying that crime in T&T is being sensationalised) had been cc'd to the government leadership. And CaribPundit trawled some of the region's newspapers and came up with her own editorial, in addition to expressing opinions on a host of issues affecting Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica, Haiti.
On a lighter note, bookbinder Richard Bolai showed some of his recent works, and Hassan Voyeau is looking forward to the Trinidad & Tobago football team's World Cup qualifier against Bahrain, noting that “which ever country wins that country would be the smallest country ever represented at the World Cup”.
And now we go alphabetical again. . . .
Over at A Limey in Bermuda, Marsha Wiggins is skeptical of the idea of political independence for the island.
Cayman Time reported that Breast Cancer Awareness is being commemorated in Cayman with a variety of activities over the month of October and posted a report on the effects of Hurricane Wilma specially targeted at “sensationalists”.
YingYang mixed personal reminiscences with historical accounts and photos in a substanial post marking the 22nd anniversary of the 1983 uprising.
Monologist was inspired by an account of President Bharrat Jagedo's return to his ancestral village in Uttar Pradesh, India, but Canadian Michiyo, blogging about “the realities of doing international work in Guyana” misses “walking in a street without being constantly called “Chinee girl” and experienced yet another power outage. And over at Living Guyana, MediaCritic continued his ongoing critique of Guyanese television.
At Ayiti Se Beau, kutielicious solicits opinions on presidential hopeful Dumas Simeus. I've also spotted two other blogs being written from Haiti: Sujata's in Haiti, by a public health worker based in Jeremie, and Haiti Blog, a Spanish-language photoblog, but nothing from them in the past week.
Looshan Ramblings called for some perspective on the part of his compatriots, who he says are wasting their time decrying PM Sir John Compton's “secret meeting” with Taiwanese officials when they should be focused on the murder rate in St. Lucia, which stands at 33.
West Indies Cricket
Ryan Naraine's exhaustive coverage of West Indies cricket this week included another response to Texan billionaire Allen Stanford's investment in a regional cricket tournament, with Naraine drawing our attention as well to the stereotyping of the West Indies team in the Australian press in advance of the WI tour to Australia.