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The Caribbean Blogosphere: Football fever and more

Categories: Caribbean, Bahrain, Barbados, Belize, Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, St. Vincent & the Grenadines, Trinidad & Tobago

If only in terms of sheer volume, the leading story in the Caribbean blogosphere this week was the Trinidad & Tobago football team's qualification for the 2006 World Cup [1] on November 16.

The team Trinidad & Tobago beat in order to qualify was Bahrain [2] (hence the oft-repeated line that whichever team won would be the smallest country ever to qualify), and this being sport, Bahraini blogger Chana'd [3] left a good natured comment [4] at Caribbean Free Radio that morning: “You will have to watch your team be trounced by Bahrain.” The country came to a virtual standstill [5] (the Senate included) in order to watch/listen to the broadcast from the Bahraini capital of Manama. Nicholas Laughlin blogged extensively [6] during the match itself, and Caribbean Free Radio relayed the radio broadcast [7] to contacts abroad via Skype. Ryan Naraine [8], Taran Rampersad [9] and Nicholas Laughlin [10] have saved me some legwork by posting link summaries, but most of the buzz about the match came, naturally, out of Trinidad & Tobago itself, much of it taking the form of brief cries of ecstacy [11], some of it referring to the unsportsmanlike behaviour of the Bahraini team and fans [12].

Among the bloggers who wrote about the football were Richard Jobity [13], Hassan Voyeau [14], Richard Bolai [15], Sweet Trini [16], Small Island Girl [17], Independence of Mind [18], Simian Scratchings [19], Christopher Yee Mon [20], J9 [21] and Tina [22]. Nicholas Laughlin posted a substantial eyewitness account of the celebrations [23] Port of Spain, the capital (“A friend on the phone from St. James, astonished: “All I can think is, this must be what it was like when the war ended”), and Taran Rampersad did likewise for San Fernando [9] in the south of the island. “Perhaps you have to be the citizen of a really small country with a crummy social and political situation to know how this really feels,” said Caribbean Free Radio, which devoted its 36th podcast [24] to coverage of the activity in the streets of the capital on the evening of November 16. According to Taran, the revelry continued well into Sunday morning [25].

The victory was also remarked upon by a few non-Trinidadian bloggers. Ryan Naraine (who is Guyanese) noted [26] the messages of congratulation pouring in on the caribbeancricket.com message board [27] and Barbadians Campfyah [28] and Titilayo [29], Mad Bull [30] and Revolution Island [31] in Cayman and YingYang [32] in Grenada posted reactions.

Things weren't going nearly so well this week, however, for a sport with far deeper roots in the English-speaking Caribbean [33]. The West Indies Cricket Blog reported on the increasingly dismal fortunes of the West Indies cricket team [34] on their tour of Australia, where one commentator even raised the question of “the unthinkable” [35]: Test cricket without the West Indies.

Meanwhile, in the rest of the Caribbean:

Belize [36]
– Erik Olsen noted that on November 19 Belize observes Garifuna Settlement Day [37]: “Descended from African slaves who were shipwrecked off St. Vincent around 1635, the Garifunas mixed with the native Caribbean Indians there and now they make up about 8 percent of the current population of Belizeans.”
– Simone Elgeln offered advice on [38] moving to Belize [39].

Bermuda [40]
– The Limey wrote that “the PLP [Bermuda's ruling party] will not be amending the Human Rights Act to prohibit discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation.” [41]
– Christian Dunleavy's has begun supplementing his online coverage of House of Assembly sessions [42] with recordings of the radio broadcasts [43] which can be streamed, downloaded or received podcast-style via RSS feed.

Cayman Islands
- Odd Blog reported that Grand Cayman is preparing for Gimistory [44], the island's highly regarded storytelling festival.

Guyana [45]
– Looking at a historic building in Georgetown [46], Guyana-gyal was moved to a dialect riff on political leadership, art and expression [47].

Haiti [48]
– Alice responded to my earlier Global Voices post about the state of the Caribbean blogosphere [49] with a lively analysis of the Haitian online conversation [50].

Jamaica [51]
– Kingston Girl has been stopped by the police five times in the space of ten months [52].
– Kara is alarmed by the murder statistics for the year [53].

St Vincent & the Grenadines [54]
– Abeni reported on bad weather and damage caused by a tropical depression [55].

Trinidad & Tobago [56]
– Trinidad-based but regional in its outlook, the Caribbean Beat Weblog [57] went public this week. Four members of the editorial team at Caribbean Beat [58] magazine (including myself) will be posting.
– Taran Rampersad put in his two cents’ on the WSIS [59] and summarized the objectives [60] of the first meeting of CARDICIS [61], which meets for the second time next month.
– Nicholas Laughlin paid tribute [62] to Trinidadian intellectual Lloyd Best, who retired from the Trinidad & Tobago Institute of the West Indies [63] last week.

Podcasts [64]
New-York based Caribbean World Radio released an interview [65] with former head of the University of the West Indies and founder/director of the National Dance Theatre Company of Jamaica, Rex Nettleford, on the topic of “Cultural Diversity in the age of Globalism”.