As Global Voices celebrates its fifth anniversary , the occasion has given us all an opportunity to reflect on why we do what we do  and how our work makes a difference . As my colleague Jillian York  so succinctly put it, “We spread stories. We spread words.” We manage to do that effectively because of the many people who are so committed to making this project everything it is and more. Some  of those wonderful  people  are on the Caribbean  team, and in the spirit of reflection, we're taking a look back at some of the most interesting/important/eye-opening regional posts of 2009…
This was a year for social movements, it seemed. From expressing solidarity with the people of Gaza  who suffered through the bombings  to speaking up for themselves  “against all sorts of abuses”, Guadeloupe and the French Overseas Territories put their stamp on the regional blogosphere. Haitian bloggers were also very outspoken on the political front , while  Puerto Rico  and  Bermuda  had  protests  of their own .
The global financial crisis certainly had an impact on the Caribbean. Bloggers from Trinidad and Tobago , Guyana , and the rest  of the region  were abuzz with tales of financial governance gone awry. Bloggers also had a lot to say  about the economic ramifications  of the 5th Summit of the Americas , held earlier this year in Trinidad and Tobago.
Crime and Punishment
Several Caribbean territories had their bone to pick with the law this year: Guadeloupe , Barbados , and in a particularly heart-wrenching story, Guyana . Violent crime  rates also seemed to be on the rise in several islands – including domestic abuse and gender violence  – and many West Indian bloggers used Barbadian pop star Rihanna's unfortunate incident with then-boyfriend Chris Brown to send a message about the issue .
Press freedom  (or lack thereof) was a popular topic for regional discussion once again this year, as was censorship and freedom of expression.  The story that perhaps best demonstrated the dangers of self expression in some parts of the region was the seizure of Cuban blogger Yoani Sanchez (along with two colleagues) as they made their way to an anti-violence march  in Havana.
In honour of Blog Action Day 2009 , Cariabbean bloggers added their voices to the global discussion on climate change , while over in Guadeloupe, water availability  was on everyone's mind.
The IAAF World Championships brought joy and celebration to regional sports fans, thanks to the outstanding performances of Jamaica's Usain Bolt  and other Caribbean athletes .
There were, of course, other fascinating stories that we covered: the ban on explicit music in Jamaica , Nobel Laureate Derek Walcott's withdrawal from the race  for the coveted position of Oxford Professor of Poetry , Haiti's touching farewell to the late Fr. Jean-Juste . We tracked the path of the Caribs , built online art networks , and attended Cuba's Concert for Peace . And we can't wait to see what 2010 will have in store. Happy New Year!