This Week in the Caribbean Blogosphere

It has been another interesting week in the Caribbean blogosphere, with netizens discussing everything from crime to elections…

Trinidad & Tobago

There was outrage in the blogosphere over the death of two-year-old Aliyah Johnson, a victim of child abuse. Guanaguanare was worried “that [it] will amount to nothing”:

The sort of callousness that did not recognise or respect her humanity/divinity is not something that was just one lifetime in the making. This sin is generational and it will also be generations before it is lifted…and only if we begin right away to work towards that future.

Government offices and officials can only do so much. We are the ones, however, who have actually heard the cries and have seen the bruises and other signs of abuse. We continue to be the silent witnesses in our neighbourhoods and maybe even in our own homes. We have to stop pretending that it will all go away…

In a follow-up post, the blogger linked to a video that could help “[address] the problem of child abuse and the wider problem of violence (and the connection between the two) in our country.”

The Eternal Pantomime added:

Remember Daniel Guerra? Remember he was picked up in a car a stone’s throw from his house, by a parlour, and days later his body was found in the Tarouba waterway system?

Remember the Prime Minister wrote a Letter to Daniel, that was really a letter promising to save all the children of Trinidad and Tobago promising that what happened to Daniel, Akiel, Sean Luke, Amy, Hope…would never happen again…

Well…crimes against children are on the rise, and the government has been quietly dismantling social work and welfare projects that can assist in these situations…So think about little Aaliyah now, who, according the forensic report was beaten to death… This is going to happen again and again partly because this society is very sick and partly because very few systems are properly enabled to deal with these issues…when last you hear about the trial against the two boys that killed Sean Luke? I done talk…

Bloggers in Trinidad and Tobago also focused on other issues this past week, including the Dangerous Dogs Act “as news of yet another innocent child being violently ripped and torn apart by yet another, dangerously-aggressive, unrestrained dog makes the rounds” and patients’ rights, as cancer patients who were over-exposed to radiation at a national facility continue to seek justice.

The Bahamas

More north along the Caribbean archipelago, Bahamian netizens had elections on their mind. Blogworld, who recently posted her own voter's manifesto said:

So, in the parlance of the day: Papa has rung the bell.

I can talk the talk like any other Bahamian in 2012. Papa = the current prime minister, Hubert Ingraham. ‘The Bell’ = the announcement of a date for the next general election. I know how to translate the statement.

I just don’t know what it means.

She went on to explain:

Some time ago, I wrote up my own manifesto (since the political parties vying for leadership of the country hadn’t seen fit to share any of their promises or policies for the next five years) as a voter, a participant in a process that is commonly called “democratic”. Since that time, others have joined me in making similar statements, and a few voices have called for our leaders and other politicians to have the balls to step out from behind their carefully crafted propaganda and open themselves up to discussions of issues with reasonable citizens.

But, disappointingly, and with one important exception (Branville McCartney of the DNA) they haven’t.

And this, to my mind, does not bode well for our future.

So my question is this. Given the passion and energy being expended in tearing down the other parties, or the other leaders—in dismissing reasonable questions and observations as ‘FNM’ or ‘PLP’ or even ‘DNA'—each of these being intended as insult, what happens the day after elections, when one party has won and the other(s) has/ve not? How do we work on building a nation of Bahamians?

So as we stare down the home stretch, as we slide into these last three weeks before Bahamians go to the polls and cast our votes, I would like at least one day to be dedicated to having the people who are contesting the elections to tell us what their vision is for this nation. Where do we go from here? How do we find our place in the twenty-first century?

Weblog Bahamas‘ Rick Lowe, meanwhile, hoped that “the level of discussion will be raised for the campaigns”:

If this is what we will get from the opposition it certainly seems to narrow the choice. It also makes me wonder why we must refer to some M.P.s as honourable.


Cuban diaspora bloggers acknowledged the passing of Miami-based Catholic Bishop Agustin Roman. Notes from the Cuban Exile Quarter said:

Cubans have lost the physical presence of one of the great leaders of the Cuban exile community who passed away yesterday night at the age of 83 but his spirit and his writings live on. Monsignor Agustín Román wrote and spoke about the challenges facing the Cuban people and…offered a profound analysis of the state of the Cuban dissident movement that remains extremely relevant.

Pedazos de la Isla said of a speech the late Bishop made “about the importance of the internal Cuban opposition, dissidence, or Resistance”:

As he explains in this heartfelt piece, no matter what you call those brave Cubans inside the island, they all fight for justice. And justice is what Roman also represented in his 84 years of life. Although he is now physically gone, he will always spiritually guide not just Cuban exiles, but all Cubans, into freedom. His example was one worth emulating- a true man of God, a true Catholic, and a true Cuban. He was not afraid to tell the world that his brothers and sisters were in need of freedom, he was not afraid to say that he was an exile, and he was not afraid to explain why he was exiled (he was sent out of the country at gunpoint by the Cuban regime). Agustin Roman did not live off of hate or bitterness, and yet, he was clear in explaining that fighting peacefully was not a sign of weakness, but instead a sign of great strength and courage.

babalu shared details about the funeral arrangements:

This afternoon, Father Agustin Roman will be laid to rest. At noon today, a funeral procession will leave La Ermita de la Caridad and make several stops throughout Miami.

Diaspora bloggers also expressed concern about the safety of the man who was arrested before the start of a Papal Mass in Santiago de Cuba for shouting “Down with communism!” and published a translation of an interview with the man's mother.

On island, bloggers were talking about the trial of El Ñaño, an imprisoned Rastafarian priest. (This post gives some background on the case). Even before yesterday's trial, bloggers were tweeting about his innocence; they also live-tweeted the court proceedings, ending with the following update:

The trail has ended but the judgment may be delayed for months.

Other Territories

Jamaica: Abeng News Magazine kept its readers au courant with the latest developments in the Trayvon Martin case.

Puerto Rico: Gil the Jenius likened the country's increasing violence to a cancer.

St. Vincent & the Grenadines: And Still I Rise marked the thirty third anniversary of the La Soufriere eruption.

Barbados: Contemporary artist Sheena Rose commented on the stereotypical image many people have of the Caribbean:

The more I travel, the more I realize that people do not know the Caribbean. I get the feeling that they thinking we live at the beach all day, have the steel pan playing and drinking coconuts all day, living in a paradise. Yes to me, my home is my paradise but it have more than the beach and coconuts.


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