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Matthew Hunte addresses the controvery surrounding Monique Roffey’s blog post in Waterstone. [See our earlier post: Monique Roffey’s article stirs controversy (July 23)]. Here is an excerpt, with a link to the full article below. We thank Peter Jordens for bringing this piece to our attention.

Trinidad-born, Britain-based writer Monique Roffey has taken down her Facebook page* following fierce criticism of a blog post she wrote for the website of British bookstore chain Waterstones. The post was intended to serve as an introduction to new and emerging writers from the Caribbean who, for the most part, may not be as well known as authors from what Roffey refers to as the “Golden Era of Caribbean Literature”, which includes Nobel Laureates Derek Walcott and V.S. Naipaul.

But members of the Caribbean literary community have accused her being a “latter day Columbus,” or discovering what was already there, and representing the region inaccurately.

Roffey, perhaps best known for her novel “The White Woman on the Green Bicycle,” which was shortlisted for the Orange Prize in 2010 and the Encore Award the following year, has been sharing her expertise with some of these authors through her involvement in CaribLit, an action group that helps to promote Caribbean writing and publishing. But until she attended the 2012 Bocas LitFest in Port of Spain, Trinidad, it hadn’t quite struck her that this new crop of regional writers were all part of her generation:

It was a memorable experience for me because there in my hometown, I got to meet many other Caribbean writers born in the 1960s and 70s. Most of these writers were female, and incredibly they were of varied race, class background, and sexual orientation [...] We all had a lot in common and yet we were all so different; in fact, much of our life experience isn’t common at all. But what was pertinent for me, then, only two years ago, was to come across a constellation of writers of similar age. We were children born into the early years of the Independence era in the region. We were children of the new era, literally.

According to Roffey, existing issues in the region, dating back to colonisation and slavery, have become more complex over time. There are new challenges as well — environmental, economic, even enduring questions of identity have a new face with the advent of cable television, the Internet and social media. Her essay came to the conclusion that this “new generation of Caribbean writers” is more interested in exploring these issues on their own terms than in responding to views from the metropole:

Our generation is no longer writing back, that much strikes me as over for sure. Instead, we are writing for ourselves and sometimes towards each other. We are not only talking to each other, but sometimes arguing too. Some of us are still gate-keeping, asking what is the real deal, who constitutes a true true Caribbean author and who doesn’t. And some of us are too busy writing for such censorious thoughts about identity. These days, the Caribbean writer might be white and middle class, or brown-skinned and privileged, or from Chinese or Syrian extractions; they might be gay or straight, they might be living in the region or in Diaspora. The New Wave of writers has become so much more porous and diverse in terms of their social background. And so, the literature of the Caribbean region is alive and well and very varied and we are charting our own here and now.

Saint Lucian poet and critic Vladimir Lucien called Roffey’s post “ahistorical,” arguing that she mischaracterized certain themes as new to Caribbean writing when they aren’t.

To continue reading go to http://globalvoicesonline.org/2014/07/28/why-some-caribbean-authors-are-accusing-trinidad-born-novelist-monique-roffey-of-being-a-latter-day-columbus/

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In an effort to stimulate interest in and a critical appreciation of film among young people, the trinidad+tobago film festival (ttff) has joined forces with leading sponsor bpTT to establish a prize to be adjudicated by a youth jury at this year’s Festival.

The bpTT Youth Jury Prize will be awarded to the best film at the ttff as decided by a jury of young people. The inaugural prize will be handed out at the ttff/14, which runs from September 16–30.

The Festival is now looking for five (5) young people from T&T to be members of the jury. We are seeking young women and men from the ages of 16 to 21 (inclusive) who love all kinds of movies. You must be enthusiastic about watching movies with a critical eye, with a view to gaining a better appreciation of the artform.

Prospective jury members should submit an application stating their name, date of birth, sex and school or occupation. You must also submit an essay—with a 250-word limit—saying what your favourite movie is and why.

Selected jurors will meet at the ttff/14. Under the guidance of an experienced film critic, the jury will watch a selection of Caribbean and international feature-length fiction films with young-adult protagonists, films that deal with themes and issues affecting young people.

After the jury has viewed all the films in competition, it will choose the winning film. The director of this film will receive a trophy plus a cash award of TT$5,000, to be presented at the ttff/14 awards ceremony on 28 September at the Central Bank Auditorium.

For being a participant, each jury member will receive a ttff/14 pass (which provides free entry to all film screenings), invitations to the opening gala, awards ceremony and closing-night film, and invitations to selected social events during the Festival.

To be considered for the youth jury, please e-mail the stipulated information to submit@ttfilmfestival.com (subject line: Youth Jury Application) no later than Monday 01 September. Successful jury members will be notified by Friday 5 September.

 

Founded in 2006, the ttff is an annual celebration of films from and about Trinidad and Tobago, the Caribbean and its diaspora. The Festival also screens films curated from contemporary world cinema. In addition, the ttff seeks to facilitate the growth of the Caribbean film industry by hosting workshops, panel discussions and networking opportunities. The Festival is presented by Flow, and given leading sponsorship by bpTT and the Trinidad and Tobago Film Company.

 

Caption for photo: A still from ttff/13 prizewinning selection 3 Kids (Jonas d’Adesky, Haiti)

Posted by: lisaparavisini | July 28, 2014

Vladimir Lucien to Launch Poetry Collection

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Young St. Lucian writer Vladimir Lucien launches his first collection of poetry on Wednesday July 30th at the Conference Room of the Cultural Development Foundation (CDF) at 7 pm, the St Lucia Times reports.

The launch is part of the CDF’s Emancipation programmes.

His work has been published in The Caribbean Review of Books, Wasafiri, Small Axe journal, the PN Review, BIM magazine, Caribbean Beat and other journals, as well as an anthology of poetry entitled, ‘Beyond Sangre Grande’ edited by Cyril Dabydeen.

Lucien was also awarded the first prize in the poetry category of the Small Axe prize 2013. He has been featured at the Trinidad Bocas Lit Fest’s new talent showcase as well as the West Indian Literary Conference, the Word Alive Literary Festival and other events.

His artistic interests also include theatre, having acted and served as dramaturge in productions staged by the Department of Creative and Festival Arts, at his alma mater, the University of the West Indies (St. Augustine Campus).

Vladimir’s debut collection of poetry ‘Sounding Ground’ was published in May 2014 by Peepal Tree Press.

His talent and work has been recognised and applauded, not only by his literary colleagues in St. Lucia, but by writers throughout the Caribbean and internationally. He is also making his name as an insightful reviewer with several articles published in the Caribbean press and in online journals.

He is presently completing an MPhil degree with UWI, St. Augustine. He is a lecturer at the Sir Arthur Lewis Community College.

The public is invited to the launch of ‘Sounding Ground.’

For the original report go to http://stluciatimes.com/article/vladimir-lucien-launch-poetry-collection#sthash.fP6SSeQI.dpuf

Posted by: lisaparavisini | July 28, 2014

History’s Lessons Live at Martinique’s La Savane des Esclaves

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This travel article by Brian Major appeared in Travel Pulse.

Several contemporary commentators assert that we live in a post-racial society. While that certainly is a worthy and necessary goal, it clearly has yet to be achieved. Recent events in Europe and the Middle East illustrate that issues surrounding ethnicity, race and culture continue to have an explosive ability to inflame human passions and action. Indeed, these have existed as human traits across time.

And yet often when we are able to reflect on the true nature of our shared experience, we approach acceptance, understanding and reverence for the common ties that should bind, and not divide humankind.

Today’s Caribbean travelers can find evidence of the racial reality of 18th and 19th century colonial culture in still-existing and magnificent great houses and plantations in countries from Barbados to the U.S. Virgin Islands. Exhibits frequently focus on the lifestyles, family histories and architectural achievements of the patrician planters and sparingly — if at all — document the slave-labor agricultural system that served as the economic foundation of these extremely profitable operations.

The same cannot be said for La Savane des Esclaves in the resort town of Trois Ilets on the Windward Antilles island of Martinique. The two hectare open-air museum, operated by proprietor Gilbert Larose, replicates a post-slavery native village and farm with traditional houses built of palisades wood with beaten earth floors and cane-leaf roofs. The lush and hilly grounds are filled with native trees and plants, and the grounds also feature a garden cultivated in a traditional manner without use of chemicals or pesticides.

The fruits and vegetables include yams, sweet potatoes, manioc, corn, pineapple, guava, and bananas. The garden also features many medicinal plants grown and used for hundreds of years by Caribbean natives to treat and cure a wide range of illnesses, injuries and medical maladies. Savane exhibits and demonstrations also document traditional construction techniques used to build the huts, along with processes including the manufacture of agricultural products including cacao sticks, cassava with manioc flour and sugarcane juice.

Unlike many traditional Caribbean plantation exhibits, La Savane also offers a frank and brutally accurate documentation of slavery in Martinique. Through paintings, sculptures and historical drawings and photographs, the incredible cruelty and violence of the slave-based agricultural economy is depicted, from Africans’ horrific capture and transport across the Atlantic Ocean to the Caribbean, the callous sale of slave families on the auction blocks and the slaves’ existence, defined by bondage, back-breaking labor and the ever-present threat and reality of punishment, torture and rape.

The exhibits also document the often-untold story of slave resistance and include chilling scenes of frenzied slave insurrections and revolts. Despite popular contemporary knowledge, there were many slave revolts in the European colonies and in the nascent United States. Indeed, colonial masters lived in constant fear of slave cabals and plots against their draconian authority.

Slave-holders frequently enacted laws and codes to prevent their captive labor force from gathering and communicating in significant numbers. The 2011 book American Uprising by Harvard University historian Daniel Rasmussen chronicles a slave revolt in New Orleans in 1811, considered the largest ever in the United States. The book describes how many slaves in that revolt were inspired by Toussaint L’Ouverture’s successful revolt against French authority in Haiti.

While it exists as a tableau of incredible suffering and violence, the La Savane is a surprisingly uplifting place that also chronicles the Caribbean slave population’s transition to free people following slavery’s end in Martinique. In retrospect, that harsh reality of slavery led to resistance among the enslaved and a desire among free men like Victor Schoelcher, the French abolitionist writer whose efforts led to slavery’s abolition in Martinique in 1848, to end the odious practice.

Even as I felt the profound impact of viewing depictions of slavery’s worst horrors, I was able to reflect on how far Martinique’s former slaves – like the once-enslaved population of my own nation – had come in the centuries since. As I walked around the site this past week with Steve Bennett, a Martinique tourism official who like myself is descended from Caribbean ancestors (Steve was born in St. Croix while I have family members hailing from Antigua, Barbados and St. Kitts), we joked how on hot afternoons at the site visitors would feel at least one aspect of the “real slave experience.”

Moreover visitors will find LaRose to be a generous and welcoming host with an infectious smile and a warm manner as he personally hosts tours of the site. His dedication and hard work have allowed hundreds of international visitors to enjoy the lessons taught at La Savane and has transformed the museum into one of Martinique’s best-known cultural attractions.

A Martinique native, Larose had always been interested in his grandparents’ lifestyle, culture, customs and traditions. In 2000, using assistance from family and friends, he established Yesteryear Village Lontan on the site as a means of displaying and teaching traditional agricultural techniques and practices. Using locally sourced materials to build traditional buildings, and adding evocative wooden sculptures by professional artists, LaRose by 2004 had established La Savane as a living museum to “testify, teach and preserve the heritage of Martinique.”

La Savane is open daily from 9 a.m. to 12 noon and from 2 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Guided tours are available and conducted in French, with a written version available in several languages including English. Cocoa-making workshops are held on Tuesdays and Thursdays and can be combined with Savane tours. Rates are seven euros per adult and three euros for children ages three to 12.

For the original report go to http://www.travelpulse.com/news/destinations/historys-lessons-live-at-martiniques-la-savane-des-esclaves.html

Posted by: lisaparavisini | July 28, 2014

Zoe Saldana Talks Race Issues in Hollywood

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This article by Meredith Seay appeared in Urban Mecca.

Actress Zoe Saldana is one busy woman these days, headlining in three simultaneous giant sci-fi franchises — Guardians of the Galaxy, Star Trek and Avatar. The busy star sat down with The Hollywood Reporter to talk about her upcoming roles, race in Hollywood and also revealed why she almost quit the business years ago.

Currently, the 36-year-old is headed overseas to promote Marvel’s latest big-budget Guardians of the Galaxy and will soon be returning to film her next films. What do these films all have in common? They’re all sci-fi movies, which she loves.

“You just gravitate naturally to what your heart yearns for,” she said. “And I grew up in a very science fiction-driven household. It was odd for me to grow up and go out in the world and not see other women going crazy for science fiction …”

Saldana got her major franchise break in 2003′s Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl. Seemingly a memorable moment in her career, the actress also remembers it as the moment she almost quit the business.

“Those weren’t the right people for me,” she began before clarifying, “I’m not talking about the cast. The cast was great. I’m talking about the political stuff that went on behind closed doors. It was a lot of above-the-line versus below-the-line, extras versus actors, producers versus PAs. It was very elitist.”

It became such a problem that she almost rethought her career.

“I almost quit the business,” she revealed. “I was 23 years old, and I was like, ‘F— this!’ I am never putting myself in this situation again. People disrespecting me because they look at my number on a call sheet and they think I’m not important. F— you.”

Since that moment, Saldana has luckily moved on to make a successful career for herself, being a successful woman of color in Hollywood despite some race barriers.

“I don’t want to spend my life thinking about all the impossibilities I face when I wake up in the morning,” she said. “But the reality is, I’m a woman of color in America. That itself is enough for you to wake up and go, “Oh, f—!”

Head over to THR for the full story.

For the original report go to http://urbanmecca.net/news/2014/07/28/zoe-saldana-talks-race-issues-in-hollywood/

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Previously, we announced a call for submissions for e-misférica, Caribbean Rasanblaj [see previous post Call for Submissions: Caribbean Rasanblaj]. E-misférica invited submissions of scholarly essays, artist presentations, and reviews of books, performances and films for its 11.2 issue, a special issue edited by Gina Athena Ulysse (Wesleyan University). The deadline for completed essays has been extended to September 15, 2014.

Rasanblaj (n) Resist the impulse to translate, pronounce it first. Think consciously of the sound. Let the arch of the r roll over the ah that automatically depresses the tongue; allow the hiss in the s that will culminate at the front of the teeth to entice the jaw to drop for the an sound while un-smacking the lips will propel the bl surrounding the depressed ah again ending with j. Play with its contours. Know what this word feels like in your mouth. In Haitian Kreyòl. 3 syllables. Ra-San-Blaj.

Defined as assembly, compilation, enlisting, regrouping, (of ideas, things, people, spirits. For example, fè yon rasanblaj, do a gathering, a ceremony, a protest), rasanblaj’s very linguistic formation subverted and resisted colonial oppression (M.Condé). “Consider that Article 16 of the 1685 French Code Noir forbade slaves of different masters to gather at any time under any circumstances.” Its etymology and significations index the histories through which it emerged.

Rasanblaj: Catalyst. Keyword. Method. Practice. Project.

Rasanblaj issues a provocation to reframe discursive and expressive practices in the Caribbean (and its diasporas). Rasanblaj requires communal presence from the engaged to the radical, and is inter-active from the grassroots level rather than imposed from above. Considering the embodied visceral in the structural, it invokes Audre Lorde’s feminist erotic knowledge in its fullest dimensions from the political, to the sensual and spiritual (M. Sheller). It calls upon us to think through Caribbean performance and politics, recognizing the crossroads not as destination, but as point of encounter from which to move beyond. Indeed, with unequivocal evidence that the past and the future exist in the present (C.L.R. James, M-R. Trouillot), rasanblaj not only presupposes intent and method but also offers possibilities for other modalities and narratives. Thus, it allows us to contemplate the performative in subjectivity, agency, communities and citizenship that constitute Caribbean futures (B. Meeks), with the Marvelous and utopias imagined as possible realities (S. Césaire, J. Muñoz). An explicitly decolonial project, rasanblaj demands that we consider the limited scope of segregated frameworks to explore what remains excluded in this landscape full of life, yet ridden with inequities and dangerous memories (M. J. Alexander).

Guidelines: Please submit completed essays by September 15, 2014; advance queries and abstracts are welcome. To submit multimedia presentations and reviews, please contact the editors with proposals not later than August 17, 2015, with texts and materials due September 15.

For this issue, e-misférica will accept submissions in English, Spanish, Creole, French and Portuguese. All contributions, proposals, and consultations should be sent to the editors at hemi.ejournal@nyu.edu. Guidelines and style sheet can be found at http://hemisphericinstitute.org/hemi/en/participate.

For more information, see http://hemisphericinstitute.cmail1.com/t/ViewEmail/t/0E2542A34C7D7700/045EE4F6D7B178782540EF23F30FEDED

Also see http://caribbean.commons.gc.cuny.edu/2014/07/28/caribbean-rasanblaj/

[Image above: “Las islas/The Islands,” assemblage by Puerto Rican artist Miguel Conesa Osuna; see more at http://www.angelfire.com/co2/conesaosunamiguel/ .]

Posted by: ivetteromero | July 28, 2014

Film: Thomas Allen Harris’ “Through a Lens Darkly” 

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Thomas Allen Harris’ “Through a Lens Darkly: Black Photographers and the Emergence of a People,” a Sundance Film Festival 2014 selection, will make its US theatrical premiere beginning Wednesday, August 27 until September 9, 2014, at Film Forum (at 209 West Houston Street, New York, New York). The film also explores how contemporary photographers and artists like Deborah Willis, Carrie Mae Weems, Lorna Simpson, Anthony Barboza, Lyle Ashton Harris, Hank Willis Thomas, Glenn Ligon, Coco Fusco, and Clarissa Sligh, “have built upon the legacy of early Black photographers.

Description: A rich and lyrical tapestry that is both personal and epic in scope, Thomas Allen Harris’s extraordinary documentary, Through a Lens Darkly: Black Photographers and the Emergence of a People, is a unique examination of the way black photographers—and their subjects—have used the camera as a tool for social change from the time photography was invented to the present. Using the family album as a rubric, Harris confronts the way images of “blackness” have affected his own family and sense of self-worth as an African American. He also illuminates the ways fellow photographers such as Deborah Willis, Carrie Mae Weems, Lorna Simpson, Anthony Barboza, Hank Willis Thomas, Lyle Ashton Harris, and Glenn Ligon have challenged popular culture’s definition of “blackness” and “black people.” Through a Lens Darkly is a powerful and elegant engagement with the burden of representation and serves as a testament to the redemptive powers of creativity.

This documentary is part of a larger transmedia project that includes the website/traveling roadshow Digital Diaspora Family Reunion, which invites audiences to share and upload their own family photographs and participate in the creation of a national family archive that can form communities.

Read a review of the film here.

For related articles, see http://throughalensdarkly.wordpress.com/, http://blogs.indiewire.com/shadowandact/usa-theatrical-run-set-for-thomas-allen-harris-acclaimed-doc-through-a-lens-darkly-20140722 and http://filmguide.sundance.org/film/13958/through_a_lens_darkly_black_photographers_and_the_emergence_of_a_people

Posted by: ivetteromero | July 28, 2014

Coco Fusco, Interviewed by Elia Alba

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Elia Alba, a New York-based multidisciplinary artist, interviews fellow artist and educator Coco Fusco about her artistic production, her writing, and on “being a provocateur, Planet of the Apes, and the ‘wow’ factor of Cuban Art.” artist and writer. Fusco is a recipient of several awards, including the 2013 Guggenheim Fellowship, a 2013 Absolut Art Writing Award, a 2013 Fulbright Fellowship, a 2012 US Artists Fellowship, and a 2003 Herb Alpert Award in the Arts. Here are excerpts of the interview (with a link to the full review below):

The complex structures of power and control have preoccupied performance artist, writer, and curator Coco Fusco for over 20 years. In A Room of One’s Own: Women and Power in the New America (2008), a performance lecture explores the expanding role of American women in the War on Terror. Bare Life Study (2006), a group performance which draws on her training in military interrogation with “Team Delta”, sheds light on the subjections in American military prisons. The video, The Empty Plaza (La Plaza Vacía), (2012), narrated by Yoani Sanchez, depicts an empty Plaza de La Revolución, a stark contrast to an arena that was the platform for all major political events in the past half century. Currently, the artist is at work on a project centered around contemporary Cuban performance art. Through her personal history Fusco walks us through Cuba’s past to tell us how the existing conditions on the island have led to a wave of performance and happenings. Moreover, by restaging and performing the character, Dr. Zira, a chimpanzee psychologist from the 1970s iconic movie series, Planet of the Apes, she illuminates the economic violence humans inflict on each other. [. . .]

Elia Alba: As you know everyone in The Supper Club will have a moniker as way to define each of you within the group. It’s also the word I will use to conceptualize a portrait of you. How do you feel about yours being “The Provocateur”? [. . .]

Coco Fusco: I believe there are plenty of people out there who see me as a provocateur because I talk back, and because I work on subjects that irritate some people. But provocateur can have a negative connotation, it can suggest that I am just an enfant terrible who wants to shock people rather than delve deeply into issues. It can be used as a slight. I don’t see myself as someone who is just trying to get attention. I am interested in politics as sculptural material. I look at relationships of force, of power and control. [. . .]

EA: You were given the prize to continue your research project on the evolution of Cuban performance. You’ve written other books on performance—can you elaborate on this project and why it is this important now?

CF:  [. . .] In 1985, just after I finished graduate school, I met a group of Cuban artists who visited the US and exhibited their work here: José Bedia, Ricardo Brey, and Flavio Garciandia. They were friends of Ana Mendieta’s. I felt a real affinity with them: We were about the same age, we were interested in the same art and the same ideas, and we had read many of the same books. Temperamentally I felt really close to them and I wanted to see more and learn more so I started travelling to Cuba. This began a long relationship that I’ve had with the Cuban visual art scene. The vitality of the place, the energy in the art scene, even the intense politicization of every aspect of life is fascinating to me. Over time, I grew to understand the complexities of negotiating life there as an intellectual or artist and developed a somewhat more skeptical view of life in the land of tropical socialism.

EA: We did start to see a big influx of Cuban artists in the United States.

CF: That was the result of two things. The Havana Biennial, which started in the 1980s, and became a really major geographically peripheral biennial in the ’90s. Carlos Garaicoa, Kcho, Tania Bruguera, and Los Carpinteros, to name a few, all launched their careers there. Foreign visitors were “wowed” by Cuban art. The Cuban Revolution had established a pretty solid educational system for artists. The talented kids were spotted when they were young and put through rigorous training—not just in art but also in dance, music, theater, sports, and science. I think a lot of people from other parts of the world just didn’t expect a country in dire straits to have such a sophisticated group of young artists, who were very well informed, talented, and also very familiar with everything going on in the so-called West. [. . .]

For full interview, see http://bombmagazine.org/article/1000179/coco-fusco

Also see more on Coco Fusco here: http://cocofusco.com/ and on Elia Alba here: http://www.eliaalba.net

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The Caribbean Premier League 2014 is well under way and games will continue until mid-August. Here, Viinode Mamcham waxes poetic about the recent nine-wicket victory of the T&T Red Steel over the St Lucia Zouks. The team was cheered on by Prime Minister Kamla Persad Bissessar herself. However, it’s not over yet; the T&T Red Steel will meet the St. Lucia Zouks again on Saturday, but this time on their home turf, St. Lucia.

Twenty-four years ago, Port-of-Spain was painted in red—the blood of an attempt coup. Yesterday, however, it was painted in red again—the love of a nation for the T&T Red Steel, who did not disappoint and gave them a wonderful nine-wicket victory over the St Lucia Zouks.

The battlefield this time was not the Red House but the Queen’s Park Oval and soldiers stationed at the venue were not involved in battle but were there to ensure that the exuberant fans did not rush onto the field after Red Steel registered their fifth win in the Limacol Caribbean Premier League (CPL) T20 tournament. After incisive bowling from Dwayne Bravo’s men restricted the Zouks to 136 for nine off their 20 overs, the home team romped to victory at 137 for one off 14.4 overs.

The assault by Evin Lewis and Kevin O’Brien could well spark an inquiry into the performance of the opposition, as they attacked with full force.

Lewis armed with a heavy BAS bat flayed the offerings from the Islanders and the white missile took to the air, landing among the civilians. He rushed to a half century off just 24 balls—hitting four sixes and four fours. This landmark, his second in successive games after his 72 against the Jamaica Tallawahs, all but ended the interest of the Zouks.

Lewis and O’Brien posted their century stand off just 10.4 overs and the fans were jumping. While the two batted, life in T&T looked perfect, as total strangers were hugging each other in the stands, celebrating the T&T Red Steel. Lewis fell just before the victory was formalised, getting 77 off 45 balls with 12 fours and two sixes.

O’Brien then brought up his second half century off the series off 40 balls with three sixes and three fours. He remained 55 not out at the end.

[. . .] The Red Steel, on the other hand, received a boost with the visit of Prime Minister Kamla Persad Bissessar lending her support, after two weeks of uncertainty as to whether the T&T brand could be used as part of the team’s name. The West Indies T20 captain stayed to the end and finished 46 not out off 35 balls with four sixes and one four.

[Photo above: Batsman Darren Sammy, whose St. Lucia Zouks will look to register their first win in the Caribbean Premier League against Red Steel on Monday; from http://www.ibtimes.co.in/cpl-t20-live-streaming-information-watch-red-steel-vs-st-lucia-zouks-online-605423]

For full article, see http://www.guardian.co.tt/sport/2014-07-27/awesome-tt-red-steel-does-home-trick

Also see http://www.cricketworld.com/red-steel-hammer-st-lucia-zouks/38372.htm and http://www.espncricinfo.com/caribbean-premier-league-2014/content/story/764499.html

Posted by: ivetteromero | July 28, 2014

Caribbean Development: “Stop Being Miserable”

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I know, I don’t think the title is very funny either, but I did find the results interesting. Juan Pedro Schmid (for the Inter-American Development Bank blog on Caribbean development trends) writes about the relationship between the poverty index and the misery index (the sum of inflation and unemployment rates) in the Caribbean, focusing mostly on Jamaica. Here are excerpts:

Of the many associations one would make with the Caribbean, misery is probably not the most typical one. However, if we are to trust the Misery Index, all is not well in paradise. The Misery Index is simply the sum of unemployment and inflation, the idea being that it’s not good for you if you are unemployed and it is not good to live in a country where prices go up. The index is probably especially relevant for poorer households who depend on fixed salaries and have fewer assets to hedge a fall in income and a rise in prices. According to this index, the Caribbean is quite miserable, at least compared to the average of Latin America and the Caribbean. Unemployment contributes more than half to the index in all countries other than Trinidad and Tobago, which has higher inflation than unemployment. We also see that Jamaica was quite miserable together with Guyana and Suriname over the period 2010-2012. Actually, Jamaica and Suriname are in the unenviable situation to have quite high inflation and high unemployment.

It is interesting to see how the index compares to another important measure for well-being, the headcount ratio of poverty (Figure 2). It follows it quite closely, especially for strong moves (Figure 2a). As such, the misery index could be used as a proxy for the poverty rate, which is only available once a year and only with a long lag.

Jamaica has quarterly unemployment and inflation, which can be used to track the index with a higher frequency. Since, 2007 the index has mostly been increasing. Unemployment has been going up since the onset of the world economic recession while inflation has varied considerably (Figure 1).

As the title of this blog suggests, we want to stop being miserable, so what is the expectation going forward. Using current forecasts for economic growth (and thus unemployment) and inflation, the benefits from the recovery should continue and trickle down to poorer households. [. . .] According to a recent study , employment will recover only slowly.

[. . .] In addition, the low productivity of Jamaican firms implies that the first reaction to higher demand would be to try to be more productive rather than employing more staff. Nevertheless, some of the better performing industries, including agriculture and tourism, are labor intensive and could contribute quickly to increasing employment. So my prediction is that ‘misery’ will decline in Jamaica and I will check on my prediction in this blog in exactly six months. [. . .]

For original article, see http://blogs.iadb.org/caribbean-dev-trends/page/2/

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