Trinidad y Tobago

Suspected gang members are arrested during a police raid in Princes Town, Trinidad and Tobago, on Aug. 26, 2011. Andrea De Silva/Reuters

Among the countries with the worst crime rates in the world, sixth-place Trinidad and Tobago might not seem out of place at first, sitting alongside similarly violence-torn Haiti and Jamaica in the Caribbean, and several Central American nations. However, as an island state with oil and gas, Trinidad has a GDP per capita that is not only significantly higher than its “peers” but also higher than most developing nations in Latin America, Africa, and Asia. That it is overwhelmed by violent crime, driven by gang violence and the drug trade, is a tragedy for the country where I grew up, which has produced the likes of historian Eric Williams, batsman Brian Lara, and Nobel laureate V.S.…  Seguir leyendo »

Andrea de Silva/Reuters. Activist Jason Jones celebrating with others after Trinidad and Tobago’s High Court ruled against the country’s anti-homosexual laws, outside the Hall of Justice, Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, April 12, 2018

On April 12, outside the Hall of Justice in downtown Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, the streets were alive with office workers going about their business, vendors hawking everything from CDs to shaved ice—the usual hubbub on a hot morning in the middle of the dry season. And yet, something unusual was taking place inside the Hall of Justice, and, as a result, over a hundred people had gathered on the steps outside, myself included. In 2017, a gay Trinbagonian man named Jason Jones had challenged the so-called “buggery law” of Trinidad and Tobago, the statute that had criminalized same-sex intimacy for more than four decades.…  Seguir leyendo »

June once again marked a proudly celebrated Caribbean Heritage Month across the United States in recognition of significant social and cultural contributions reinforced by shared cultures, languages, religious traditions and culinary tastes. The United States is a stronger union from the contributions of this complex and diverse group of people who make up the emerging Caribbean demographic in the American fabric.

For Jamaica and the twin-island Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, the celebration continues to mark the 50th anniversaries of independence. At midnight Aug. 5, 1962, Jamaica hoisted with pride the symbolic colors of nationhood — the black, gold and green.…  Seguir leyendo »

Over the course of four days beginning on 4 June 1999, Nankisoon Boodram (aka Dole Chadee) and eight of his criminal gang were hanged in Port of Spain, Trinidad, for the murder of one of their alleged associates and his family. I understand that on the day of Chadee's hanging, a man was murdered at a gas station one block away from the gallows and another was murdered in the sleepy fishing village of Mayaro. These, and the countless other murders which followed that weekend of hangings, are the examples given by opponents of the mandatory death penalty in Trinidad and Tobago to demonstrate the senselessness of government-sanctioned homicide as a deterrent for murder.…  Seguir leyendo »

Trinidad and Tobago elected its first female prime minister on Monday. Kamla Persad-Bissessar took a multiparty coalition to victory over the People's National Movement (PNM) and its leader, Patrick Manning, who had been in power for 13 of the last 17 years.

During this campaign, Persad-Bissessar's gender was used by the opposition to appeal to deepseated but, hopefully, bygone fears. Manning repeatedly painted Persad-Bissessar as a pawn in the hands of strong and dangerous men and suggested that "the lady" was not strong enough to rule. Persad-Bissessar, by contrast, bravely appeared on her campaign platforms to the tune of Helen Reddy's "I Am Woman" and made many references to her roles as a mother and grandmother.…  Seguir leyendo »