When news broke earlier this week that the body of a woman—believed to be that of the daughter of Marlene Coudray, mayor of San Fernando, Trinidad's second city and deputy leader of one of the parties in the ruling coalition of political parties forming the T&T Government—was found in western Jamaica, having been reported missing for some days, the question was asked: "Will this create a diplomatic incident?"
The question was most likely motivated also by the recent cross-talk between our two countries, especially the disgruntlement of our manufacturers about trade imbalance. There has also been reaction to the talk about scrapping Caricom, which could have brought our relationship with our neighbours to the brink once again.
Now, with a Trini thought to be the victim of foul play, there's room for all kinds of suspicion, adding to the fact that Jamaica already has a bad name when it comes to crime and violence—even as it plagues others too.
Last week this time was a happier time for Jamaica-T&T relations. The creative side of the twin-island republic was on show in Kingston, saluting Jamaica 50 with a splendid show of our neighbour's creativity. Through the combined efforts of the T&T High Commissioner here, in collaboration with the Art Society of Trinidad and Tobago, the Vice Chancellor of the UWI, Mona, and commercial sponsors, including Caribbean Airlines, a superb exhibition of the visual arts went on display, beginning last week Thursday at the impressive, new regional administrative centre for the UWI, on lands adjacent to Mona.
FWorty-four artists were represented by 68 works—paintings, ceramics, sculpture, photography, video—from some of the iconic names of the past (for example, Sybil Atteck, Carlisle Chang, Boscoe Holder, Leroy Clarke, from the founding years, alongside representatives of a new generation, working mainly in contemporary media, including film.
It was a display in which any country could take pride. The fact that it was in tribute to Jamaica 50 as well as T&T's own half-a-century, made it also an act of generosity and civility. It is a pity that it could not have been on show longer than a week.
Fifty years ago, when narrow vision mashed up an intended Caribbean family "One from 10 leaves nought" was the epitaph coined by Dr Eric Williams. Yet, two nations, like two phoenixes, arose from the ashes. It didn't mean that they would always see eye-to-eye or all would be sweetness and light. T&T continues to strike oil, JA continues to struggle, but yet there are occasions when we find common ground.
There are many Jamma-Trini families today. Trinis have come to love dancehall, even more than how we "check fi soca". Even if the Great Masher-upper (whoever that is) were to put an end to Caricom and the Caribbean Court of Justice, you can bet that from the rubble, a seed would spring and grow again.
So, what now for Tivoli? After decades of being one of the most powerful and some will say feared communities in all Jamaica, the residents will have to get used to the fact that life will never be the same again. The glory days of Dudus the Great Protector are over.
He had not even been sentenced when person or persons unknown broke into the Tivoli Gardens High School and made off with computers. In the days of the Prezzi, it would have been unthinkable. Much worse - was the rape of a little girl on her way to dance class. Already there are people, within the community or without, who appear ready to do what they would never have dared to even think of doing in times past.
From the beginning, Tivoli lived with central control. Mr Seaga, as their founder and member of parliament, saw to the rules. The reputation for cultural excellence at Festival for instance, didn't come just so. The performers were united and well prepared. Tivoli people were taught to believe that they were invincible. By the time it came to the era of Prezzi, the people knew well how to play "follow the leader", especially when patronage came with it. Now that day is over.
The question is being asked once more: What next for Tivoli? Not everybody there are "persons of interest", as believed. There are families representing three to four generations who have never run afoul of the law.
Most important, what kind of community the residents want and are they prepared to break the old cycle of dependence? That's up to them. We wish them well.
Bad judgment? You should know that I thought long and hard before coming to this... yes... but you know I have to comment... Usain and the accident.
Like all of us, I want to see him outrun the wind in London which is why we have to tell him that he can't always joke it out so. Get real, man! Until the trials, don't even bump into a chair. Tek a taxi or hire a driver, if you want to go out. No joke! A wholea nation depending on you to lift wi up.
—Courtesy the Jamaica Observer