Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Valuing Carnival The Emperor's New Tools#2

WHO WILL BE DEMOKRISSY's 25000th READER? The Count Is On....
PLS RESPECT OUR COPYRIGHTS: You can contribute to these efforts by purchasing the books for friends, schools and institutions; or requesting our customised LiTTours or LiTTributes - Email lolleaes@gmail.com for details 

So masmen are enflamed. Again. Over prize money. Again. Are at loggerheads with the powers that be. Again.
It's the continuing saga of bacchanalia.
Unless we weed out the endemic systems of dependency on which the celebrations were founded; and the governance system recast itself as mechanism that has the will to act; to revamp and develop adequate systems and structures and institutions that nurture and support artists and creators in ways that make them self-reliant, and that make the Carnival and other Festival Arts into the viable and sustainable creative industrial sector they can be, the recurring impasse over prizes, prize structure and prize money for pan, mas, calypso, soca, chutney, stickfighting, Hosay, Divali,  Phagwa, Pichakarie, and everything in between would remain the never-ending story.
Somewhere in there is also the recurringly invisible cultural policy in state of perpetual draft over the last 50 odd years of so - yes, 50 years - and each time it resurfaces merely replicates the dependency syndrome!
Is it any wonder that we cannot see our way, despite the rich amalgam of talent and creativity we exhibit in our daily lives. Shortsightedness continues to doggers.
Where are the well-thought-out budgets that look beyond just the annual seven day wonder to an Industry? That takes into full account the contributions and the value - social, economic, political and other value included - of the cultural sector so budgetary focus can match that contribution, not reflect tokenism.
Where is the vision for building proper supportive trade and commercial structures and mechanisms?
Where are the mechaniims and facilities and facilitation for those more meaningful forms of compensation as insurance, pensions, support grants, support training and services that would build and strengthen the sector so ever so regularly we would not have to hear of how another of our artists is close to the breadline?
And where is the will by those in the sector - policy and decision makers, the corporate sector, and practitioners alike, to make it happen?
Are we really serious. Who's fooling whom?
These are some of the endemic systematic changes and modes for institutional reform in a culture of transformation that discussions on constitutional reform should also take into account - how to redress the kind of institutional malaise that are inhibiting progress and meaningful development and effectively restructure public institutions, their relationships with the state and the state's relationships to the civic mechanisms that they ought to sustain.

Unearthing Trinidad’s Carib Ancestry headlined

IPS – Unearthing Trinidad’s Carib Ancestry | Inter Press Service http://www.ipsnews.net/2013/04/unearthing-trinidads-carib-ancestry/

HeadlinesIndigenous RightsLatin America & the CaribbeanPopulation

Unearthing Trinidad’s Carib Ancestry

Reprint |     |  Print | 
PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, Apr 30 2013 (IPS) - Ricardo Bharath-Hernandez, like most citizens of Trinidad and Tobago, has probably lost count of the millions of dollars being spent to renovate the Greek revival style “Red House” that serves as the parliament building in the oil-rich twin island republic.
In fact, renovation work began more than a decade ago on the building, constructed in 1907 to replace the one destroyed in the 1903 water riots. Recent government estimates put the cost of restoring the original architectural design at 100 million dollars by the time the work is completed in 2015.
"We have for too long paid only lip service to our multiculturalism." -- Dr. Kris Rampersad
But a few weeks ago, Bharath-Hernandez, who is the head of the Santa Rosa First Peoples Community and can trace his ancestry to the first inhabitants of the Caribbean – the Caribs and the Arawaks – took a renewed interest when workers discovered pottery artefacts and bone fragments possibly linked to the Amerindian heritage dating back to AD 0-350.
Bharath-Hernandez, whose community is 600 strong, has already visited the renovation site in the heart of the capital, Port of Spain, and told IPS he is “prepared to perform the necessary ancestral rituals once it is confirmed that the fragments are indeed Amerindian”.
The discovery has come at a time when the Carib community here is moving to construct a modern indigenous Amerindian Village at Santa Rosa, east of the capital, on the 25 acres of land provided by the government.
“We want to keep the village as authentic and traditional as possible but with all modern day amenities,” Bharath-Hernandez said.
“It will comprise a main centre to be used as a meeting and cultural space which will be located in the centre of the village. Spiritual rituals will also be conducted there. There will also be an official residence for the Carib Queen, Jennifer Cassar,” he added.
Arrangements are now being made to send the bones to France for further analysis.
Last week, the Carib chief and representatives from other indigenous groups here met with officials from Parliament and the Urban Development Corporation of Trinidad and Tobago (UdeCOTT), which is carrying out the renovation work.
“We were told that as soon as the results are in we would be called back for another meeting and they will wait on our proposal on how to proceed,” Barath-Hernandez told IPS following the meeting that was also attended by archaeologist Dr. Peter Harris, who had earlier told a local newspaper that the receptacles found in the pits are similar to those used by the Amerindians.
Heritage consultant Dr. Kris Rampersad said the recent finds of skeletal remains and artefacts point to the need for a comprehensive archaeological survey of Trinidad and Tobago.
She is hoping that universities here take the lead to establish an “all-encompassing programme in heritage studies that incorporate research, scientific, conservation, restoration, curatorial and forensic study among other fields that would advance the knowledge and understanding of Trinidad and Tobago’s prehistory and multicultural h
eritage.
“This also has value to the region and the world. We have for too long paid only lip service to our multiculturalism. The find under the Red House of bones potentially dating to the beginning of this epoch points to the significant need for a proper survey and actions to secure and protect zones that are of significant historical and prehistoric importance,” she told IPS.
Rampersad referred to the neglect by the authorities of another famed Banwari historical site south of here, and hoped that in the case of the discovery at the Red House, history does not repeat itself.
The Banwari Site is said to have been the home of the Banwari man, whose remains date back 7,000 years and which is considered one of the most significant and well-known archaeological treasures of the region.
Discovered some 40 years ago, little has been done to preserve and promote the site.
The Archaeology Centre at the University of the West Indies (UWI) said that in November 1969, the Trinidad and Tobago Historical Society discovered the remains of a human skeleton at Banwari Trace.
“Lying on its left-hand side, in a typical Amerindian ‘crouched’ burial position along a northwest axis Banwari Man was found 20-cm below the surface. Only two items were associated with the burial, a round pebble by the skull and needlepoint by the hip. Banwari Man was apparently interred in a shell midden and subsequently covered by shell refuse.
“Based on its stratigraphic location in the site’s archaeological deposits, the burial can be dated to the period shortly before the end of occupation, approximately 3,400 BC or 5,400 years old,” the UWI noted.
In 1978, Harris hailed the Banwari man as the oldest resident of Trinidad and an important icon of the country’s early antiquity.
“Why, 40 years later, as one of the richest countries in the region, must we be looking to other universities from which to draw expertise when by now we should have full-fledged – not only archaeological, but also conservation, restoration and other related programmes that explore the significance of our heritage beyond the current focus on song and dance mode?” Rampersad asked.
“While scholarly collaborations are important, certainly we could be more advanced, and a leader rather than a follower in these fields in which several other less-resourced Caribbean countries are significantly more advanced,” said Rampersad, who has been conducting trainings across the Caribbean on available mechanisms for safeguarding its heritage.
The discovery at the Red House coincides with recent findings by the U.S.-based National Geographic Genographic Project that the indigenous people may have had strong ancestral links to Africa and to Native American Indians.
Utilising DNA, the U.S.-based organisation tested 25 members of the community in July last year. Bharath-Hernandez says the results will hopefully put to rest questions that have been raised regarding the community’s identity in the past.
The results of the project were released to Bharath-Hernandez late last month by Dr.Jada BennTorres from the University of Pennsylvania.
“We have completed preliminary analysis of the mitochondrial DNA and Y-chromosome (NRY markers). These analyses will tell us about the maternal and paternal lineages of the community members,” wrote BennTorres in her letter thanking the Santa Rosa Karina community for its participation.
She said the findings of the genetic ancestry of community “indicate a complex ancestry that includes Africans, in addition to a very strong Native American ancestral component” and that all of the 25 individuals tested would receive their information at a later date.

Countdown to the 25,000 reader of Demokrissy begins now

Countdown to the 25,000 reader of Demokrissy begins now....

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Them Red House Bones

The recent finds of skeletal remains and artefacts believed to be early century AD under the Red House Parliament Building in Port of Spain, Trinidad point to the need for a comprehensive archeological survey of Trinidad and Tobago. Trinidad and Tobago's prehistoric connections with the American mainland holds enormous potential for opening up a vast field on new research activity. The new university campus in South Trinidad ought to look at establishing an all-encompassing programme in heritage studies that incorporate research, scientific, conservation, restoration and curatorial study among other fields that would advance the knowledge and understanding of Trinidad and Tobago’s prehistory and multicultural heritage.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

LiTTour and LiTTscapes in Spotlight - Final 2 days of Special LiTTour offer

LiTTour and LiTTscapes in spotlight as Bocas LiTFest Begins Thursday
Last 2 Days for Free LiTTour Offer: Register Now! call 1-868- http://goo.gl/pcZxm
see also:
http://www.trinidadexpress.com/featured-news/Bocas-Lit-Fest-begins-tomorrow-204384801.html

Bocas Lit Fest begins tomorrow

 At the third annual NGC Bocas Lit Fest which starts tomorrow at the National Library the very first Bocas Henry Swanzy Award for Distinguished Service to Caribbean Literature will be awarded to Trinidadian John La Rose (posthumously) and Sarah White for their own exemplary work publishing and promoting Caribbean writers.
In the 1940s Henry Swanzy was the editor in what is now the BBC World Service of the weekly Caribbean Voices programme that featured creative writing from the English-speaking Caribbean. It became pivotal in shaping the development of the region’s post war literature, now regarded as the Golden Age of Caribbean writing. 
The programme helped launch the careers of many writers who achieved international fame: Trinidadians Sam Selvon and Nobel Laureate VS Naipaul; the other Caribbean Nobel Laureate Derek Walcott from St Lucia; Kamau Brathwaite and George Lamming from Barbados; Jamaicans Gloria Escofery, John Figueroa and Andrew Salkey; Guyanese Edgar Mittelholzer, Wilson Harris and Ian McDonald; and EM ‘Shake’ Keane from St Vincent. 
Between 1943 and 1955 when Swanzy left, 400 stories and poems along with plays and literary criticism had been broadcast by 372 contributors. On Swanzy’s departure the Times Literary Supplement wrote “West Indian writers freely acknowledge their debt to the BBC for its encouragement, financial and aesthetic. Without that encouragement the birth of a Caribbean literature would have been slower and even more painful than it has been”. Naipaul noted that Swanzy brought to the programme ‘standards and enthusiasm. He took local writing seriously and lifted it above the local’. 
John La Rose migrated to Britain in 1961. With his partner, Sarah White, he founded in London in 1966, New Beacon Books, both a pioneering publishing house and a specialist bookshop focusing on writers and writing from the Caribbean. For him publishing was a vehicle to give independent validation to one’s own culture, history and politics, a way of achieving cultural and social change. They published works by writers such as Wilson Harris, Andrew Salkey, Errol Hill, Dennis Scott, Erna Brodber, Mervyn Morris, and numerous others. 
La Rose co-founded with Andrew Salkey and Kamau Brathwaite, the Caribbean Artists Movement, providing a platform for Caribbean artists, poets, writers, dramatists, actors and musicians. In 1982 he co-founded and directed the International Book Fair of Radical Black and Third World Books until 1995. The George Padmore Institute, an archive, library and educational research centre housing materials relating to communities of Caribbean, African and Asian descent in Britain and continental Europe, was established in 1991.
On Thursday at 5 p.m. Horace Ove’s film on La Rose Dream to Change the World will be screened, followed by a short talk by Sarah White on the work of the late John La Rose and presentation of the inaugural Award. 
Every year the NGC Bocas Lit Fest and the National Museum and Art Gallery partner to invite an artist to create a limited-edition work of art. The first numbered piece becomes part of the unique Festival Art Collection of the National Museum and Art Gallery. Funds raised from the sale of the signed, numbered works go to the Lit Fest.
The 2013 festival artist is Wendy Nanan whose piece for this year’s event was unveiled on the First floor of the National Museum and Art Gallery, Frederick Street, Port of Spain. Born in Port of Spain in 1955, she obtained the BFA (Painting) in the UK and currently lives and works in Port of Spain. She has been exhibiting regularly since 1985, including shows in France, Britain, Canada, and the Dominican Republic.  
Transmission pursues Nanan’s interest in the book form, and the idea of the transfer of knowledge.  
A special tour of Port of Spain through the eyes of award winning fictional writers and famous characters began last Saturday.
Based on the critically acclaimed LiTTscapes – Landscapes of Fiction from Trinidad and Tobago by Kris Rampersad, the LiTTour starts 8 a.m. by prebookings only, leaving from the South Quay compounds of the Public Transport Service Corporation, through the capital city: landscapes and lifestyles; institutions, cultural life, politics, architecture and will be free to persons who, until tomorrow, purchase, a copy of LiTTscapes – Landscapes of Fiction from Trinidad and Tobago. 
LiTTscapes presents Trinidad and Tobago through some 60 writers in more than 100 works since 1595. Head of the Guyana Prize for Literature, Professor Al Creighton described LiTTscapes as a work of art; a documentary, a travelogue, a critical work with visual and literary power.  It takes us on a tour of the country, giving some exposure to almost every aspect of life. 
In conjunction with LiTTscapes and LiTTours, launched last August, Rampersad has also introduced LiTTributes – events in tribute to Caribbean cultures and creativity which have to date been staged in Guyana, Antigua and Trinidad and Tobago and soon in the UK and USA. They are meant to promote literacy, creativity and interactive appreciation of the global multicultural milieu Trinidad and Tobago.   
Customade LiTTributes and LiTTours based on district, theme or body of literature are available on request. For details contact 377-0326 or email lolleaves@gmail.com and visit: www.kris-rampersad.blogspot.com.

The NGC Bocas Lit Fest is free and open to all. It runs from April 25-28 at NALIS.
Free, secure weekday parking is available in Queens Park Savannah with a free hourly shuttle service to NALIS and back. For more information about the Festival programme, visit www.bocaslitfest.com.


The 2013 NGC Bocas Lit Fest 
Schedule for Thursday

The 2013 NGC Bocas Lit Fest officially kicks off!

Writers vs. Politicians 
with Martin Daly, Paula Gopee-Scoon, 
Sunity Maharaj, and Ralph Maraj
Looking ahead to our Edinburgh World Writers’ Conference debates, local luminaries read portraits of politicians — hilarious, ironic, tragic — from classic and contemporary works of Caribbean fiction by Jamaican John Hearne, Barbadian Austin Clarke, Trinidad-born
Monique Roffey, and Guyanese Pauline Melville
9–10 am • Old Fire Station

WORKSHOP
Getting started
with Marlon James
For new writers: how to find your subject and voice, and break through the barrier of the opening line
10 am–12.30 pm • 1st Floor Seminar Room

FATHER FIGURES
Colin Grant and Hannah Lowe
chaired by Ruth Borthwick
Prose and verse portraits of Jamaican fathers, by the authors of Bageye at the Wheel and Chick
10.30–11.30 am • Old Fire Station

POETRY
Marion Bethel and Cyril Dabydeen chaired by Nicha Selvon-Ramkissoon
Readings by poets from the Bahamas and Guyana
10.30–11.30 am • AV Room

NEW TALENT SHOWCASE
Danielle Boodoo-Fortuné
The first of our New Talent Showcase writers reads from her poems and discusses her work
12–12.45 pm • Old Fire Station

PERFORMANCE POETRY AND OPEN MIC
Lunchtime jam
A selection of performance poets take their vibe to the streets of the city. Plus a chance for budding
writers to share their work
12–1 pm • Abercromby Street Arcade

FILM
Barbado’ed, dir. Shane Brennan and Paul Arnott
The poorest community in Barbados is the Redlegs, the direct descendants of Scots transported to
Barbados in the 17th century.
Scottish author Chris Dolan discovers what they know about their roots, and what their prospects are
12–1 pm • AV Room

FORGOTTEN STORIES
Andrea Stuart and Chris Dolan
chaired by Margaret Busby
Forgotten parts of the history of Barbados, retold by the authors of Sugar in the Blood and Redlegs
1.00–2.00 pm • AV Room

WORKSHOP
Length matters
with Cyril Dabydeen
There are stories that need a few dozen pages, and some that need a few dozen words. An introduction to short-short fiction
1.30–4 pm • 1st Floor Seminar Room

DISCUSSION
Beyond a Boundary at 50 with Deryck Murray and Arnold Gibbons, chaired by Kenneth
Ramchand C.L.R. James’s great book on sport, politics, and society celebrates its half-century in 2012. A panel of sportsmen and scholars discuss its continuing relevance
1.30–2.30 pm • Old Fire Station

MUSIC
Lovey and Co.
with John Cowley
The first Trinidadian musicians ever to be recorded were Lovey’s Original Trinidad String Band, in 1912. The author of Carnival, Canboulay, and Calypso tells the story, and discusses Lovey’s legacy with Trinidad Express features editor Deborah John
2–3 pm • AV Room

FICTION
Courttia Newland and Ifeona Fulani
chaired by Ryan Durgasingh
A reading of new fiction by the authors of The Gospel According to Cane and Ten Days in Jamaica
2.30–3.30 pm • Old Fire Station

FICTION
Kerry Young and Diana McCaulay
chaired by Giselle Rampaul
Jamaican family histories transformed into fiction by the authors of Pao and Huracan
4–5 pm • Old Fire Station

SHORT TALK
Alison Donnell and Michael Bucknor talk to Barbara Lalla about the Routledge Companion to Anglophone Caribbean Literature, and our evolving literary canon
4–5 pm • AV Room

ONE-ON-ONE
Marina Warner
The British author of Alone of All Her Sex and Stranger Magic talks to Lawrence Scott about myths, history, and stories
5–6 pm • Old Fire Station

FILM
A Dream to Change the World: A Tribute to John La Rose, dir. Horace Ové, CBE
A documentary about the life of the late John La Rose, poet, essayist, publisher, trade unionist, cultural and political activist, and founder of New Beacon Books and chairman of the George Padmore Institute in London
5–7 pm • AV Room

BOCAS HENRY SWANZY AWARD
The presentation of the inaugural Bocas Swanzy Award, recognising distinguished service to Caribbean letters, to John La Rose (posthumously) and Sarah White of New Beacon Books
7–8.30 pm • AV Room