Caribbean and Diaspora News Round-up

Port of Spain downtown
EU money for Jamaica and the Dominican Republic
The IMF's assessment of Trinidad and Tobago
Desperate Housewives - Caribbean style
Trinidad's "Holi" weekend
CI logo More European Hurricane Sandy money
The European Commission has announced an additional US$1.9m (1.5m euros) in aid to Jamaica and the Dominican Republic, five months after Hurricane Sandy.
The Commission said that the additional money would come from the European Development Fund humanitarian aid reserve.
The Commission had already provided US$12.8m (10m euros) in emergency assistance to Haiti and Cuba, the countries that suffered the most severe damage when Sandy struck in October 2012.
The new money will fund the French Red Cross in Jamaica for US$640,000 (half a million euros) worth of home repairs, helping those affected overcome losses and helping people regain their livelihoods.
The US$1.3m (1m euros) for the Dominican Republic will fund the Spanish Red Cross and the charity Oxfam in restoring damaged housing, improving access to drinking water, helping people to regain their livelihoods and raising awareness about water-related diseases.

CI logo "Marginally positive” growth for T&T
The latest report from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) says that Trinidad and Tobago’s economic growth last year was “only marginally positive”.
An IMF statement based on a visit from 15 to 27 March said that the twin-island republic had suffered several years of sub-par growth.
The IMF said economic performance had been hampered by supply constraints, while production in the key energy sector had been held back by maintenance operations.
The IMF said it expected real gross domestic product growth of 1.5% in 2013, with the non-energy sector possibly showing growth of 2.5% if it capitalised on the momentum reached towards the end of last year.
However, the IMF also mentioned what it called “sluggish” private sector growth, apart from the country’s mortgage sector. The IMF team said, however, that it did not find evidence of overheating in the Trinidad housing sector.
CI logo Not-so-desperate Caribbean housewives
Now it’s the turn of Caribbean wives living in South Florida to get the reality TV treatment.
A new TV pilot will turn reality TV cameras on a group of Caribbean women living in Florida.
Caribbean Wives of South Florida will follow the women’s lives, aspirations and expectations in the States.
The show’s creator, Maxime J Tulloch, said it was about time that Caribbean people played themselves, instead of being played by American actors.
“As one of many ethnic groups in America, we are working to achieve respect, recognition, acknowledgement, credit and opportunities,” she told the website Dancehall Soca.
CI logo A truly Holi weekend
For the first time in its history, multi-ethnic Trinidad and Tobago has been observing three religious festivals in one weekend.
Christians saw in the early Easter celebrations with the usual church services, as well as the Trinidadian traditions of parades led by a cross and the Good Friday beating of the bobolee.
At the same time, the celebration of Phagwa (also known as Holi), was marked by many beyond the country’s Hindu. The event is a Festival of Colour which often becomes a J’Ouvert-type party as participants are covered in red powder.
In addition, National Spiritual Baptist Liberation Day, an annual public holiday on 30 March, coincided this year with Easter Saturday.
Spiritual Baptists, originally called Shouter Baptists, developed as a religion among African people in Trinidad in the 19th Century.
Trinidad and Tobago is the only country in which a public holiday is held to mark the repeal of laws against spiritual Baptists.
The celebrations were being marked at home and in the Trinidad diaspora.
CI logo Tales of boxing and cricket
Short stories about a Guyanese-Barbadian boxer and a young boy who loved his cricket are the winner and runner-up of the first short story competition held by Caribbean Intelligence©.
Jennie D’Ambra from Victoria, Australia won the short story competition with her entry, Box.
Jennie said: “When I first read about Joe Walcott my response was intensely felt, textured, almost tangible.
“Reading about his life’s journey touched a nerve and I was ready for the creative writing process to begin.”
Delroy “Nesta” Williams from Dominica was the runner-up with his short story Cricket in the Streets, in which a young boy faces down his fears.
The challenge set through the New Writers’ Club was to write a short story on the theme “Connected to the Caribbean”.
Entries came from as far afield as Australia, Croatia and the UK.
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