Caribbean and Diaspora News Round-up
Hurricane standby warnings
Martelly's two-year party
Mayan temple investigations
John McAfee speaks out
Jimmy Cliff and Billy Ocean in town
Trinidad's newest 100-year-old
Caribbean and US East Coast residents are being put on standby for a 2013 hurricane season predicted to be “above normal”.
In the latest advisory, Accuweather.com predicts strong storms this year in category two and higher, as well as an “above normal” number of storms during the season, which starts on 1 June.
The National Hurricane Centre estimates the average number of named storms at 12 in a year.
“AccuWeather.com's long-range team predicts 16 named tropical storms, eight hurricanes and four major hurricanes for the 2013 Atlantic hurricane season,” the website said.
It advised that three of these storms were predicted to make landfall in the US.
“Concern is high for the East because of the remaining devastation as a result of the October 2012 landfall of Superstorm Sandy,” it added.
Other forecasters have already predicted an above average season.
The Atlantic hurricane season runs from 1 June to 30 November.
Martelly’s ‘two years on’ party
In all the coverage of the event held on 14 May to mark Haitian President Michel Martelly’s two years in office, the word “defends” was probably the most used.
President Martelly defended his term so far by recalling highlights such as the return of tourism, his government’s social protection projects and a national school education programme.
At a time when the Lavalas party of Jean-Bertrand Aristide has started to indicate its intention to contest upcoming local and legislative elections, President Martelly told his supporters that he did not stand for the divisions of previous Haitian politics.
He even invited two former presidents, Mr Aristide and Jean-Claude Duvalier, to meet him.
His appeal to Haitians was that “things are starting to happen”.
“Haitian President Martelly defends record as he marks two years in office with street party,” the Washington Post said.
“Haiti President defends first two years in office,” The Miami Herald and ABC News both headlined.
Middle Eastern news magazine Gulfnews.com also picked up on the anti-Martelly protests held on the same day. It said: “Haiti oscillates between celebrating and protesting President Michel Martelly.”
Later in the week, the president then also took part in interviews with media houses he had not spoken to since election.
“We should not be fighting among ourselves,” he told RCTV Haiti.
“The fight is against hunger.”
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Mayan temple destroyed
Last year, Trinidadian authorities faced a public relations nightmare after the destruction of a turtle nesting site on the country’s northern coast made headlines around the world.
Trinidad is now doing its best to ensure protection this year for the conservation area. But how do the Belizean authorities recover after workmen destroyed a 2,300-year-old Mayan temple?
The world’s media were sent into a frenzy when road crews pulverised a pyramid and used the rocks as a source of gravel for road-building.
Archaeologists and a number of global media crews have now visited the Noh Mul site to witness the aftermath of the desecration.
The government of Belize has described the act as “callous, ignorant and unforgivable”.
The official investigation could lead to a 10-year prison term for those responsible, as well as a fine of 10,000 Belizean dollars.
McAfee after the search
In his first extensive interview since fleeing his adopted homeland of Belize, antivirus software founder John McAfee has once again insisted on his innocence.
In a four-hour interview with the USA Today newspaper, Mr McAfee criticised the Belizean authorities and accused the news media of exploitation.
Mr McAfee went on the run in November 2012 after being named a “person of interest” in the investigation into the murder of his neighbour Gregory Faull in Belize.
Even Belize’s prime minister appealed to Mr McAfee to come in for questioning. He failed to heed that call, but was later detained in neighbouring Guatemala and deported to the US.
Mr McAfee told USA Today that Belize was “the world’s most physically beautiful country in the world, but it has an extremely high murder rate and lots of rich Americans are there”.
He also described the country as a “third-rate banana republic” and pointed the finger at another American expat as a murder suspect.
“People ask me ‘How did it feel to kill a man?’ and I can honestly tell them I wouldn’t know because I never have,” he said from Portland, Oregon.
“I am not a mad man,” he told the paper.
“I am eccentric, gracious, attentive, kind, humorous. We humans are funny creatures.”
The movie rights to the search for Mr McAfee have already been awarded, as well as the publishing rights to his biography.
“The winners in a battle write the story, always,” he said.
“You can’t make up this s***. Life is crazy.”
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Of oceans and cliffs
Two veteran Caribbean performers have been occupying space on the promotional sofas of the British media this week.
Veteran Jamaican singer Jimmy Cliff will be touring the UK and Europe from June to promote his 2012 album Rebirth, which won him the Grammy for best reggae album last year.
He has been telling the UK that the album represents a return to his 1960s influences and style.
“I had to go back musically to the time when it all started,” Cliff told The Quietus magazine.
He said that he felt it was about time to go back and make a straight reggae album after many years in other musical forms.
He has been also talking about the links between punk in Britain and reggae music. His album includes The Guns of Brixton by The Clash because, he says, he had been living in the UK at the time, watching how reggae had influenced punk.
“From a musical point of view, it [punk] was very fresh, because when you blend all these things together like rock and reggae, then you end up with something new.”
Reflecting on the past, Jimmy Cliff told The Quietus of sentiments that many in the Caribbean Diaspora can relate to.
“When you hear the line in that song [Many Rivers to Cross], ‘Wandering I am lost, as I travel along the White Cliffs of Dover,’ that came from the number of times I crossed the Channel to the Continent.”
“Most of the time it was France, but sometimes it was Germany.
“It was a very frustrating time. I came to England with very big hopes and I saw my hopes fading.
“And that song came out of that experience.”
On life in Britain today, he says the words of the song Children’s Bread also reflect his time in the UK, as well as other financial capitals.
“Even though I said ‘Shuffling on Wall Street,’ it would just as well be London or Switzerland or France,” he told online magazine Reggaeville.com.
He says his album is about rebirth of “the whole system – including the economic system”.
Moving from cliffs to oceans, Trinidad-born Billy Ocean is already on tour across the UK.
He says his new album Here You Are includes mostly cover versions of songs he grew to love in south Trinidad, after his parents bought one of Fyzabad’s first radio sets at the time.
“I’ve always wanted to do some of these songs,” he said to Pulse 2 Independent Radio.
He told the BBC’s Clare Balding that the radio had given him a love of “beautiful melodies”, from Brook Benton and Nat King Cole to Frank Sinatra and Bob Marley.
Billy Ocean told BBC Radio 2 that, had he not come to the UK with his parents, he might have been doing calypso.
“Calypso hasn’t crossed the international boundaries as reggae has,” he said.
The 100 Club
We love a story about centenarians at Caribbean Intelligence©.
And the latest reported member of the 100 Club comes once again from Trinidad and Tobago and from Newsday newspaper.
Unlike many other centenarians, Louis Horne, born on 15 May 1913, did have a birth certificate collected by her father on 18 May 1913.
As a gift to mark her century, Dame Louis was given a new electronic-issued certificate by Arima Borough Council in north-east Trinidad.
Unlike many of the centenarians we have reported on here at Caribbean Intelligence©, Dame Louis did not spend her life in a rural or isolated area.
She was born and spent much of her life in the bustling third Trinidad city of Arima, but also worked as a teacher, an activist, a writer and as an independent senator in the country’s parliament.
To contact Caribbean Intelligence©, you can email us on firstname.lastname@example.org or send us on note on Twitter @caribintelligen. For more in-depth news, check out our analysis pages. When you want to switch off from the news, try our cultural pages What’s the Buzz and twitter feed @whatsthebuzz3.