News in Brief from the Caribbean and Abroad
Meet the de Blasios
Caribbean officials join the World Travel Market
From Moscow to Montego Bay
Trinidad's PM on by-election loss
William Potts goes home from Cuba
Caribbean school drug use
[For week ending 8 November]
His wife has Caribbean roots, his photogenic children are the darlings of social media and his stance against stop-and-search could only have boosted Bill de Blasio’s appeal to many Caribbean voters in New York's mayoral election.
And let’s not forget the endorsement of singer and civil rights activist Harry Belafonte and congresswoman Yvette Clarke.
In the wake of the Trayvon Martin case, Mr de Blasio had said: “Racial profiling happened in Florida. Racial profiling is happening here. It’s unacceptable in both places.”
The de Blasio family’s enjoyment of this year’s West Indian Carnival parade added to those credentials.
So much so that his mayoral rival, Bill Thompson, was prompted to seek the central and eastern Caribbean-American vote by complaining about rents pricing people out of their neighbourhoods, while telling Flatbush residents the saga of how his grandfather emigrated from St Kitts.
In the end, Bill de Blasio won on 5 November, stepping up from New York public advocate to become the city's mayor-elect.
Did he achieve this alone? Well, his wife, Chirlane McCray, lists speechwriting and public affairs specialist as part of her own career path.
In an interview with the Barbados Nation newspaper in September, she spoke of being part of a "conventional unconventional couple".
The world’s tourism boards, travel officials and operators have been gathered in east London’s sprawling ExCel centre this week to take part in the annual World Travel Market.
This year, the emphasis was on responsible tourism, bringing aviation and tourism policies together and the role of social media.
About 200 tourism ministers and their teams attended sessions aimed at exploring how the public and private sectors can come together to create a more effective tourism package.
In that area, Caribbean tourism officials were vociferous in their lobby against Britain’s Air Passenger Duty (APD).
More on the Caribbean at the World Travel Market and World Travel Month on Caribbean Intelligence...
First China, now Russia: Jamaica’s tourism industry is seeing arrivals from unlikely new places.
The Jamaica Information Service (JIS) said that privately owned Russian carrier Air Transaero made its inaugural flight to the island on 1 November and would now fly from Moscow to Montego Bay every 10 days.
“The Russians love Jamaica,” Jamaica’s Tourism Dirctor, Sandra Scott, told JIS.
In a sign of social media's growing role in Caribbean politics, Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar took to Twitter to show grace in defeat after her party lost a closely contested by-election to the main opposition.
While many politicians condemned the vote-splitting impact of the party formed by Jack Warner - Kamla's former right-hand minister, ex-Fifa executive and now political independent - she herself remained above the political blame-game and racial mud-slinging after the results.
“I offer congratulations to PNM candidate Terrance Deyalsingh. The voice of the people must be accepted," she tweeted on 5 November.
“We live to fight another day. The UNC will reclaim the St Joseph constituency in 18 months' time,” she added.
In 1984, American William Potts hijacked a New Jersey-to-Florida flight and took it to Cuba.
He had expected guerrilla training and sympathy.
Instead, he got a 13-year jail term after being convicted of air piracy.
On 5 November, he finally returned to the US.
During his time in Cuba, he served his sentence, started a Cuban family and worked as a Cuban farmer.
Mr Potts, believed to be one of more than a dozen Black Panther members sill living in Cuba, wrote to President Barack Obama in 2009 seeking a US pardon.
He has argued that he served his time in Cuba and now wants closure and to “take care of business” in the US before returning to Cuba.
He has been wanted for air piracy in the US for nearly 30 years. He was taken into FBI custody on arrival on his charter flight in Miami.
An Organisation of American States (OAS) funded project is taking a very hands-on approach to measuring the use of drugs in Barbadian secondary schools.
Individuals trained for the job started visiting 18 schools in Barbados to ask students about any use and availability of drugs.
The Bdos$30,000 grant is part of an 11-country survey to gauge substance abuse in the Caribbean’s secondary school population.
Grandparents are always pleased to see their grandchildren come round to visit.
However, when your granddaughter is Rihanna, you can expect both newspaper coverage and pictures from your birthday bash on social media.
Riri threw a birthday party in Barbados for her 85-year-old grandfather.
Barbados’ Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation reported on her Instagram message to “Granfadda Bravo”.
“If it wasn’t for you buying the whole tray of mangoes from gran gran Dolly that one day you got off your ship in Guyana and charmed her with that smile laced with a gold cap, NONE of us would be here!!”
Quote of the week
"Do I think that we are in a position where we can financially offer compensation for events that happened two, three hundred years ago? No I don't and I think we've got to focus on where our commonalities agree and I think that is eradicating slavery as it exists today, also building on the importance of driving the economy and economic development and economic growth." British Minister with responsibility for the Caribbean Mark Simmonds on his first visit to Jamaica [quoted by the Jamaia Gleaner newspaper.].
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At Caribbean Intelligence©, we love stories of steelpan reaching unusual gigs.
So, how about the one about the use of a steelband to bring together Jewish and Arab students in Israel?
Music professor Harvey Price said he wanted his students to unite and change their views of one another.
He took his pan collection for use at Mar Elias Educational Institution in the Galilee region where sixth grade Arab, Muslim, Jewish and Christian students will be taught to beat pan in unity at school which is known for working with multi-ethnic groups.
Why pan? Professor Price told his campus newspaper at the University of Delaware that steel drums are excellent teching tools.