The Venezuelans of Chaguanas

The town of Chaguanas in Central Trinidad has long been a bustling centre for the conduct of business, commerce, sport and leisure. Since achievement of borough status in 1990, It has grown in stature for its contributions to national life and is home to over 84,000 burgesses.

In recent years, Chaguanas has also become home to a high number of Venezuelan migrants, refugees, and asylum-seekers who now contribute to the key activities that set Chaguanas apart as a unique place to live, work, and play.

In this series of articles, with support from UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, CIJN journalists explore the contributions of this relatively new group of residents in the areas of business and commerce and music and sport. We also examine some of the initial and lingering settlement challenges.

Climate and Health – Caribbean Perspectives

As the world monitors the global thermometer, 1.5 to stay alive is more crucial than ever. There is a direct correlation between climate and health which is escalating. Extreme weather events, vector-borne diseases, respiratory illnesses and concerns around food and water security are issues which are looming over us as we witness a transforming environment. There is a need for a close examination of climate and its impact on health as there is need for mitigation and adaptation.

This series explores some of the experiences across the Caribbean and illustrates the need for cross border collaboration and cooperation towards solutions

A First Look at the Civic Space in Jamaica

The issues arising in the civic space are varied and are tied to basic rights of freedom of expression, speech and thought. It relates to the human spirit at its core and how citizens can convey their sentiments responsibly but without fear or reprisal. Interwoven in the social framework of the civic space is the seeming lack of consideration for members of society who must live with the decisions taken by governments or others who shape their daily lives. It opens the door to suggestions of better informed communities and improved public consultation. This series focuses on the civic space in Jamaica and was supported by the Media Institute of the Caribbean and Internews.

The Caribbean’s War on Guns

Criminal violence, employing a wide variety of firearms, has emerged as a singularly important challenge for countries of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) in the modern era.

Through this series of articles by correspondents in Barbados, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, and Trinidad and Tobago, readers can acquire a basic understanding of the multi-faceted nature of the phenomenon of gun violence in the Caribbean.

Mysterious Real Estate Projects in the Caribbean

The landscape of the Caribbean region countries is marred by real estate projects – resorts, hotels and office buildings never finished, barely started or partially completed. These stories seek to shed more light on why these buildings arose, who has planned and financed them, why the projects stalled and what governments have done or not done to address the issues and problems the buildings have created.

Citizenship By Investment Programmes  – Golden Passports or Silver Linings?

Across the world, Citizenship by Investment Programmes have come under increased scrutiny due to concerns of transparency and accountability. What is clear is that they are a necessary aspect of the economic survival of the Caribbean nations that offer them. The significance of these initiatives are magnified in the pandemic era where small island developing states have suffered tremendously.

While there are many benefits to golden passport holders who contribute to the revenue of the islands, it is unclear how beneficial they are to the citizens of these countries. We explore how they operate, the concerns around them and the difference it makes in the lives of the people the Caribbean region.

Rastafari’s Deep Caribbean Roots

More than 90 years since its emergence as an indigenous Caribbean faith with deep Jamaican roots, Rastafarianism/Rastafari has established a permanent presence in the region and overseas – both as a unique religious creed and as one of several expressions of the Pan-African movement.
It has also found its place in the worlds of music, fashion, and other areas of creative endeavour, but also as a point of contention in the spheres of public policy and law.
For example, there is continuing debate over the use of marijuana as part of Rastafarian religious worship in the Caribbean, and the acceptance of the dreadlocks hairstyle as a symbol of the connection between devotees and what they consider to be their African homeland.
There have also been challenges regarding formal recognition of Rastafarianism as an established religion.
There are accounts of early origins in the observance of Ethiopianism among former slaves in the Americas, but the faith gained momentum and greater acceptance in the Caribbean with the emergence of Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie I in 1930.
When Selassie visited Trinidad & Tobago, Barbados, Jamaica, and Haiti in 1966, there was an explosion of interest in the movement.
The conversion of legendary Jamaican reggae musician Bob Marley to the faith that year also helped promote the iconology associated with the faith throughout the Caribbean and the world. This served to raise awareness of the themes of poverty and alienation portrayed in Marley’s music, and other regional artists of his time and the current period.
Its evolving theology has been defined by at least three distinct orders – Boba Shanti, Nyahbinghi, and the Twelve Tribes – and, today, there are differences of opinion regarding the pandemic and measures to address it, including the employment of vaccination programmes.
This CIJN investigation examines some aspects of the faith’s response in the Caribbean to the pandemic.