Disconnecting to buy local for sustainable living

Anyone know of a local alternative to #Microsoft and some other #software and #hardware technologies and upgrades?
Does sustaining local enterprise mean disconnecting from global technologies?
Those who know me know I do not like shopping and am an advocate to #BuyLocal so I would appreciate info so as to avoid that new #7%Tax in addition to the other taxes already … see more www.kris-rampersad.blogspot.com
for even more:
#knowledge products  #industry #sustainable alternatives, contact lolleaves@gmail.com @krisamp @lolleaves @glocalpot #GlocalKnowledgePot #Worldwewantpeople #SustainableDevelopment #SDG #SustainableLiving

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Lagahoo Tribute: To Independent Spirits. RIP LPP

Louis Homer met me at the gate to the church where his funeral service was in progress against the backdrop of the island’s oldest natural monument – Naparima Hill.
“Whey you doing out here, Louis?” I was about to ask, “shouldn’t you be in there?”
He wore his normal cheeky twinkle, as if to say, ‘You were always somewhere else when I did my field visits, but I knew you would come today. I have to go back inside now. Over to you.’
An immediate rebutt was already on my lips: ‘Whey yuh chain?’ He would understand that I meant the paraphernalia folkloric lagahoos are reputed to drag in the afterlife, since he had now migrated to the other side. Picong was always part of our discourse.
Inside the Our Lady of Perpetual Help Roman Catholic Church on Harris Promenade, San Fernando, a bouquet of red roses draped a coffin in which Louis’ body was being prepared for send off. Eulogists were recalling his life, his incessant energy, his annoying persistence, his long list of interests and skills, his relentless spirit, his passion for history and heritage.
The usher to his funeral service at the church door invited me to sign the condolence book which had one dotted line for memories of Louis. Louis and I were colleagues in two areas: journalism and heritage, and then some. Journalists may not be the most liked of persons; chroniclers of history are perhaps more appreciated especially by the direct communities they touch. Our society finds a way to isolate each sentiment and express its love or dis-love accordingly. The not-too-packed church reflected this ambivalence.
I looked around for the man who met me at the gate but he was nowhere in sight. It couldn’t have been Louis. Louis would never allow me, nor anyone else, the last word. On the Tourism Heritage Committee, everyone else had to compete with Louis for air time. His last words to me were: “is now you and Eintou (Springer).” It took me a while to realise he was referring to our contributions on the committee – we were two of the most vocal and he annoyingly unceremoniously cut into anything one was trying to say. That was at the meeting that preceded the most recent one which was the day when his heart failed.
It brought back another heart failure two years earlier, and the sound of the dull thud as the body fell from the chair to the floor, her words echoing with the thud, ‘I am tired. I have no more words.’
Pat Bishop’s heart gave up at the emotive meeting of the Expert Committee on Culture and Heritage met at the Twin Towers. Two days earlier she had echoed similar sentiments when she, along with Peter Minshall, Jackie Hinkson, Hans Hanomansingh and a couple others met in lagahoo session with me at the Trinidad and Tobago National Commission for UNESCO. Our blue print for propelling culture and heritage into viable creative industries, drawn from demonstrated successes and knowledge and understanding of the sector, were being stymied by myopic interpretations. They wanted to brainstorm a strategy for the meeting carded two days away that would transform the thinking of those charged as change agents but still steeped in old outlooks and older bad habits.
A Highway to Nowhere
I had grown up in South Trinidad, I told Peter Harris, in our last conversation. I fully lived the daily frustrations of waiting for hours for a taxi, or any vehicle for the matter out of my village because vehicles refused to come through the unkempt, potholed roads.
As a cub reporter just cutting my journalistic tooth in South Trinidad, my duties were the vague ‘covering the South’ – which the deskbound north editors saw as a dot on the map so I still have the first freelancer’s monthly pay check of TT$120 (no, there is no missing zeros there!) which my mom and sister, to their horror, had to supplement for several mre months, despite the fact that I was out of school and now a ‘working woman’ as it didn’t even cover even travel expenses, much less any other expenses.
Covering the South meant traversing the entire southern peninsula, for the most parts inaccessible. Drivers just would not risk the damages to their vehicles to enter a district in flood prone Penal/Barrackpore, the precarious pitch-growing paths of La Brea districts or dirt tracks of other districts in San Francique, Siparia. No one can deny what new transit networks could do to lift access and opportunities to the South.
But does it have to be done by razing of the assets that present the most potential for any success at diversification we may have if we were to break through into the new golden economies – culture, heritage, tourism, agriculture – the renewable industries that would endure long after the oil dried up? What a golden opportunity we have to demonstrated how the some 200 years of industrial 

Image from: http://www.discovertnt.com/userfiles/image/maps/Trinidad/south_09.jpg

development of the district could coincide with exploration in other dimensions – to help us complete the story of our civilisation. How could the planners even fathom the potential when the bases of their planning were still steeped in economics of convenience – tourism seen as cruise shipping; heritage as flag waving; a highway to who knows where.
It was a long conversation. Peter and I discussed some of the many options that were available – that would allow the rural south to have its access routes and the communities to have the assets by which they could grow localised self-initiated, self-supported endeavours that spring from their own talents, and skills and fill the development that the oil and gas and other industries in the area have never been able to.
But as in every other area as we have been witnessing in national life, it is an inconvenient truth that even the greatest advocates of change are nervous of shifting hardened stances. That inflexibility does not only exist in the public service. It is part of our culture. Changing the mindset, transforming orientation and outlooks, should form a substantive part of national budgets if such budgets envisioned change.
As much as the need for diversification is recognised, the baby steps taken to move in that direction becomes only rhetoric to the potential of these unrecognised assets that could ricochet diversification beyond expectations in productive activities that will allow individuals and communities to draw on their own resourcefulness, talents and skills with fulfilling self-sustained livelihoods which exist among us in abundance. Some still cling to the antiquated vision of our grandsires for their children to be doctors and lawyers (as if we really need more lawyers, though perhaps I would haveto eat those words by the end of this article!)
As Keshorn and more recently Jehue have articulated, our young are not as dazzled with escaping to foreign as previous generations were, especially, too, as opportunities abroad are already experiencing global warming, as they are, and drying up. Most youths around me give no thought to migrating and several abroad I know want to return; many would like to be able to stay here and build their lives with opportunities that can fulfil their intelligence and qualifications, not in hyped up exaggerated employment figures that mask underemployment that leave many in the population with a restless, unfulfilled, nervousness. As with Keshorn and Jehue, when they succeed we expect them to embrace heaps of accolades and goodies that they could have done better with in their years of struggle to success.
It is easy to tout change; it is more difficult to effect change, particularly as it requires changes in one’s own outlook in the first instance.
Planners dazzled by the flames of production of petroleum and its by products as the key drivers of economy, tout diversification, while pursuing actions that could destroying the very bases by which we may be able to achieve such diversification – invaluable, irreplaceable natural and cultural assets of the South Trinidad. Naparima Hill stands a living testimony to that.
The bulldozers of the road pavers could in seconds destroy millennia of valuable evidence of our prehistory the potential livelihoods of communities and leave them even more impoverished if these areas so rich in natural and cultural ecosystems were to be destroyed. We would essentially then have a highway to nowhere.
Balanced development
Finding the balance between development and conservation has always been a challenge for planners, but balance, it has been proven already in many areas, is attainable. It takes imagination – of which we have plenty unused, as Pat and Louis might say – and will – which might be in short supply. It is a matter of not just thinking, but acting too, outside the accustomed paths to progress – even the IMF and the World Bank recognise that now!
In that last conversation Peter and I discussed some of the many best practice compromises the plans for a highway could draw on, fulfilling the need for access to remote areas and at the same time protecting a fragile and super-sensitive cultural and natural landscapes which are already in their own right a world heritage – though we would not take the time to put the nuts and bolts in place that would facilitate formal recognition as such. A marriage of the unique industrial heritage and industries in the area with the communities for the model kind of sustainable development that is on everyone’s lips. is not a pipe dream.
I shared with Peter my unfolding research and jaw dropping body of evidence I was accumulating, supported by visits to sites in South America and elsewhere and in comparison with others across the globe, that suggest the broader significance of not just Peter’s pet site, but the entire district of that southern peninsula that stretches from La Brea and Cedros on the Caribbean Sea coast and its connections to South America, to the Atlantic Ocean. As with diversification, national budgets over the last decade have been delivering rhetoric about a knowledge driven economy, and diversification through culture, heritage, tourism and agriculture, but fall short of the actions to effect the shifts that will allow for such development, while at the same time offer and allow us to hold up a more wholesome vision of ourselves that overshadows the trials of the middle passage and extend to, be comparable to, and connect with the antiquity of other civilisations. We have been content to accept it as the district Raleigh discovered – so far from the truth – and apart from a few individual piecemeal efforts, not much of significance had been done to expand our knowledge and understanding of the district in the context of all the new research and activities that is being done elsewhere.
‘You still a baby in this. I have seen this many times over. I am too old now. Is over to you now child. I am too tired,’ Pat had said. Shortly after her death, Peter Minshall called me expressing similar distress, hoplessness, frustration, and despondence, and exhaustion too! more recently, along smilar lines, Hanomansingh. It is a cross no one wants to bear.
And then there’s Peter, the other Peter. A few months before his heart gave up, earlier this year, archaeologist Peter Harris called seeking support in a desperate bid to save his life’s work – the Banwari site – presumably the oldest known human skeletal remains in this hemisphere which he had discovered forty-odd years ago, though not many were any wiser.
We exchanged knowledge. I told him of sites I had visited – the area where Indonesia’s Java man was discovered was an expansive protected landscape, with museum and research institute; here all we were seeing was a grave site, not the bigger picture – of a time that was still challenging scientists trying to reconstruct and reconnect the missing links. He was preparing a report and wanted to consult with me on the accepted international standards for protection. That was Peter – quiet, soft spoken diplomacy to the end despite his extreme agitation of possibly having to watch his life’s work erased. The proposed highway to Point Fortin would pass dangerously close to the site, and the construction activity threatened to overwhelm whatever additional evidence may still be present, not to mention the quarter acre the myopic planners saw as ‘the site’.
At last visit to Banwari Site with deceased archeologist Peter Harris
Current custodians are happy to just focus on the few square feet of the skeletal site itself with no consideration given to its larger contexts and the surrounding districts. Industry – oil, gas, asphalt – shy away like the quick-fix politicians – from any substantive actions on how the rich harvests of the district 

could also help support exploration of new initiatives that could only add value to the area, and give the span of communities there a different view of themselves, of their place in the scheme of things, while directly opening them up to a whole host of new economic self generated individual-driven cultural and heritage employment opportunities and activities that function complementary to the technical skills of the district’s traditional industries that if at all, only indirectly filter down to them. Planning for the area, or lack thereof, has given no thought to these significant dimensions that could springboard the long neglected districts into 21st century relevance.
Louis, Peter and Pat – three heritage soldiers whose life stories and interests might be different, but whose focus were very similar to each other. They summoned their creative energies to negate the similar frustrations: dinosaur institutions, individuals touting change, but unwilling to take the necessary actions to effect them, then falling into their comfort zone only to replicate bad habits.
Louis, Peter and Pat – three lagahoos – sleepless, tireless explorers and proponents of heritage as essential to endowing the next generation with a sense of place and identity, but also sustainable sources of livelihood from the self initiative, innovation and creativity that spring so naturally from our communities.
Peter was a discoverer, of heritage. He tried to lodge his findings with institutions which reduced their significance to the narrow confines of the myopic limitations these institutions impose on themselves – post independence notwithstanding.
Louis was a hoarder of heritage. His anxiety that they would be lost to the ignorant, or the marauding development bulldozers, meant he was often only-too-willingness to cut, sometime dangerous, corners, as I had pointed out to him in relation to the Ganteaume tombstones in Mayaro which we subsequently found out were in his museum and several other issues that arose on the committee.
Pat Bishop was a creator of heritage.
‘T&T is a place that if you wanted to listen to a concert, you have to create one,’ she would say, and she created concert after concert. Louis wanted a place where our history and heritage could be preserved so he created a museum. I got the message: if I wanted people to read my books, to read local authors, I should create my own literacy and literary movement – and that means, in the absence of accessible systems to do so, inspire literary appreciation, educate, research, write, publish, market, distribute, promote, cajole, lobby, etc; that, and expect potential heart failure.
That is our social culture. It is a cultural norm that we do not acknowledge. In not acknowledging it we cannot address it. The story of inertia in the heritage, culture and tourism sectors – still largely viewed as cruise ships and flag waving – while our frustrated youths, seeing the unfulfilled potential around them, take up arms. It is not much different for any of our other sectors and the systems in the functions and attitudes that govern them.
That is also in our political culture: if you want changes in governance, create a political party. If that party falls short, you create another one. It is the same dynamics that have generated the mushrooming of more than 7000 civil society organisations across the country – a CSO/NGO each for less than three quarters of a square kilometre if one wants to get statistical, each championing a cause seen more relevant to the several others it may be duplicating.
Inflexibility and the absence of commitment to transform, change, and evolve; the lack of proper mechanisms, infrastructure and facilities for national assets that will ensure adequate protection of our national assets, including heritage assets encourage citizens to take actions in our own hands.
That void is adequate breeding ground for vigilantes.
When state systems fall down civic-minded citizens are left to take up the slack, until even the state begins to support corner-cutting, because it fulfils its agenda for politically expedient quick fixes, while the preparation of the substantive mechanisms and infrastructures are put on hold. By whatever name one wants to call it, it is vigilante action, fostered because the existing institutions charged with those responsibilities show little interest, understanding or willingness to take the necessary actions to transform themselves to become more relevant to evolving and dynamic social changes and expectations. The vigilantes become heroes. That’s what happens on this side of the fence, of those like Louis, Pat and Peter, who worked to protect, secure, build a future in villages and communities for other generations.
It is not rocket science, if we connect the dots. It is no different and just as much the cultural norm of what happens on the other side of the fence: those other community leaders, gang leaders, those propagating another kind of laga-hoodlumism, the other kind of vigilante justice…
The race is on and the bets may be already fixed on who’s going to win the war; and who will die trying!
If only we knew ourselves…
R.I.P. Louis. Peter. Pat. Happy Independence! From those of us independent, but still dragging lagahoo shackles on this side!

Culling leaders for literacy among principals and teachers

Opening Remarks,
Chair, National Commission for UNESCO, Dr Kris Rampersad at
Leading for Literacy Now! training workshop
Sister Francis Xavier Heritage Hall, Abercromby Street, Port of Spain
19August 2013
Culling Leaders for LiteracyMine is the pleasure to welcome you to the opening of this round of training in our project leading for literacy now, on behalf of the Trinidad and Tobago National Commission for UNESCO.
 This project, Leading for Literacy Now, represents what we envision as the ideal blend of commitment, energy and drive in taking responsibility and taking action in transforming our society and the spaces we occupy, improving our communities and lifting the life chances of the youngsters and next generation of leaders in our charge.
You may well recognise the urgency we ascribe to this intervention, as we seek solutions to cull leaders for literacy, Now, as indeed – all of us must surely be attuned to the news – for every minute that we lose focus we run the risk of losing another child to one of the many delinquencies and distractions that compete for their attention.
With its ideal mix of stakeholders – it includes a confluence of vision and energies – funding support from UNESCO’s international participation programme  and the Ministry of Education to meet our budget for this pilot exercise of almostsix hundred and sixty two thousand, dollars ($661,720.00), one quarter of which comes from UNESCO’s funds and the remaining three quarters from the Ministry of Education, and indeed we must thank the Minister of Education for his wholehearted endorsement of this endeavour.
This leading for Literacy Now! project, represents an exercise in our collective as well as individual responsibility evident in the commitment of the policy and decision makers in the Minister of Education, Dr Gopeesingh who has provided unflinching support not just in funding approval but also in the involvement of technical staff of his Ministry; the engagement of technical expertise of the UK-based National College for School Leadership; principals and teachers and of course we at the National Commission and especially the very hard working and committed team of its education sector committee, headed by Mrs Crouch, and including:
Mr Bhadase Seetahal Maraj from the Ministry of Education; Dr Sandra Gift of the University of the West Indies; Mrs Shayphan Smith of the Ministry of Tertiary Education; Ms. Lucia Phillip, Executive Director of NALIS; Mrs Liseli Daaga with broad community and NGO experience; alongside the work of the secretariat led by Ms Susan Shurland; Programme Officer Ms. Hannah Katwaroo; and Research Assistant Mr. Sean Garcia.
I particularly look forward to the session on risk management and leadership drill with the Trinidad and Tobago Regiment, that certainly is an example of the out of-the-box synergies required to make be effective and make an impact, by engagement other national agencies and institutions in our efforts to Lead for Literacy, Now!
This project forms part of the UNESCO “10,000 Principals Leadership Programme” launched by the UNESCO’s Director General Irina Bokova in 2011 as a global project to improve the quality of teaching and learning opportunities for children. It envisions training of some 10,000 principals with the intended multiplier effect to benefit thousands of teachers and principals and millions children across the globe.
Our National Commission has literacy as a top priority of our national agenda, as it is in among the Ministry of Education’s 16 national priority focus areas for education.
In this context, earlier this year the Commission unanimously took a decision to contextualise this project within what we declared as A Decade for Literacy, endorsed by the Ministry of Education, as we well recognise that it does not end here with the end of this course next Sunday or the end of the pilot a few months hence.
Indeed, it is only a beginning as we task you with taking your learnings from here, into your schools and communities, tooled with the core training activities that speak directly to some of those urgent needs within our society for leaders, for which the schools that are in your charge are the incubators, hence the inclusion of such topics as team building, organisational management, using and generating research and data, and certainly what we have been seeing as greater and greater needs in the dynamic environment in which we function today – risk management and most importantly managing change.
Beyond the immediate intentions of providing you – principals and teachers – with leadership skills so you return to the new school term with new tools to improve reading standards among students, this places you at the forefront of the agenda for change and transformation of our society into the next decade – you are not just influencers of the process, you are the transformers of it!
We have been following keenly the sharing of knowledge and ideas that have been taking place on our Leading for Literacy Now! web platform and are inspired by the cross fertilisation of ideas and energies. We encourage you to not only keep up the dialogue, but translate it into actions within your own spheres so that one of the outcomes of this programme can be the boast of all of us that, under our watch no child was left behind.
For our part at the National Commission, given the commitment we have seen to this project and the unwavering support of all concerned, we anticipate such successes that we are looking to pitch this as a model project that can be adapted for our Caribbean counterparts as well as indeed the global community of UNESCO which maintains education among the five key pillars of its focus including communications and information, science, culture, and social and human sciences.
 We look forward to receiving your reflections on this and recommendations at the end of this exercise and certainly look forward to the greatly empowered role you will play when the new school terms begins next week.
I thank you.

TT Spotlight in LiTTribute to LondonTTown

TT HIGH COMMISSION HOSTS ‘LITTRIBUTE TO LONDON TTOWN”

 
On Monday 15th July, the Trinidad and Tobago High Commission to the UK hosted the book launch of Dr. Kris Rampersad’s ‘LiTTscapes’, in an event titled “LiTTributes to London TTown”. At the launch, the cultural and social settings of Trinidad and Tobago were examined and illustrated through the timeless words of the islands’ local writers and stunning photography depicting the natural scenery. 
High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, His Excellency Garvin Nicholas stated, “The Trinidad and Tobago High Commission is pleased to showcase the work of one of our talented local authors. In ‘LiTTscapes’, Dr. Rampersad has brought to light Trinidad and Tobago’s rich literary tradition and unique heritage. This event will provide an important platform for highlighting the complex history and fascinating social landscape of Trinidad and Tobago to a British audience”. 
‘LiTTscapes’ was launched in Trinidad and Tobago in August 2012 as one of the key publications focusing on the country’s 50th Anniversary of Independence. It represents Trinidad and Tobago in words and pictures through some 100 works by some 60 writers, including Earl Lovelace, Sam Selvon, VS Naipaul, Michael Anthony and Derek Walcott.  
The evening featured various readings from the book by several specially invited guests, including Trinidadian writer Dr. Lakshmi Persaud, author of ‘Butterfly in the Wind’, among other works. Dr. Persaud interspersed her reading with lively personal reflections of her time growing up in Trinidad and painted a vivid picture of the island’s town and people. Another featured guest was the presenter of ‘BBC World Have Your Say’, Ros Atkins, who delivered an enlightening perspective of his brief time spent living in Trinidad as a young boy. “One thing that is fascinating about the people of Trinidad and Tobago is your sense of cultural self sufficiency,” he declared. “It is a refreshing attitude from a people who are fiercely proud of their culture but do not need validation from an external audience”.
In discussing her inspiration behind producing ‘LiTTscapes’, Dr. Rampersad said, “As an educator in Trinidad and Tobago, I have witnessed our people grappling with illiteracy and a negative attitude towards reading and education in general. It is my hope that ‘LiTTscapes’ can reawaken readers’ interest in their surrounding and how they connect to society”.

BioCultural synergies at LiTTribute to LondonTTown

The ecology, literature, culture, sustainable development and their convergence in Caribbean fiction will feature at LiTTribute to LondonTTown to take place in London on Monday (July 15).
The symbolic and actual representations of nature in fiction from the section NaTTurescapes in LiTTscapes – Landscapes of Fiction from Trinidad and Tobago by Kris Rampersad will be among the highlights of the literary tribute that aims at exploring new approaches to culture-centred development.
Among those to participate in the LiTTribute will be Director of the Commonwealth Foundation, Vijay Krishnarayan, the Trinidad-born former head of the Caribbean Natural Resources Institute who has worked with civil society to devise actions for sustainable development through land-use planning.
BBC World Have Your Say Host, Ros Atkins and London-based Caribbean author, Lakshmi Persaud will also present perspectives on cultural linkages across the Atlantic.
High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, His Excellency Garvin Nicholas views the event as an important platform for highlighting the complex history and fascinating social landscape of Trinidad and Tobago to a British audience and notes that In ‘Littscapes’, Dr. Rampersad has brought to light Trinidad and Tobago’s rich literary tradition and unique heritage.
As has been the vision behind production of LiTTscapes, LiTTous and LiTTributes, this will demonstrate the connectivities between and among what may seem widely disparate subjects and disassociated development challenges. These may be peculiar to our national communities but the also have resonance internationally. This has been the thread that runs through our activities and the book itself which explores the natural environment, peoples, lifestyles in the context of fiction.
As has been done in LiTTributes held earlier this year – to the Mainland in Guyana and to the Antilles in Antigua  – this will encourage  rethinking how we may better engage with and utilise the rich literary outpourings as represented in LiTTscapes to develop synergies with the international community for social and economic development in film, music, entertainment and education sectors.
LiTTscapes represents this relationship from the earliest writings of Sir Walter Raleigh to the current day among the 100-plus works by more than 60 writers, including those who made London their home such as Naipaul, Selvon, Lakshmi Seetaram-Persaud and others. For invitations to LiTTribute to LondonTTown email lolleaves@gmail.com.
LiTTscapes has been acclaimed as a groundbreaking pictoral yet encyclopaedic compendium of the lifestyles, landscapes, architecture, cultures, festivals and institutions in its full colour easy reading documentary/travelogue/biography representation of Trinidad and Tobago and its fiction as represented in more than 100 fictional works by some 60 writers.
LiTTribute to LondonTTown follows on the recent LiTTribute to the Antilles staged in Antigua in March,  LiTTurgy to the Mainland in Guyana in February, and LiTTribute to the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, hosted by the First Lady of Trinidad and Tobago, Dr Jean Ramjohn Richards and Dr Rampersad in September 2012. LiTTscapes was launched at White Hall – one of Trinidad and Tobago’s Magnificent Seven buildings as part of the islands 50th anniversary of independence in August 2012.
LiTTscapes is Rampersad’s third book and follows Finding a Place and Through The Political Glass Ceiling; a fourth Letters to Lizzie, an exploration of empire making and colonialism in the contexts of the diamond jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II and the golden jubilee of Trinidad and Tobago’s independence is to be released shortly.
For invitations and details Email: lolleaves@gmail.com. See: kris-rampersad.blogspot.com, https://sites.google.com/site/krisrampersadglobal;  facebook.com/kris.rampersad1.

London stage set for literary tribute from Trinidad and Tobago

London, the seat of governance of British Empire, is geared up for a literary tribute that recognises the relationship and influences on the rich repertoire of fiction from Trinidad and Tobago.
LiTTribute to LondonTTown, the fifth in a series of international tributes by author of LiTTscapes – Landscapes of Fiction from Trinidad and Tobago, Kris Rampersad, takes place in mid July.
Among those who will join Rampersad at the LiTTribute will be Director of the Commonwealth Foundation, Vijay Krishnarayan.
Krishnarayan, who was born in Central Trinidad, took the reins of the London-based foundation last year, after serving as deputy director. He was a former managing partner of the Caribbean Natural Resources Institute (CANARI) and has had an enduring interest in environment management, land use planning and empowerment of civil society.
“This link with land use and the environment through Krishnarayan is not accidental,” Rampersad said, noting that LiTTscapescelebrates the physical and natural environment and its pictorial representations of the islands’ landscapes through the eyes of some 60 writers in more than 100 works of fiction on Trinidad and Tobago. She added:
“Nor is the connection with civil society, as all our efforts are to reposition the creative sector towards self sustenance through national and international networking and partnerships and enterprises. We are trying to encourage conversations and interactions between the multiple dimensions of the development agenda in which the creative sector has a central role.
Rampersad, will speak on the theme LiTTerary ReTTributions drawing from life and fictional experiences and explore the impact of not only British literature on Trinidad and Tobago, but also in forging cultural connections with the entire British empire and the wider world
Ambassador to London, Garvin Nicholas said: “The High Commission embraced this opportunity to host showcasing of LiTTscapes – Landscapes of Fiction from Trinidad and Tobago and its associated LiTTours and LiTTevents as the kind of innovative and out of box synergies were are trying to promote in our international outreach. We are well aware of the potential of the vision being articulated in LiTTscapes, located as we are in London – a city that has such a dynamic association with the arts.”
Said Rampersad: “As with other LiTTributes held earlier this year – to the Mainland in Guyana and to the Antilles in Antigua  – this will encourage  rethinking how we may better engage with and utilise the rich literary outpourings as represented in LiTTscapes to develop synergies with the international community for social and economic development in out of the box synergies including for film, music, entertainment and education sectors.
The LiTTribute to LondonTTown follows similar connections held with the South American continent in Guyana earlier this year and the Caribbean island archipelago in Antigua in March, after the book’s launch as aprt of the independence jubilee celebrations in 2012 and the ensuing LiTTribute to the Republic. Other such activities are earmarked for North America and Asia in 2014.
Rampersad who is a journalist and educator in Caribbean culture and heritage noted that LiTTscapes represents this relationship from the earliest writings of Sir Walter Raleigh to the current day among them many who made London their home as Naipaul, Selvon, Lakshmi Seetaram-Persaud and others.
 LiTTscapes has been acclaimed as a groundbreaking pictoral yet encyclopaedic compendium of the lifestyles, landscapes, architecture, cultures, festivals and institutions in its full colour easy reading documentary/travelogue/biography representation of Trinidad and Tobago and its fiction.
For information and invitations email lolleaves@gmail.comor visit: Blog: www. kris-rampersad.blogspot.com; Website: https://sites.google.com/site/krisrampersadglobal 

Diplomats enjoy stimulating LiTTour of Trinidad’s CiTTyscape through LiTTscapes

While Charlie King Junction in Fyzabad South Trinidad was reliving the labour struggles of the early 20th century that preceded Independence, Ambassadors, diplomats, their spouses and other enthusiasts enjoyed a simulating CiTTyscape LiTTour – Journey Through the Landscapes of Fiction of Trinidad and Tobago based on the book: LiTTscapes – Landscapes of Fiction from Trinidad and Tobago by Kris Rampersad.

The tour, which began at the Lady Young Road, circumvented through Barataria, the Beetham, Port of Spain and the Queen’s Park Savannah to give a rare glimpse of the island and its capital through the eyes of fiction writers and fictional characters. The group explored the city landscapes, mindscapes, institutions, festivals, and the islands’ history, politics, economy, culture and society from the perspectives of a range of writers and thinkers from as early as 1595 to present day. The tour covered a range of fictional vision and works of writers as Samuel Selvon, Lawrence Scott, CLR James, Alfred Mendes, Michael Anthony, James Isaiah Boodhoo, Earl Lovelace, VS Naipaul, Derek Walcott, Ismith Khan, Lakshmi Persaud-Seetaram. Sir Walter Raleigh, and many others of the some 60 writers and more than 100 works represented in LiTTscapes.

Among those who participated were Excellencies, Ambassador of Japan Yoshimasa Tezuka and Mrs Tezuka; Ambassador of the Republic of Korea Wonkun Hwang and Mrs Kumdan Hwang; Jan Karlsson spouse of the Ambassador of the Netherlands; Anke Kessler, spouse of the Ambassador of Chile; members of Alliance Francais, musicians Katy Gainham and Eleanor Ryan; Ben Gilbert, son of the Security Adviser to the UN Department of Safety and Security for this region; artist Wendy Nanan and Alliance Francais Marie and Frank Abdullah.  The tour was facilitated by author and educator in Caribbean literature, culture and heritage

Dr Kris Rampersad in conjunction with the Public Transport Service Corporation Know Your Country tours. . Custommade LiTTours by request on any theme, subject, author or district through email lolleaves@gmail.com. For details see www.kris-rampersad.blogspot.com
 
 Above:CiTTyscape LiTTour enthusiasts aboard the bus for the Journeys Through the Landscapes of Fiction from Trinidad and Tobago inspired by the book LiTTscapes – Landscapes of Fiction from Trinidad and Tobago.
Below:  Author/Educator in Caribbean Literature, Culture and heritage Dr Kris Rampersad, musician Katy Gainham and wife of the Ambassador of Chile, Anke Kessler discuss LiTTscapes – Landscapes of Fiction from Trinidad and Tobago.
    

  

LiTTscapes’ literary odyssey goes to London

LiTTribute to LondonTTown is the next stop in our literary odyssey  to recognise and underscore the global character and relevance of fiction, even those from small islands like Trinidad and Tobago.
It will take place on July 15, 2013 and will feature readings and presentations inspired by LiTTscapes – Landscapes of Fiction from Trinidad and Tobago.
High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, His Excellency Garvin Nicholas said: “The Trinidad and Tobago High Commission looks forward to showcasing the work of one of our talented local authors. In ‘Littscapes’, Dr. Rampersad has brought to light Trinidad and Tobago’s rich literary tradition and unique heritage. This event will provide an important platform for highlighting the complex history and fascinating social landscape of Trinidad and Tobago to a British audience”.
As with other LiTTributes held earlier this year – to the Mainland in Guyana and to the Antilles in Antigua  – this will encourage  rethinking how we may better engage with and utilise the rich literary outpourings as represented in LiTTscapes to develop synergies with the international community for social and economic development in film, music, entertainment and education sectors.



Jean Ramjohn Richards, First Lady (former) and author Kris Rampersad at LiTTribute to the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago in 2012. It preceded LiTTribute to the Mainland held in Guyana and LiTTribute to the Antilles in Antigua earlier this year, part of a series of connecting the Caribbean heritage and creative sectors, through the literary arts, with the diaspora.   Photo courtesy Office of the President of Trinidad and Tobago (http://www.thepresident.tt/events_and_ceremonies.php?mid=189&eid=1002).

It is well established that the relationship between Trinidad and Tobago and Europe, particularly the British Empire, has been the primary axis from which all of our written literature has emerged. This is evident even in books that do not engage directly with the colonial condition in the effects and influences of the English language, literature, education, and political and social systems and institutions.
LiTTscapes represents this relationship from the earliest writings of Sir Walter Raleigh to the current day among the 100-plus works by more than 60 writers, including those who made London their home such as Naipaul, Selvon, Lakshmi Seetaram-Persaud and others.
LiTTscapes has been acclaimed as a groundbreaking pictoral yet encyclopaedic compendium of the lifestyles, landscapes, architecture, cultures, festivals and institutions in its full colour easy reading documentary/travelogue/biography representation of Trinidad and Tobago and its fiction as represented in more than 100 fictional works by some 60 writers.  It is available at bookshops or email lolleaves@gmail.com.
LiTTribute to LondonTTown follows on the recent LiTTribute to the Antilles staged in Antigua in March,  LiTTurgy to the Mainland in Guyana in February, and LiTTribute to the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, hosted by the First Lady of Trinidad and Tobago, Dr Jean Ramjohn Richards and Dr Rampersad in September 2012. LiTTscapes was launched at White Hall – one of Trinidad and Tobago’s Magnificent Seven buildings as part of the islands 50th anniversary of independence in August 2012.
Persons wishing to get involved and For invitations and details Email: lolleaves@gmail.com.
See: https://sites.google.com/site/krisrampersadglobal;  facebook.com/kris.rampersad1LiTTscapes, LiTtributes, LiTTour Album Facebook .

Special LiTTour Port of Spain as never seen before June 19

Special LiTTour to Port of Spain. June  19, 2013. From 9 am. Duration 3 hours. By Invitation Only.
Experience Trinidad’s capital as never before through the eyes of fiction since 1595 by some 60 writers of more than 100 books.
Email your requests for information and details Call 1-868-377-0326 or email  lolleaves@gmail.com. Read/Listen to review by Professor Al Creighton, Head of Guyana Price for Literature Professor Al Creighton at:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10151238027306800.519613.686406799&type=3

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.

Nicole Drayton Photo from Guardian Report.I have no copyright claims on this
http://www.guardian.co.tt/news/2013-04-18/more-bones-found-under-red-house 

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.

One of the most distressing evidence of lack of attention is the state of the Banwari site which is one of, if not the most significant known archeological treasures of not only Trinidad and Tobago but the region and around which very little of significance has been done since it was discovered some forty years ago.
Why, forty 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 archeological, but also conservation, restoration and other related programmes that explore the significance of our heritage beyond the current focus on song and dance mode? 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.
At a recent workshop where Trinidad and Tobago’s heritage assets, including the 7000-year old Banwari site’s potential as a UNESCO World Heritage Site was discussed, Caribbean colleagues expressed grave concern that Trinidad and Tobago had not moved towards effecting the research, legislation and other actions necessary to recognise the value and significance of the site and the surrounding districts as a place of outstanding universal value and a world treasure.
Trinidad’s entire southwest peninsula, as a key entry point to the migration of prehistoric peoples from the mainland though to the islands, would benefit from a comprehensive archeological survey and follow up action, and such sustained infrastructural mechanisms as a study and skills-building programme at university level as well as sensitisation building that begins from pre-school and injected into the primary and secondary curriculum.
So much of the history of the region is still unknown and so much of the accepted theories are being challenged. Work in this area in Trinidad and Tobago can significantly add to our knowledge and understanding of the region and this is partly the intention behind our undertaken a series of actions to enhance awareness about the prehistoric connections between Trinidad and Tobago and the mainland and islands as well as the wider diasporas of North America, Europe, Africa and Asia through LiTTributes – tributes that recognise the literatures and cultures that comprises Trinidad and Tobago’s multicultural milieu. To date, LiTTributes have been staged in T&T, Guyana (LiTTribute to the Mainland); Antigua (LiTTribute to the Antilles) and shortly in the UK, (LiTTribute to LondonTTown). Similarly, she has also been conducting LiTTours in T&T that highlight the connection between literary and built, natural, political, institutional and cultural heritage. The last LiTTour brought to light the state of tombstones dating to the mid eighteenth century belonging to the first French migrants to Trinidad and linked to several prominent families in Trinidad and Tobago’s history including the former archbishop, politicians and businessmen.
It is not pie in the sky. We are sitting on a gold mine that can add significantly to the world’s knowledge stock, and forge new employment and income earning pathways, while building a more conscious society. These are unexplored assets of indelible and indefinite value which can augment the national coffers if that is the only language we understand in relation to not only the now exploding arena of heritage tourism interests but other spinoffs as “academic tourism” and other downstream disciplines and sectors.
See related posts: 
ReflecTTions on Intrinsic ConnecTTions at LiTTribute to the Mainland: http://kris-rampersad.blogspot.com/2013/02/littribute-11-litturgy-to-mainland-with.html
See Also:

Archaeologist on Red House find: Amerindian artefacts date back to AD 0-350

Published: 
Thursday, April 11, 2013
Pottery artefacts found under the Red House recently are of an Amerindian style dating back to AD 0-350 and can be dated by sight, says archaeologist Peter Harris. And he is almost certain that bone fragments found near the pottery are also Amerindian. Harris spoke yesterday after further scrutiny of the artefacts and bone fragments found under the Red House on March 25. 
Last week, the Urban Development Corporation of T&T (Udecott) said the fragments were found while workers doing restoration work on the Red House were digging inspection pits on the ground floor. The artefacts were also found. Udecott said the fragments were taken by the Office of the Parliament for testing. 
Parliament representative Neil Jaggassar and archaeologist Harris visited later last week to investigate the discoveries. Udecott said the Office of the Parliament last Thursday advised that the bone and artefacts date to the Amerindian era. Harris said yesterday it is almost certain the bone fragments are Amerindian, since they came from the same area as the pottery. 
He said his team had checked the walls of the excavation where everything was found and there was no doubt the bones and pottery all came from the same part of the worksite as they were able to pinpoint exactly where the bones were located. “The pottery is Amerindian in a style that dates back to AD 0 to AD 350. It’s visually dateable because people over the years have excavated in T&T and built up a set of styles we have ample references…We can tell what style is associated with what date,” Harris said.
“What was found so far is a small amount of pottery, but it fits the period of AD 0-AD 350. While we havent’t got the whole story yet, I’m sure that if things were found so closely together in a place they’re likely to be related. “We’re a long way from knowing what village or what was there on that site, but we do know the bones found are almost certainly Amerindian.”
Parliament officials, speaking earlier in the day, said foreign testing might have to be done on the bones and as far as they were aware, there has not been full official confirmation on the origin of the bones. An official said there are three groups that specialise in Amerindian matters in T&T which the various agencies would have to check with. 
They said the news of the discoveries, however, has generated so much interest that it is slightly hindering their work. They said there might be consultations between Udecott and the Parliament on the situation and a statement may be made later. They were unaware whether the police were notified of the discovery of the bones. Police communications officer Joanne Archie said the normal protocol when bones are found anywhere was that police are notified to take a look at them.
MORE INFO
What Udecott said
Udecott’s communication officer Roxanne Stapleton-Whyms said the Office of the Parliament is heading the process to have the bones tested by experts.
Stapleton-Whyms said it was noteworthy that the find was made under the existing ground floor slab in the rotunda of the Red House, which had been in place  since the early 20th century. She added that the find has not held up or stopped ongoing work, as the bones and artefacts were discovered in an isolated portion of the project site.
She said the inspection pits would remain in their current condition until the archaeologists and other stakeholders have concluded their testing and investigation of both the excavated material and the soil strata. On whether police were informed of the find, she said when the bones were discovered both Udecott and Parliament staff were present. “Given that the site falls under the purview of the Parliament they took the lead in this regard,” Stapleton-Whyms added.
Historian’s view 
On whether there is any known Amerindian connection to the Red House site, Paria Publishing historian Gerard Besson said late architect John Newel Lewis’s Ajoupa publication chronicled a travel guide to the Caribbean from 1899 by James H Starke which noted legends that a great battle between rival Arawak tribes took place in ancient times where Woodford Square now stands. Because of this, the area was known as “Place des Armes.” 
Besson said there was also a myth that in pre-Columbian times, tribal youths had fought battles of manhood in a large forest of silk cotton trees which stood where the square is today.

Amerindian artefacts found at Red House

Published: 
Tuesday, April 9, 2013
If the artefacts, including bones, found under the Red House are determined to be authentic Amerindian remains, then the site could be preserved as part of  the refurbishment of the building, chairman of the National Trust Vel Lewis said yesterday. Speaking to the T&T Guardian in San Fernando, where he attended a meeting with mayor Dr Navi Muradali to discuss the destruction of historic buildings in the city, Lewis said the find was being studied to determine precisely what it was and if it was authentic.
He said: “It could be an Amerindian site but we want to conduct tests to be sure before we can make any declaration. Once we have established that, we would then be clearer as to how to treat with it and discuss with the Parliament how the site could be preserved within the refurbishment of the Red House. 
Amerindian chief Ricardo Bharat-Hernandez believes the bones and artefacts are those of Amerindian ancestors and wants to perform a religious ceremony on the site as soon as he gets the all-clear. On Sunday, he, Lewis and archaeologists visited the site where the find was made during restoration work on the Red House being undertaken by Udecott. He said the artefacts, consisting of pottery, a piece of a pipe, which may have been used by a chief, and a bead from a necklace, have all been identified as Amerindian. 
He said some verification was needed to determine the origin of the bones and whether they belonged to children or adults. Another Amerindian descendant, journalist Tracy Assing, who has made a documentary film about Trinidad’s Amerindians, said the find was very important. 
She said: “Unfortunately, there aren’t that many digs where we only ever discover these artefacts when the lands have already been sold and something constructed. Then that becomes an issue with the landowner. “In this case the Red House will continue to be built. The other issue is whether the site can be protected or if a dig can be established or expanded.”

More bones found under Red House

Published: 
Thursday, April 18, 2013
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Red House project liaison officer Neil Jagessar, right, shows Housing Minister Dr Roodal Moonilal and officials of the Housing Development Corporation the excavation site where more bones where found yesterday. PHOTO: NICOLE DRAYTON
More bone fragments found under the Red House last Saturday and yesterday are being examined by experts, including those from the University of Miami, whose assessment should be completed in a few weeks. A skull, pelvic bone and femur were found  beneath the Red house last  Saturday and two more fragments were found yesterday.
This was confirmed by Udecott and Parliament officials when Housing Minister Roodal Moonilal visited the Red House yesterday to inspect the areas where the first set of bones and artefacts were found on March 25. On that date Udecott workers involved in the Red House restoration made the first discovery in seven-foot deep pits dug to test the Red House foundations. Parliament had called in forensic experts which confirmed they were human remains. 
The Parliament is in the process of having the bones carbon-dated to ascertain the exact age. Archeologist Peter Harris has advised the bones and artefacts may date back to Amerindian times. Yesterday Moonilal was given this information and was shown four of the 16 inspection pits being dug in and around the Red House compound and where the bones and artefacts were found. 
Moonilal was told by Parliament project supervisor, Neil Jagessar, that part of a skull and pelvic bone and what appeared to be a femur (thigh bone), about 12 inches in length, were found in a pit dug near the Knox Street side of the building last Saturday. Those fragments were the latest found since the March 25 discovery, Parliament officials said. Two other fragments were also found yesterday, it was confirmed.
Moonilal, who said he had wanted to take a look at the situation, quipped: “We have confirmed the bones are not that of any dead politician or anyone who’s politically dead but still alive,” Saying the bones might pre-date the Red House, he added: “The majority of the bones have been placed by the Parliament. They have experts, now being assisted by the University of Miami and the archeological unit, looking to date all of the bones. 
“This technical process should take two or three weeks and then they would be in a position to say how old the bones are.” Moonilal said it might be that they pre-date the early 1900s. He said  some of the backfilling under the Red House came from along the Priority Bus Route and it was possible that backfill contained bone fragments. “We don’t know yet,” he added.
Not a crime scene
Moonilal said Homicide detectives visited the Red House and had cleared it as a crime scene, indicating no foul play was involved concerning the bones. He said Udecott was on target with Red House restoration and he was satisfied with progress. 
He said the job, costing over $.5 billion, is projected to be completed in 2015. Government is doing paperwork to relocate the National Security Ministry from Abercromby Street, Port-of-Spain, to clear the way for construction of the planned companion building for the Red House on that site.

T&T Red House Suffers Violent Attacks In 1903 and 1990

A new chapter in the 169-year-old history of the Red House is in the making following the discovery of bones and artefacts in the foundations of the Rotunda.
Preliminary reports by archaeologist Peter Harris suggested that “the bones are from members of an Arawak tribe dating back to AD 0 to AD 350, and the pottery is definitely Amerindian in style dating back to the same era”.
Government pathologist Dr Valery Alexandrov of the Forensic Science Centre in Port of Spain confirmed that “the bones are similar to those of human beings”, but in the absence of facilities to determine the exact ethnicity and sex, arrangements are being made to send samples of the bones abroad, either to Michigan University, USA, or Miami University, for further testing and evaluation.
The report of the findings, one way or another, will now place the Red House and its surroundings in a new light, as one of the most controversial State buildings in Trinidad, where, since 1903, it has been at the centre of abuse and assault.
Historian Gerard Besson recalled an article by John Newel Lewis on the status of the site on which the Red House was built. The article, written by James H Starke, noted, “There was a great battle between rival Arawak tribes that took place in ancient times where Woodford Square now stands. Because of this, the area was called Place des Armes.”
Another source indicated that landfill from Laventille was taken to the site during construction of the first Red House.
On February 15, 1844, the foundation stone was laid for the construction of a government building which became the Red House.
The current building is the second structure to be built on the same spot. The first was designed by Richard Bridgens and built by G de la Sauvagere and AA Pierre. It comprised two main blocks connected by a double archway. Though not quite complete, the Red House was opened in 1848 by Governor Lord Harris.
Fifty years later in 1897, it was painted red during the celebrations of the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria. Since then Trinidadians and Tobagonians have given the building the name Red House.
As the seat of government since the mid-19th century, the Red House, which is of Greek revival style, has undergone more assaults than any other government building in Trinidad.
In 1903 it was destroyed by fire, when an enraged mob broke windows, threw missiles and started a fire that gutted the entire building. This incident is known as the Water Riots, which took place on March 23, 1903.
On the day of the fire, members of the Legislative Council were debating a bill on the distribution and increased payment of water rates by burgesses in Port of Spain.
While the debate was in progress, there was also a protest meeting by members of the Ratepayer’s Association in progress at Woodford Square, then called Brunswick Square.
During the protest, the crowd became agitated and noisy and stones were thrown, at the windows of the building, smashing them to pieces.
Members in the council chamber were forced to duck under tables and desks and behind pillars.
One member, Henry Albert Alcazar, had walked out of the building in protest against the government’s water policies, stating, “The public movement is the inauguration of a more serious movement which I hope will end in the people having their own say at this table.”
After the riots, he served as counsel for those accused of rioting, before the Commission of Enquiry, as well as those who had died or were injured in the riots.
In the face of violence and destruction, the Governor Sir AC Maloney had refused to withdraw the bill.
In the aftermath of the fire, 16 people lay dead and 42 injured, and the first Red House building was completely destroyed, leaving only the shell of the building standing among the rubble which was later removed to fill open spaces in Victoria and Harris Squares.
Rebuilding a new home for Parliament began the following year. It was designed and built by DM Hahn, chief draughtsman at the Works Department, at a cost of 7,485 pounds sterling.
The ceiling in the new chamber was one of the most striking pieces of architecture. An Italian craftsman installed the ceiling.
The columns and entablature were made of purple hart wood imported from Guyana, a fountain was installed in the middle of the Rotunda and the passageway between the two buildings was closed to vehicular traffic.
Work was completed in 1906 and the building was opened to the public on February 4, 1907 by Governor Sir HM Jackson.
At the opening, Jackson called on the people of Trinidad to forget the past events at the Red House and concentrate on a fresh history of Trinidad.
In his address, Jackson said, “Today we leave that episode of the past behind us forever, and we turn a fresh page in the history of Trinidad.”
Eighty-three years after the call by Jackson to forget the bitterness of past memories, there was an attempted coup at the Red House by members of the Jamaat-al-Muslimeen, who on the afternoon of July 27, 1990, stormed the Parliament building during a sitting of the House of Representatives. During the siege, seven people were killed in the Red House and several injured.
Long after the assault, bullet holes could be seen on the ceiling, walls and doors of the building.
On July 26, 1991, the traditional chamber was restored, and commemorative plaques relating to the incident installed. These included a portrait of Leo Des Vignes, Member of Parliament for Diego Martin Central, who had died in the siege; a plaque bearing the names of the casualties of the invasion and a marble cenotaph crowned with an eternal flame erected on the eastern end of the lawn of the Red House.
These formed part of the history of the Red House depicting the tumultuous past, the fire, the attempted coup and other incidents that threatened the core of our democracy.
The discovery of bones and artefacts will undoubtedly raise further issues concerning the past, and even the future, of the Red House.
Source:http://www.trinidadexpress.com/news/Burnt-and-besieged-202945221.html

Bones found during excavation work sent for testing

Published: 
Tuesday, April 16, 2013
Bones which were found beneath the Red House during excavation work recently  were sent to  the Forensic  Science Centre for testing last week and will also be tested  later by UWI’s Research Unit, according to the Ministry of National Diversity and Social Integration. The bones and a number of pottery and other artifacts were found beneath the Red House on March 25 during excavation work by Udecott which is restoring and renovating the Red House.  
 Ministry spokesman Desiree  Connor said the bones are undergoing testing to ascertain officially what era they are from. Archaeologist Peter Harris, who has been advising the Parliament on the findings, has said the findings appear to date back to Amerindian times. Harris said yesterday no further remains or artifacts have been found since the first batch was discovered. He added that indigenous groups in T&T had been receiving calls of interest from overseas on the findings.
 Police communications officer  Joanne Archie said yesterday police had gone to the Red House to inspect the bones when they were first discovered as per normal protocol. She said due to the circumstances of the situation—being found at a certain depth  beneath the Red House and the historical nature of the situation—the bones were not kept by police.
 The usual protocol when bones are discovered is that they are sent to  Forensic  for testing  against records of missing  persons which the police have. The Red House case  of the bone fragments found is different, police sources said. 
Moonilal: Bones may pre-date Red House
 http://www.newsday.co.tt/politics/0,176429.html

By SEAN DOUGLAS Thursday, April 18 2013
HOUSING Minister Dr Roodal Moonilal yesterday said he was pleased with the pace of restoration at the Red House as he visited to see the site where ancient bones had been found.
Udecott staff (for whom he is line Minister) showed him four holes ranging in depth from four feet to 15 feet dug into the ground beneath the Red House to test the building’s foundation.

“I’ve been informed by the Udecott officials over the last few days of certain ‘finds’ here — bone fragments and artefacts — so I wanted to come and take a look myself and see what was happening,” said Moonilal.

“Construction here on the restoration of the Red House is well underway, and they are doing some scientific testing now of the soil and foundation walls and so on, and apparently in digging at these inspection sites they found artefacts and bones and so on.” He joked that the bones do not belong to any dead politician.

“Apparently they are aged, that may pre-date the Red House. The majority of the bones have been placed by the Parliament, and they have the experts now, assisted by the University of Miami,” said Moonilal. “They have archaeological units and so on that are now looking to see if they can ‘date’ the bones. That is a scientific process that will take two or three weeks, I understand, and we’ll be in a position to say how old the bones are.”

He said the bones might pre-date the early 1900s. “It could well be that some of the fillings for here came from an area along the Priority Bus Route. So it could be backfill from there that has bone fragments in it.”

Moonilal said the Homicide Bureau of the TT Police Service has said the bones indicate it was not a crime site, but an archaeological site. “So there’s no foul play here.”

“So we continue to monitor it. I think it has great significance and great historical interest for Trinidad and the City of Port-of-Spain. I imagine the archaeologists and historians would be interested in this development, so we’ll monitor it, but the work continues on the restoration of the Red House, it’s just that this is a very unusual dimension to that work.”

He was satisfied with the pace of restoration, despite the time used in engaging foreign experts. “But we are on target and we expect by 2015 or thereabouts we will be finished with this,” he added. He said the project also involved construction of a parliamentary Companion Building at the current site of the Ministry of National Security at Knox Street, Port-of-Spain.

Moonilal said the Companion Building is a modern glass and concrete building, which they expect no trouble with. He said remedial work was happening at the Red House.

“Sometimes from the outside it looks as if nothing is happening, because we are not breaking down the building, but when you go inside certainly you are seeing all the rooms and what is happening there and the type of scientific work that is involved. So we are very pleased with Udecott’s handling of this project. The deadline for completion I believe is early 2015 and we are on target.”

On the restoration of other historical buildings such as the Magnificent Seven, he said responsibility variously lies with Udecott and/or Nipdec. “We are moving now to ensure that the restoration of President’s House will also be taken over by Udecott, and that they’ll assess that project quickly and see how best we can move.” Foreign experts are helping, he said. Moonilal said the funding for restoration projects is a key issue, noting the Red House projects costs $500 million.

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