Sunday, November 30, 2008

Independence Day Honours

Hey, peoples! Last night we saw a departure from the usual Independence parade activities, in that instead of an early morning parade at the Garrison Savannah on Independence Day, the parade was held last night and the Independence Honours revealed at midnight.

The event was a reenactment of the first Independence in 1966, and I'm sure it was deja vu for a lot of the older even rained like that night 42 years ago! It was a fantastic event though - the cultural pieces, the tattoo with the mounted police, the fireworks. Well done, event planners.

This new DLP administration seems to like making these types of occasions people-centred, and so far I've noticed that two events that would normally be for a chosen few (the swearing in of the Cabinet and the ecumenical service held the week before Independence) were open to the public. Good going, DLP.

That 'people-centred' nature was also reflected in the list of Independence Honourees, in that people who could be considered grassroots received top national honours. A lot of 'ordinary' Bajans received awards. Here's the list:

Knight of St. Andrew - retired life insurance executive Marcus Jordan

Companion of Honour of Barbados - retired parliamentarian and women's advocate, Maizie Barker-Welch

Gold Crown of Merit - Entertainer Richard Stoute (at last!)
Cardiologist Dr. Richard Ishmael
Educator Olivier Cox (Metropolitan School)
Managing Director of Jordan's Supermarket Audley Jordan

Silver Crown of Merit -
Deputy Chief Commissioner of the Barbados Boys Scouts Association Lt. Col Vere Springer
Emergency Management Consultant Dr. Brian Charles
Manager of Business Development, Barbados Public Workers Cooperative Credit Union Keith Bourne
Retired yacht captain and boat owner Owen Burke

Barbados Service Star - Stanton Parris
Rawle Clarke (organiser of Senior Games)
Jean Lovell
Valrie Pilgrim
Gerald Hunte

Barbados Service Medal - Linda Waithe
John Haynes (active in community disaster planning)

Bravery Medal - Island Safari tour guide Ruel Stanford. Earlier this year he courageously assisted a group of tourists from falling victim to highway bandits.

Photo: Barbados Advocate

Friday, November 28, 2008

Happy Independence, Barbados!

Well, peoples, on Sunday Barbados will be celebrating its 42nd Anniversary of Independence. This lil rock has come a long way, and we have been blessed in many, many ways.

I'm proud of what my country has achieved, but we can't afford to rest on our laurels if we're to achieve the world class standards we're always yearning for.

For those of you who are new to the blog and want to know more about Barbados and its culture, check the archives for all my 2007 Independence coverage. Learn to speak like a Bajan, cook our recipes and see some of our places of interest. Have fun!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Chrianna takes the AMA's

Congrats to power maybe-maybe not couple Chris Brown and Rihanna, who between them won five American Music Awards last night. Rihanna won in the categories of Pop/rock Female Artist and Female Soul R&B Artist.

Rihanna beat out the likes of Mary J. Blige, Mariah Carey and Alicia Keyes for those awards, and even though I'm happy she won (more awards for a Bajan, den!), as a person who appreciates quality music I couldn't help wondering what the hell the AMA judges were smoking when I heard she beat Blige and Keyes especially. Then I found out that the votes were fan-based. I get it.

Anyhoo, these award shows are as much about fashion as music, so let's see what our girl wore on the red carpet.

Hmmm. Only Rihanna could wear a dress that looks like a strategically draped table cloth and make it look hot....

Photos: Just; Young Black & Fabulous

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Rihanna tats up...again

It's been a while since I've posted anything about Rihanna and since I stumbled across this one I thought I'd share.

According to People Magazine Rihanna is sporting a new tribal tattoo on her wrist, which she apparently had done while on tour recently in New Zealand. The exotic Maori-inspired tat is of a geometric design.

She's a brave girl, 'cause I hear wrist tattoos hurt like hell.

Anyhoo, this whole tribal tattoo thing got me thinking...we have Maori tats, kanji, Celtic, African and others. Where are the Caribbean tribal tats? Or is this another sign that we're a displaced imported people without ties to any tribal roots? Sigh, I guess that's a rhetorical question.

If we were to design a Caribbean tribal tattoo, what would it look like? Let me know what you think. If we come up with something, maybe we could get Rihanna to showcase it to the world, since she doesn't seem to be afraid of needles atall....

Monday, November 17, 2008

Cable & Wireless gone sour

In case you haven't heard, earlier this month, Cable and Wireless official Donald Austin announced that the company was to be rebranded as LIME (Landline, Internet, Mobile, Entertainment).

You can read the story here to see what the new company will be offering vis-a-vis the former Cable & Wireless.

I'm neither here nor there with the rebranding, and yes, I know LIME is the acronym for the services the new company will provide. I'm just wondering if in our Caribbean context anything to do with 'liming' will be taken seriously.

In our part of the world, to lime means to relax, chill out, hang out, etc. Lime is also a citrus, and a sour one at that. Makes good lemonade though, but I digress...

I just think it's the kind of name that won't be taken seriously, and by extension the company won't be taken seriously. But hey, maybe after being a stodgy monopoly for decades they want to be seen as fun and hip. I can't wait to see how Digicel responds....

Saturday, November 15, 2008

'Mama Africa' remembered

A memorial service was held today for South Africa's first lady of song, Miriam Makeba, who died last weekend while performing in Italy.

Musicians, poets and politicians were among the thousands who flocked to the service in Johannesburg and paid tribute to the 76-year old songstress.

On behalf of Cheese-on-Bread , I would like to extend condolences to Ms. Makeba's family, and also to the people of South Africa. Miriam Makeba's music brought attention to the scourge of apartheid and even though she was exiled as a result, she was an ardent campaigner against that divisive social structure.

For all you fellow fans, here's a video of Makeba performing her beautiful hit Pata Pata. May she rest in peace.

Hillary Clinton for Secretary of State?

Hey, peoples. Hope everyone is having a good weekend so far.

I guess by now you would have heard the rumour that President-elect Barack Obama is considering Hillary Clinton as his Secretary of State. I guess it's a distinct possibility, since the two have been meeting in recent days. Also, he has tapped quite a few aides of former president Bill Clinton for his staff, so why not the former First Lady herself?

I wouldn't be surprised if it's true, since Hillary threw her support behind Obama after the primary and you all know how payback goes in politics. I'm still a bit rankled by some of her comments about Obama during the primary, but obvious Mr. President has gotten past that. It will be interesting to see how they work together, if the rumour is true. I could never be a politician...I can hold a grudge too long!

Anyhoo, having a Clinton back in the White House isn't such a bad thing. At least with this Clinton the most scandalous thing that might happen is that Michelle Obama has to sucker punch her for saying the wrong thing about the President. That Michelle looks like she don't play at all....


Wednesday, November 05, 2008

When we dare to dream

"It's been a long, a long time coming, but I know a change is gonna come, oh yes it will.."

This morning the lyrics of Sam Cooke's haunting civil rights melody are echoing through my mind. I dared to hope that this day would come, that the electorate of the United States would be mature enough to vote for change, to take a chance and to create history.

Barack Obama's 349 electoral votes to John McCain's 162 signal more than a Democratic win over the Republicans; they symbolise a chance for the world to experience a paradigm shift, to look beyond race and the colour of a man's skin to value his mettle and soul. All I can say is that I feel proud that my son can grow up in a world where he can look at Obama's example and dare to dream.

Anyway, enough from me, before I start to cry again. Below you can find a video of Obama's powerful remarks in Grant Park, Chicago, after his win. You can also read the transcript of his remarks and feel free to copy and paste it out for posterity. Enjoy.

November 4, 2008
CHICAGO - If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible; who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time; who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer.

It's the answer told by lines that stretched around schools and churches in numbers this nation has never seen; by people who waited three hours and four hours, many for the very first time in their lives, because they believed that this time must be different; that their voice could be that difference.

It's the answer spoken by young and old, rich and poor, Democrat and Republican, black, white, Latino, Asian, Native American, gay, straight, disabled and not disabled — Americans who sent a message to the world that we have never been a collection of Red States and Blue States: we are, and always will be, the United States of America.

It's the answer that led those who have been told for so long by so many to be cynical, and fearful, and doubtful of what we can achieve to put their hands on the arc of history and bend it once more toward the hope of a better day.

It's been a long time coming, but tonight, because of what we did on this day, in this election, at this defining moment, change has come to America.

I just received a very gracious call from Senator McCain. He fought long and hard in this campaign, and he's fought even longer and harder for the country he loves. He has endured sacrifices for America that most of us cannot begin to imagine, and we are better off for the service rendered by this brave and selfless leader. I congratulate him and Governor Palin for all they have achieved, and I look forward to working with them to renew this nation's promise in the months ahead.

I want to thank my partner in this journey, a man who campaigned from his heart and spoke for the men and women he grew up with on the streets of Scranton and rode with on that train home to Delaware, the Vice President-elect of the United States, Joe Biden.

I would not be standing here tonight without the unyielding support of my best friend for the last sixteen years, the rock of our family and the love of my life, our nation's next First Lady, Michelle Obama. Sasha and Malia, I love you both so much, and you have earned the new puppy that's coming with us to the White House. And while she's no longer with us, I know my grandmother is watching, along with the family that made me who I am. I miss them tonight, and know that my debt to them is beyond measure.

To my campaign manager David Plouffe, my chief strategist David Axelrod, and the best campaign team ever assembled in the history of politics — you made this happen, and I am forever grateful for what you've sacrificed to get it done.

But above all, I will never forget who this victory truly belongs to — it belongs to you.

I was never the likeliest candidate for this office. We didn't start with much money or many endorsements. Our campaign was not hatched in the halls of Washington — it began in the backyards of Des Moines and the living rooms of Concord and the front porches of Charleston.

It was built by working men and women who dug into what little savings they had to give five dollars and ten dollars and twenty dollars to this cause. It grew strength from the young people who rejected the myth of their generation's apathy; who left their homes and their families for jobs that offered little pay and less sleep; from the not-so-young people who braved the bitter cold and scorching heat to knock on the doors of perfect strangers; from the millions of Americans who volunteered, and organized, and proved that more than two centuries later, a government of the people, by the people and for the people has not perished from this Earth. This is your victory.

I know you didn't do this just to win an election and I know you didn't do it for me. You did it because you understand the enormity of the task that lies ahead. For even as we celebrate tonight, we know the challenges that tomorrow will bring are the greatest of our lifetime — two wars, a planet in peril, the worst financial crisis in a century. Even as we stand here tonight, we know there are brave Americans waking up in the deserts of Iraq and the mountains of Afghanistan to risk their lives for us. There are mothers and fathers who will lie awake after their children fall asleep and wonder how they'll make the mortgage, or pay their doctor's bills, or save enough for college. There is new energy to harness and new jobs to be created; new schools to build and threats to meet and alliances to repair.

The road ahead will be long. Our climb will be steep. We may not get there in one year or even one term, but America — I have never been more hopeful than I am tonight that we will get there. I promise you — we as a people will get there.
There will be setbacks and false starts. There are many who won't agree with every decision or policy I make as President, and we know that government can't solve every problem. But I will always be honest with you about the challenges we face. I will listen to you, especially when we disagree. And above all, I will ask you join in the work of remaking this nation the only way it's been done in America for two-hundred and twenty-one years — block by block, brick by brick, calloused hand by calloused hand.

What began twenty-one months ago in the depths of winter must not end on this autumn night. This victory alone is not the change we seek — it is only the chance for us to make that change. And that cannot happen if we go back to the way things were. It cannot happen without you.

So let us summon a new spirit of patriotism; of service and responsibility where each of us resolves to pitch in and work harder and look after not only ourselves, but each other. Let us remember that if this financial crisis taught us anything, it's that we cannot have a thriving Wall Street while Main Street suffers — in this country, we rise or fall as one nation; as one people.

Let us resist the temptation to fall back on the same partisanship and pettiness and immaturity that has poisoned our politics for so long. Let us remember that it was a man from this state who first carried the banner of the Republican Party to the White House — a party founded on the values of self-reliance, individual liberty, and national unity. Those are values we all share, and while the Democratic Party has won a great victory tonight, we do so with a measure of humility and determination to heal the divides that have held back our progress. As Lincoln said to a nation far more divided than ours, "We are not enemies, but friends…though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection." And to those Americans whose support I have yet to earn — I may not have won your vote, but I hear your voices, I need your help, and I will be your President too.

And to all those watching tonight from beyond our shores, from parliaments and palaces to those who are huddled around radios in the forgotten corners of our world - our stories are singular, but our destiny is shared, and a new dawn of American leadership is at hand. To those who would tear this world down — we will defeat you. To those who seek peace and security — we support you. And to all those who have wondered if America's beacon still burns as bright — tonight we proved once more that the true strength of our nation comes not from our the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals: democracy, liberty, opportunity, and unyielding hope.

For that is the true genius of America — that America can change. Our union can be perfected. And what we have already achieved gives us hope for what we can and must achieve tomorrow.

This election had many firsts and many stories that will be told for generations. But one that's on my mind tonight is about a woman who cast her ballot in Atlanta. She's a lot like the millions of others who stood in line to make their voice heard in this election except for one thing — Ann Nixon Cooper is 106 years old.
She was born just a generation past slavery; a time when there were no cars on the road or planes in the sky; when someone like her couldn't vote for two reasons — because she was a woman and because of the color of her skin.

And tonight, I think about all that she's seen throughout her century in America - the heartache and the hope; the struggle and the progress; the times we were told that we can't, and the people who pressed on with that American creed: Yes we can.
At a time when women's voices were silenced and their hopes dismissed, she lived to see them stand up and speak out and reach for the ballot. Yes we can.

When there was despair in the dust bowl and depression across the land, she saw a nation conquer fear itself with a New Deal, new jobs and a new sense of common purpose. Yes we can.

When the bombs fell on our harbor and tyranny threatened the world, she was there to witness a generation rise to greatness and a democracy was saved. Yes we can.
She was there for the buses in Montgomery, the hoses in Birmingham, a bridge in Selma, and a preacher from Atlanta who told a people that "We Shall Overcome." Yes we can.

A man touched down on the moon, a wall came down in Berlin, a world was connected by our own science and imagination. And this year, in this election, she touched her finger to a screen, and cast her vote, because after 106 years in America, through the best of times and the darkest of hours, she knows how America can change. Yes we can.

America, we have come so far. We have seen so much. But there is so much more to do. So tonight, let us ask ourselves — if our children should live to see the next century; if my daughters should be so lucky to live as long as Ann Nixon Cooper, what change will they see? What progress will we have made?

This is our chance to answer that call. This is our moment. This is our time — to put our people back to work and open doors of opportunity for our kids; to restore prosperity and promote the cause of peace; to reclaim the American Dream and reaffirm that fundamental truth — that out of many, we are one; that while we breathe, we hope, and where we are met with cynicism, and doubt, and those who tell us that we can't, we will respond with that timeless creed that sums up the spirit of a people:

Yes We Can. Thank you, God bless you, and may God Bless the United States of America.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

The fight is on

It's on, peoples. So far Obama has racked up big wins in Pennsylvania, Ohio, New Mexico and some other states. So far he has 200 electoral votes and McCain 90. Just 70 more to go!

If Obama can take Califonia and Florida, he gone clear!

A new page in history begins today....

Hey, peoples. Well, this is it. November 4th. The end of nearly two years of campaigning for the presidency of the United States.

As the pundits like to say, no matter the outcome, history will be made. Apart from the obvious history that would be made with a win by Barack Obama, if John McCain were to (gasp) win he would be the oldest candidate to assume that position.

As Obama himself said yesterday, it will be fun to see how the story ends. His campaign has been phenomenal, and he has certainly gone the distance, something few of us could have dared to dream.

So, as we await the outcome of this heated race, I'll wish both the candidates luck (but Obama just a bit more of course ;) I'm a bit fearful of the Electoral College system; remember the whole Bush/Gore incident of a few years ago?

Condolences to Obama on the death of his beloved grandmother, and hopefully he will soon be consoled with a historic entrance to the White House.