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Massive Amounts Paid Out in Trinidad & Tobago's LifeSport Programme

As more details come out about the corrupt LifeSport programme in Trinidad and Tobago, Wired868 focuses its satirical energies on Adolphus Daniell, a contractor who was reportedly paid TT$34 million (just under US$5.5 million) for doing nothing – and says he won't pay back the money:

The people now under investigation for corruption were too busy stuffing their own pockets to bother you while you kept your mouth shut and headed for the exit. And you think you should keep the money just because you were able to hold on to it for this long?

It might be ‘a non-issue’ to you Adolph; but we, the taxpayers, still want our money back.

Being A Black West Indian in Britain

Jamaican author Kei Miller's blog post about “the anxieties of being a black poet in Britain” draws from several personal experiences, leading him to the conclusion that “the act of writing certain black experiences has to be one of translation – as surely as we translate from one language into another”:

Blackness itself is still seen to exist in a place outside of language, or at least outside the refined language of poetry…And I do not know whether the old dictum about the economy of translation is true – whether or not something is always lost…But this much seems to be important, that we keep blackness in check. In this way, the anxieties of being a black poet in Britain are obviously part and parcel of the broader anxieties of being black in Britain.

Cuba's Customs Clamps Down in “Illegal Imports”

On September 1, 2014 the Customs Service of the Republic of Cuba will begin enforcing new regulations intended to combat illegal trafficking of merchandise by relatives, friends and ‘mules’ (a slang term for couriers of goods from overseas through airports and port facilities).

Iván's File Cabinet considers this “one more turn of the screw”, explaining that since 2011, there have been new measures every year to try and stop the illegal importation of goods by families and private businesses on the island.

A Documentary That Allows Transgender People's Voices to Be Heard

Though gays and lesbians are gradually gaining more acceptance in Puerto Rico, the same cannot be said yet of transgender people. That is why a film like Mala Mala, a documentary in which trans people speak freely about their stories, is so important. The film, directed by Dan Sickles (@dan_sickles) and Antonio Santini, is on the official selection of the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival.

One of the people interviewed for the film is Paxx Moll, a chef who is also a transgender female-to-male. In an article published in La Respuesta, a digital magazine about the Puerto Rican diaspora, he talks to E. J. Dávila about who he is, his experience being part of the documentary, and about the lack of social and medical spaces for trans people in Puerto Rico, particularly for transgender men.

This is the teaser trailer for Mala Mala, which will premier in Puerto Rico in the coming months:

Improper Land Allocation Harms Trinidad & Tobago's Public Interest

Property ownership is a critical ingredient of the society we are trying to build. No one can deny that. The wealthiest people and companies in this society have made a great part of their wealth through property dealings – buying, leasing, sub-dividing, selling, renovating and so on….property is critical to amassing and holding wealth.

With the state being “the single largest owner of all classes of property” in Trinidad and Tobago, blogger Afra Raymond is interested in how public property is allocated, noting that because of its value, all dealings involving state lands must be transparent.

What Owen Arthur's Resignation Says About Barbados’ Politics

Owen Arthur has resigned from the political party he led for 14 years – a move which Barbados Underground thinks should give Barbadians pause:

The incapacity of a former Prime Minister…to carve out an effective role to serve his political party in the twilight of his career leaves a sour taste. If our leaders are unable to find ways to resolve conflict to the greater good of country what message does it send to the general population?

Trinidad & Tobago Minister Passes the Buck with Failed LifeSport Programme

Trinidad and Tobago's Prime Minister has shut down the controversial Life Sport programme following the results of an audit, which uncovered the ministry's inability to account for millions of dollars in taxpayers’ money. The programme was originally intended to provide disenfranchised youth with options to a life a crime through sport, but ironically, the Minister of National Security alleged that funds from the programme were being paid to criminals. In a satirical post about the issue, Wired868 says:

Persad-Bissessar [the Prime Minister] said the contents of the Auditor General’s report into Life Sport would be forwarded to the DPP [Director of Public Prosecutions] and Integrity Commission, which do not have their own investigators, and the Police Service that, based on its record, could not find sand at the beach.

Roberts [the Minister of Sport] followed the Prime Minister’s lead by suggesting that the criminal activity was done by his employees and the buck stops with them, which…is arguably the equivalent of a motorist pleading innocent to a fatal accident because he closed his eyes just before impact.

The Hypocrisy of Outrage Against LGBT Rights in Jamaica

An off-colour comment by a Jamaican sports commentator who “dampened the moment of post World Cup celebrations with his shouts of ‘Heil Hitler’ on national television” leads author and blogger Kei Miller to pen a letter to the editor illustrating why his countrymen are living a double standard – outraged by the Hitler reference, most Jamaicans seem to have no problem “liv[ing] comfortably in a period of bigotry” when it comes to LGBT rights.

But wait, some may argue…isn't that like comparing apples and oranges? Perhaps, but Miller argues that the two can be compared:

The point of any comparison is never to make things equal. A thing is only equal to itself. My point really is…that it is interesting a widespread reaction against the historical REMINDER of bigotry, when there are other contemporary expressions of bigotry being tolerated and even celebrated.

Trinidad & Tobago: Does Living in the Digital Age Forfeit Your Right to Privacy?

ICT Pulse reviews a recently published report from the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on the right to privacy in the digital age.

Archaic Laws Continue Jamaica's History of Injustice

The anti-sodomy law is not the only archaic statute up for repeal in Jamaica. Author Kei Miller is astounded that a proposal to rescind the country's “blatantly racist Obeah Laws” has met with resistance:

We seem to like throwing fits whenever it is suggested that we review and correct our colonial inheritance…We seem to get a kick out of whipping ourselves all over again. I guess, we really are the good niggers. We have been so brutally damaged by unjust laws kept in the books for so long that they are now wired into the blood of our country, and for generations to come, we believe in the deep and terrible injustices that such laws promote.

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