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Trinidad & Tobago: Is Education Really About Learning?

Why, oh why, did I fail what is clearly a basic english class?

The easy answer – I didn’t try hard enough [...] The more complicated answer lies in a system so rigid that I am required to take freshman english despite all proof and indications to the contrary.

Trinidad diaspora blogger CunningLinguist laments the failings of the modern education system, as he comes to realisation that “higher education is not about learning, it’s about about checking boxes”.

5 Things One Blogger Thinks You Should Know About People of African Descent in Trinidad & Tobago

We have evidence in our culture, historical facts, which show how the African experience in the Caribbean has helped define our landscape and spirit.

In honour of emancipation, Amilcar Sanatan shares five things about Afro-Trinbagonians you never knew: they are not a monolith, they don't all vote along ethnic lines, they may not always recognise the extent to which Africanness has been degraded and could do with a few lessons in ethnic pride from other races, and they need to understand the ways in which emancipation must mean equality for all.

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.

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.

Why the Caribbean Should Care About Net Neutrality

For those who figure that the issue of net neutrality doesn't affect them, Trinidad-based blogger Activized connects the dots. The concept that “all data is created equal” is not as common as you might think:

Local telecommunications company Digicel announced that they were banning certain VoIP application services from their network…in an attempt to secure their bottomline – ensuring that users of the cellular phone service make calls using credit, not data. There’s only one problem with that – if I’m paying for my data, I should have the power to get the data that I want and use it how I want.

Caribbean Court of Justice Mired in Controversy

Barbados Free Press says that few people realise “that the vaunted Caribbean Court of Justice carries no actual power or authority”, partly because compliance with the court's decisions is apparently voluntary. Comparing the institution to a toothless bulldog, the post went on to provide links to reports on several incidents that are allegedly affecting the integrity and performance of the court, including lawsuits from former employees, a legal battle with a daily newspaper in Trinidad and Tobago, and quite damningly, reports of mismanagement and judicial misconduct.

Trinidad & Tobago's Minister of Sport Resigns Under Duress

Trinidad and Tobago's Minister of Sport has been forced to resign following public dissatisfaction surrounding the corrupt LifeSport programme, in which millions of dollars were allegedly funneled out to fund criminal activities and contractors were reportedly paid huge sums of money without actually doing any work.

Wired868 republishes the full text of his resignation letter to the Prime Minister and her response, noting that the former minister was careful to “[admit] no wrongdoing”.

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.

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.

Trinidad and Tobago Parliament Asks Itself For Pay Raise, Says Yes

When two controversial bills are passed swiftly and unanimously by a country’s parliament, the alarm bells go off.

The passage, on June 13, 2014, of amendments to two parliamentary acts governing pension payments for legislators and judges in Trinidad and Tobago has been called unconstitutional and a threat to the independence of the judiciary. Or perhaps, as Rhoda Bharath suggests, it’s a case of “Himself. . . passing Amendments to pay Himself and bypassing the enshrined Constitutional arrangements.”

In a post spiced with football analogies and references to the 2014 World Cup, Bharath recounts the chain of events and the commentary surrounding the whole affair, adding:

 “I can’t say it’s illegal. . . . The [Salary Review Commission] has to clarify whether Pensions really fall under its purview. The Constitution’s language is too vague for me to say so convincingly. . . . What I can say is in light of the burden on our treasury and our numerous labour and employment issues this leaves a very bad taste in my mouth. . . and I’m giving you, Keith Rowley [Trinidad and Tobago’s leader of the Opposition], a devious cut eye on this one.”

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