Our own Rastafari warriors, who still fight against spiritual wickedness in high and low places, adopted the locks of the fearless Mau Mau and dubbed them ‘dread’. As a child, I was taught to fear the dreadlocked Rastaman, who, like the notorious ‘Blackheart Man’, was a very bad character in a terrifying bedtime story. You didn’t know why. But, in real life, just in case, you quickly crossed the road if you saw a Rastaman approaching. You knew he represented danger. He was likely to call down judgement on you, especially if hot comb or chemicals had turned your hair against itself: Fire pon burn head!
In the early years of the Rastafari movement, dreadlocks made a revolutionary political statement. Dread meant fierce, uncompromising assertion of black power. Dread was a potent celebration of ‘knotty head’ in all its rebellious glory. In a society that idolised limp, ‘straight’ hair, deciding to dread was a supremely self-confident act. Dread was also a question of aesthetics. It was an affirmation of the beauty of ‘own-way’ black hair. Ironically, dread was the original ‘relaxed’ hair, released from all of the uptight prescriptions designed to control wayward black hair.
In Jamaica, hair has always been a troubling moral issue. We still talk about ‘good’ hair versus ‘bad’ hair: the grain, texture and length. And the moral weighting of hair reflects the problematic ranking of skin colour: ‘high’ colour versus ‘low’. And we wonder why so many people are bleaching their skin and why women are collectively investing millions of dollars each year buying ‘good’ hair from India and China! Those who can’t afford the expensive ‘real’ good hair have to settle for the relatively cheap plastic version. But it all adds up.
I was recently told about a merchant in downtown Kingston who has made a fortune and built a mansion up in the hills out of hair. Packs and packs and packs of hair, real and false, have been converted into lengths of steel, textured building blocks, and waves and waves of smooth tiles flowing on and on and on. A solidly constructed building, luxuriously furnished out of the trade in seemingly insubstantial hair! I gather that this monument to female folly would put to shame the Holness garrison in Beverly Hills. And, by the way, I wish Andrew good luck in today’s election. Mi spirit tek im. But it seems like a lost cause. The Big Guns appear to have lined up to execute him - metaphorically speaking, of course. Cockroach no business inna fowl fight, so mek mi lef it.
The Victoria Mutual Building Society (VMBS) has been running a brilliant series of ads based on the commonsensical principle that one less indulgence adds up to so much more value. I think VMBS should remind women who are addicted to ‘tall’ hair that one less pack of ‘weave’, and one less hour spent on installing it, will eventually add up to the down payment on a house! But it’s not easy to fight the addiction. The advertising industry in Jamaica conspires with the sellers of imported hair to reinforce the prejudice that tall hair is best. If you don’t believe me, just do a little survey of today’s ads in the print and electronic media.
Many Jamaican men are addicted to women with tall hair, and that’s the root of the problem. Not wanting to be left on the proverbial shelf, anxious females s/tress to impress. I understand the weakness of desperate women who desire improbably long ‘straight’ hair. They have to keep on buying the imported Chinese and Indian hair. It’s the women with braided false hair who puzzle me. I’ve asked several of them why they don’t just locks. The effect would be the same. They say that locks are too permanent. But since their hair is perpetually braided, this argument really doesn’t make much sense.
These days, the dread has been straightened out of dreadlocks. There’s a new brand of locks that’s a very distant cousin of the tree-root dreadlocks of Rastafari ancients. These upscale locks have been tamed by beauticians - or locticians, as they prefer to call themselves. Even hard-core Rastaman going to beauty parlour to dress dem hair. And there’s nothing fishy about it. This new breed of Rastaman is making an eloquent fashion statement. Who di cap fit, mek dem wear it!
NUDRED, NEW ATTITUDE
One of the issues with starting locks from scratch is having to go through the organic ‘picky-picky head’ stage. There’s a product on the market that can give you instant dreadlocks for real. Not weaved-in locks. It’s called Nudred, and it was developed in the United States by Brigitte Gopou and Bruce Boyd in 2004. I discovered it this summer in a barber shop in the UK. The basic tool is a sponge with 38 holes, each about one-third of an inch in diameter. You apply a special twisting cream, Nupotion, to natural hair and, with a circular motion you create locks. Seeing is believing, so have a look on YouTube.
In an email to me, Mr Boyd explained the Nudred vision: “The Big Chop is about inspiring people to not only remove harmful chemicals from their hair, but out of their lives too. Black Natural Hair Care is a movement to improve the community. By uplifting the community, there is a positive effect on the world. There is a beautiful message when you see one with an Afro, nappy, twisted, locked or any of the various natural styles. Simply saying I am embracing my true power - love for myself. Nurturing, Uplifting, Divinely, Rejuvenating, Evolving Daily - that’s NUDRED.” The company’s slogan is ‘NuHair, NuYou, NuLife!’ For women addicted to other people’s hair, it’s hard to break the habit. Perhaps we need to start an FHA support group - False Hair Anonymous - for all those women in Jamaica who need to get back to roots.
Carolyn Cooper is a professor of literary and cultural studies at the University of the West Indies, Mona. Visit her bilingual blog at http://carolynjoycooper.wordpress.com. Email feedback to email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org
The Son, in a continued quest for the power of generation, has recently entered into a new phase. He has now succeeded in establishing himself in Trinidad’s Africans and Indians and is also on the point of replacing human-kind altogether with computers and robots. Nature, who has borne all this out of love for the whole of her creation, has finally lost patience. The current order of the Son will end in a catastrophic drought and famine, nuclear war, or a heating up of the Earth, a destruction of the Son’s work through his own agency, after which the original state of Nature will once again prevail.
Jeanette herself is a partial manifestation of the Mother who will fully enter into her only at the End. Her task at the time of initial ethnographic fieldwork (1980–1982) was to facilitate the return to Nature by organizing the community known as Hell Valley, the Valley of Decision, to prepare for the return to the Beginning and to “put out the life” to her people, the Black Nation, the Mother’s Children. She has to combat the false doctrines of existing religions which place the Son over the Mother and to correct the distorted teaching of the Bible where she is represented as the Devil (hence “Hell Valley”). She stands for Life and Nature, in opposition to the Christian God who is really the Son, the principle of Science and Death. As the Devil she is opposed to churches and prisons, education and money, contemporary morals and fashionable opinions. Because God is “right” Mother Earth teaches the Left, and the Earth People interchange various conventional oppositions: “left” for “right;” “evil” or “bad” for “good.” Seeming obscenities are only Natural words for She Herself, who is the Cunt, the origin of all life.
The exact timing of the End was uncertain but it was expected in Jeanette’s physical lifetime. Then time would end, sickness would be healed and the nation would speak one language. The Son will be exiled to his planet, the Sun, really the Planet of Ice which is currently hidden by Fire placed there by the Mother: Fire which will eventually return to where it belongs, back to the heart of the nurturant Earth.
Mother Earth’s revelations ceased in 1975–1976 after an episode called the Miracle in which she brought the sun closer to the Earth. At this time her family was still living with her in a deserted village some fifteen miles from the nearest settlement, and they were joined by an assortment of young men, mostly old friends and neighbors of hers from Port-of-Spain, together with Rastafarians attracted by a newspaper article written about a family going naked in the bush. Her ideas were now consolidated in reflection and debate. By 1978 her title of “Mother Earth” was adopted, possibly after a recent carnival masquerade which had portrayed a large, fecund Earth Mother. Mother Earth continued to have visions in her dreams but these were similar to those of other members: premonitions and answers to the immediate organizational problems on which her attention was now focused.
While around sixty people have been active Earth People at different times, in October 1981, twenty-two were resident in the Valley, with perhaps twenty sympathizers and occasional members in town. There were annual naked marches into Port-of-Spain which sometimes ended in arrests with brief stays in the state psychiatric hospital for Mother Earth (with a variety of diagnoses), together with raids on the settlement by social workers which resulted in confinement of the younger children to an orphanage: Mother Earth’s youngest son escaped and trekked back to the community across the mountains. There were, however, supportive articles in two local periodicals, Ras Tafari Speaks and The Bomb. Trinidad’s first prime minister had recently died and the government was preoccupied with an election: those in the Hell Valley group were left to themselves.
Only one other member of the group was female, with 16 young male followers between 18 and 33, most previously associated with the local cults of Rastafari or Spiritual Baptism, besides Mother Earth and her immediate family. The reason they gave for joining (to the visiting anthropologist in 1981) was the corruption and spiritual decay associated with the post-independence government, and a wish to return to a simpler natural lifestyle. In opposition to the materialworld, the group all went naked, sleeping out on the bare ground, and maintained themselves through fishing and cultivation of the land using only cutlasses.
The center of the community was the old wooden house of the deserted village into which Mother Earth had moved in 1972, together with some added “African” huts. For about half a mile in each direction, the secondary bush and scrub of the seasonal rainforest had been cleared and a variety of trees and perennial cultigens were grown: medicine bushes; trees and plants for cordage and wrapping and for basketry and calabashes; timber for building; plantain and banana; roots like cassava, sweet potatoes, dasheen, yam, tannia; aubergine, pineapple, tomato, pigeon peas, callaloo, okra; Indian corn, pumpkin, ginger, sugar cane, christophene; trees bearing oranges, grapefruit, guava, nuts, mango, avocado, pawpaw, pomerac, tamarind and breadfruit; garlic and bushes with pepper, shadobenny and other herbs. Above the settlement, reaching into the lower reaches of the mountains of the northern range, were cocoa and coffee, cannabis and tobacco. In the nearby bush were cress and watermelon, mauby bark, mammy apple, passion fruit, star apple, nutmeg and soursap, while along the coast grew coconut and almond. The variety of crops, virtually every Trinidad food plant, perhaps justified the boast of the Earth People that they were living in the original Eden.
Although all members accepted Mother Earth’s role as the Original Mother, the group was “this worldly” in their emphasis on present cultivation of the land and on the preparation and consumption of food. Daily agricultural labor ended with a swim in the sea and Mother Earth ritually dealing out the cooked vegetable food to the group. The central “rite of synthesis” (as anthropologists would put it) was this daily meal. The evening was passed with the smoking of cigars and ganja spliffs, and communal drumming and dancing with singing of their favorite anthems “Beat them Drums of Africa,” “The Nation It Have No Food” and “We Going Down Town to Free Up the Nation.”
Each new member took a “fruit name” – like Breadfruit, Coconut, Cassava or Pumpkin. Relations between members were fairly egalitarian, and not especially “religious,” generally recalling those of the average Trinidad working-class family. Supposedly the group was living in the Beginning of the End, a run-up to the eventual, very physical, end of the world, but little time was spent on millennial speculation. Painted words on the main house proclaimed “Fock [sic] God” – a sentiment in accord with the group’s opposition to Christianity and Islam (although there was a more sympathetic attitude toward Rastafari and Shango Baptism as being “half-way there”).
In 1982, with disputes in the group relating to differences in practical authority, and Mother Earth’s continued illness, relations deteriorated, splits occurred and the settlement was burned. Mother Earth died in 1984, and by the late 1990s, the Earth People were split into four groups, one on the original site. For all four, what has remained central is less Mother Earth’s personal messianic vision than some sense of a more “natural” and “African” style which her own life had embodied.
The emerging field of contemplative neuroscience has begun to produce evidence for plasticity of pro-social preferences and motivation. Short- and long-term mental-training studies (such as the ReSource project) reveal that mental-training programs can enhance cognitive and socio-affective faculties like attention, compassion, and empathy. More specifically, training programs aimed at boosting pro-social motivation have led to increased activity in neural networks related to positive emotions and affiliation, as well as to reduced stress-relevant hormonal responses and increased immune markers, when participants are exposed to distress in others.
In other words, such mental-training programs make participants more efficient and more focused, while improving their capacity to cope with stress. At the same time, they promote pro-social behavior and a broader, less self-centered perspective that accounts for humans’ interdependence. Such findings have started to inspire fields like experimental microeconomics and neuroeconomics, which, in turn, have begun to incorporate pro-social preferences into their decision-making frameworks.
These promising findings should now be incorporated into new economic models and concrete policy proposals. Given that brains are at their most malleable during childhood, beginning mental training in school would help to create a solid foundation for the kind of secular ethics that would contribute to the development of a more compassionate society. But mental training also has benefits for adults, so businesses, political authorities, and research institutions should collaborate in establishing “mental gymnasiums.”
Furthermore, institutional reform could be aimed at adapting social environments to foster cooperation instead of competition, and to activate our motivation to engage in caring behavior, rather than seeking achievement, power, and status only. In the long run, striving only for the latter leads to imbalance and resource depletion not only on the individual level, but also globally.
Humans are capable of far more than selfishness and materialism. Indeed, we are capable of building sustainable, equitable, and caring political systems, economies, and societies. Rather than continuing to indulge the most destructive drivers of human behavior, global leaders should work to develop systems that encourage individuals to meet their full socio-emotional and cognitive potentials – and, thus, to create a world in which we all want to live.
All those, who think that they will be able to establish laws from the epoch of lawlessness, probably act short-sightedly. It will definitely catch up with them later.
What happens with the freedom of the Internet? We were told many times, that there can be no limits by definition. As it seems, this position, which was translated at international forums, was not at all a guide for actions of those, who promoted it in public. In practice, freedom of the Internet was abused and, probably, continues to be abused, as we say, very deeply. For the time being, this is probably causing a mess, at least in terms of morals and ethics.
You can pick any sphere, and it is always better to follow the rules, to respect peoples and help them reach an agreement with each other, rather than thinking in categories of “gunboat diplomacy”, stop to be sick [nostalgic] for the colonial past, the epoch, when they needed just to whisper for everybody to show servile obedience.
The world is changing today. It is impolite and short-sighted to perceive other civilisations as second class groups of the population. It will catch you up sometime in the future. We need to avoid the war of civilisations in all possible ways. We are for dialogue, for the alliance of civilisations. But in this case we need to respect each other’s traditions, the history of those communities, which become more and more significant on our planet, to respect the values, which have been created, established for centuries in these societies and were transferred from one generation to another. It is so simple – if you wish to get on well within your neighbours in your village, the same principles apply. A disregard for such principles in the international arena costs much more for taxpayers as well, and, the worst – for peoples’ lives, who then become “collateral damage”. This terrible term (collateral damage) was invented to justify the gross violations of international humanitarian law and is rooted deeply in those, who promote concepts like “responsibility to protect”, “humanitarian intervention” – when the motto of human rights is used to disrupt the most crucial right – the right to live….
Blogging last week, Mr Afra Raymond, the President of the Joint Consultative Council for the Construction Industry highlighted a 12 July 2013 affidavit filed by the Ministry of Finance in response to his Freedom of Information (FOIA) requests of 2012 and 2013.
His requests were for information connected to CL Financial. Requested documents included audited financial statements, presentations to Parliament, and a list of creditors.
There is much to dwell on in the official Government response. The tactics to thwart Mr Raymond requests for transparency are themselves suggestive, as is Mr Raymond’s question – “what is the big secret?”
For those interested in the official correspondence and more details of the case, Mr Raymond’s blog can be found here http://afraraymond.wordpress.com/
The legal drama playing out between the two parties is reminiscent of work the anthropologist Marilyn Strathern did in pre-1975 Papua New Guinea. There she asked a similar question: “what does visibility conceal”?
By this she meant transparency is never accomplished. Yes, transparency implies clarity, visibility and openness. But transparency in Government, organisations and amongst the powerful is more ritual than outcome. Not to mention that what might be seen and transparent for some, can often be off-limits and opaque for others.
In this sense transparency – the supposed watchword for good governance – is a negotiation. And as a negotiation transparency plays out in ritual forms. In our own society this means a dance through the courts with lawyers, various forms, and shifting goal posts. And this is where Strathern’s work is revealing.
In her studies of tribes in Mt Hagen, Papua New Guinea, she wrote about how the big men of the tribes had competitive public ceremonies of gift giving and dancing. They put themselves on display in grand regalia and special decorations to counter the “scepticism and doubt” many villagers had about their benevolence and trustworthiness.
Strathern said such ceremonial displays were a competition between big men designed to “engage an audience,” and the spectators seemed to believe that what was shown on the outside – power, generosity and goodwill – was a representation of the person inside.
This public display or negotiation was meant to turn people into witnesses. With spectators evaluating the competing claims of the big men, about who’s power was greatest, through their outward appearance.
In this way spectators gained a sense of power being transparent. The crux however is that this was never real transparency, and over months the spectators – who’s lives changed little with the selection of each new big man – came to realise this too. Yet the ritual played out again and again.
Legal dramas over transparency in Western Governments and specifically FOIA requests can be understood in a like manner.
Yes, Governments and professional bodies appeal to the morality and importance of “transparency.” This is seen around the world where many such institutions decorate themselves as “open for business.” Offering a new transparent type of governance, where there are “checks and balances,” legal avenues to request Government documents, and ways to hold members “accountable”. In this way what was previously invisible – power through bureaucratic action – is supposedly made visible.
Yet in reality these Governments and organisations engage their own congregations in a similar grand display and ritual as the big men of Papua New Guinea. Governments purport to show the public the ethical and moral insides of their administration of power. And we as spectators come away with our ears full of the right language and words: witnesses to the will for disclosure.
But are we really witnesses to transparency? As Mr Raymond is experiencing, and many local Graduate students can attest, submitting FOIA requests rarely ends in the “transparency” promised or hoped for.
So another way to think about the issue of transparency then is to recognise the word as a cultural ritual.
Understood on Strathern’s terms Western Governments, organisations and professionals that now pay much lip service to their “transparency” and support it with the right language are less concerned with making the invisible visible, and more with acknowledging and tempering a more general feeling of mistrust amongst the general public.
Just as in Papua New Guinea our big men and women make grand displays of their own trustworthiness and openness in order to counter cynicism and get votes. The rituals of transparency – the courts, the language of full disclosure and more – are used to conceal the visible because appearance rather than substance is the logic of the negotiation.
Dr Dylan Kerrigan is an anthropologist at UWI, St Augustine
In conquest naming is a symbolic part of taking possession. And few Caribbean islands today retain their original Amerindian name – Jamaica being an exception, Haiti another – albeit for the whole island.
There are different stories about the name “Tobago”. Some say Tobago is of Amerindian origin. Others note it as a Spanish word. The archaeologist Arie Boomert adds stories of pre-Columbian names for Tobago such as Urupaina and Aloubaéra too.
In the Kali’na (Carib) language spoken by Amerindians of Trinidad, Tobago, and the Orinoco Valley, Urupaina meant “big or large snail.” While the name Aloubaéra comes from the Amerindians of Dominica and Martinique and was first recorded by French missionaries. They noted this was the name Amerindians gave Tobago.
One explanation offered for why both groups used these names for Tobago connects to an
Amerindian myth who’s central character is a monstrous snake. Alloüebéra or Oloubera, was the name some Amerindians groups gave to the snake.
The snake could make itself large and small. It had a bright red, all Seeing Eye in the middle of its forehead that sparkled like a jewel. They said the snake lived in a dark cave between two mountains where it left red excrement. And unless one fasted or abstained from sexual intercourse the snake killed all who ventured near it.
Boomert suggests that from afar the outline of Tobago reminded these Amerindian groups of the bejewelled snake of their mythology; Tobago’s mountainous northern ridge representing the head of the snake while the rest of the landmass the snake’s body. He suggests the bright red eyelid perhaps is the sun reflecting off outcrops of “phyllitic sericite schists” found in the rocks of northern Tobago.
In terms of European names many sources note Columbus was the first European to spot Tobago. Yet according to a chronicler of Columbus, Bartolomé de Las Casas, when Columbus first saw Tobago in 1498 he named it Bella Forma and Asumpción not Tabaco.
By 1511 those names had vanished from the written record and on Spanish maps and documents the name Tabaco appears. Throughout the sixteenth century this name is consistent in Spanish documents. However it is spelt in numerous ways – Tavaco, Tabaco, Tabacho, Tabago and Tavago.
Throughout the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries the Spanish continued to call the island Tabaco or Tabago. The Dutch used these spellings too. The British began to use Tubaguo and Tobago, while the French referred to the island as Tabuco or Tabac.
At first glance it would seem these names connect to the Spanish word tabaco – or tobacco in English. Yet Columbus didn’t know of tobacco because it is an indigenous plant of tropical America, which Europeans did not know of before Columbus’ voyages.
Some suggest tabaco is borrowed from the Arawakan language of the Taino. Yet this borrow was probably an error of translation because as the diaries of Las Casas and another chronicler Gonzalez Fernandez de Oviedo, the Taino applied the word not to the tobacco plant or cigars but tubes they used to inhale either smoke or powdered substances up their noses during ritual gatherings.
Just to make this a little more confusing Boomert points out that in the contact period a word found both in Italian and Spanish for herbs that induce excitement and vertigo already existed. This word was derived from a medieval Arab word, tabbâq or tubbâq.
Perhaps rather than borrowing a Taino word early Spanish colonialists used a word they were already familiar with to describe what they saw.
So where does this leave us? Certainly there are many strands to follow not all of which tell the same story about the name Tobago. In the main though Boomert says we can be fairly convinced of one thing, it was the Spanish and not local Amerindians who chose Tobago as the name of the island.
And just like the Amerindians named the island after topography that reminded them of a bejewelled snake, perhaps as Boomert suggests in Names for Tobago, which contains more information and backstory for those interested in learning more, the Europeans did the same too – albeit mistranslating tabaco for cigar.
As he puts it “we may conclude that the name Tobago represents a descriptive toponym, coined by some unknown Spanish sailor, possibly a slaver from Hispaniola, who passed by the island in the first decade of the sixteenth century and called it Tabaco as its contour reminded him of the cigars the Taíno were accustomed to smoke.”
Dr Dylan Kerrigan is an anthropologist at UWI, St Augustine
A few weeks back the T&T Guardian carried a column by British High Commissioner Arthur Snell about Air Passenger Duty (APD). It defended the tariff and pointed out: 1) statistically there is no evidence to say APD stops tourism to the Caribbean; 2) the main problem with the Caribbean tourism product is it is too expensive; and 3) that APD “aims to offset the negative environmental effects of long-haul air travel.”
Now it is worth pointing out that few in the Caribbean claimed APD is stopping tourism; rather many stress it is unfair—and the High Commissioner’s own figures bore that out. The second thing was the High Commissioner’s argument about “tourism product” costs, which, while true relatively, mask a problem often ignored in discussion about APD: APD affects the ability of many Caribbean emigrants and Caribbean people living in the Diaspora to return, travel back, and visit the Caribbean.
And with regard to the High Commissioner’s third point, any scientists doing their homework will tell you that APD and similar “environmental taxes” do not stop or offset climate change. What is needed on that front is a zero-growth economy—something a little radical for most politicians. While varied, the Caribbean Diaspora in the UK is just under one million. Some possess tertiary-level qualifications; many more are classed as low-income workers or professionals.
Like economic reality for most Brits under UK Austerity 2013, it is hard to imagine all but a small group of Caribbean emigrants with large disposable incomes right now. So any increases in air travel prices, even small ones, could prevent many people from affording travel to the Caribbean, where previously they could have; a discussion point often missing.
It is also important to reflect—no matter what some writers in the tourism sector suggest—that Caribbean emigrants are in the main not returning to the Caribbean for any tourism product. Rather, many return to the Caribbean to connect, see and maintain their links to family and friends, or to retire.
In a global economy in which the Caribbean and its labour force have always been abused—whether through slavery and colonialism, the low-income workers of the Windrush era, or the present service culture of modern Caribbean tourism (we serve, they visit)—Caribbean people can fairly say the socio-economic playing field has never been as opportune for them as some populations elsewhere.
As such many Caribbean families have seen members leave to live abroad. For a rough figure, ECLAC estimate that over the last 50 years the Caribbean has lost five million people and their economically productive lives to emigration.
Many within the Caribbean Diaspora left home due to poor employment opportunities, lack of educational opportunities or low remuneration levels. All of which are part of the historical legacies the Caribbean developed out of and the difficulties small island nations face in constructing competitive economies with high levels of employment.
In such a world remittances are major sources of cash for all Caribbean nations. In 2011 the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) reported, “Jamaicans abroad sent home US$2 billion.” Other remittance figures included: to Guyana US$401 million, T&T US$131 million, Suriname US$114 million and Belize $107 million.
From an anthropological perspective another important fact about the Caribbean Diaspora is the way it affects Caribbean family forms and culture. Many young people in the UK of Caribbean heritage are members of transnational family and kinship networks that anthropologists describe as “globally dispersed families.”
The experiences of some of these families are well documented. One characteristic of these families is the way in which travel to the Caribbean from the UK can be an important ritual and rite in the construction and maintenance of shared memories, histories, customs, language, traditions, values, trust, and reciprocity.
In the context of a British government policy not likely to be altered in the current global economic climate, it is easy to see why the good High Commissioner chooses to defend APD. Not to mention it is part of his job description to defend British interests and ideas about the world. That said, Caribbean culture and families are transnational for a variety of historical, economic and social reasons dictated to our islands rather than necessarily chosen by them.
In that light, rather than accept the defence of APD, we might alternatively describe APD from our point of view as a prohibitive tax that suffocates the transnational culture of the Caribbean and its families for crude economic calculations by a foreign government in financial turmoil.
• Dr Dylan Kerrigan is an anthropologist at UWI, St Augustine