Caribbean Beat Magazine

Happenings (November/December 2011)

A round-up of current and coming events on the Caribbean calendar

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  • Reggae while you run. Photograph courtesy Action Sports Int. & Reggae Marathon
  • Montserrat’s mountainous half-marathon. Photograph courtesy Montserrat Tourist Board
  • Amazed by Miami’s Art Basel. Photograph by Mark Lyndersay
  • Feasting on the best of Barbados. Photograph courtesy Barbados Food, Wine And Rum Festival
  • Pirate Week, Cayman Islands. Photograph courtesy Alan Markoff (Cayman Free Press)
  • CAL Invaders Steel Orchestra. Photograph courtesy CAL Invaders Steel Orchestra
  • Cycling vacation in Curaçao. Photograph courtesy Curaçao Amstel Race


Cycling vacation in Curaçao

Intrigued by the idea of a racing vacation, former Dutch professional cyclists Leo van Vliet and Erik Breukink invited some of the world’s best riders and their families to Curaçao back in 2002, and a tradition was born. This year marks the tenth edition of the Amstel Curaçao Race, set to take place on November 5.

The 73.6-km race begins and ends at Lions Dive & Beach Resort, where all the cyclists stay, and encompasses most of the island. Raymond Kerckhoffs, press chief of the race, explains that it’s popular for a number of reasons: “the relaxing holiday, the good weather, the beautiful island and the party possibilities”, which is why both professional and amateur riders from the Caribbean, Europe and the United States participate.

Of course there will be numerous activities leading up to the race, such as water games at the resort’s pool, a tug-of-war contest, and a pasta party at Mambo Beach, with the after-party and ceremony bringing the racing season to an end.

For more information, visit

Mirissa De Four

Pan, Parang & Pork in Port of Spain

Pan, Parang & Pork. Not just the name of Caribbean Airlines Invaders Steel Orchestra’s annual Christmas fete (party), but also a few of the things that can get Trinidadians and Tobagonians waxing poetic (and not necessarily in that order!).

This event was created in 2002 to help raise funds to buy a permanent home for the steelband.

This year it takes place on November 13, at the Queen’s Park Oval, Trinidad.

Liz Namsoo, Invaders’ PRO, says that while pork –barbecued, roasted, stewed, smoked, boiled (in souse), or covered in jerk or geera seasonings – will be featured, “the menu is not only designed for the pork lovers, but also provides a variety of other meat selections for patrons”.

Guests can expect to be serenaded by T&T’s soca-parang king, Scrunter, as well as by Invaders, one of the country’s oldest steelbands. (To learn more about Invaders, read “The panyard under the breadfruit tree”, by Jeannine Remy and Ray Funk, in the January/February 2010 issue of Caribbean Beat.)

For more information, e-mail or call Edgar at (868) 730 6677

Mirissa De Four

Island Hopper

Coco Dance Festival
When: November 7 – 13
Where: Little Carib Theatre, Trinidad
What: Cutting-edge works by leading contemporary T&T choreographers Dave Williams, Nicole Wesley, Nancy Herrera, Sonja Dumas
For more information: visit Coco Dance Festival on Facebook

8th Annual Sizzlin’ Sand Beach Volleyball Tournament
When: November 5 – 6
Where: Browne’s Beach, Barbados
What: The leading beach volleyball circuit of its kind in the Caribbean
For more information: contact Paul White at

CLOBI Cup World Masters Tournament
When: November 11 – 20
Where: Kensington Oval, Barbados
What: This Twenty/20 tournament is open to past masters of cricket
For more information:

Nine Mornings Festival
When: December 16 – 24
Where: St Vincent & the Grenadines
What: Bread-eating, drinking and story-telling competitions are are all part of this festival that takes place throughout SVG
For more information: call the Ministry of Culture at (784) 451 2580

34th annual Carriacou Parang Festival
When: December 16 – 18
Where: Hillsborough
What: The three-day festival begins with carollers singing from house to house and
ends with the parang string-band competition
For more information:

Aruba in Style
When: November 3 – 6
Where: Throughout Aruba
What: This inaugural event aims to place Aruba as the “mecca for fashion and style”
For more information:

Pirates Week
When: November 10 – 20
Where: George Town Harbour, Cayman Islands
What: Mock invasions, underwater treasure hunts, boat races are just some of the things that you can expect at this 11-day festival
For more information:


Feasting on the best of Barbados

Although this year marks only the second edition of the Barbados Food & Wine and Rum Festival, this annual event, scheduled for November 18 – 21, has garnered the attention of the major names in the culinary world.

For the second time, Tom Colicchio, the head judge on Top Chef; Marcus Samuelsson, winner of Season 2 of Top Chef Masters, and Ming Tsai, host of an Emmy-nominated cooking show, Simply Ming, will be exhibiting their skills in cooking demonstrations and tasting events at various restaurants and hotels on the island. They will be joined by Canadians Mark McEwan and Tom Brodi, Bruno Loubet from the United Kingdom and Brazilian chef Vitor Gomes.

And that’s just for the food aspect of the festival! When it comes to wine and rum, gourmands have to look no further than wine expert Anthony Giglio and the “Rhum Chef”, Bajan Paul Yellin, whose rum-inspired cookbook, Infusion! Spirited Cooking with Paul Yellin, is into its third printing.

For more information, visit

Mirissa De Four

A taste of Jamaica

Seven years ago, Jamaica Restaurant Week had its beginnings in Kingston, with 23 participating restaurants. Since then it has grown to include Ocho Rios and Montego Bay, with last year’s edition encompassing 60 restaurants.

Stephanie Scott, creator of the restaurant week and CEO of SSCO Event Management Ltd, expects that number to increase to 70 for the 2011 edition, to be held on November 11 – 19. Foodies can look forward to “specially selected three-course, fixed-price dinner menus at significantly discounted prices”. With a mix of hotel restaurants, stand-alone establishments and nightclubs, the offerings are divided into categories: epicurean, delectable, savoury, high rollers, tasty, and after. There is a bit of everything for all tastes – typical Jamaican fare, and authentic Indian, Italian, Chinese and Japanese cuisine, as well as seafood.

Scott says, “This year we are adding two new features: a lunchtime takeout category called Nyam and Scram, and a Downtown Day – November 16 – for downtown lunch restaurants.”

For more information, visit

Mirissa De Four

Amazed by Miami’s Art Basel

Miami’s edition of Art Basel is a staggering collection of modern and post-modern art that consumes the entire ground floor of the Miami Beach Convention Center, a 262,960-square-foot space constructed on an entire city block.

The event is the American cousin of Art Basel, held in June this year in the Swiss city of Basel. In 2010 more than half of the exhibiting galleries came from outside the United States, the majority from Europe, but 20 were from Latin America, representing growing interest in the region in the possibilities of the event.

One of the more notable exhibits at Art Basel Miami 2010 was a major showing of British visual artist Isaac Julien’s Ten Thousand Waves. Julien’s display of massive photographs led visitors to a nine-screen video installation that married elegiac movie-quality clips, featuring Chinese artists and actors who collaborated on the project to create an eclectic, dreamlike narrative that proved both poignant and inspiring.

In addition, there were dozens of micro-shows in restaurants and hotel lobbies on every street leading to the convention centre. Major museums and galleries ramp up their own shows for the occasion, which sees a major influx of creators, buyers and gallery owners to the South Beach area for a week of art.

Visitors – and more than 40,000 are expected for the 2011 edition – can expect a show that is by turns astonishing, irritating, confusing and arresting. It’s a hotbed of art at its more adventurous boundaries, positioned for sales and breakout attention.

Art Basel: Miami Beach runs from December 1 – 4.

For more information, visit:   

Mark Lyndersay


Montserrat’s mountainous half-marathon

You can sightsee while you run during Montserrat’s unique half-marathon! Its route passes by some of the key tourist attractions on the island, particularly the active Soufriére Hills Volcano and some of the areas the volcano has affected.

Inaugurated in 2009, the event has been an overwhelming success. The third Montserrat Volcano Half Marathon takes place on November 26, and runners from around the globe are invited to join in.

The strenuous 13.1-mile course, which stretches from Blake’s Football Field to the Salem Park, is very hilly and not for the faint-hearted, although there will also be a shorter fun run/walk, which begins at Cudjoe Head, if you want to take it easy.

Registration forms, information on prizes and other details are available at

The Volcano Half Marathon also has a Facebook page where you can find updates.

Mirissa De Four

How St Eustatius saved the USA

On November 16, 1776, an unfamiliar ship arrived in the tiny Dutch Caribbean colony of St Eustatius, flying a flag that had never been seen before. It fired 13 shots to signal its presence – one for each of the original British colonies of the new United States. The ship was the Andrew Doria, captained by Isaiah Robinson, and St Eustatius was the first country to recognise the new USA.

Robinson brought secret papers to establish diplomatic and trading relationships between the Dutch of Statia and the American former colonies. Statia traded with the American colonies for the next few years, supplying large quantities of arms, ammunition and other supplies. At one time the island was the only link between Europe and the fledgling states. Benjamin Franklin had his mail routed through Statia to ensure its safe arrival. In recognition of its contribution to American independence, the Daughters of the American Revolution presented a plaque in 2001.

The arrival of the Andrew Doria is celebrated every year on November 16, Statia America Day.

Statia America Day will be of fun activities for those who like heritage, history, adventure and tranquility.

For more information, visit

Mirissa De Four

Reggae while you run

Although Jamaica’s Reggae Marathon, Half-Marathon and 10K is scheduled for December 1 – 3, the actual race will be on December 3 at Long Bay Beach Park in Negril. Now in its 11th year, it is organised by the Jamdammers Running Club, whose mandate is “to bring middle- and long-distance running in Jamaica to world-class prominence”.

Devoted runners and fans should be prepared to get there in the predawn hours as this race has a scheduled 5.15 am start.

Diane C Ellis, the marathon’s sponsorship director, explains that the three-day event isn’t only about running, but also features the World’s Best Pasta Party on December 2, when “chefs from Negril’s foremost hotels compete to present the best pasta dishes with elements of local fare such as yam and bananas to fuel participants for the following day’s events”. And of course it should come as no surprise that reggae music, one of Jamaica’s cultural highlights, is played at every cooling station!

For more information, visit

Mirissa De Four

Woodbrook hits 100

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the creation of Woodbrook, a suburb in the west of Port of Spain, Trinidad, and its residents have much cause for celebration.

The Woodbrook Estate, formerly a prosperous sugar plantation, was once owned by a veritable who’s who of colonial Trinidad, before it was purchased by the Siegert brothers (whose father had created Angostura Bitters) in 1899. In 1911, owing to several bad investments by Alfredo Cornelio, the last surviving brother, the land was sold to the government for $85,000. Today, many of the streets in the area bear evidence of this, as they are named after members of the Siegert family, as well as honouring past Port of Spain mayors and Boer War heroes.

Woodbrook is a crucible for culture, the arts, and sports. It is home to one of the oldest steelbands in T&T, Caribbean Airlines Invaders Steel Orchestra, as well as Starlift, Phase II Pan Groove and Woodbrook Playboyz, the Little Carib Theatre, the Queen’s Park Cricket Club, and the Woodbrook Youth Facility. It has become the hub of Carnival, as many mas camps have made Woodbrook their home: Bliss, Brian MacFarlane, Genesis, Island People, Tribe, Chocolate City Mas, and D’Krewe (at last count there were about 25 mas camps and steelbands in Woodbrook). And let’s not forget Ariapita Avenue, where there are various fine and casual-dining restaurants, casinos, bars, and roadside vendors whose wares are available until late at night.

The Woodbrook Residents Committee has planned a series of events for its year-long celebration, which will culminate with the publication of a book entitled Growing Up Woodbrook: A Tapestry of Then and Now by Dr Tony Martin.

For further information, contact Wendy Sealy at

Mirissa De Four

Christmas with the Marionettes 2011: A Prayer for Peace II

Fresh off their acclaimed staging of Bizet’s Carmen last July, Trinidad & Tobago’s Marionettes Chorale presents a concert series with a difference. Ten years ago, soon after the events of 11th September 2001, we presented a series of inter-faith community outreach concerts across the nation, called A Prayer for Peace. Now, at another time of local and international conflict and upheaval, the Marionettes and bpTT offer up A Prayer for Peace II.

As always, audiences can look forward to the Chorale, under the direction of conductor Gretta Taylor, weaving the Yuletide theme through a mix of classical, spiritual, gospel, popular Christmas favourites and parang, focusing more than ever on upliftment, healing, hope and peace. They will also present a free performance for senior citizens and children from institutions across the island which care for some of our society’s most vulnerable.

All proceeds from the entire concert series will benefit six important charities:

Tickets are $200 (reserved) and $150 (open plan), available from the Marionettes ( or (868) 790- 1751); online at; and at the Queen’s Hall Box Office (tel: 868-624-1284). Shows times are 7:30pm on Friday 2nd and Saturday 3rd; and 5:30pm on Sunday 4th December.

For more, see the Marionettes’ Facebook page at