Need to know | Events calendar (May/June 2019)

Essential info to help you make the most of May and June across the Caribbean — from motorsports in Barbados to a pineapple festival in the Bahamas and a marathon in Tobago

  • Photo by Mike Evans Photography
  • Photo courtesy the Grenada Chocolate Festival
  • Pineapple Conch Salad. Photo by Michelle Strachan Photography
  • Erosion (2018, installation at Sargent’s Daughters, NY). Institute of Contemporary Art Philadelphia
  • Garden (2018, acrylic and synthetic hair on canvas, 81 x 59 inches). Institute of Contemporary Art Philadelphia
  • Photo by Omar Vega/Getty Images
  • Photo by Daniel Boyce
  • Photo by Daniel Boyce
  • Photo by Shawn Fields
  • Photo by Shawn Fields
  • We Mark Your Memory
  • Photo by Pavel1964/

Don’t Miss: Rally Barbados

On an average day, a drive around Barbados is like a Sunday afternoon outing: serene, scenic, and mostly nonaggressive. This all changes from 31 May to 2 June, as speedometers hit higher dimensions at Sol Rally Barbados, the Caribbean’s biggest annual motor sports event. Local and international race cars showcase their velocity and dexterity on the island’s black carpet. Spectacular night stages start the festivities. And if you live for speed, clear your diary for the thrilling King of the Hill event, which returns this year to one of Barbados’s traditional venues at Stewarts Hill. Cars soaring through the air and leaving others in the dust attract spectators to every possible vantage point.

Shelly-Ann Inniss

How to get there? Caribbean Airlines operates several flights daily to Grantley Adams International Airport in Barbados from destinations in the Caribbean and North America

Top Five: Spice Island chocolate

Nutmeg is almost synonymous with Grenada — but chocolate isn’t far behind, with a rapidly growing market for the country’s cocoa. For chocolate lovers, the best introduction is the annual utopia known as the Grenada Chocolate Festival, running this year from 31 May to 7 June. The Spice Island’s celebrated nutmeg, cinnamon, and ginger and its equally treasured cocoa make a distinctively delicious combination. Here are five ways to stimulate your senses at the festival.

Tree-to-bar day tour

In the great outdoors, your guide explains the potential flavours of a chocolate bar, showing the tangible links between the landscape and the subsequent tones in the chocolate.

Healthy chocolate potions workshops

Might chocolate be one of the secrets of youthfulness? Compelling beauty workshops facilitated by chocolate experts will teach you a variety of beauty potions and elixirs. If you prefer to be pampered, spas linked to the festival have you covered.

Cocoa yoga

The scent of chocolate has a calming effect — if it can stick around long enough and not be eaten. At cocoa yoga, you’ll experience “mindful chocolate-eating meditation” after your practice.

Mini-salon with international chocolatiers

Chocolatiers lead tastings of their latest creations, or favourite finds from around the globe.

Cocoa farm tour

Maybe farming isn’t exactly what comes to mind when you think of getting your hands on chocolate, but if you’d like to learn about where cocoa actually comes from, this is a great place to start. Farmers who have worked the land since their youth guide you through the process of picking the cocoa pods, fermenting and drying the beans.

Shelly-Ann Inniss

Must Try: Pineapple pleasures

What looks like a giant pinecone with a spiky crown? You guessed it: a pineapple! One look at a ripe one and your mouth waters. As delicious as they are when raw, there are many other adventurous ways to consume this sweet, full-flavoured, juicy fruit. Just ask any Bahamian, or find out for yourself at the Eleuthera Pineapple Festival, running this year from 6 to 9 June. The island of Eleuthera is the top pineapple producer in the Bahamas, and this annual festival, running since 1988, celebrates the spiky fruit in every form. If you can’t make it there, you can always try your hand at making a pineapple feast in your own kitchen, with dishes like . . .

Pineapple tart

After one bite, you instinctively know you want another one. Thankfully, this Bahamian snack staple is literally as easy as pie. All you need is a soft pastry crust filled with pineapple and sugar glaze, and a latticed upper crust. Place the pastry in the oven until golden brown, and try not to eat the whole thing at once.

Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

This old-fashioned cake is a classic. Sliced pineapple lines the bottom of the baking pan, covered with batter, then after baking the cake is flipped for serving. A delectable treat for special occasions — just like the pineapple festival itself.

Pineapple Conch Salad

A tangy twist on the Bahamian national dish. Traditionally, conch salad isn’t prepared with fruit, but Bahamians also relish the pineapple version. Close your eyes, take a bite, and imagine you’re dining beachfront on one of the Bahamas’ many idyllic islands

1 large conch, skinned and diced (substitute lobster if conch isn’t available)
1 medium onion
½ cup green peppers, diced
½ cup pineapple, diced
½ cup cucumber, diced
1 medium partially ripe tomato, chopped
juice of 2 freshly squeezed limes
juice of half a blood orange
1 teaspoon salt
3 hot peppers (or to taste), minced

Mix all ingredients and enjoy in a pineapple shell.

Shelly-Ann Inniss

On View: Deborah Anzinger, An Unlikely Birth

In the new solo show by Jamaican artist Deborah Anzinger, which opened in April and runs through August 11, 2019, at the University of Pennsylvania’s Institute of Contemporary Art, images refuse to confine themselves to two dimensions: the artist’s works on canvas sprout forth from the gallery walls, replicating themselves in sculptural forms. Anzinger, also the founder of Kingston’s New Local Space (NLS), imagines “at the intersection of black feminist thought, geography, and space,” says the ICA, and An Unlikely Birth assembles recent works in painting, installation, and video. Organic materials meet the entirely artificial, as Anzinger “offers intimate networks and alternative ways of being in the world.” The title work, Anzinger says, refers to the Caribbean’s plantation economy, an “unlikely birth” in which specific elements of historical exploitation, social organisation, and bodily labour created a global capitalist system whose offspring continue to shape contemporary societies and relationships with multiple inequalities in their DNA. In her own words, the artist is aiming for “a more complicated understanding of existence.”

On the Field: Tek it to dem

The Jamaica national football team is heading to the World Cup finals in France — but this isn’t a throwback to 1998. Nazma Muller reports on the uphill battle of the Reggae Girlz, who made it to the finals with a little help from Cedella Marley

World Cup football fever will once again strike Jamaicans everywhere in June, when the national team makes its debut at the finals in France. But wait? That nuh happen already? That was the Reggae Boyz — back in 1998. This time, it’s the Reggae Girlz who will be setting France on fire with their vibes, at the FIFA Women’s World Cup. And what vibes they will be! Because this time, dem a come with the Marleys. Yes, iya. With Cedella Marley as their ambassador, the Jamaica team is sure to be in the spotlight. And already the former Melody Maker has roped in her brothers Stephen and Damian to produce the single “Strike Hard (Reggae Girlz)”.

Cedella Marley has done her daddy — reggae legend Bob — very proud, first by rescuing the Jamaican women’s football team from their time in the wilderness, and then taking them all the way to the top. In 2014, her son brought home a flyer from his soccer coach. She called the coach, whose daughter was a national under-seventeen player. The Jamaican women’s national soccer team was in danger of folding, Marley learned. “They were getting ready to disband the entire team just because of the lack of funding,” she recalls. “Although we know there is funding in the Football Federation — it’s just that the women were not being prioritised.”

Marley felt passionate about the way the women were being ignored. “They were very talented, and not being given an equal opportunity. Never liked that, either, so I just jumped in and started raising some funds and awareness.”

The issue of women playing football struck a chord with her. But even with Marley championing their cause, the players had their doubts that somebody could believe in them so much. “You could see they were already broken,” Marley says. “I remember one girl saying to me, ‘You really believe in us?’ I told her, ‘I believe in you, and it’s a real thing — a personal thing. I want to see you succeed, and I want the programme to succeed.’”

So Marley — the CEO of the Bob Marley Foundation and Tuff Gong International — used her personal brand to support the “Strike Hard for the Reggae Girlz!” campaign, to cover the initial costs of training camps, food, travel, and housing for the twenty-six-woman team.

Last December, Jamaica’s minister of culture, gender, entertainment and sport, Olivia Grange, announced four days of celebration to honour the Reggae Girlz. The activities included a motorcade through Montego Bay and the parishes of St Catherine, Kingston, and St Andrew, and a thanksgiving service at Emancipation Park. Grange said it was important that the girls be given “a hero’s welcome, and shown appreciation for their outstanding achievement . . . We’re asking all Jamaicans to join us in celebrating with them. We want to make sure they go to France ready to tek it to dem.”

And, for sure, it won’t be a walk in the park for the Reggae Girlz: they face Brazil, Australia, and Italy in the World Cup first round. But this is Jamaica, and not only are they coming with the Marleys, they’ve even got a Bunny, too. Not Bunny Wailer (although you never know), but Khadija “Bunny” Shaw, the top striker for the entire qualifying tournament and the UK Guardian Footballer of the Year for 2018. The award from the British newspaper is given to a player “who has done something truly remarkable, whether by overcoming adversity, helping others, or setting a sporting example by acting with exceptional honesty.”

Shaw’s story includes more than a fair share of tragedy. She lost three of her seven brothers to gang-related gun violence in Spanish Town, where she and her eleven siblings grew up. A fourth brother died in a car accident. Then, while attending Eastern Florida State College in 2016, she lost two nephews in quick succession: one was shot, the other electrocuted. Yet through it all she remained focused, guiding the Reggae Girlz to victory.

“There’s a Jamaican saying: wi likkle but wi tallawah,” Marley remarks. “We might be small as a country, but our strength is, of course, in our people and our qualities. I think every little girl that’s in some school in the Caribbean that has a dream of doing what we saw happened” — the Reggae Girlz World Cup qualification — “now knows that it can be true.

“Four years ago,” Marley adds, “I said this is like a Disney movie waiting to be made. Hopefully, somebody’s writing the script. Jamaican women don’t cry. We smile and we laugh and we go through, but [that] night, I did shed a tear.”


The 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup runs from 7 June to 7 July at venues around France. Caribbean Airlines is the official airline of the Reggae Girlz

Ready to Wear: Easy breezy

Rotchelle Parris’s energy and sunny personality easily light up a room. For the past nine years, this self-taught Barbadian designer has expressed her curiosity and sophisticated creativity through her fashion label Pink Lemonade by Rotchelle Parris, a resort-wear clothing line for women. Following the release of her latest collection in April 2019, Parris talks to Caribbean Beat about her inspirations.

How did you choose the name Pink Lemonade?

I wanted something fun and catchy with a tropical feel — plus I really love lemonade. Add a dash of vanilla essence, and I’m satisfied.

What inspired this line?

The inspiration comes from the easy-going nature of the Caribbean. The pieces tend to be vibrant, effortless, timeless, and stylish.

Have you always been a fashionista?

I’ve had an avid interest in fashion my whole life — from watching Style with Elsa Klensch to reading various fashion publications while growing up. My fashion career started when I bought my sewing machine and taught myself to sew with the help of books and YouTube videos. Less than a year later, I debuted my first collection at Barbados Fashion Week in 2010.

What distinguishes your designs from others?

Pink Lemonade by Rotchelle Parris is one hundred per cent Bajan — it is designed and made in Barbados. Most of my pieces are also made-to-order, ensuring my clients get the perfect fit.

Do you think Caribbean fashion can hold its own at an international level?

Definitely. Along with being incredibly talented people, we have unique experiences and stories to tell through our fashion. This sets us apart from the rest of the world.

What does the future hold for Pink Lemonade by Rotchelle Parris?

In June I’m honoured to head to the Caribbean Style and Culture Awards and Fashion Showcase in Washington, DC, to receive the 2019 Award of Excellence in Fashion Innovation. A men’s line may also be on the horizon.

For more information, look for Pink Lemonade by Rotchelle Parris at or on Instagram @pinklemonadebyrp

The Read: We Mark Your Memory

Over a period of more than eight decades, the movement of indentured labourers from India across the British Empire reshaped colonial societies as far-flung as Trinidad and Guyana, Kenya and South Africa, Mauritius, the Seychelles, Fiji, and Malaysia. Now, a century after the abolition of the indentureship system, a new anthology of poems, stories, essays, and memoirs reflects on the personal and collective legacies of this great movement of peoples. Commissioned by Commonwealth Writers and edited by David Dabydeen, Maria del Pilar Kaladeen, and Tina K. Ramnarine, We Mark Your Memory is the first attempt to bring together “writing from the descendants of indenture” from such a global range, with twenty-eight writers and a dozen countries represented. The Caribbean edition, published by Trinidad-based Peekash Press, debuts in May 2019, the month in which Indian Arrival Day is commemorated in both T&T and Guyana.

india has left us

By Eddie Bruce-Jones

(for ali b)

india has left us
in this place
smitten with the distance
of an arm’s length
and two soles and palms
laboured of their brown rivulets
leaving roads and rivers etched
back through the powder
whole cartographies savaged
each time we press
the wet mound of atta
we dust our hands so it will not
stick around
to texture the wood
or fill in the space
between the digits,
the heady remembered
lifted into
salty ashen plumes

and so
a map is always orphaned
on the flame
and swallowed by the crisp
of the rising roti

india has left us
alive with a cumin tongue
parched between leafy halves
edged of tattered urdu
clamped beneath a tiny vessel
bronze and mounted
ivory shingles
ashen insides:
like all the pots, stored away
in cupboards fragranced
by the dead of pepper
seeds for the sapling deciduous
trees harvested somewhere
close to here

in each room
of each house
of metal and wood
an urn
an elephant
three bronze lanterns
long gone cold
on some kitchen window ledge
a riddled hanuman watches us
silently peeling skin
into sacred dust

Rights of Passage

A three-part journey

By Patti-Anne Ali

Part 1

She stands before him
proudly humble
memories of mother’s milk
a fleeting instant on child-like lips
averting eyes of blatant beauty
dark-lashed, earth-brown and almond-shaped
from his elderly, lustfully wheezing gaze.
This place of warm, muddy cows
and powerful rivers
shrill cries of ancient devotion
travelling on gentle breezes
has suddenly
become her jail
and her mother’s voice
an Executioner’s song.
He jingles of money
her family’s saviour
who will wrench her forever
from sun-drenched fields
of innocence and laughter.
is eight years old
and about to marry . . .

Part 2

Flames rise and grow
consuming the wood
She feels the heat
through the thin material
that rubs
one last time
against her cringing flesh.
She watches
his age-old body
through the folds of cloth
and billows of bitters-sweet smoke
as flames leap and work their way insidiously
reaching for her.
With pounding heart
seized with terror
she is led to the pyre
and submits screaming
to an agony of tradition.
She is twenty-three
about to die . . .

Part 3

Rising from the ashes
of her husband’s funeral pyre
she floats
through time and space
over continents and seas
and after a rocky voyage
on a turbulent, tossing vessel
she lands on the shores of an unchartered land.
Through cane and pain
she dances
her body
the epitome of woman
the pinnacle of motherhood
hips that sway in a timeless dance of light
hips that house the children
slumbering peacefully in her
ample curves.
She dances to the island thump
of a drum called the tassa.
This land feeds her new food
strokes her tumbling cascade of
black hair
with the softest of fragrant, tropical breezes
and introduces her to another
whose hair
is not like hers
and another
whose eyes are not like hers
and another whose skin is not like hers.
Her elders frown
as she gambols playfully
with the others.
But they cannot stop her now.
She is too far ahead
shoulder to shoulder with the
others of this new world
doing things she never did before
and things she has done, since time immemorial
gathering her children beneath her protective gaze
gathering policies to implement her destiny.
The elders
rumble in discontent
pretend she does not exist.
She smiles at her Executioners
choosing to remember
warm, muddy cows and powerful rivers
shrill cries of ancient devotion
travelling on gentle breezes.
She reaches within
for what was born centuries ago
in ancestors
who bled and struggled, loved and lived
and breathes a prayer of gratitude
for these timeless gifts
she will pass onto her children
born in this land
that celebrates the shimmer of her tears
in the light of the sun
and illumines her brightly bejewelled figure
on the threshold of discovery
firmly planted in this soil.
She has righted her passage.
She has chosen her luggage.
She voyages on.

For more information, visit


More highlights of May and June across the Caribbean

European Film Festival, Trinidad

14 to 28 May
Whether the issue is the environment and climate change, or migration and other human rights issues, the EFF has never been afraid to tackle those topics that affect everyone. And not to worry if you’re not a linguist — the films are all subtitled.

Guyana Carnival

17 to 27 May
Are you ready for the road? Booming music and vibrant costume sections created by local and regional fashion designers will take over the streets in one of the youngest Carnivals in the Caribbean. Expect hyped-up performances from some of your favourite soca artistes at the all-inclusive fetes, concerts, boat ride, and more.

Sea to Sea Marathon, Tobago

18 to 19 May
Conquering the run from the Caribbean Sea to the Atlantic Ocean through Tobago’s ancient rainforest, picturesque villages, and the capital city Scarborough is definitely worth a year of bragging rights.

Antigua and Barbuda Sport Fishing Tournament

8 to 9 June
Time and patience are the keys to the US$100,000 prize, awarded to anyone who breaks the marlin record.

St Kitts Music Festival

27 to 29 June
When the music takes over, it can be an intoxicating yet surreal feeling. Imagine genres fused together in ways you’ve never heard. Hits of yesteryear riding the wind with the lyrics and melodies of the present day. Sean Paul, Jason Derulo, John Legend, Biggie Irie, Tarrus Riley, Dionne Warwick, and Regina Belle are no strangers to the stage at Warner Park Stadium.

Funding provided by the 11th EDF Regional Private Sector Development Programme Direct Support Grants Programme.
The views expressed on this website are those of the the authors and do not reflect those of the Direct Support Grants Programme.