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Showing posts from July, 2011

Fire in Babylon

Last Sunday, I was running with our running group, the Mall Crawlers, when my friend Peter mentioned a great documentary that he had recently seen called ‘Fire in Babylon’.  Peter thought it would be something that I would enjoy and he was absolutely correct.  According to the summary provided on fireinbabylon.com, it is the story of how the West Indies triumphed over its colonial masters through the achievements of one of the most gifted teams in sporting history.  In a turbulent era of apartheid in South Africa; race riots in England and civil unrest in the Caribbean, the West Indian cricketers, led by the enigmatic Viv Richards, struck a defiant blow at the forces of white prejudice worldwide. Their undisputed skill, combined with a fearless spirit, allowed them to dominate the gentile game at the highest level, replaying it on their own terms.  This is their story, told in their own words.  Do download it from the site – I highly recommend it!
Released a few months ago, someone c…

Getting Along with our Neighbours

In my opinion, we in Trinidad and Tobago have a special relationship with Guyana and Grenada partly because of the regular movement of people among these territories.  When I visited St Lucia for Jazz, I was surprised by the number of Martiniquans I met there but I subsequently discovered that there is regular movement of people between St Lucia and Martinique thanks to a fairly reliable ferry service.  Similarly there appears to be a strong relationship between Antiguans and Montserratians thanks to the regular movement of people on their ferry service.  Similarly between St Martin and Anguilla thanks to the affordable 20 minute ferry ride that runs every 45 minutes or so.
It is clear to me that cost effective and reliable regional transportation is a very critical component of the movement towards greater regional integration.  The Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association’s (CHTA) Josef Forstmayr has been extensively quoted within the past couple weeks.  He says that intra-Caribbean…

The Need for Transparency in Tourism

Why do I go on and on about tourism?  The answer is that in the Caribbean, tourism is everything.  It is the biggest generator of income and the biggest employer.  Even oil-rich Trinidad, has energy, manufacturing and service sectors that are heavily dependent on regional markets.  These regional markets would collapse without tourism.  
Ask any Trini that travels regionally about how grocery shelves up and down the Caribbean are stocked with Trini brands.  Our island neighbours buy smoothies and enjoy free internet access at Rituals.  Our island neighbours often bank at Republic Bank or get insurance from known Trini insurance companies.  To understand tourism trends, is to understand the ups and downs of our regional economy.  Our region is one inextricably linked market – despite what politicians say.  
This regional economy is in trouble.  Open the newspapers everyday and you read about our neighbouring states having some of the highest debt ratios in the world.  Some are going t…

The Rise of the Airline Website

Within the last year, much has been happening in the airline industry.  Of specific interest is the decision by one of the world’s largest airlines to take legal action against two of the three largest content distributors.  Content distributors, better known as Global Distribution Systems (or GDS) take fares from the airlines to the travel agents (both online and offline) so that they can be offered for sale to customers like you and I.  Specifically, American Airlines (AA) has decided to file a civil antitrust suit against two of the three big GDS’ to stop what AA describes as “exclusionary, anti-consumer and anti-competitive business practices” of the named GDS’s.       
 What does this have to do with us in the Caribbean one may reasonably ask?  On the surface, I see three key changes coming if AA has its way and withdraws some of its fares from these GDS’s.
Firstly, if AA does what some say it wants to do, and withdraws at least some of its fares from the GDS’s, before long othe…