Edward Ricardo (E.R) Braithwaite never lost his distinctive Guyanese but clear, crisp accent even though he spent most of his long life away from his South American birthplace.
My Auntie Daro’s black Christmas cake was heavy, smoky and heavenly. Baked in a traditional mud chamber, she ingeniously cut a deep rectangle in the ground, layered flickering red-hot coals and bricks, and stacked alternate shelves for cooking the countryside confection dominated by the heady base of staggering XM rum-soaked local fruits.
The public belief of a cover-up and conspiracy in the 1976 Cubana Flight 455 twin bombing persists – fuelled by the preferential American treatment of the two prolific terror masterminds and their shielding from justice.
Unable to ever forget her mother’s anguished sobbing and shrill screams a sleepy Wednesday afternoon, Roseanne Persaud Nenninger finds it deeply distressing even now to speak of her brilliant older brother, Raymond Persaud, 19, one of the six teenaged medical students who won a coveted Guyana Government scholarship in 1976 but was killed on the way to Cuba.
Thousands of eager Guyanese turned out to greet Cuban president, Fidel Castro on his whirlwind trip to Guyana in September 1973, while Prime Minister Forbes Burnham mused that the United States could get rid of three troublesome Caribbean leaders in a master stroke by sabotaging the Soviet-made airliner carrying them to a Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) meeting.
Birds chirp cheerfully and the soothing sound of the waves softly swishing ashore hide the horrors that exploded here decades ago.
A mysterious valise containing confidential documents belonging to an unnamed North Korean official was offered to the United States (US) Embassy by a “reputable businessman” in Barbados, shortly after the Cubana Flight 455 airliner crashed into the Caribbean Sea.
A leading American, independent investigative institution wants the outgoing Barack Obama-administration to finally release still secret documents, under the country’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), related to the surviving mastermind of the 1976 twin-bombing of the Cubana Airliner.
The big-boned, but skinny old man in the worn gown, lay long on the fat pillow and thin plastic blue liner of an anonymous Miami hospital bed, the name tag sliding down his wrist, the shock of thick white hair and hard green eyes small set in the sallow, splotchy face framed by wild bushy brows.
Guyana initially welcomed the Barbados Government’s commitment to “a vigorous investigation” of the “act of terrorism” in the Cubana Airliner bombing and to ensuring “that this evil would be wiped off the face of the earth,” but days later slammed the island’s defiant decision to refuse jurisdiction for the crime.
Severe verbal attacks against an “obviously nervous” Prime Minister Forbes Burnham, the protest pullout of a key diplomat confidant and mounting tensions with the aggrieved Americans led to the Government of Guyana (GOG) rejecting a Cheddi Jagan-proposed “strong anti-U.S resolution” on the 1976 Cubana Plane bombing, in the country’s Parliament.
Niggling worries about an American-backed assassination plot, looming local economic problems, and the sudden bombing of the country’s Consulate in Trinidad, plagued Guyana’s troubled leader, at the time doomed Cubana Airliner Flight 455 went down in 1976, American diplomatic cables reveal.
I raced home from school late one hot afternoon to find my aged mother strangely in tears, sadly listening to our faded transistor radio permanently perched on the matching bright blue formica dining table that shimmered with flecks of gold and silver, like an early, starry night sky.
Spectacular Lord Shorty was ironically anything but little. Standing an imposing six feet four inches tall the musical genius boldly experimented and created the sensual soca, with his exploratory “Indrani” song in the early 1970s, the consummate classic “Endless Vibrations” album of 1974 and the international hit “Om Shanti Om.” An original Trini “saga boy” or dashing dandy with a particular passion for beautiful women and hedonistic living, Garfield Blackman seamlessly merged the eastern sounds of the dholak, tabla and dhantal from the mostly Indian village, Lengua where he grew up in the southern part of the island, with the symphonic steelpan and catchy calypso music he also loved.
Every Christmas season my money-minded maternal grandmother would travel down to the city by taxi, wearing her traditional starched white embroidered cotton headdress, with a fat duck or two in tow and baskets of freshly picked produce from her organic riverside farm to sell to my hopelessly outwitted father.
Each dazzling day, next to the muddy, grassy verges of the busy main road along the eastern bank of the murky Demerara River, a few families dry racks of freshly gutted, still bloody, thickly salted Atlantic fish openly spread out under the harsh, blinding sun.
Over 4 000 years old, the famous Epic of Gilgamesh is considered the earliest surviving great work of literature.
Once upon a time, a real long time ago, one of my two marvellous mothers, the much older one, used to scare the living daylights, dying night-dimmers and all bodily discharges out of me and my friends, often at the same time, by telling us what she would generically and euphemistically term, ‘jumbie stories.” For a puny, perpetually sick child with a far too vivid imagination, such terrible tales were never a good idea.
The Americans have Kennewick Man, the Chinese, Peking; the Indonesians, Java, but the Africans are most blessed as the indisputable cradle of mankind, with a breathtaking range of choices from the legendary Lucy and Ardi in Ethiopia, to the Black Skull of Kenya, Toumai in Chad and Twiggy from Tanzania.
My husband and I are fumbling in the dark. For a few exasperating hours, early one June morning, on our giant grey settee in the living room.
The silence is noticeably deafening. After all it’s very late Sunday, close to midnight, in a rather serious suburb in northern western Trinidad, when I hear the shout from down Upper Conaree, “Where my Warriors family…?.” Our cricket-mad friend, Guyanese and Basseterre-based accountant, Amar Gossai is on the prowl, seeking company.