In History: Cheddi Berret Jagan was born

On this day in history, March 22, 1918, Guyanese politician Cheddi Berret Jagan was born in a rural village in the country of Berbice, which is now considered part of modern day Guyana.

Jagan, the eldest of eleven children, was born to a family of indentured laborers. Growing up in rural poverty, his family often worked in the sugar cane fields to support themselves.

At the age of 15, Jagan was sent to Queen’s College in Georgetown, over one hundred miles away from his village, to receive a formal education. After graduating from high school and had no luck finding work, Jagan was sent to the United States to study dentistry.

After receiving his degrees from Howard University and Northwestern University, he returned to Guyana in Oct. 1943. His new wife, Janet Rosenberg of Chicago, Illinois, soon followed and arrived before Christmas of 1943, coincidentally Janet also was the first female president of Guyana in 1997.

He and his wife established a dental practice in Georgetown. Soon Jagan became known as the doctor who listened and advised workers in the industrial sugar belt.

He became involved with two trade unions in the sugar industry, in 1945 he was elected treasurer of the Man Power Citizen’s association. He left after a year of working for this union.

After the publication by The Royal Commission of the West Indies revealed the miserable conditions of the workers and farmers, Jagan and his wife actively partook in this debate, speaking publically on that and many subjects of interest at the National Library.

In 1946, Jagan co-founded the Political Affairs Committee (PAC) and was elected to the Legislative Council in Nov. 1947 as in independent candidate.

On Jan. 1, 1950, the People’s Progessive Party was founded and lead by Jagan. In 1953, Jagan was elected Prime Minister, but resigned after 133 days due to a British military intervention for Jagan’s Marxism-Leninism political views.

In Aug. 1961, Jagan won the election becoming Chief Minister until the Dec. 1964. Jagan remained involved in the government as a labor activist and leader against the Oppositions People’s Party.

After 28 years under the Opposition’s government, Jagan was elected President in 1992 after he changed his political views towards democratic socialism.

Jagan suffered from a heart attack on Feb. 15, 1997 and was flown by U.S. military to Walter Reed Army Hospital. He remained there to undergo heart surgery but died March 6, 1997, leaving behind his wife and two children.

His successor Sam Hinds, described Jagan as the “greatest son and patriot that has ever walked this land”.

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It’s so easy…

By: Celina DeCastro

It’s so easy to forget things we take for granted,

From food, the family, the car or for the trees that are planted.

It’s so easy to forget that while you’re complaining,

Someone is at the edge of life, straining.

It’s so easy to forget the thousands dying from war and famine,

While you curse to yourself about burning the salmon.

It’s so easy to forget the children who sit under crumbled buildings and asking God, “Where are you?”,

While you complain about the assignment being due.

It’s so easy to forget the millions in our own country starving,

While you complain about your paycheck departing.

It’s so easy to forget the savior who asked us to love one another,

While you look strangely at the Gay or Muslim man who you cannot call brother.

It’s so easy to forget to say thank you for the little things,

But you complain for not living like the kings.

It’s so easy to forget the tired cashier who is working long hours,

While you argue with her over the price of a few flowers.

It’s so easy to forget to say I love you to that special someone,

Until the day you realize the only person you have left is no one.

It’s so easy to say you don’t have enough,

But from the outside looking in, your life isn’t so tough.



Recipe: Panamanian Patacones

One of the familiar side dishes in Panama is that of the double fried green plantain, called Patacones in Panama but in other countries this is called Tostones. Often paired with any meal, including breakfast, this fried plantain borders between a chip and a fruit. It can be served with a sunny side up egg for breakfast, as a side to Panamanian arroz con pollo (chicken and rice), or can be eaten by itself. This crispy treat as well as other traditional foods reflects the various Spanish, American, Afro-Caribbean and indigenous influences on the Panamanian culture.

What you’ll need:

  • Un-ripened green plantains (the amount varies on how much you would like to make)
  • Vegetable oil
  • Salt

What to do:

  1. Remove the peel off the plantain. Do so by cutting off both ends and cutting a slit down the length of the plantain to remove the peel.
  2. Cut the plantains at a slant, leaving each piece a quarter inch thick.
  3. Heat 1/2 inch of oil in a skillet on medium-high heat.
  4. Add a layer of sliced plantains into the hot oil. Flip occasionally to cook both sides. Lower heat of you notice the patacones cooking too quickly.
  5. Once they have started to brown and have absorbed oil, remove and it cool.
  6. Use a plantain smasher or a cup with a flat bottom to squish the plantain.
  7. Place the now squished plantains back into the oil, flip occasionally to cook both sides. Remove once they are crispy and golden. Turn down the heat if you notice they are burning and not getting crispy.
  8. Add salt to taste and serve to hungry friends or family.

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Recipe: National Dish of St. Kitts and Nevis – Caribbean National Weekly

St. Kitts and Nevis is considered to have one of longest recorded history in the Caribbean countries. It was said the first settlers by Native Americans 500 years before the Europeans arrived to the island. This island is not only rich in history, but rich in cuisine and tropical beauty as well. The national dish of St. Kitts and Nevis consists of stewed salt-fish, spicy plantains, seasoned breadfruit, and coconut dumplings.

Stewed Saltfish:

What you’ll need:          

1 lb of saltfish

1 green pepper diced

1 lb of chopped tomatoes

5 cloves of chopped garlic

4 tbsp of vegetable oil

2 tbsp ofo margarine

6 finely chopped scallions

2 tbsp of chopped parsley

Salt and pepper

What to do:

  1. Soak salt-fish overnight then boil in freshwater until tender
  2. Drain water, remove bones, scales, and flake.
  3. Heat oil in large saucepan. Add pepper scallions, onion, and garlic. Cover and let cook for 5 minutes over low heat, while occasionally stirring.
  4. Add tomatoes and simmer over medium heat for 3 minutes.
  5. Add saltfish, butter, and salt and pepper to taste. Cover the stew and simmer over low heat for 5 minutes.

Spicy Plantains:

What you’ll need

3 medium sized ripe plantains, peeled and chopped into half inch pieces

2 tbsp of fresh ginger, peeled and grated

1 small onion grated

1/4 tsp of salt

1/4 tsp of hot sauce or finely chopped pepper

Oil for frying

What to do:

  1. Mix all ingredients in a bowl, toss until ingredients are well mixed.
  2. Fry in batches until golden brown and cooked
  3. Remove from oil and drain on paper towel

Seasoned Breadfruit

3 cups fill of breadfruit chopped into 1 inch pieces

2 tbsp of oil

1 tbsp of unsalted butter or margarine

1/2 cup of diced red pepper

1 medium chopped onion

4 garlic cloves crushed

2 tbsp of fresh parsley chopped

1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves

1/2 cip of chicken broth

1/4 tbsp of salt

1 tsp fresh ground pepper

What to do:

  1. Melt butter into a heavy pan over medium heat, then add oil.
  2. Add onions and cook for 5 to 8 minutes until golden, stir often
  3. Add garlic, thyme and chopped peppers, sauté for 30 seconds.
  4. Remove from heat. Add breadfruit with chicken broth. Toss gently to blend and heat through. Season with salt and pepper.

Coconut Dumplings

What you’ll need

1/2 cup of grated coconut

1 ½ cups of flour

1/4 tsp salt

1 tbsp oil

1 tbsp margarine

1/2 cup of water

What to do:

  1. Place flour, coconut, salt, butter and oil in a bowl. Sure in water to make a stiff dough
  2. Take dough and place on lightly floured board, knead for 2 minutes
  3. Make dumplings into desired shape
  4. Place dumplings in bowling water, cover and cook for 10 to 15 minutes.
  5. Serve everything to hungry friends and family.

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Two more arrested in connection with Trinidad cop’s murder- Caribbean National Weekly

A 36- year old mother of two from Carenage and a 24-year-old Sea Lots man were taken into police custody by Homicide Investigations Bureau in connection with the murder of policewoman Nyasha Joseph.

The woman was arrested Friday morning after investigators learned of an altercation between Joseph and the woman that occurred days before the officer was reported missing. She is believed to be one of the five women romantically involved with the prime suspect who was detained last Friday.

The 24-year-old man surrendered to police Wednesday night, after learning of his arrest warrant in connection to the murder. Investigators believe the suspect, a Sea Lots boat owner, may have vital information about the disposal of Joseph’s body.

These arrests occurred hours after Joseph’s body was pulled from the Gulf of Paria on Wednesday. Her body was found stuffed in a plastic bag, with two bricks tied to her hands.

The official autopsy results were inconclusive due to the advanced decomposition of Joseph’s body.

According to reports, the prime suspect, a 36-year-old Sea Lots man, has not been cooperating with investigators and has no knowledge that Joseph’s body has been found. He is currently being held at the Homicide Bureau’s Riverside Plaza headquarters.

A judge has ruled that officers have until Monday to charge the prime suspect with the killing or set him free.

Police investigators theorize that Joseph was lured to the Sea Lots by a person she was romantically involved with, where she was then killed and her body disposed of.

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Recipe: Cuban Vaca Frita – Caribbean National Weekly

Literally translated to “Fried Cow”, this Cuban dish is usually served with rice, beans and fried plantains. Vaca frita will transport you to Havana without ever having you leave your home. Similar to Cuba’s Ropa Vieja, this dish has less tomato sauce and more of the natural crispy beef flavor that will leave you craving more.

What you’ll need:

  • 1 1/2 pound of flank steak, cut into four pieces
  • 1 green bell pepper, cored and quartered
  • 2 large onions- 1 halved and 1 thinly sliced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 smashed garlic cloves
  • Salt
  • 1/4 cup and 2 tablespoons of lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • Fresh ground pepper

What to do:

  1. Combine the bell pepper, halved onion, 1 of the garlic cloves and bay leaf in a large saucepan or Dutch oven.
  2. Add just enough water to cover the ingredients and bring to a boil, add in the flank steak. Let it simmer over medium heat for about twenty to thirty minutes.
  3. Remove steak and other ingredients from stock.
  4. Once steak has cooled, shred the meat
  5. In a large bowl add lime juice, shredded beef, and finely minced garlic. Toss the mixture and let it marinate for at least an hour.
  6. Heat a cast iron skillet or pan over high heat. Add oil and thinly sliced onions, cook until onions become translucent and browned at the edges.
  7. Add beef and cook until beef is browned and crispy. Here you can personalize the level of crispiness you would like for the beef.
  8. Serve immediately to hungry friends and family, don’t forget an extra lime on the side.

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Recipe: Haitian Pikliz- Caribbean National Weekly

Tired of your dull coleslaw? Want to add some extra Caribbean spice? Try this Haitian dish that will give an extra kick and a new take on coleslaw. Pronounced PIK-Leese, this pickled vegetable coleslaw can be used as an added condiment to almost any meal present, and it can last for months. This side dish is served usually with Haiti’s most popular dish Griot, fried pork.

What you’ll need:

  • 2 cups of sliced green cabbage
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup of carrots, peeled and grated
  • 1 cup of green, yellow, or red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 2 thinly sliced scallions
  • 6 scotch bonnet or habanero peppers, sliced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, finely diced
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 12 peppercorns
  • 1 to 2 cups of white or apple cider vinegar
  • A large jar

What to do:

  1. Combine all vegetables and spices in a bowl and toss well.
  2. Place tossed mixture in a large jar for preserving.
  3. Pour just enough vinegar into the jar to cover the mixture.
  4. Let the mixture sit refrigerated for at least overnight. Wait 5 days to get maximum flavor result.
  5. Serve as a side or condiment to hungry friends or family.

Today in History- Caribbean National Weekly: Cricketer Colin Croft was born

This Day in History: On March 15, 1953 Colin Everton Hunte Croft was born in Lancaster Village in British Guiana.

Croft, a former West Indian and Guyanese cricketer, was part of the West Indian quartet of fast bowlers from the late 1970s and early 1980s. Due to his full height of 6’5, he was considered to have aggressive bowling style.

His figures of 8/29 in a 1977 match against Pakistan remain the best Test innings figures by a fast bowler from the West Indies.

“Croty,” a West-Indian team mate said, “would bounce his grandmother if he thought there was a wicket in it.”

During his time as a cricketer, Croft also obtained a Commercial Airline Pilot’s license in the US, and worked as a commercial pilot in the Caribbean.

In 1982, Croft took part of the Rebel Tour that took place in apartheid South Africa. This tour was in violation of an international ban on sports tours in that country, but the rebel players were granted “honorary whites” states by the government to allow access to all-white cricket play areas.

As a result, all players that partook in the tour were banned for life from International Cricket, ending Croft’s cricket career.

With his cricket career only lasting five years, his created a reputation for himself as “one of the most chilling of fast men, with no compunction whatsoever about inflicting pain”.

In 1994, Croft joined the media career by covering cricket games part-time as a commentator and analyst. He also was a contributing writer for CricInfo, publishing over 500 articles so far for the media outlet.

Croft also took up teaching mathematics at the Lambrook School in Winkfield Row, Berkshire, Uk from 2007 to 2008.

He has continued his sports journalist career since 1994, going to every location where the West Indies cricket team tours. He regularly appears on Sky Sports when West Indies are playing a match.

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Recipe:Trinidadian Mango Chow- Caribbean National Weekly

Trinidadian Mango Chow

By Celina DeCastro

Do you have some green mangos around, and are not quite sure what you can do to them? If you are impatient to wait until they’re ripe, try Trinidadian Mango Chow. Not only will you be able to eat your unripe mango, but spice it up the Caribbean way. This infamous snack can be found anywhere in Trinidad and Tobago, but you don’t have to live on the island nation to have this snack. This recipe can also be used for other fruits that are in season if mangos are not an easy find.

What you’ll need:

  • 1-2 green mangos
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • Sprinkle of black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon of shado beni or 1/4 cup of cilantro (Optional)
  • 1 lime OR 1 lemon OR a few tablespoons of vinegar to taste
  • 1-2 of your favorite pepper (optional)
  • 1 shallot (optional)
  • 2 cloves of garlic (optional)

What to do:

  1. In a bowl, add sliced pepper of your choice, garlic and shallots. These ingredients are optional based on the level of spice you’re trying to achieve in your mango chow.
  2. Wash and peel the mango, slice mango into wedges and place in a bowl
  3. Add salt and pepper
  4. Add your shado beni or cilantro
  5. Squeeze the juice of the lemon or lime, this can also be substituted with vinegar.
  6. Toss the mixture with a spoon, do not use hands if peppers are present in the mixture
  7. Serve to hungry friends or family

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Recipe: Arroz Con Gandules – Caribbean National Weekly

Recipe: Arroz Con Gandules (Puerto Rican Rice with Pigeon Peas)

Are you looking to spice up the flavor in your rice? Try Arroz con gandules. Although it is quite similar to Rice and Peas known throughout the Caribbean, this signature dish of Puerto Rico includes the important ingredient of Sofrito to give additional flavor. This side dish paired with roasted pork, creates the national dish of Puerto Rico that is served often for holidays and special occasions.

Things you will need: All can be found at your nearest grocery store.

  • 1/3 cup of Country cubed ham or bacon (optional)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/4 cup of fresh cilantro
  • 1 15-ounce can of Pigeon Peas/Gandules
  • 2 tps of powdered Chicken Bouillon
  • 3 ½ cips of water or low sodium chicken broth
  • 2 tbsp of pimento stuffed olives (optional)
  • 1/3 cup of Sofrito
  • 1/3 cup of Tomato Sauce
  • 2 cups of Parboiled Rice
  • Goya Adobo seasoning
  • 1 tsp of dried Italian Seasoning
  • 1 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 ½ tps of sazon con achiote y cilantro

What to do:

  1. Heat your Dutch oven or large pot
  2. Add olive oil and Sofrito; stir for 4 minutes until fragrant, do not let it brown
  3. Add ham or bacon
  4. Add Sazon, Tomato Sauce and Chicken bouillon
  5. Add water, Italian seasoning, cilantro, bay leaves, and olives; Add adobo to taste
  6. Bring to a boil
  7. Add pigeon peas
  8. Once mixture boils again, add rice
  9. Stir the mixture to distribute the peas through the rice
  10. Allow rice to absorb all liquid, uncovered.
  11. Once liquid is absorbed, cover the rice, lower the heat to low, and allow the rice to steam for 20 to 25 minutes.
  12. Serve to hungry friends and family.

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