Millennials and Religion: The failing relationship – Caribbean National Weekly

Celina DeCastro

A news report in Jamaica shortly after the recent Easter celebration drew attention to the fact that young people do not have the same views of Easter as their parents. The findings of that report was accurate as religion has little or no appeal to millennials.

The Pew Research Center, has found that fewer millennials are less likely to affiliate with any religious tradition or identify themselves as part of a Christian denomination.

One in four adults under the age of 30 consider themselves atheist, agnostic, or have no religion, the center stated.

While some believe that the higher power no longer exists to them, others believe that the label of religion keeps us from understanding each other.

South Florida Ryan Nisman, 22-year-old of Puerto Rican descent, who recognizes himself as agnostic, feels that religious labels cause prejudice and hate towards other religious groups.

“Why hate someone because they choose to call your god by another name?” Nisman said.

Agnostics feel God’s existence cannot be neither proven or unproven. They subscribe to the notion that it is impossible to know if God exists.

While some argue the existence of God or a higher power and are avid church goers, some millennials also believe in a higher power but choose not to join a church.

Leila Gonzalez, 35-year-old of Palestinian and Columbian descent, was raised in the Catholic church but left after finding faults with the church.

“My religious base means having more of a relationship with God rather than having to follow the man-made rules and laws we were taught in Catholic school,” Gonzalez said.

Other millennials feel the church also does not agree with the lifestyle they have chosen.

“I’m not waking up before 10 on a Sunday morning to go to a place to be told that I’m going to hell because I would prefer to marry a woman,” 18-year-old Panamanian-American Hailey Crosthwaite said.

One millennial who did not want to be named felt that God was not working in his favor.

“When I was a kid I went through a lot and somewhere throughout the challenges, I started praying to God, but nothing worked. I kept on praying and praying and then one day I just stopped and took in the pain from my challenges. I just stopped believing in God,” he said.

Millennials although they do not follow a religion all seemed more in tuned with their own spirituality. Most will march for the causes they believe in, help the poor and those in need, donate, but chose not to be defied because they do not follow mainstream religions.

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Recipe: Italian Wedding Soup – Caribbean National Weekly

Taking a break from the same type of chicken soup, want to try some more Italian in your life? Mamma Mia! Try Italian wedding soup. The term wedding soup derived from the Italian phrase “minestra maritata”, married soup, which refers to the “marriage” of the greens and broth combination. Serving the dish at weddings are completely optional.

What you’ll need:
½ lb of lean ground beef
1 egg, beaten
2 tablespoons of breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon of parmesan cheese
½ teaspoon of dried basil
½ teaspoon of onion powder
5 ¾ cup of chicken broth
2 cups of chopped spinach
½ cup of uncooked orzo pasta
1/3 cup of finely chopped carrot


What you need to do:
1. Combine meat, egg, bread crumbs, parmesan cheese, basil and onion powder in a medium sized bowl. Mix together and for meat into ¾ inch balls.
2. In a large sauce pan, heat up the broth to a boil. Stir in spinach, orzo, carrots and meatballs you’ve just created.
3. Let the combination boil and then reduce to medium heat.
4. Cook a slow boil for 10 minutes or until the orzo become tender. Stir to avoid sticking.
5. Sprinkle parmesan cheese on top
6. Serve to hungry friends and family

For original article click here.

Trinidad’s Children’s Authority releases abuse preventative measures – Caribbean National Weekly

The Children’s Authority of Trinidad and Tobago collected data from May 2015 to December 2016 revealing almost 9,000 child abuse cases in the twin island nation.

The highest reported abuse included physical abuse, sexual abuse and neglect.

In their press release, the Authority states it is joining the national recognition of Child Abuse Prevention Month to bring awareness of the role communities and families play in preventing such abuse.

The Authority also listed tips to prevent child abuse, such as:

  • Minimize opportunity- Eliminate or reduce “one on one” situations, to lower the risk of abuse. Seek help when under stress to help you parent effectively because it’s easy to cross the line.
  • Talk about it- Often, children may feel ashamed to report incidents or abuse. It is important that parents and caregivers maintain open communication with children to allow them to feel comfortable to report incidents or concerns that may have.
  • Know the non-physical signs of child abuse- Depression, fear or avoidance or a certain adult or place, difficulty trusting others or making friends, sudden changes in eating or sleeping patterns, bed wetting, nightmares, inappropriate sexual behavior, poor hygiene, secrecy and hostility.
  • Talk to children about what is an “ok” touch- One that makes them feel happy and safe, and a touch that is “not ok”- one that hurts and makes them feel uncomfortable.

All abuse in the twin island nation of Trinidad and Tobago should be reported to police at 999, the Authority’s hotline at 996 or 800-2014 or online at

All abuse in the state of Florida should be reported to police at 911, The Florida Abuse hotline at 1-800-962-2873 or online at

For original article click here.

Hollywood divided over “racist” street names – Caribbean National Weekly

Residents of the City of Hollywood are divided over whether to change the names of streets that have been named in honor of Confederate soldiers.

The city recently announced a revision to the rules to rename streets from having two-thirds majority vote down to 50 percent of votes to allow a street name change.

The controversial streets are Lee Street, Forrest Street, and Hood Street.

Named after Robert E Lee and John Bell Hood who were soldiers of the Confederate Army as well as Nathaniel Bedford Forrest, who not only led massacres against union soldiers and slaves but was also one of the key founders of the infamous Ku Klux Klan immediately following the end of the Civil War.

Some of the city’s residents believe that the names are a sordid reminder of the dark past which led to the American civil war, while others have no problem with the naming of the roadways as they see it as part of the city’s history.

Architectural Historian and resident since the 1930’s, George Chillag, feels the names should remain not to glorify the generals but to show how far The United States has come from those dark times in history.

“I can understand why someone would feel uncomfortable with the names,” Chillag said. “But this gives us a reason to walk over to the person who feels differently and talk about how far we’ve come since.”

According to City of Hollywood Commissioner Richard Blattner, the three street names were not the original names, originally these and other streets were named after other minority cities within the United States like “Chicago”, “Macon”, and many others.

The name change came during the 1920’s, after a decision was made to rename the streets from the beach to 56 AVE after Presidents and other military personnel.

These names have come under fire after a 2015 vandalism incident resulted in all three street names being sprayed over with black paint.

Since the incident, several residents including Benjamin Israel, an African-American and Orthodox Jew, has been demanding an immediate change to these street names because they are offensive.

“Nobody wants to live on a street named after Charles Manson,” Israel told the Sun-Sentinel. “Yet a bunch of us are living on a street named after Nathan Bedford Forrest.’’

According to Blattner, the focus of the name change is heavily concentrated on Forrest Street due to the dark deeds of Nathaniel B. Forrest.

In 2005, the Commission board set up a set of rules to be put in place to change a street name in Hollywood. This includes a $2,000 applications fee, a naming committee to pick an alternative name, approval by commission in a 5/7 vote, and the new revised requirement of receiving a 50% vote of ballots entries.

Mail-In ballots to homeowners within those areas have yet to be mailed out, the city staffers are in the process of creating new names to be offered on the ballot and are also considering the option of duel names to those streets.

Quite like Barack Obama Blvd/SW 40th AVE in West Park, Florida that was approved by votes in July 2009.

A set date of mailing out the ballots and result release have yet to be chosen


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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”.

For original article click here. 

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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