Archive for March 18th, 2009

March 18, 2009

Summit wicked this way comes.


The picture above hangs in my friend Robin’s weekend house in Toco which is located in the remote North East of Trinidad. When I first saw it years ago I didn’t think much of it but I have now become inordinately fond of it and look forward to seeing it every now and then.  It is painted by the artist Cromwell in a style that i suppose would be described as primitive but it is, in fact, that wonderfully naive style coupled with the decidedly local subject matter that makes me love it so much. It depicts some of the figures of Trinidad folklore that many, in areas such as Toco, still believe in.

The three figures in the foreground from left to right are LaDiablesse ( the she devil) , Soucouyant ( a sort of succubus who by day takes on the form of an old woman and then sheds her skin at night to do her evil deeds) and finally we have the Lagahoo ( a man who can change into animal form). Even though I said many rural people still believe in and fear these figures i am often surprised to learn that many urban types also believe in them. A perfectly normal educated adult might tell you with concern that he woke up with two small bite marks on his body and he is sure he is being attacked by a soucouyant. Though part of me shudders at the jarring reminder that I am living in the developing world ( which I am 100% certain will still be underdeveloped by 2020 thank you very much) another part of me finds the whole thing too cute for words.

To learn more about the fascinating pantheon of Trinidad folklore characters you  can just use our old friend Google as the link option is not working for me right now.

In other news many of my interviews of late have been with people involved in or concerned about next month’s 5th Summit of the Americas to be held here. While I can still not think of a really good reason for us to be spending about $100 million US to prepare for it other than to feed the already inflated egos of politicians in charge who want to wine and dine 34 hemispheric leaders including President Obama it is still a fact of life here. One thing becoming increasingly clear is that virtually all of the capital will be under lockdown for the 4 days including my area of Cascade/St. Anns which contains both the Prime Ministers monstrosity newly built residence in all its taxpayer dollar lavishness and the Hilton Trinidad which will be host to the 1,000 strong US delegation.

My new plan is to get the hell outta here and head to Toronto for the week that the summit is on and return when I can actually go to the supermarket without being patted down by 6 security officers.