Northern Drive to St Lucy

Northern Drive to St Lucy
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Sunday, December 29, 2013

Comments on Exocoetidea


Oft in childhood recollection
of the beach
many pleasurable moments
the mind did reach
roaming the shores
of Half-Moon Bay
naked bodies all splashed
with foaming spray
while on hillsides
donkeys brayed

So many wonders
of the Caribbean Sea
feet all wet
and silver sands
on the knee
as bleachers
and bathers
from far and near
with their kith and kin
the trees of coconut
with water that is very clear

Fisher folks have come
to throw their nets
as agile as ever
with no regrets
to harvest,
these flying fish

floating in hot sauce 
this is Bajans' delight.

They hurled those nets
in frenzy array, so... 
the aerobatics
are on disply in the air
and the flying fish battle rages

Callaloo plays the game
so... unfai!

Cou-cou on the stove top
dripping with okra strew...

Cou-cou done...

Stands on plate
waiting for flying fish
to land
while the wives of fishermen
young and old
are crying every Easter morn
not knowing
what next they must do

 The war of words is too profound
For the gilded heads
so they seek the lustre 
of the ocean bed
in preparation
for...the eminent flight...

They quickly surface
the water
for viewers in sight
leaping like a frog in midair 
then down again
with valour
and power

These grasshoppers
of the sea now disappear...

Resurfaced again without dread...

Their pectoral fins outstretched
they soar like a jet
the down with the nosedive

and they are very wet... 

With submarine topography
on the ocean floor
a thousand feet below or more
such fervid flight incomplete

For now they sleep
in a tropical ocean
that is so very deep

Far... Away... 
from nets
and noise fishermen do keep

 This social commentary poem is written in Free Verse. It is about a fish that has not only broken the ostentatious flying record but has created Flying Fish War of words between two Caricom islands that broke out in 2003. This war is between the “Land of Flying Fish” and the “Land of the Humming Bird”. This fish is from the family of Exocoetidae abundant in tropical and subtropical areas of the Pacific and the Atlantic and Indian oceans. They feed primarily on zooplankton that consists of animals, including corals, rotifers, sea anemones and jellyfish. Zooplankton is primarily found in surface waters where food resources are abundant. The predators of the flying fish are the dolphin fishes, tunas, billfishes, cetaceans and the pelagic sea birds. This species of fish broke the established record of 42 seconds set by fish that can fly in 2008 off the Coast of Yakushima Island when it established a flying record of 48 seconds. However, flying fish don’t actually fly like birds, they glide, but they do have wings. These wings are large pectoral fins that allow them to soar above the water at fast speeds to escape from predators. Flying fish are small fish with the shape of a herring, and silvery-blue seen jumping in and out of the temperate waters of the Caribbean Sea, Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans.

Barbados is known as the “Land of Flying Fish” and Trinidad and Tobago is known as the “Land of the Humming Bird”. From the time Barbados became an inhabited island the flying fish was caught in nets by fisher folks in the waters of Barbados and this fish is a Barbadian delicacy. The flying fish is central to Barbadian culture. It’s featured on coins, stamps and menus where one have it baked, fried or steamed. It is purported that Barbadians taught the folks in Trinidad and Tobago the art of how to fillet flying fish in preparation for the dinner table and they in turn taught Barbadians how to prepare roti. The folks in Trinidad and Tobago never really appreciated this fish until their economy hit rock bottom when their oil-booming era collapsed in the early 1980’s. Their economy experienced negative growth of 26 per cent in 1983, 10.8 percent negative growth in 1984, negative 6.5 per cent in 1985, and negative 5.1 per cent in 1986; continued negative growth was estimated in 1987. This decline in their economy caused the Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister, George Chambers in 1983 to state unapologetically that “the fête is over”. I experienced this decline in their economy while a college student in Trinidad. Since that time I have been a regular visitor to the Twin island Republic and as a CXC Examiner during the period 1980- 2002.

When the oil prices collapsed the economy in Trinidad and Tobago, they sought to revitalize their agriculture and fishing they neglected during their oil-booming years. Trinidad and Tobago turned their appetite on flying fish. So in 2003 this Flying Fish War of Words broke out between the twin island Republic of Trinidad and Barbados. Minister Eastmond from Barbados had the compelling task to resolve the conflict with several meetings with officials in Trinidad and Tobago with intended purpose to bring back flying fish to Cou-cou land from the beds in Callaloo country. He left office in 2011 without being able to bring an end to this fishing conflict still simmering. Now Prime Minister Freundel Stuart in 2013 is still negotiating a proposed fishing agreement with Trinidad and Tobago that would ensure flying fish return to Barbados their true lover. So during the 34th Regular Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) in Port of Spain, Prime Minister Stuart stated “that we should have a protocol in place that sets out the steps to be followed to ensure that Trinidad and Tobago is not compromised and that Barbados is not compromised and that fishermen and their families are not destabilized as a result from actions that may from time to time have to be taken in Trinidad and Tobago; we have not had a Fishing Agreement since about 1990. We’ve done not too, too badly without it, but we have to remind ourselves; I think it is very often forgotten that the word agreement means not what one person wants, but what two or more people consent to”. Barbadians are hopefully optimistic that regional integration initiative will solve the Flying Fish War of Words.

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Haiti Under Rubble from 7.0 Earthquake

Natural disasters whenever and wherever they occur impact on all of our lives. The Good Book says we are our brothers and sisters keepers lead by the Holy Spirit. Hence, we must do our part when disaster shows its ugly face. Any assistance, great or small, given from generous and loving hearts has equal weight. I'm passing on this information I received that Barbadians can go to First Caribbean Bank to donate to the Disaster Relief Fund for Haiti. The banking information is shown below:

First Caribbean Bank Account--2645374-- Cheques can be written to: HELP #2645374

For more information click on this link

My thoughts and prayers are with the people of Haiti.

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