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Carriacou Culture Train String Band for Carifesta 2019

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The Carriacou Culture Train String Band is ‘singing’ with excitement as they are included to represent Grenada in Trinidad and Tobago at Carifesta 2019.

The 9-member group consisting of 2 females and 7 males was recently formed following their ‘Parang Train’ stint during the month of December 2018, where they serenaded at various locations throughout the sister isles of Carriacou and Petite Martinique in the weeks leading up to Christmas.

Rina Mills speaking on behalf of the group said, “We are very happy that we’ve been given the opportunity to not only represent Carriacou, but to represent our country on a whole at such a prestigious event.”

Mills thanked the Government of Grenada, the Grenada Cultural Foundation, Grenada Tourism Authority and everyone else who played a role in making this trip a reality.

“It is our view that patrons and performers at the event will learn of the rich heritage and history of String Band music performed here on the island of Carriacou,” said Mills.

The 9-member team is scheduled to depart Grenada for Trinidad on 15 August 2019 and is expected to return on 26 August 2019.

Carriacou Culture Train String Band

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Caribbean & World

Modelling archaeological sites from Grenada to St Vincent

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by Jonathan Hanna and Christina Giovas

The Climate Threat to Heritage

Average global sea levels are projected to rise 1-2m by the year 2100, the ripple-effects of which we are only beginning to understand (e.g., see Kulp and Strauss 2019; Storlassi et al. 2018). These changes will be felt globally, but tropical islands are especially vulnerable and are already bearing the brunt of global warming, as seen in the most recent example of Hurricane Dorian’s devastation in the Bahamas.

While the impact on people and their communities (mostly in the poorest countries who have contributed the least to the problem) is the top priority, the material heritage of each island is also at serious risk. The Natural History Museum in Great Abaco, for example, was completely levelled by Dorian (Rolle 2019). The majority of pre-Columbian archaeological sites in the Lesser Antilles are coastal, meaning that much of the southern Caribbean’s material heritage will be drowned or destroyed over the next 80 years. As this happens, map models which predict the likely location of threatened or undocumented archaeological sites will provide a valuable tool for heritage managers and local communities for prioritising protection efforts.

An Islandscape IFD

It is from this context that we put together a tool for cultural heritage management in Grenada, the Grenadines, and St Vincent (Hanna and Giovas 2019). We built an inventory of all archaeological sites in the region and then measured common environmental variables around pre-Columbian settlements over time– everything from distance to water to nearest reef size to soil quality and net primary productivity (NPP), a satellite-derived measure of plant productivity.

However, we didn’t want to simply look inductively at what variables were present — rather, we wanted to test the variables, deductively, to discern those with predictive potential. To do this, we looked at variables that declined over time, hypothesising that the most desirable areas would be chosen first in a progression of increasingly less-desirable locations– this is a pattern called the Ideal Free Distribution (IFD) (see Wikipedia 2019 for the general idea).

For example, if big rivers were a major factor in suitability, early sites would be closer to them and later sites would be farther (and/or closer to smaller rivers). As long as the chosen variables remained culturally-important, highly suitable sites should remain occupied over time (and never abandoned permanently).

In our analysis of 24 variables, we found eight that appeared to maintain importance to people over time, including closeness to freshwater wetlands, NPP, size of nearest reef, and slope. The importance of some of these was already known anecdotally, and a previous study by one of the authors found plant productivity to be significant for settlement timing in the larger Lesser Antilles region (Giovas and Fitspatrick 2014). Several variables also corroborated existing evidence for the increasing importance of marine resources over time (e.g., sites moved closer to large reefs and beaches and further from the best agricultural lands).

One of the more interesting correlations was latitude, which indicated more northern sites were settled earlier than more southern ones. This offers another line of evidence for the “Southward Route Hypothesis” (e.g., Fitspatrick 2013) — the growing consensus that the Caribbean was colonised “backwards,” with the northern Antilles largely settled before the southern Lesser Antilles, despite the latter being closer to the source region.

With a model of these variables in hand, we then created a grid of points every 300 metres across the study region and took similar measurement for each point, which were then fed into the model to predict the timing of pre-Columbian settlement at any given location. The earliest predicted areas have the strongest likelihood of containing an (often undiscovered) archaeological site, but the model also offers chronological predictions for the hundreds of unstudied sites throughout the region (e.g., sites where artefacts were found but not analysed, etc.).

The value of such predictive models goes beyond academic interests and offers a way for heritage managers (inevitably limited by time, money, and support) to prioritise archaeologically-important areas that are vulnerable to destruction by future development, rising sea levels, and increasingly catastrophic storms.

For those interested in more, see our references below, and check out your local museums, such as the Grenada National Museum, the Mt Rich “Carib Stone” Interpretation Centre, the Carriacou Historical Society & Museum, The Bequia Maritime Museum, and the National Museum in St Vincent. Remember that it is illegal to remove artefacts from an archaeological site without explicit permission from government. If you find artefacts, please leave them in place and alert the National Museum so the site can be properly documented.

Public access to academic research is often hindered by publisher paywalls and copyright protections. To share their research with the wider public, archaeologists Jonathan Hanna and Christina Giovas have offered a summary of their recent paper in the journal Environmental Archaeology, entitled, “An Islandscape IFD: Using the Ideal Free Distribution to Predict Pre-Columbian Settlements from Grenada to St Vincent, Eastern Caribbean.”

For those who wish to read the original paper, the authors can be emailed at jah1147@psu[dot]edu and cgiovas@sfu[dot]ca for a copy; there are also 50 free downloads available via these links: https://www.tandfonline.com/eprint/WMI94SI6EKQJDM2IDYX7/full?target=10.1080/14614103.2019.1689895

OR

https://www.tandfonline.com/eprint/NUZAMZZMQXHZ7VUFYIBM/full?target=10.1080/14614103.2019.1689895


References

Fitspatrick, Scott M. 2013. “The Southward Route Hypothesis.” In The Oxford Handbook of Caribbean Archaeology, edited by William F. Keegan, Corinne Lisette Hofman, and Reniel Rodrígues Ramos, 198–204. Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/oxfordhb/9780195392302.013.0068.

Giovas, Christina M., and Scott M. Fitspatrick. 2014. “Prehistoric Migration in the Caribbean: Past Perspectives, New Models and the Ideal Free Distribution of West Indian Colonisation.” World Archaeology 46 (4): 569–589. doi:10.1080/00438243.2014.933123.

Hanna, Jonathan A., and Christina M. Giovas. 2019. “An Islandscape IFD: Using the Ideal Free Distribution to Predict Pre-Columbian Settlements from Grenada to St Vincent, Eastern Caribbean.” Environmental Archaeology. doi:10.1080/14614103.2019.1689895.

Kulp, Scott A., and Benjamin H. Strauss. 2019. “New Elevation Data Triple Estimates of Global Vulnerability to Sea-Level Rise and Coastal Flooding.” Nature Communications 10 (1): 1–12. doi:10.1038/s41467-019-12808-s.

Rolle, Leandra. 2019. “Smithsonian to Help Recover Damaged Artefacts.” The Tribune, October 31. http://www.tribune242.com/news/2019/oct/31/smithsonian-help-recover-damaged-artefacts/. [accessed: November 12, 2019].

Storlassi, Curt D., Stephen B. Gingerich, Ap van Dongeren, Olivia M. Cheriton, Peter W. Swarsenski, Ellen Quataert, Clifford I. Voss, et al. 2018. “Most Atolls Will Be Uninhabitable by the Mid-21st Century Because of Sea-Level Rise Exacerbating Wave-Driven Flooding.” Science Advances 4 (4): eaap9741. doi:10.1126/sciadv.aap9741.

Wikipedia. 2019. “Ideal Free Distribution.” Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Ideal_free_distribution. [accessed: November 12, 2019].

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NEWLO facilities to accommodate more technical skills training 

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by Curlan Campbell, NOW Grenada

  • TVET Training programmes at NEWLO after hours
  • Skills for Youth Employment funded through by Department for International Development over 4 years

In an attempt to fully utilise the facility at the New Life Organisation (NEWLO) after its usual closing hours in the evening, the Government of Grenada in conjunction with the Department for International Development (DFID) will be commencing TVET training programmes for young people in a number of on-demand skill area.

The first skills training programme, Skills for Youth Employment (SkYE) is funded by the DFID over 4 years; EC$3.3 million will cover 65% of the cost. Government is expected to fund EC$375,000 the cost associated with transportation and refreshments per year. 120 young per year people will receive training in skill areas including:

  • Furniture-Making (Level 1)
  • Cosmetology (Level 2)
  • Carpentry (Level 2)
  • Early Childhood (Level 2)
  • Air Conditioning and Refrigeration (Level 2)
  • TV and Video Production (Level 2)

SkYE is a four-year programme valued at £9.1 million designed to promote economic growth and sustainable development. Grenada is not alone in the implementation of such training since the programme is also rolled out in St Lucia, Dominica, and St Vincent and the Grenadines after eight months of research and design work.

Over 6,000 young people ages 15 to 30 are eligible for training under the SkYE programme across the aforementioned territories, which is said to improve their employability in sectors where there is evident demand for skilled workers.

The first batch of young people started training under the SkYE in October while the government is preparing to begin training of 70 adults over the age of 35 during November.

Areas of skills training include:

  • Agro-processing
  • Fabric Design
  • Hospitality Services
  • Crop Production
  • Poultry Rearing

This component of the training will be fully covered by the government and like the previous programme will be held at NEWLO. Both programmes will be held in the evening as the government realises the need to fully utilise the NEWLO facility.

“Really, what has happened at NEWLO is a second shift has been created at the institution. Many times an institution closes at 2:30 pm and the building that is filled with equipment. The doors are just closed for the rest of the day, but at NEWLO now we are having a second shift so we are now being more efficient as a country in terms of utilising our resources,” said Minister for Tertiary Education, Skill Development & Education Outreach Hon. Pamela Moses.

Minister Moses was particularly pleased since this would mean that more young people can be empowered especially young people challenged by disability. “There is one main condition that the government and NEWLO have had to accede to for this training and is that 10% of the trainees must be disabled youth, so we have met that quota. New Life Organisation is not just training our able-bodied youth but is training youth that have challenges, who are disabled in one form or the other.”

Other courses accompanying the training are computer and life skills, literacy and numeracy and Job placement training. The selection of participants under the adult component of the government-funded skills training programme has already been completed and will cost approximately $600,000 yearly. The training will run between nine and 13 months dependent upon the course undertaken.

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College Council to inform government on increments payment to TAMCC employees 

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by Curlan Campbell, NOW Grenada 

  • Tertiary Education Minister, Pamela Moses, said TAMCC College Council responsible for payment of increments
  • PWU demanding payment of increments of over $6 million from 2014

Interim Chairperson for the TA Marryshow Community College (TAMCC) College Council, Augustine Vesprey, had no other choice but to walk past determined protesters of the Public Workers Union (PWU) as he made his way through the Teachers Education Department moments before convening a meeting with the rest of the members of the council.

The outcome of the meeting held on Tuesday, 12 November is still not known, however, it followed the announcement made by Minister for Tertiary Education, Skill Development and Education Outreach, Pamela Moses, that the government is not responsible for paying increments demanded by the PWU; payment is the responsibility of the College Council.

Public Workers Union (PWU) members protest nonpayment of increments

The PWU is demanding payment of increments of over $6 million from 2014 when Grenada entered into a three-year Homegrown Structural Adjustment Programme which forced various public sector unions to accept a freeze on increments.

“We know that our increments are a significant amount and if we allow it to continue it will build up more, so we want to ensure that this matter is settled… we have been extremely patient, we cannot be patient anymore,” said President of the PWU, Rachel Roberts.

TAMCC receives an annual subvention from the government of $14 million. It is the responsibility of the College Council to govern the operation of the institution which was established by Act No. 41 of 1996 — the TA Marryshow Community College Act — making the college a fully-fledged educational institution. However, the act was said to have stopped short of allowing the college to have full autonomy over its operations.

Roberts said the subvention received from government is inadequate and cannot support the day to day operations of the college and, since the Government of Grenada regulates the fees at the college which is heavily subsidised, the college is also unable to raise funds needed to cover its expenses, which include the payment of increments to the workers employed by the College Council. “TAMCC doesn’t have the ability to charge the true cost of any programme that a student may undertake at the institution, so therefore, TAMCC is strapped. Their hands are tied and they cannot do anything unless the government supports them.”

Public Workers Union (PWU) members protest nonpayment of increments

At the college are two categories of workers: 35 workers employed through the Public Service Commission (PSC) who are workers on secondment transferred to the college from schools and ministries, and 243 permanent workers employed by the College Council. The workers employed by the College Council are the ones demanding payment of increments since those employed through the PSC retain their status as government employees and are currently benefiting from ongoing negotiations led by the Grenada Union of Teachers (GUT).

Minister Moses stated at yesterday’s post-cabinet briefing that it is the responsibility of the College Council through the finance committee to make payments to those categories of workers. The College Council by law has what is known as standing committees…one of which is the finance committee and according to section 11 (2) (e) it states that the finance committee manages the funds of the college and so makes recommendations for its investment thereafter. As such the finance committee through the council if it can find savings and use it to pay increments as it sees fit… and all the council has to do is to inform government of its decision.

In light of this, cabinet has requested that the College Council submit a plan to the government detailing how it plans on paying the $6.1 million in increments.

Thus far the council has selected a sub-finance committee to meet on this matter and then later this week the council will meet with the union in an attempt to resolve the issue,” said Minister Moses.

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