Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : November 1st 2015 Contents 6 UWI TODAY – SUNDAY 1st NOVEMBER, 2015
Chocolate captures the
hearts and imaginations of
peoples all over the world.
Its unique flavour, textural
characteristics and more
recently documented health
and nutritional benefits
combine and together make
the secret of its success.
Chocolate has the power to
gladden mortal hearts.
Chocolates made from
our fine or flavour cocoa beans
have earned us the enviable
reputation as an exclusive producer of high quality fine
or flavour cocoa beans. This reputation continues to be
recognised by the International Cocoa Organisation, as
Trinidad and Tobago is one of a handful of countries in
the world with this status, and by chocolate producers who
continue pay premium prices for our beans.
Trinidad and Tobago enjoys a healthy comparative
advantage in cocoa production with its unique combination
of rich cocoa history, suitable soils and climate, investment
in intellectual capital by having the longest continuous
cocoa breeding programme in the world, a one of a kind
universal collection of unique cocoa varieties, high demand
and premium prices.
A CASE for COCOA
BY DARIN SUKHA
Dr. Darin A. Sukha is a Research Fellow/Food Technologist at the Cocoa Research Centre, UWI St. Augustine.
It seems paradoxical then that cocoa production
in Trinidad and Tobago has fluctuated and declined
continuously since a production peak in 1921 of over
35,000 metric tonnes, to a low of approximately 600 metric
tonnes today. One of the main reasons for this can be traced
back to the 1850s where the direction of the Trinidad and
Tobago economy began to change away from an agrarian
based economy with the discovery of oil in Trinidad, and
the commercialization of the petroleum industry during the
early 20th century. In a classic case of Dutch Disease, the
Trinidad and Tobago economy continues to be energy based
and the country derives most of its revenues from the energy
sector. Real Gross Domestic Product and growth in GDP
continue to be closely linked to fortunes of the energy sector.
The latest Ryder Scott Report (2013) stated that there
was a 7% decline in proven natural gas reserves in 2013.
These findings serve as timely warnings that there is an
urgent need to diversify the Trinidad and Tobago economy
away from non-renewable hydrocarbons to other more
sustainable sources that can make a significant contribution
to National GDP.
The Government of Trinidad and Tobago, has identified
cocoa as a strategic crop to be developed because of its global
potential and our comparative advantage as an exclusive
producer of fine or flavour cocoa beans.
The industry currently faces numerous challenges
and has been on the decline in the past few years. It has
become financially unattractive for farmers and several
have turned away from this industry as they are unable to
make a reasonable living from the sale of the cocoa beans.
The cocoa industry cannot develop sustainably with the
current production of between 400-600 metric tonnes, so as
a first step we need to increase cocoa production urgently.
We need to reorganise the industry to be more efficient
and we need to explore value added opportunities once the
production has been increased above a certain acceptable
level to ensure this sub sector can be sustainably exploited.
Our cheaper energy costs compared to other countries
for chocolate making offer an immediate comparative
advantage that should be tapped.
The industry currently faces
numerous challenges and has
been on the decline in the past few
years. It has become financially
unattractive for farmers and
several have turned away from this
industry as they are
unable to make
the sale of the
of Café Mariposa
puts the final
touches on a cake
at the Mariposa
booth at the
World Cocoa and
Students from the University School are riveted as Kadine David, of the CRC explains the cocoa process. PHOTOS: ALVA VIARRUEL
The chocolate muffin-eating competition was full of takers, and naturally, their classmates cheered them on! The winner of Round One was
Kifah Hernandez of Blanchisseuse High School and the Round Two winner was UWI student Savita Ramoutarsingh.
SUNDAY 1ST NOVEMBER, 2015 – UWI TODAY 19
audience on teenagers, technology, and literature,
Antoni said, “Part of me feels all your anguish. They go
out for dinner with you and they are on their phones
all the time. The problem with the phones is if all of
your relationships are virtual, you cannot look anyone
in the eye.”
Regarding experimentation, he felt that,
“Technology is going to transform the way we tell our
stories and the way they will be transmitted. So how
can we find a way to make electronic literature writerly?
That is my question and that is hopefully the question
your children will answer if they find a way in between
Indeed, though writing historical fiction, Antoni’s
themes may be considered more forward looking, more
contemporary, than harking back to more traditional
themes of colony and writing-back to Europe.
“The colonial chip-on-your-shoulder is something
my parents had and my grandparents had but I do
not have,” he said, individuating himself from the
conventional expectations of Caribbean literature.
Phillips echoed this idea of contemporary
imaginative licence, but with a more philosophical
One of the aims of post-colonial literature is to
examine the way Europe maintained its power. It is
also concerned with re-reading and re-writing the
past. This understanding of historical fiction, and in
particular the works of authors Caryl Phillips and
Robert Antoni, was shared by Dr. Kumar Mahabir,
Assistant Professor UTT, at a reading and dialogue
for both authors held at the UWI St. Augustine
campus. The event titled “A Literary Conversation”
was held on October 3, 2015, by the Anthony N.
Sabga Caribbean Awards for Excellence, the
Bocas Lit Fest, the University of Trinidad and
Tobago andThe UWI. The Chair for the proceedings
was Professor Emeritus Funso Aiyejina and the
moderator was Dr. Raymond Ramcharitar.
Professor Phillips was a Commonwealth Prize
recipient a decade ago, and was named the ANSA
Caribbean Award for Arts and Letters Laureate
in 2013. Robert Antoni was the 2014 OCM
Bocas Prize winner and has been the recipient of
a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Commonwealth
Writers Prize, and the NALIS Lifetime Literary
Award among other accolades.
slant, feeling that writing can speak to our common humanity.
“Part of the great moral purpose of literature is to imagine
yourself into the life of people who are not you,” he said, and
that creates empathy. He believes that literature reminds us
that [William] Faulkner’s definition of the novel as problems
of the human heart in conflict with itself is a universal issue...
a human issue.
“That is not what text, twitter, facebook and instagram are
about,” he said, pointing to their narcissistic nature.
“They’re all about the selfie!” was the response.
Perhaps the digirati and youth who, always connected to
their circle of friends globally, might find that expression in
digital text and images is the new literary frontier. As global
boundaries become more fluid through technology, diversity
is increasingly embraced, and niches and tribes celebrate their
difference from the mainstream. Many book lovers, however,
will continue to cherish that new-book-smell, the feel of the
page beneath fingertips, and the way re-reading an old favourite
reconnects you to other minds and cultures.
And as they creatively recast our Caribbean pasts and
unearth their truths and insights, writers Caryl Phillips and
Robert Antoni are connecting human hearts across the globe,
word by word.
The Institute of Critical Thinking is hosting “The Cuba Forum,” to allow the business community
to hear of new opportunities, and the cultural nuances and economic environment of Cuba so they
can competitively enter its market.
Dr. Antonio Romero Gomez, the President of the Caribbean Studies Chair “Norman Girvan”
at the University of Havana; Dr. Omar Everleny Pérez Villanueva, Senior Lecturer and Professor at
the CEEC, of the University of Havana, and Dr. Andres Santiago Gomez, Assistant Provost, Dean
of International Studies & Senior Fellow for Cuban Studies, University of Miami (retired) will be
The Forum takes place on November 5, at Lecture Rooms 2&3 of the Institute from 2pm. To register,
please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 785-4587.
Authors in conversation,
Professor Caryl Phillips,
Dr. Raymond Ramcharitar
and Robert Antoni.
THE TRINIDAD GUARDIAN
The CUBA FORUM
“...if all of your relationships are virtual,
you cannot look anyone in the eye.”
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