Global Voices Online » Blogger of the Week: Janine Mendes-Franco Some highlights:
The Caribbean is generally viewed as a monolith by the international community, but anyone who has been here knows that there are tangible differences from territory to territory. This was one event that made me understand how interconnected we actually are.
The state of my country concerns me. I believe we’re focusing on the superficial rather than the necessary. It’s a very shortsighted approach to development and a dangerously shaky foundation on which to build. Erecting generic-looking skyscrapers makes no sense when your health care system is in shambles; when crime is out of control; when there is no environmental awareness. I do not accept that the changes happening in Trinidad and Tobago (and indeed much of the region) are solely as a result of the effects of globalization. We need to stand up and be masters of our own destiny.
I’ve noticed that the Caribbean has, in varying degrees, been afraid of seeing itself. This is why Trinidad and Tobago is, in the 21st century, just attempting to build a serious cinema industry, when the stories and talent and tools have been there for almost four decades (proof of the pudding is in films like The Right and the Wrong  and Bim ). It is why Jamaica is still seeing the phenomenon of skin bleaching. It is part of the reason so many regional territories are struggling with spiraling crime rates.Self-examination is critical to any sort of progress and I’m afraid we’re not being honest with ourselves. If we don’t have constructive conversations about what we’ve been through and where we’ve come from, then we’re going forward in the dark. When you don’t know yourself and what you stand for, then you’re likely to listen to the chatter; you begin to believe that your identity is what other people tell you it is.