Historical connection

Chapter 14 Membership of Caribbean organizations

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Chapter 14 Membership of Caribbean organizations
If people live close together in a community, whether it is a village, a town, a country or a group of countries, they can help each other by working together. They cooperate often by forming local, regional or international organizations.

Countries of the Caribbean have always been closely linked. Today this ‘togetherness’ is continues with our membership of Caricom and other Caribbean organizations.


Caricom is a short name for the Caribbean Community and Common Market. It came into being on 4th July 1973 with the Treaty of Chaguaramas. The Bahamas became a member a member on 4th July 1983.

The main aims of Caricom are as follows:

  • To encourage free trade between member countries (that is, with no duties to be paid on imports);

  • To cooperate in economic development;

  • To cooperate foreign policies;

  • To find solutions to problems facing the members of Caricom;

  • To exchange information and work together particularly in areas of health, education, sports and communications.

Member countries also work together when there is a natural disaster (a hurricane, for example). The Bahamas also joins with other members of Caricom to promote the export of selected goods.

The countries of Caricom are represented in several conferences and councils:

  • The Conference of Heads of Government

This conference, which is held once a year, is attended by the prime ministers or presidents of

the Caricom countries. All major decisions are flown during the period of the conference.

  • The Common Market Councils of Ministers

These ministers are responsible for trade between Caricom countries.

  • Other councils of Ministers

These are other groups of ministers who look after activities other than trade – for example: cooperation in agriculture, education, culture, or finance.

The Secretariat is headed by the Secretary-General of Caricom. It is responsible for the daily running of Caricom. It arranges meetings, and decides what services are to be given to member states. The offices of the Secretariat are located in Georgetown, Guyana.

The Caribbean Tourism Organization

The Caribbean Tourism Organization or CTO has more members than Caricom. It helps to promote each member state world-wide, through trade shows and exhibitions. CTO’s promotions encourage tourists to visit and enjoy our islands.

The Caribbean Tourism Organization collects information about tourists and hotels throughout the region and trains people in the tourist industry. The head office is situated in Barbados.

Chapter 15 The Commonwealth of Nations

The countries of what was once the British Empire have always had a common bond. Even though they are scattered all around the world, their links with each other enable them to cooperate. This relationship continues today through membership of the Commonwealth of Nations. The Commonwealth works for equal rights of men and women, and for world peace. It aims to reduce ignorance, disease and poverty in its member countries.

The Commonwealth of Nations has 50 member countries. A total of 1200 million people of different races, religions, languages and colours live in these countries. Some are rich and some are poor, but all share certain traditions and skills. Every four years the Commonwealth Games is held in one of the member countries.

The Commonwealth of Nations began in 1947. The head of the Commonwealth is Queen Elizabeth II. In 1965 the Commonwealth Secretariat was set up, to supply information to the member states and arrange special meetings. It also helps to coordinate activities. For example, if one country needs someone with a special skill, the Secretariat finds someone with that skill and arranges contact between the two counties. It also arranges for students to travel from one country to another for specialist training.

The head of the Commonwealth Secretariat is the Secretary-General, who is elected by the Commonwealth member states. Each country provides money to keep the Secretariat running. The heads of the member states meets regularly, at a special Commonwealth Conference attended by the Queen. Here the heads of state share their views and agree on new plans for Commonwealth cooperation.

The Commonwealth has a special interest in its young people, and in showing them how important it is to work together. This interest is celebrated on Commonwealth Day on the second Monday in March. On this day schools of member countries assemblies, projects and guest speakers. A special message from the Queen is read out to the schoolchildren.

Chapter 16 Shekia goes to Disney World

We’ve all heard about Disney World, but not many of us manage to get there. Shekia was lucky. She travelled there with her family this summer. When she got back home, the first thing she did was to call on her friend Lakeisha, to tell her all about the trip.

Lakeisha: What was it like? Tell me, man, I want to hear all about it!

Shekia: Everything was great! We had such an exciting time, Keisha. I wish you could have come

too. Anton and Paul and I went wild over the rides and all the sights.

You know all those cartoon characters we watch every Saturday on TV? They’re all there, at Disney World! People dress up in costumes as Micky and Minnie Mouse, and Pluto, and Donald Duck, and all the rest, and we could go up and talk to them.

Lakeisha: What about all the rides we hear about?

Shekia: The rides are fantastic. It took Mom and Dad ages to drag us away from our favourites,

Big Thunder Mountain and Space Mountain.

Lakeisha: Did you visit any other Places?

Shekia: Yes, we went to the Epcot Centre and to MGM Studios. Can you imagine a movie screen that goes all around the room? Man, I never thought I could go to France, Spain, China and Britain all in one vacation, but we did! And then we spent a whole day at Sea World

looking at life under the sea.

Lakeisha: How was the trip to get there? You haven’t been on an aeroplane before, have you?

Shekia: Oh, once the plane took off I really enjoyed the trip. What I liked best of all was looking

down on our islands from the air. I really saw then for the first time how beautiful our country is.

We had a bit of excitement at the airport before we took off, though. We had to pass

though a checkpoint. As Anton passed through, there was a loud ‘ping-ping’ noise, and lights started flashed. The security officer stopped him, and he had to empty his pockets - and out came his penknife!

Anton was really upset, because the man took it away from him. Dad told us that the

security officers have to check that no one is carrying a weapon or anything that could

be used to hi-jack a plane. Anton only cheered up after Dad said he’d buy him another

penknife when we got back home.

Lakeisha: Where did you stay in Florida?

Shekia: We had rooms in a lovely hotel in Orlando. You know, Keisha, we’re always being told

that we must be friendly to tourists who come to our islands. Well, all said ‘Have a nice day’, all the time! We were made to feel really welcome.

Lakeisha: Did you buy anything while you were there?

Shekia: Did we buy anything? From the hotel we were able to walk straight out into a shopping,

mall – Mom went mad and bought us all lots of new clothes. I bought this T-shirt for you - I hope it fits. I bought you a little souvenir from Disney World too, but I haven’t got to

the bottom of my suitcase yet.

Lakeisha: Oh thank you, Shekia. It was kind of you to think about me when you were doing so

many exciting things. I wonder if I can get my parents to take us to Florida next year.


Chapter 17 Rice farming in Trinidad

Mr. Ramchand Singh is one of many farmers in Trinidad who earns a living growing rice. He lives with

his family in the country of Caroni. Nari, his younger son who is 9, goes to primary school. His older son

Ramish is 12, and his daughter Shari 14. They both go to secondary school. At the Singhs’ home rice is a

popular dish. Mrs. Singh cooks it with lots of vegetables. The children love it!

The Singhs are Hindus. Mr. Singh’s grandparents came from India, but his parents were born in

Trinidad. On Sundays the Singh family attended their temple, which they call mandir. They celebrate the Hindu feast days, like the festival of Divali, which is celebrated as a public holiday in Trinidad and Tobago.

The family at work

The Singhs have a small paddy field near their home. Mrs. Singh helps her husband in the rice fields. The children also help after school. Every morning Mr. Singh and his wife go off to the farm. Rice will only grow during the hot rainy season.

At the start of the season, Mr. Singh ploughs his fields. Then the field is flooded with water until it is very wet and muddy. The rice seedlings are planted by hand. As the rice plants grow the fields are continually flooded. The water is allowed to rise in the field, but must not drown the plants, which grow fast in the heat and rain.

Gathering the rice crop

After the rainy season is over, the paddy field dries out and the Singhs gather their rice crop. The whole family helps with the harvest. It is a tiring job and takes many days. Mr. Singh uses a hook-shaped knife called a sickle to cut the seedheads off the tall stalks.

Mrs. Singh and the children gather these up and tie them together. The bundles are taken to the threshing shed where they are crushed and beaten so that the ripe seeds fall off. The family gathers up the seeds in bags. These are put on to Mr. Singh’s truck, and he takes them to the mill where he gets a good price for the rice.

Country of many peoples

Trinidad had a population of just over one million people. Some people live in towns, but others, like the Singhs live in villages. The Singhs’ neighbours are of different origins. There are descendants of the Changs from China, the Gibsons from Africa, and the Tuners from Britain. These different ethnic groups have an important effect on Trinidad’s culture.

In some of the villages in the north, many people speak Spanish, and Spanish food is common there. In other villages the older people speak a form of French called a patois. Christmas carols are still sung in French or Creole. African dishes such as coo coo, callaloo and crab are enjoyed by many of the people, and African dances and stories have a great influence on life in Trinidad.

The British influence is seen in the dress, speech, dances and songs of the people. As in The Bahamas, the way the country is governed is also based on the British system of government. And as we have seen, there are people here who originally came from India, and others from China.

Chapter 18 Working in New York

New York has many very tall buildings called skyscrapers. Some of these buildings have more than 20 floors. Most of these very tall buildings are offices, but some are hotels and others are divided up into apartments.

One of these buildings is the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, which is famous for its good food. The food and beverage manager here is Mr. Henry Smith.

Although Mr. Smith works in the centre of New York, he and his family live in Long Island. He has two sons, aged 8 and 10, and his wife is a teacher. Each day Mr. Smith travels by underground train, called the subway, from Long Island to Manhattan, then walks to the hotel on park Avenue.

When he was a boy, Mr. Smith stayed at many hotels with his family. He decided then that he wanted to be a hotel manager one day. So when he left school, he went to Cornell University in Mount Vernon, in the state of lowa. There learnt how to be a successful food and beverage manager.

When he had finished his training, he felt he needed some practical experience, so he came to The Bahamas. He became the manager of the Gulf Stream Restaurant in Paradise Towers Hotel on Paradise Island. He worked hard and eventually became the manager of the Sea Grape Restaurant too.

After improving his skills and knowledge in hotel management, he returned to New York City. He knew that he needed to know still more if he was to achieve his real goal: to become the manager of a large hotel. So he took on the job of food and beverage manager at the Waldorf-Astoria. While doing this job he has been to trade shows and seminars, and has travelled widely to see what people in other hotels are doing.

He has learnt

  • how to hire the best staff for each job

  • where to buy the freshest produce and the finest wines

  • how to plan his budget to make a profit

  • more about union laws, so that he can deal with any problems with his staff.

As manager, Mr. Smith must make sure that his staff are giving the customers the best possible service. Everyone has a special job, and Mr. Smith has to make sure each person does that job well, and also does the job politely and courteously.

These are just some of Mr. Smith’s special tasks:

  • He decides when the restaurant will open.

  • He plans what dishes will be on the menu each day.

  • He decides how the staff should be dressed, and insists that they follow his instructions.

  • He makes sure that all safety regulations are followed.

  • He passes on instructions from the senior manager to his own staff.

Mr. Smith hopes that he will soon gain enough experience to become a hotel manager.

Chapter 19 Canada: the Pierres on vacation

The Pierre family – Mr. and Mrs. Pierre, Mark and Marie who are 10-year-old twins, and Nicholas who is 7 – live in Quebec City, in Canada. Mr. Pierre works as a supervisor in a wood pulp factory, and Mrs. Pierre is a part-time cashier at the bus station.

The Pierres’ house has two storeys. It has a small front yard and a large back yard. The living room, dining-recreation room and the kitchen are on the ground floor. The bedrooms and bathrooms are upstairs. Below the kitchen is the basement. This is a large room underneath the house where tools and other equipment are kept. The children also use the basement as a play area in the winter. Winters are very cold – the temperature often falls below freezing – so the whole house is heated.

Let’s follow the Pierres on vacation

Mark, Marie and Nicholas are up early. It’s the start of their summer vacation. The family is going to spend a couple of days in the Gaspé Peninsula. There they will sleep in tents, at a camp site. This is an area where people can stay for a while in one of the forest reserves of Canada. A reserve is an area where plants and animals are carefully protected.

The children help to pack food and equipment into the station wagon, and then they’re off! Soon they’re crossing the St. Lawrence River and driving north-eastwards alongside it. The road begins to climb, and Mrs. Pierre explains that they car moving up into the Shickshock Mountains. This is an area of high but quite level land. Once these uplands were much higher, but over thousands of years they have been worn down to a plateau. This is a process called erosion.

After a long climb, the road opens out into a ‘mountain lookout’ area, which has a wonderful view. Mr. Pierre stops the wagon, and everyone climbs out to stretch their legs.

‘Look!’ exclaims Mark. ‘There’s a really high mountain.’

‘That’s Mount Jacques Cartier,’ replies Mr. Pierre. ‘That’s the highest peak on the peninsula. It’s over 1000 metres high. It was named after a French navigator, one of the first white men to visit Canada.’

Camping in the forest

Much later, as the day begins to fade, the Pierres arrive at the camp site. The children put their sleeping bags in the tent, while Mrs. Pierre lays out food on the picnic table and begins to grill some hamburgers. Soon these are ready, and the children sit down quietly to eat, hoping they might see some of the forest creatures. But nothing moves except the branches of the forest trees above, rustling in the breeze.

After supper the Pierre join other campers around the reserve’s central campfire. They have a good time singing songs and listening to stories in both French and English. Finally, everyone joins in making Smores. These are a delicious dessert made by roasting marshmallows over the fire, and putting them with pieces of chocolate between two crackers.

The next morning the Pierres set off for a walk down the forest trail. Mr. Pierre names some of the trees that tower above their heads – pine, fir, spruce, hemlock, cedar and birch.

After a little while they come to a stream. Mark hopes to find the home of some beavers, which Mr. Pierre tells him is called a lodge, but there are no beavers to be seen. Marie wants to see some deer. Mr. Pierre looks closely on the ground for animals’ footprints. He shows the children the prints of caribou, deer, fox and mink. The animals come here because they are safe – no one will shot them or set traps for them in the forest reserve. Mr. Pierre suggests they sit down and wait. Mr. Pierre hands out bread and cheese and apples for their lunch, then everyone sits very, very still.

At last they are rewarded. A deer comes stepping out of the forest with a young fawn at her side. She bends to drink from the stream. The children love the deer’s gentle eyes and glossy coat. Suddenly Nicholas sneezes, and both animals spring back into the shelter of the forest.

The Pierres enjoy the rest of their day in the forest, exploring the trails, looking at the different trees and plants, and always keeping an eye open for more animals. They have one more night at the camp site – next day they have to drive back to their home I Quebec City.

Chapter 20 Penpals in Britain and The Bahamas

Claire lives in England. Her teacher knew that Claire loves writing, so she gave her the name and address of Michael Albury, who lives in Spanish Wells in The Bahamas. Michael wanted and English penpal. Read the letters that they wrote to each other.

8 Allen Rise

West Bridgford

Nottingham NG27PY
10th July

Dear Michael

I’ve always wanted a penpal in The Bahamas, so I’m really pleased to be writing to you. There are four of us in my family – my mother and father, my brother Tom who is 2, and me, of course. I’m 9 years old. I have a cocker spaniel called Rex.

My mother stays at home and looks after us. My father works in a pharmaceutical factory, which makes different sorts of pills and toiletries.

We live just outside the city of Nottingham. It’s a large and important city in the heart of England – we call that the Midlands. About 300000 people live in Nottingham. Our house is semi-detached – I’m sending you a picture of it.

I imagine that The Bahamas is always hot and sunny. It’s often sunny here too, but on some days it can be cold, damp and foggy. Our house is heated in the winter to keep us warm.

Nottingham is famous for many things, like its lace, and bicycles. It has one of the largest bicycle factories in the world. Nearly there are coal mines and in the city there are textile factories. Robin Hood’s ‘Sherwood Forest’ is not far away, and a big leisure park called Center Parcs. Dad took us there once to swim and enjoy ourselves – a lot of the area is covered over against bad weather.

Please write to me soon and tell me about yourself and Spanish Wells.

Your penpal


Chapter 21 Haitian neighbours: the Josephs

We have looked at some families who live in other parts of the world, and learnt a little about their way of life. Now we will look at the country and lifestyle of our neighbours in Haiti. Haiti is part of the island of Hispaniola. (The other part is the Dominican Republic.) We should try to learn more about our neighbours so that we can understand their problems and their country.

The Jospeh’s live in Haiti, the first country to become independent in the West Indies. Like most people in Haiti the Josephs speak a form of Creole-a French dialect that is spoken in haitit.

The five members of the Joseph family are Mr. St. Vil Joseph, Mrs. Desi Joseph and their three children 7-year-old Lucy, 10-year-old Rolande and 12-year-old Marie. They live in Port-au-Prince, the capital of Haiti. The Josephs are devoted Catholics. The family worships at the Cathedral and participates in many church activities.

Mr. and Mrs. Joseph are both school teachers and are both respected in the community. Education is very important to the development of Haiti. The Joseph children do not find it easy to skip their homework.

Mr. Joseph teaches at a primary school, while Mrs. Joseph teaches mathematics at a secondary school in the city. The children attend the Petite Seminaire College de Saint Martial.

Rolande, Marie and Lucy look forward to special holidays to provide a break from school. Some national holidays in Haiti are

  • Independence Day – celebrated on 1st January

  • Flag Day – 18th May

  • Jour des Ailux: Day of the Ancestors – 2nd January

  • Jour de L’Armée: Day of the Army – 18th November.

The children are very energetic. They

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