Tag Archives: Antigua

A & B Arts Round-up – October 4th 2017—>

October 22nd – November 1st 2017

Independence programme  22008119_961084467363254_3152077473436315934_n








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The Antigua and Barbuda Media: an Abridged Record

Primary source: Antigua’s Media: Now and Then by Milton Benjamin (published in Volume 13 Number 1, Spring 2007 of the CLR James Journal: A Review of Caribbean Ideas, a publication of the Caribbean Philosophical Association) CLRand (as a secondary source) Talking with Whom? A Report on the State of the Media in the Caribbean by Aggrey Brown and Roderick Sanatan published 1987 (noting then, grave concern re foreign content, media professionalism, and press freedom). A little additional help from internet resources like Wikipedia, the World Press Freedom Report, and Censorship: a World Encyclopedia (2002, Derek Jones). These are arranged not as they appear in the respective publications but in an attempt to capture the chronology. Bolds and italics are mine. – JCH, site admin and Wadadli Pen founder; plus trained media practitioner, author, and freelance provider of writing, editing, and (written communication and literary) training services

“a tradition that dates back at least to the first third of the 19th century when newspapers were a salient force in advocating political change in Antigua. Back then, the written word in the form of newspapers and pamphlets were the primary means that activists used to galvanize public opinion to their cause.”

The Antigua Free Press, the first newspaper was introduced into Antigua by Benjamin Mekom (Benjamin Franklin’s nephew).”

One of the earliest newspaper editors and publishers was Henry Loving “born a slave probably in 1790 but was manumitted at the age of nine (9)…” – “Along with Nathaniel Hill he had founded The Weekly Register in 1814 to press their cause and argued in it that they (free coloreds) were Englishmen and should not be treated in an inferior manner.” – “Shortly after winning complete civil rights for the free colored (1832), Loving pressed for the same treatment to be extended to slaves but not all of the free colored were ready to back that project…In fact, two members of the Loving inspired Committee of Correspondence, David Cranston and Peter Walter, were so incensed with Loving for his position with regard to the slaves that they wrote to the planter’s newspaper, The Herald Gazette disassociating themselves from the Committee and from support of the abolition of slavery. The Herald Gazette had been instituted in 1831 especially to rail against the Loving and Hill Weekly Register. Because of the abolition controversy, the Weekly Register lost so many subscribers that Loving was compelled to give up its editorship in 1833 (to G. Hart, another free coloured). The Weekly Register continued to be published until 1839 when Loving ceased its publication.”

“It is noteworthy that there always seemed to have been at least one nonwhite newspaper editor during the post emancipation period…(Hart) also published the Antigua Almanac and Register 1843…the Antigua Observer was founded in 1843 and was being edited by A. B. Hill…The Antigua Times was established in 1851 by an American named Fred S. Jewett…It was purchased by Paul Horsford…in 1872…After Paul Horsford died in 1878, The Times was taken over by Messrs Macmillan and J. H. Hill, but it then closed down. The gap was filled by the Antigua Standard in 1874; and from the early 1890s until about 1908, was owned and edited by Joseph Theodore Thibou…by the 1890s, the Observer was owned and edited by still another former free coloured, Daniel W. Scarvillle….By 1909 The Antigua Standard had been sold to Allan Husband Nurse, a Barbadian who renamed it the Antigua Sun…The Sun closed in 1922…”

1931 – “Joseph A. N. Brown used his own money to inaugurate The Magnet newspaper…and hired Harold Wilson to be its editor.”
1940The Progress newspaper “editor Edward Mathurin, a printer…” – advocated (sometimes unsuccessfully for) improvements in working conditions on sugar estates e.g. reduced work day and equal pay for women in the sugar estates, end to whipping on sugar estates, and end to share cropping.

The Antigua Star newspaper made its debut as the mouthpiece of the sugar and estates barons, who were, in effect, the ruling class in Antigua and Barbuda up to that time in the early 1940s. Mostly white and of European descent…”

“… radio (came) in the 1940s. Antigua and Barbuda was not to be left behind, though the number of sets was limited to individuals who could afford to purchase a set that could bring in stations that broadcast in the shortwave bands. These included the British Broadcasting Service and the Voice of America. These were the main outlets from which people got their information about what was happening in the world beyond them. Sometimes the cable services would post printed news items in specific locations so that interested individuals could go and find out what was going on in the region and beyond. But through it all, the local newspaper was the main focus of political debate.”

1944The Workers’ Voice “(A publication of the Antigua Trades and Labour Union) with Musgrave Edwards as its editor” started publication – “organizations that were engaged in politics accepted that to get their message out to a wide and increasingly sophisticated audience, they needed some kind of publication.” – other early editors included Rolston Williams, Novelle Richards (1948), George Walter (1958), and Milton Benjamin (1960); and McChesney George (A View from the Ampitheatre by Onlooker) was a contributor.

“Only with advocacy journalism as practiced in The Magnet, The Progress, and The Workers’ Voice…was the horrendous treatment of the underclasses begun to be addressed…”

“In 1956, Antigua got yet another political newspaper. Rohan Henry, a distinguished lawyer, put together a political party which he called the Antigua National Party (ANP). He launched a newspaper, The Anvil, to propagate the views of the ANP; the editor was Musgrave Edwards.”

Late 1960s, Henry’s next publishing venture was The Antigua Times (coinciding with his new Antigua People’s Party) – Bridget George Harris was the editor.

ABS TV…began telecasting in 1965 as ZAL-TV. ZAL-TV was owned by a private company then, and served Antigua on Channel 10…The station was run by an expatriate management and staff, and was affiliated with another television station in Bermuda…in the mid-1970s, because of severe financial problems, the television station was eventually bought by the Government of Antigua, and re-named ABS-TV.”


Me, just back from University of the West Indies in 1995 and reporting on ABS TV – this was The Year in Review year-end broadcast.

The Outlet newspaper (founded 1968, edited by Leonard Tim Hector), (became) one of the most influential newspapers ever published in Antigua and Barbuda (associated with the Antigua Caribbean Liberation Movement)…The Outlet exposed many instances of corruption…” – “In its heyday Outlet claimed a circulation of around 5,000 copies, thus being the most widely read newspaper on Antigua. As of the early 1970s, Outlet and Standard (which appeared on irregular basis) were the sole opposition newspapers in the country…Exif JPEGDue to its criticisms, Outlet was often targeted (the offices were raided in the 1980s and the publication faced off against the government in court more than once, and in the 1990s its building was attacked by arsonists)… Hector died in 2002 and publication continued for a short time after his death.

“Not to be outdone, the fledgling Antigua Workers Union (which started in 1968) brought out its own organ to disseminate its views in the form of The Trumpet newspaper, stenciled sheets of paper, with a lawyer’s clerk, Theodore Dunning, as its initial editor.

Cable Television, a privately-owned company, began operation in Antigua in the latter half of 1983.” (non-local, primarily American content)

(in the 1980s and early 1990s) the surviving papers were The Worker’s Voice, the Outlet, and the Nation’s Voice (out of the Government Information Unit) – Local radio in the 1980s was dominated by ABS Radio (government-owned and run)and  ZDK (privately owned, by Ivor Bird, son of Prime Minister V. C. Bird Sr. of the ruling Antigua Labour Party) – beyond that there were Caribbean Relay Station, gospel station Caribbean Radio Lighthouse (plus whatever regional stations we could pick up – like GEM which was then popular among teens- JCH).

“…The Daily Observer was founded in 1993 and it is now published from Monday to Saturday…As (co-founder) Winston Derrick disclosed…because he and (brother) Fergie (Samuel Derrick) had a desire to publish, and Winston owned a computer, both he and his brother started the Observer newspaper by fax. Now the grand daddy of current Antigua newspapers…”


“In 1997, (American businessman) Allan Stanford established The Antigua Sun newspaper and subsequently followed it with the sister publication the Sun Weekend, each in color.” (Both are now defunct and Mr. Stanford is a federal prisoner in the US)

Observer Radio burst on the scene in the year 2001.” – “Journalism in Antigua and Barbuda has not been the same since then. That decision freed up the radio airwaves once and for all.”

“Prior to the coming of Observer Radio the airwaves in Antigua were dominated by the Government broadcast services in radio and television (i.e. ABS, GIS), and by the private radio and television services (i.e. Cable TV, the lone cable TV service and Grenville Radio/ZDK) owned by the Bird family, the family which dominated politics in Antigua and Barbuda for almost half a century…”

When Observer Radio first started broadcasting “the editor and publisher were arrested for operating a radio station without a license” (note: the paper, like the Outlet, and subsequently the radio station has also been sued multiple times by government and/or government ministers).

“It’s a truism that Observer Radio would not exist but for the fact that the Observer Group had to go through a lengthy and expensive court process to get a license to broadcast, because their original application for a license to set up a radio station was denied them by the government …It was the Privy Council in London, Antigua and Barbuda’s court of last resort that compelled the Government of Antigua and Barbuda to grant the license to the Observer Group.”

“The Observer Group also maintains a sister radio station (Hitz FM) …(which unlike the Observer Radio talk format) plays mainly popular music…”

“…the first flagrantly political radio station, Crusader Radio, opened up its channels in the year 2004. Crusader began broadcasting explicitly on behalf of the United Progressive Party (UPP), the opposition party.” UPP (whose previous battles with the ruling government for access to ABS TV/radio are also a matter of public record) became the ruling government for two terms after 2004.

The opening up of the airwaves, traceable to the Observer Radio case, a faultline in Antiguan and Barbudan media, is credited with expanding the talk radio format and shaking up the political landscape.

Post-note (from memory so forgive any oversights/errors, please): Clearly many of the publications (several like the Sentinel in the late 1980s/early 90s (?) – started by Vere Bird Jr., News Pages Antigua in the 2000s edited by Timothy Payne, and others, as well as magazines like Woman’s Place 1990s (?) edited by Iva Williams David, Business Focus Antiguapage_1 and Essential edited by D. Gisele Isaac, and others, and online publications like the Antigua and Barbuda News Source i.e. sourceAB.com – both Source and Essential in the late 1990s/early 2000s are publications I was involved in starting along with other enterprising media people) have come and gone – at this writing, there are only two daily papers, the Daily Observer and Caribbean Times caribbean-times-65th-issueboth with online components, as well as purely online publications Antigua Chronicle and Antigua Newsroom. There are also several annual tourism publications. Radio is much more populated with the likes of RedHot, Vybz, Nice FM, and others – all also online – lots of music but post-the launch of Observer Radio lots more talk than ever before, lots more freedom to talk; and while local TV is still primarily ABS, there’s been marginally more local (film and TV) content (via independent producers such as HAMA – see here for more on film content) but also an explosion of foreign content thanks to cable offerings from Flow TV and CTV; and, of course, there’s the endless internet (touristic and otherwise) where new content creators stay creating.

As with all content on wadadlipen.wordpress.com, except otherwise noted, this is written by Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, Oh Gad!, Fish Outta Water, Musical Youth, and With Grace). All Rights Reserved. Seriously, a lot of time, energy, love and frustration goes in to researching and creating content for this site; please don’t just take it up just so without even a please, thank you or an ah-fu-she-subben (credit). If you enjoyed it, check out my page on Amazon, WordPress, and/or Facebook, and help spread the word about Wadadli Pen and my books. You can also subscribe to the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks.

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Lamentations by King Short Shirt

Sung by Mclean ‘Short Shirt’ Emanuel
Written by Shelly Tobitt

See also our song lyrics data base; and our song writers’ data base. All lyrics are transcribed from the song recording. Errors and omissions are my own; feel free to help me correct or fill in the blanks. – JCH, blogger

Lament oh my soul (x2)
I crying for this cruel world
Mankind can’t find no solution
I say, we reaping the sour fruits of retribution
And I’m now convinced we are violent, Lord
Vulgar animals
And is we who say we intelligent
We superior
We civilize and we wise
Yet we making all kinda bomb
Blowing up everyone
Killing one another with gun
And who ain’ got gun
Use knife

Lord I say
That the time has come
For us to get on our knees
Lift our head to the trees
To the very sky above you
(Oh Lord, Oh Lord)
Let there be happiness in our soul
(Oh Lord, Oh Lord)
Let there be love not hate in our world
Oh for the day when he come down
In all he glory and say
Let there be peace
And all them fighting cease

Peace, peace, peace
Everybody shouting peace
Oh lord
Love and happiness is what we need
No one no one
Will stretch that loving hand
Everyone sitting down on their ass
Watching the other man
While war and crime and violence
Gone rampant in every land
Yes, he said he made us above the animal
Destiny to hold
The galaxy’s in our hand
But dog and pussy stop fight
They living and unite
Is only we human wantonly destroy life


Female liberation
Even women wants their freedom
Rioting, demonstration
Where will this end
If it keeps on
I can only visualize annihilation
With them bombs and guns
And constant improvement on modernized weapon
Yes, he gave us eyes to see and ears to hear
But wha me eyes perceive
Lord a trembling in fear
Bombs falling from the air
Shooting everywhere
Rebellion far and near
And every day is more talk bout revolution I hear


Power madness has come
Every land in raw confusion
Poverty and starvation
Lining the street
Hand in hand with man
Grasping at the throats of the poorer ones
Pounding and grinding him in to oblivion
Hatred, injustice, greed and vengeance
Corruption and treachery
So very eminent
It’s the order of the day
You cannot get away
No matter what you do or say
Unless we kneel and let the nation heel



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Summer Festival by King Short Shirt

This one is a collaboration between King Short Shirt and co-writer and collaborator Stanley Humphreys. It won him the road march king in 1980, a year in which he also won one of his 15 Antigua Calypso Monarch crowns. See also our song lyrics data base; and our song writers’ data base. All lyrics are transcribed from the song recording. Errors and omissions are my own; feel free to help me correct or fill in the blanks. – JCH, blogger

Every year, it’s becoming more popular
The Carnival we display in Antigua
From every nation
They come to jump up in we steel band
Show them that they’re welcome
Let them enjoy our native land
You must show them
Our tropical sceneries
Our beautiful sites
Relating to histories
Our white sandy beaches
Our smiling faces
I say, they won’t want to go home

They enjoying the Caribbean’s
Most colourful
Summer festival

The tourist come
They come to enjoy the festival
It’s fun and spree
During the whole Carnival
They hear about j’ouvert
If you see them prowling for a band
They are filled with excitement
Dressed for the special occasion
Some are wearing tear up pajamas
Big boots and sneakers
With oversize trousers
Zip up panties
Half slip and nighties
Like if they don’t plan to go home


Our shows, I say they are spectacular
Yes we have
A high standard in Antigua
My calypsos
They vibrates the Caribbean
Our steelband and mas men
Strive for more innovation
See beautiful women in costume parading
The prince and princess
Are played by our children
Accept the invitation
For your participation
I sure you won’t want to go home


Once you have
Tasted this great festival
You must come back to share in our bacchanal
It’s so captivating
You can’t miss a next j’ouvert morning
The whole place pulsating
From sound of steel and brass playing
Mas bands parading
Colourful, fascinating
It’s so exciting
To see people dancing
So peaceful and free
It will live in your memory
You’ll wish Antigua was your home


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A & B Arts Round-up – August 26th 2017—>

September 8th 2017 – 21192001_10155565130254373_7294598830576358023_n

September 3rd 2017 – 2 p.m. New session of Let’s Paint Antigua at Russell’s Bar and Seafood Restaurant at Fort James, Saint John’s, Antigua and Barbuda (go to their facebook page for more)

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Carnival is Mas

Some of you who read this blog are not Antiguan or even Caribbean so when I talk about Carnival I’m not quite sure what you picture (some of you do have Caribbean Carnivals where you are as it’s become one of our more popular exports – wherever  Caribbean people reside – Miami, Toronto, Notting Hill, Boston, New York, Atlanta etc. – there is a Carnival). But beyond the wining and soca, the rum and debauchery, there is a history rooted in our liberation as former enslaved people brought to the Americas from our home continent of Africa centuries ago. In Antigua, Carnival (which celebrated its 60th anniversary as a summer festival – the Caribbean Greatest Summer Festival to hear us tell it, though Rihanna and Barbados’ Cropover might have something to say about that – this year but existed as a Christmas season mas before that) intersects with Emancipation Day, August Monday, and there is a small adjacent, but not integrated, Emancipation celebration that’s more about honouring the ancestors and seeking justice for the lives eaten up by hundreds of years of enslavement. And then there is Carnival proper which begins with pre-fetes, and includes pageants (Queens and Teens), music competitions (soca, calypso, pan), and, of course, mas…because Carnival is mas. And in Antigua that mas takes up two business days (three if you count Children’s Carnival though Children’s Carnival unlike the other two days is not a national holiday) known as Carnival Monday and Tuesday at the end of which prizes are dispensed. I wanted to share some of the mas in this space.

How it works is that you have different mas bands (or troupes) and they play different themes (a new one each year) – from mythology to lost civilizations to things in nature to things in the great beyond, and beyond; it’s about history and fantasy, creativity and expression. There are adult categories and junior categories. I’m going to share pictures from Junior (i.e. Children’s) Carnival first because those are the only mas photos I found on the Antigua Carnival facebook (and it works out fine since this is a youth-focused arts blog); but don’t ask me to say who is who nor what they’re playing.

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The source for the images in the slideshow is Antigua Carnival on facebook.

I wanted to show some of the adult themes as well.

Staci Mua RussellopeningInsane

In order, the top image is a modern take on the John Bull by Stacey Russel (Stacey and Dem) – the John Bull is a traditional mas character who used to scare the devil out of us when we were kids. It is based on the masked African witch doctor and back in the day there was a cattle tender with a whip, and the horned character would charge the crowd, and people would scatter; it was a whole thing. Read more on the John Bull here. The second image is a member of a mini-mas group called Just Friends, because that’s literally what they are. Me and my crew played behind  them this year (but more on that in a minute). The third image is Insane Mas. All three placed in the competition this year. Read the full results here. Sorry there aren’t more adult pictures but it’s hard to pull more without pushing beyond fair  use boundaries – as it is these three are public posts from the mas pages (Stacey’s and Insane‘s) and the Carnival page on facebook.

Finally, this year, as I blogged here, two friends and I (as one media person repeatedly intoned “all three” of us) decided to do our own thing this year. An ulterior motive was showcasing a character from my most recent children’s picture book With Grace – a mango tree fairy. So yes, this is a shameless plug for my Caribbean fairytale (please pick up a copy for the young one in your life) but it’s also mas which we all love and have played many times together and apart over the years. These costumes are made by my friends (with funding from Titi Rent-a-Car, Townhouse Megastore, and Pink Mongoose) and inspired by the art work in the book (illustrated by Cherise Harris). I think we did okay.



That’s it!

Okay, fine, here are some more of the kids (love how much fun they’re having):

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-by Joanne C. Hillhouse, resident blogger and author

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Tourist Leggo

Sung by Mclean ‘Short Shirt’ Emanuel
Written by Shelly Tobitt

Jouvert Morning
Just as the band start parading
I in Scot’s Row jamming tight with a leggo
Pretty little yankee tourist at that
She say she come down from Halifax
And she never see carnival
So she come to join in the bacchanal
She want to go jump and play she mas
Just like an Antiguan
She want to go jump up
And join in a j’ouvert jam
Join in the greatest vehicle of expression
Jumping in the steelband
Dancing in the sun

She want to romp, she want to dance
She want to jump, she want to prance
She want a man
She want to jam
She blood run cold every time she hear a pan roll
Bi Dang Dang Bi Dang Bi Dang Bi Dang Dang
Bi Dang Dang Bi Dang Bi Dang Bi Dang Dang
She want to romp and shake she waist
She want to make mas in the place
She want to romance with a man
She want to wine wine wine wine
Roll roll roll roll
Jump jump jump jump
Romp romp romp romp

From the start you could see the girl love the art
We calypso and we steel band
Man, she really love the jam session
Quietly the girl said to me
Shorty, what a glorious symphony
The music seems to fill you with rage
And make you feel like you on a stage
Oh what an artistic excitement moment of history
A gala of beauty
Festival of dance, song, and spree
The melody, the harmony … (?)
Singing in she brain driving she insane


Mas for so
Look the pan man dem on the go
Everybody shouting with glee
Wining, shaking their body
The place well hot and the music sweet
Prancing feet igniting the street
And then she couldn’t take it no more
Suddenly the woman explode
With an ungraceful wobble just like if she was swimming
Jumping without timing
Singing with a strange harmony
Trouncing, chipping man like if she go fall down
Two bottle of white rum underneath she arm



For more Antiguan and Barbudan lyrics, see the Song Lyrics data base. All lyrics transcribed by Joanne C. Hillhouse. Please help in correcting any errors or share any lyrics you may have so that we can continue to build the data base. We do not own the rights to these works and no profit is being made; they are being shared exclusively for educational purposes.

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