Latest newsletter ‘Confronting Caribbean Challenges’ now online available

Welcome to the sixth CCC newsletter! As you will see from the reports written by our team members, a lot of exciting work has been done. Sanne Rotmeijer concluded an extended period of field research, working in the world of media for over a year on Curaçao and Sint Maarten: both with and for local newspapers and via new digital fora. Stacey Mac Donald has just finished up her first period of fieldwork on Saba, Statia and Bonaire, gaining a better understanding of the actions and motivations of islanders working for nature conservation and the preservation of cultural heritage. As you will learn from the reports of these two PhD students, Sanne and Stacey are juggling two roles, that of researchers but also their roles as members of the activist communities they are studying.

Meanwhile, postdocs Jessica Roitman and Wouter Veenendaal are continuing their research, publications, and presentations with admirable enthusiasm and productivity. It is a rather sad comment on the present state of Dutch academia that even as they are in the middle of their present work for CCC, they already need to work hard on grant applications for new projects, lest they find themselves without a job in the near future.

As for myself, I am mainly involved with the work of our team in an advisory role. What we learn in this project does feed into occasional contacts I have with politicians, government officials, and the press on both sides of the Atlantic – as the CCC survey conducted by Wouter underlines once more, there are very evident frustrations on all six islands of the former Netherlands Antilles that need to be taken seriously. I also made two short visits to the Caribbean, one to Aruba, Bonaire, and Curaçao to develop a joint program on cultural heritage, and one to Cuba to make a television documentary on the island at the eve of president Obama’s historic visit, see Talking of Caribbean challenges, the transition of Cuba no doubt will have a major impact on the entire region in the upcoming years.

Gert Oostindie

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