Q  Which Trinidadian mounted a successful campaign in the 1950s to end white entitlement to captaincy of the West Indies cricket team?


A  C. L. R. James, then editor of The Nation, editor of the People’s National Movement party’s newspaper, The Nation. He worked to, in his words, “dislodge the mercantile-planter class from automatic domination of West Indies cricket.”

More on this subject

Q:  Name the person who became known as "Turtle Police" and "Crazy Turtle Woman" because of her obsession with saving endangered leatherback turtles on the Mathura beach in Trinidad.

A:  Suzan Lakhan Baptiste. For years she walked a six-mile stretch of beach near her home during of turtle nesting season trying to dissuade those who would slaughter the leatherback turtles for their meat, eggs.  She and her group have met considerable success. For years, Baptiste and her group patrolled the beaches every night. Now the turtles are being protected.

See CNN video and article.

'Crazy Turtle Woman' transforms graveyard into maternity ward -

Q:  What island to the west of mainland Trinidad was used to quarantine sick Trinidadians?

A:  Chacachacare. This Amerindian name means "cotton."  Cotton  was grown there by Amerindians centuries ago. In 1924, a leprosarium staffed by nuns, was established there to relieve the pressure on the existing leprosarium at Cocorite (in western Trinidad). This was closed in 1984.  The ruins of the churches, hospital and other structures are still present. Trinidadians from the mainland go to Chacachacare occasionally on outings.

Q: What are “snake bottles” in Trinidad?

 A:  They are flasks containing folk medicines that hunters concoct for themselves and their dogs. These medicines are intended to treat a number of problems such as snakebites, scorpion stings, and skin conditions but also the behavior of hunting dogs and even successful hunting outcomes. Snake bottles may contain parts of plants such as roots, leaves and juices, but could also contain caterpillars, insects and other ingredients that are believed to be effective.

Q:  Where, in Trinidad, did a military mutiny result from the Black Power movement?

A:  At Teteron Bay in 1970. The government declared an "emergency." Prime Minister Eric Williams asked for arms and ammunition from the United States, while U.S. and British warships arrived off the coast of the island. President Nixon ordered a fleet of ships with 2,000 Marines into the area.

Q:  What has long been regarded as the headquarters of  horseracing in the southern Caribbean.

A:  The Queen's Park Savannah, Port of Spain, Trinidad.

Q:  Where is the oldest Benedictine monastery in the Caribbean?

A:  At Mount St. Benedict in Trinidad

Q.  Which former West Indian cricketer, born 1969 in Santa Cruz, Trinidad, is  regarded as one of the finest batsmen ever, and has produced the only quintuple hundred in first-class cricket history.

A: Brian Charles Lara

Q:  Trinidadians call it "surgeon." What is it.

A:  The vampire bat.

See Dr. Blair

Q:  What observance in Trinidad originated with burnt cane?

A:  Canboulay, derived from the French “cannes brulees”, meaning “burnt cane.” The beginning of canboulay dates back to the August 1 festivities marking the anniversary of emancipation in 1838. During the 1880s, these festivities included drumming, flaming torches (resembling burning cane) and violent stick fighting. The violence was one cause for concern, the fear that the torches might start a fire in the city was another. The colonial government did everything possible to stop canboulay, but without success. By 1890, however, the bloody episodes had practically come to an end, but not before violent confrontations between the revelers and the police. The stick fights seen today are more like choreographed dances.    

More about canboulay

Q: What location in Trinidad was once called "the place of the silk cotton trees?

A: Port of Spain occupies an area that was once called “Cumucurapo” – the place of the silk cotton trees. This name was recorded as Conquerabia by the Europeans.

Q:  Who said, "Forget Mother Africa; forget Mother India; think of Mother Trinidad"?

A:  Prime Minister Eric Williams

Q:  Who was Trinidad’s first Olympic champion?

A:  Hasely Joachim Crawford. On July 24, 1976 . he won Trinidad and Tobago's first Gold Medal in the 100 metres at the Olympic Games in Montreal, Canada.  Born August 16, 1950, Hasely Crawford started with athletics at age 17.

Q:  When did the steel pan first come out into the streets in Trinidad?

A:  On V-E Day, May 8, 1945, the day of celebration of the Allied Victory in Europe following the German surrender. The announcement of victory by British Prime Minister Winston Churchill resulted in spontaneous jubilation that had people singing, making noise, and making music with every available instrument. During the two days and nights of unbridled celebration, the steel pan came out (illegally, because it was banned from the streets as many of  its followers were associated with violent crime). The steelband, as we know it today, was yet to come.

Q:  What two menacing-sounding places separate Trinidad from the South American mainland?

A:  Boca del Dragon (Dragon's mouth) and Boca del Serpiente (Serpent's mouth). Both of these bodies of were named by Columbus.

Q:  Why do sugar workers set fires in the cane fields?

A:  Workers set fires to burn away trash stalks from the sugar cane. This controlled burning of trash is an important agricultural practice. The result is that clean canes are harvested, and a minimum of trash is sent to the mills. One aspect of  Trinidad's canboulay came out of this practice.

Q:  Which politician dominated the Trinidad scene until his death in 1981?

A:  Dr. Eric Williams. He founded and led the People's National Movement (PNM).

Q:  Which Trinidad Prime Minister was held hostage together with eight of his cabinet members by rebels in 1990?

A:  A.N.R. Robinson. This was one aspect of an attempted overthrow of the government by the Jamaat-al-Muslimeen, a Muslim fundamentalist group led by the Imam, Yasin Abu Bakr. From 27 July the rebels held the hostages until their unconditional surrender on 1 August. The rebels received an amnesty document from the then Acting President, Emmanuel Carter. Two years later they were freed when a High Court judge upheld the document as valid.

Q:  Were there any fatalities during the attempt to overthrow the Trinidad and Tobago government in 1990?

A:  During the disturbances,  23 people were killed and about 500 were injured, Prime Minister A.N.R. Robinson among the injured. The rebels bombed Police Headquarters, and took over the parliament building and the TV station.

Q:  What do the following persons have in common? Dr. Eric Williams, Valerie Belgrave, C.L.R. James, V.S. Naipaul, Shiva Naipaul and Earl Lovelace.

A:  They are all Trinidad writers.

Q:  Name the first Trinidadian world boxing champion.

A:  Claude Noel. On September 12, 1981 he became the lightweight champion of the world.

Q:  When does Carnival take place in Trinidad?

A:  Carnival, the largest and most popular of Trinidad's festivals, takes place two days before Ash Wednesday, which marks the beginning of  the Christian season of Lent.

About the Trinidad Carnival

Q:  What is Red House in Trinidad?

A:  Parliament Building

Q:  What is the name of the famous Trinidad place of meetings surrounded by the Red House (Parliament), the Town Hall, the Public Library and Trinity Church?

A:  Woodford Square, named after Governor Ralph Woodford.

Q:  He graduated from Queen's Royal College High School, went to Oxford University on an Island Scholarship, taught at Howard University then went back home in 1948. Who was he?

A:  Dr. Eric Williams, who became Prime Minister. His lectures at Woodford Square under the auspices of the Teachers Educational and Cultural Association attracted a large following which supported him all the way to the Prime Minister's office.

Q:  What goes on at The Savannah?

A:  Horse races held by the Trinidad Turf Club on its race course.

Q:  In what Muslim ceremony are replicas of the tombs of Mohamed's massacred grandsons carried through the streets to the accompaniment of tassa drumming?

A:  The festival of Hosein.

Q:  Where can one see the famous hearing aid and pipe of Prime Minister Eric Williams?

A:  At the St. Augustine Campus of the University of the West Indies in Trinidad. It is now part of the Williams' Collection.

Q:  What Trinidad bird sleeps in caves during the day and leaves at dusk in noisy flocks to look for food?

A:  The oilbird. They are very fatty birds. Because of this Amerindians used to capture them and render them down for fuel for their lamps and torches.

Q:  Where in Trinidad did Sir Walter Raleigh stop to caulk his ships on his way to search for El Dorado?

A:  The pitch lake at La Brea. The bitumen from the pitch lake, also called the La Brea Tar Pits,  is used to pave roads all over the world.

Q:  Where in Trinidad is Columbus said to have first landed?

A:  The place is now the town of Moruga, on the southernmost coast of the island.

Q:  What bird, indigenous to New Guinea, was brought to an island about a mile off Tobago when a former owner of the island heard that the birds were in danger of extinction?

A:  The Bird of Paradise. Trade in their gorgeous feathers had greatly reuced their numbers.

Q:  On Tuesday, July 31, 1498 Christopher Columbus gave the name Trinidad to an island he had seen for the first time. What was its name before then?

A:  Kairi. This Amerindian name means "The island close to the mainland." The mainland was of course, the continent of South America.

Q:  Which Trinidadian was made member to the House of Lords in London in1969?

A: Learie Constantine

Q:  Name the Trinidadian who was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2001.

A:  Vidya Naipaul

Q.  Who was Winifred Atwell

A.  A phenomenal pianist of the 1950s

Q.  What is the Nylon Pool?

It’s the name given to a location off Pigeon Point, Tobago. much like a relatively shallow swimming pool out in the deep sea,   The bottom of Nylon Pool,  part of the Buccoo Reef system, is a white sand bank, and the water a lovely blue to just about the ankle or knee or waist for many people.  When you’re in the “pool”  it gives you the sense of standing up unafraid but quite impressed in the middle of the sea.  

Visitors to the Nylon Pool are taken there by boat. They then get out and walk, splash around, stare out to sea, swim, and take pictures.