We had previous images of rice planting and this is one showing individuals washing rice seedlings in the nursery area of the rice lagoon in 1957. East Indians have always had a special relationship with rice. Despite its uneconomic nature, many East Indian settlers chose to live in the Caroni and Oropouche lagoon areas because of the prospect of rice cultivation. Through toil, dedicated effort and determination they elevated the land area under rice cultivation in Trinidad from ~10000 acres just before WWII to 35000 acres in 1945 (Ref: The Indian Centenary Review, 1945) Rice is the only important crop that also bore religious significance to East Indians, particularly Hindus. Symbolising abundance and prosperity, it is still an integral ingredient of Hindu rituals and ceremonies. A family would cultivate rice in the flooded lagoon in the rainy season and a variety of alternative crops (cucumbers, watermelons, bodi beans etc) in the dryer months. Source: Dev Ramnarine-Misir Virtual Museum of T&T
Kings Street, St Joseph - one of the few standing gingerbread houses. Source: Virtual Museum of T&T
The best tasting cake in the world is officially a Trini one.
Trinidadian chefs, Michelle Sohan and Kathleen Lange made the country proud after their cake was given the award for Best Tasting Cake in the World earlier this week at the World Cake Designers Championship 2017 in Milan, Italy.
The group, which was one of 20 countries which competed, also placed seventh in the World Cake Competition which was held by the FIP Federazione Internazionale Pasticceria Gelateria Cioccolateria.
In a public Facebook post, Sohan, who owns local business Bakery Treatz, thanked all those who helped her and Lange win the coveted prize.
Source: The Loop Oct 27, 2017.
Former Fatima College School principal Clive Pantin, back row third from left, poses with his siblings back row left Helen, Michael, Geoffrey, Monica and Patricia. They are joined by front row left, Rosa, Gerard, Ronald and Anthony.
The Pantin family from Woodbrook answered the call to “serve the people, serve the people, serve all of the people” of T&T. Service has never been an alien concept to the prominent Pantins who made positive inroads on the socio-economic landscape. The late Anthony Pantin was archbishop of the diocese of Port-of-Spain. Former Fatima College principal, Clive Pantin became Minister of Education. Fr Gerard Pantin founded Service Volunteered For All (Servol). Three doyennes among the Pantin clan epitomise the notion of service, volunteerism and humanitarianism. Ten siblings were born to late housewife Agnes and Julien Pantin, a managing director at the defunct Salvatori Scott Ltd. The union produced Gerard, Tony (late), Rose, Geoffrey (late), Clive, Monica, Ronald (late), Helen, Patricia and Michael. The Pantins’ matriarch Agnes was a “very religious woman” who took them to mass regularly at St Patrick’s RC Church, Maraval. The family remained steeped in Roman Catholicism. Rosa answered the call to join the nunnery with the Sisters of Cluny at St Joseph’s Convent.
Commenting on their calling, Clive Pantin said: “It was a gift from God. We enjoyed every minute of it. That was important. If you go into a job and you have reservations about it, don’t do it. You are not going to succeed.” Indeed, the Pantin clan have been a blessing. In 1995, Pastor Cecil Quamina paid kudos to them via letter to the editor when they were named Family of the Year. He said: “We can never repay the Pantins for the contribution they have made to our society.” Another gentleman Hollis Thomas realised the importance of Pantins’ vast contribution and compiled biographies on them. Sunday Guardian also salutes the Pantins’ sterling contribution.
Clive Pantin... Minister of Education— zenith of his career
With pompek Bella at his feet, former Fatima College principal, Clive Pantin takes a stroll in his garden at Woodbrook. Casting a cursory glance, a passerby might think he’s always lived a life of rest and relaxation; but Pantin, 77, has always been a hard worker. He left a legacy at Fatima College, Mucurapo and strengthened the Parent Teachers Association (PTA) during his tenure as Minister of Education. He was part of the ANR Robinson regime (1986 to 1991). On Monday, Pantin said his contribution as Minister of Education was the zenith of his career. Quizzed on his major accomplishment, Pantin said: “I would say my major role was as Minister of Education. I enjoyed it very much. When you are principal of a school you just see minor changes. But when you see all the schools combined that’s a very tough task. Minister of Education role is not an easy one.”
Pantin would pop in unannounced to get a first hand account of the inner workings of T&T’s schools.
“I liked going out to the different schools unannounced and just visiting them.” With a mischievous twinkle, he said: “There was a little panic when they saw I had arrived. But after a while they got a hold of my modus operandi.” Pantin explained his mission was not just to catch principals and teachers napping, but to get a deeper knowledge of the students’ needs. He firmly believed in the value of education as a catalyst for change and socioeconomic improvement. No school was forbidden. “I continued to visit schools particularly schools far away; in the deep West, deep East and deep South.”
Pantin was not a greenhorn. After all, he had spent 27 years as a Language (French and Spanish) and Religious Education teacher. He was principal for ten years. Patting himself on the back, he said: “Fatima became a first class school.”
The impact of Feel
After the crushing defeat of the NAR administration, Pantin founded Feel (Foundation for the Enhancement and Enrichment of Life) in 1991. He and his team including the late Leoline Boxhill distributed hampers to about 120 Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs) from the massive warehouse owned by JB Fernandes at Laventille. “To my great surprise, he showed me this huge compound with every possibility of goodness about it. We decided to get the NGOs together. They were finding it difficult to continue the work. There were some who were really conscientious in their work.”
Each year, about 2,400 people received food and hampers. “People from the United States sent down a lot of stuff for us.”
About Clive Pantin
He was a fine athlete at St Mary’s College. He earned a BA degree at the University of (Dublin) Ireland and got a Diploma in Education at UWI Jamaica. Initially, he was studying for the priesthood. “You talk about prayers. I realised it was not for me. I had Anna in Jamaica.” He also married Patsy and fathered Bernard, David and Thomas. He has nine grandchildren. Quizzed on the secret to his longevity, he said: “Live a good life and drink apple...” On behalf of his siblings, Tom, an ex-Fatima boy, said: “We are all proud of him. We admire him. He is a shining example of a father.” He added: “One of the aspects of our house was our love for sport... love for English football and our love for Manchester United. It was like a tradition. We would be drinking beer. All the boys.” Pantin’s contemporary/retired St Augustine Senior Comprehensive principal Osmond “Slim” Downer said: “He played for St Mary’s. Then, he played for Casuals. Geoffrey Pantin also played for St Mary’s and Ronald played, too. He was in my time and I played for Casuals. At that time, Casuals and Shamrock were known as the “white people” team.” “But Pantin’s greatest contribution is education,” said the FIFA referees instructor.
Pantin on Pantins
Growing up in a huge family, Pantin described the experience as “wonderful.” His mother Agnes was a strict disciplinarian. “She was worse than any principal,” he said. It was a sad day when they put their father in the earth at Lapeyrouse Cemetery. “Michael... the last one was about a year when he died. His funeral was a huge traffic stopper. He had lots of friends.” Commenting on his siblings, he said: “Tony was the first to come in as a priest. He was always an accessible archbishop. “Oh, yes, we adored him. The only thing we didn’t do was go to confession. The best priest I could tell my sins, too. He would cheups if he felt it was a big sin. Tony was quite a guy.” “Gerard... he was the intellengentsia of the family. He won an island scholarship.” “Shortly after daddy died, Rosa told our mother she had this calling to be a nun. Agnes said: ‘Well, may God be with you, child.’” But his favourite sibling is Geoffrey, whom he described as his “real riding partner.” “I always remember the day we were going to school (Belmont Intermediate). He said: ‘I will tow you through the Savannah...next thing I know, the two of us found ourselves on the ground in a puddle. He said: “Boy, I slipped. Well, boy, I cuss Geoffrey.” For Christmas, the senior Pantin said: “I will be looking forward to turkey with stuffing.”
Source: Michelle Loubon and Malissa Lara-Patterson, Trinidad Guardian
Congratulations to the TT men’s hockey team on their resounding 7-0 victory over Argentina in the gold medal match of 2017 Pan American indoor hockey tournament. As a result they have qualified for the FIH Indoor Hockey World Cup in Germany in February 2018.
Trinidad and Tobago's Joel Kissoon has topped the region in the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE).
Kissoon who attended Presentation College, San Fernando, has won the Dennis Irvine Award for Outstanding Performance.
As a result of his achievement, Presentation College, San Fernando, has been named School of the Year by the Caribbean Examination Council (CXC).
The 2017 Regional Top Awards were announced at the meeting of the Sub-Committee of the School Examinations Committee meeting held on Tuesday at CXC Headquarters, Barbados.
When the Express broke the news to the 19-year-old yesterday he was almost speechless.
"Oh my God, are you serious? This is so great!" an excited Kissoon said.
"I don't know how to feel. I am shocked," he exclaimed, saying he could not wait to get off the phone to share the news with his relatives, teachers and friends.
Kissoon said he signed up for twice the number of CAPE subjects as he was unsure of his career path.
"Usually students do four subjects, I did eight, and I did a total of 16 CAPE units. I did those subjects to cover my bases. I did a lot of science and maths subjects in case I decided to do medicine and I did foreign languages in case I wanted to become a UN Ambassador or something," he explained.
Kissoon achieved Grade One in 14 units and Grade Two in two units.
"Doing that many subjects was not as difficult as I expected. Lucky for me I had really good teachers who worked with me. I thought I would have had to drop some of the subjects but I didn't," he said.
Kissoon said he has taken a year off from studies.
"I am looking into medical school. I got through with Mt Hope but I asked for a year off to look into my options abroad, to ensure that I wanted to do medicine," he stated.
Hard work pays
Principal of Presentation College San Fernando, Dexter Mitchell, was just as surprised at the news.
"I am now hearing this. It is indeed humbling and we just want to thank the Almighty God for blessing us with small mercies. I think hard work paid off and I want to commend Joel, the teachers, students, and all our major stakeholders who have worked with us over the years," he said.
Also in winners' row this year was Naparima Girl's High School student Chela Aufderheide, who won the Language Studies award with Grade I in 12 Units.
The awardees will receive their prizes at the Regional Top Awards Ceremony on December 14 at the St Kitts Marriott Resort.
Guyana takes most awards
Three of the top six CAPE awards were copped by students of Guyana and one by a student of Jamaica.
Shawn Shewram of St Rose's High School, Guyana, took the ACCA/CXC Business Studies Award, becoming the first recipient of the ACCA-sponsored award. He achieved Grade I in 12 Units.
Shannon Woodroffe, of Queen's College, Guyana, won both the Mathematics and Natural Science awards in 2017 with Grade I in 13 Units, all with "As" in the Module grades.
She is the second pupil to win both a CSEC award and a CAPE award, CXC said in a news release yesterday.
Jared Johnson of Campion College, Jamaica, is the winner of the Hodder/CXC Humanities Award.
He achieved Grade I in nine Units and Grade II in one Unit.
Diwali celebrations were pretty much washed out this year due to all the rain and floods. But this video shows a very nice way to celebrate the event. Quite a few happy people. Enjoy.
In celebration of International Chocolate week, Britain’s luxury retail store, Harrods will feature a range of chocolates from around the world.
Included in the special collection will be chocolate from Trinidad and Tobago: The Trinidad & Tobago Single-Estate Chocolate Box, available from today, October 10.
Unlike the other packages which feature the origin of the chocolate from a country, the T&T chocolate will be the only one to feature the cocoa plantations from which the chocolate originates – La Reunion, Ortinola, Aripo and Tableland. There will only be 1000 boxes of the limited edition chocolates available.
“Harrods has partnered with the Trinidad & Tobago Cocoa Company to launch an extra-special chocolate treat. Available to buy soon in-store and online, the Trinidad & Tobago Single Estate Chocolate Box contains four unique chocolate bars which are almost too good to share! Despite being made from the same type of bean – called the ‘Trinitario’ – each bar has a unique flavour and is named after the estate at which the cocoa was harvested,” Harrods wrote on its website.
The distinction of having four Trinidadian estates featured, in addition to being in the prestigious Harrods, is a major accomplishment for Ashley Parasram, the director of the Fine Cocoa Company.
For Parasram, this achievement, following two years of discussion, is a testimony to the strides that have been made in cocoa and chocolate production in recent years.
“If your quality is not right, your quality is not in place and you get into a big market and give someone salmonella then you are done. If you follow through everything and don’t cut corners then you can get access to different markets,” he told Loop during a visit to his company located in the compound of the Cocoa Research Centre in Centeno where the La Reunion estate is based.
The First Cocoa Processing Facility
The Fine Cocoa Company, which has the country’s first cocoa processing facility, has been positioned to lead Government efforts to regulate the burgeoning chocolate industry.
Parasram, who said he was working internationally in sustainable development, was inspired to start the company six years ago when the then British High Commissioner mentioned that while T&T had the best cocoa but it was facing a failing industry.
The company spent the first three years assessing the industry and understanding its needs.
“We spent three years getting data then we built a facility,” said Parasram.
They entered into a public/private partnership through a Memorandum of Understanding with the Government under which they share their processing facilities with other cocoa producers.
The facility has the capacity to process 50 tonnes per annum. T&T processes on average 500 tonnes of cocoa per annum.
“We offer affordable processing and chocolates. We produce in volumes that allow for lower prices. We found out that bulk cocoa is one third the cost of local cocoa. Our cocoa is three times the price so our cocoa will never come down to the low prices but we’ve chosen the size of machines carefully to give economies of scale,” explained Arvind Mahabirsingh, Operations Director.
In the facility, beans are screened and roasted. Mary Ethen-Gray, the Food Technologist, creates a roasting profile based on the moisture, size of bean, load and client requirements. From roasting the beans are placed in a winnower which disposes of the shells.
The beans are then placed in a pregrinder and can then be taken to a conche machine which breaks down the grains into cocoa liquor to be made into chocolate, pressed cocoa butter or powder.
The chocolate is refrigerated and stored for further use.
Setting standards for the industry
More than a chocolate producer, the Fine Cocoa Company is also co-sponsor of a programme designed to boost the industry.
The project, Improving Marketing and Production of Artisanal Cocoa from Trinidad and Tobago (IMPACTT) was started in 2016 and is a joint venture with the Ministry of Agriculture, the Inter-American Development Bank and the Cocoa Research Centre of the University of the West Indies.
The aim of the project is to establish standards across the industry.
“It is a very fragmented sector with varying degrees of quality and scale so what we are trying to do with the development project is setting standards. We are on a very steep learning curve,” said Parasram.
“We are in a period of transition from the Cocoa Board to the Cocoa Company and there is a lot of uncertainty. With this project, we want to give farmers a checklist and give them guidance. We want to tell farmers that their beans are over fermented or if there is fungus,” he explained.
With the processing facility at the core of the project, Parasram noted, that now more than ever, farmers can see the results of their hard work.
“They weren’t getting feedback to improve their process and this is very important to the industry. When you taste the product you understand why you need to change the process,” he said.
IMPACTT, he said, will improve everything from farm to table with improved standards in packaging, labelling, storage and shipments, among other aspects.
There are currently eight plantations under the IMPACTT project. Parasram estimates that in five years there would be 40 with tractability.
Noting that the Fine Cocoa Company is still in growth stage, Mahabirsingh said there are a number of new chocolate producers who buy their product to make chocolate. The company also supplies industrial chocolate which acts as a base for some chocolate producers.
As producers, the Fine Cocoa Company produces chocolate bars, cocoa powder, nibs and cocoa butter. Their chocolates range from 50 to 70 percent cocoa.
The company is known for its attractive and clever steelpan tin packaging.
“We needed something to stand out and act as an ambassador. We aren’t really selling chocolate, we are selling T&T,” said Parasram.
The Steelpan design, launched in London last year, was awarded two silver awards by the London Academy of Chocolate in July.
Satisfied that their efforts have paid off where processing, quality and packaging are concerned, the Fine Cocoa Company is now turning its attention to marketing.
While penetrating foreign markets is top of the list through partnerships with the likes of Chef Gordon Ramsey, there is also a major focus on local market expansion.
“We have not been exposed to chocolate made from our cocoa. Our cocoa is well suited to dark chocolate but we have been accustomed to sweet chocolate which we have to change. It requires a nationwide effort and even Government intervention,” said Parasram.
“We have made significant inroads into the food sector with five or six chefs using our products,” he said.
Source: The Looptt
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