COF 126 Radicalization in the Caribbean with Kiran Maharaj

Ep. 126: Radicalization in the Caribbean

Kiran Maharaj is the Managing Director of Caribbean Lifestyle Communications Media Network. She’s also the Co-Founder/Director – Caribbean Investigative Journalism Network and President – Media Institute of the Caribbean.

In this episode I talk with Kiran about the little discussed issue of radicalization in the Caribbean. As well as the new podcast on the same topic called Radicalization in the Caribbean Phantom or Fact. We also discuss the role of Investigative Journalism in the Caribbean.

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Kerry-Ann: Hello, everyone Welcome to another episode of carry on friends, the Caribbean American podcast as always, I’m excited that you’re listening. And today’s guest is Kiran Maharaj, Kiran welcome to the podcast. How are you?

Kiran Maharaj:  I’m great, Kerry-Ann, it’s such a pleasure to be on your show. I want to thank you for you know, giving me the opportunity to be here and to address all of your fans and followers.

Kerry-Ann: Aww, thank you. So Kiran, why don’t you tell the community a little bit about who you are Caribbean country, you present and what you do for a living all that good stuff.

Kiran Maharaj:  Okay. So I have to say my, my job right now is that as president of the media Institute of the Caribbean, which is headquartered in Jamaica, with a satellite office in Trinidad, I am from Trinidad, although, I consider myself a Caribbean woman more than anything else. I’m always going back and forth. And the media Institute of the Caribbean you know covers a lot of the Caribbean islands. It was developed to do training for journalists and media practitioners, particularly in the area of investigative journalism. And we recently started doing some training and customized programs for corporate communications professionals. That’s my nonprofit that, you know, I have with a group of friends, we started it back in 2015. My regular day job is that of managing director of Caribbean lifestyle communications and productions. So it’s three FM stations that are based in Trinidad. And, and apart from that, we have a video and film production entity and a couple of other things in the media sphere. So that’s who I am. But I was born in Suriname. Yeah, just born there. I was I was a preemie and then you know, my parents are from Trinidad. My father spent a lot of time in Guyana. Hence the reason Why I group my self and my family as Caribbean.

Kerry-Ann: Yes. Yes, your, your mult, you represent multiple countries. So that’s really interesting. Another time we’ll talk about, you know, from Suriname to Trinidad and Guyana because you know I’ve had or I’ve been on shows where that mix is kind of happening. But we’ll address that on another time. So one of the things that I really wanted to talk about and have you on the show is to talk about radicalization in the Caribbean. And that’s because you have a podcast that by the time this airs, that podcast would be live, is that correct?

Kiran Maharaj:  That’s correct. We Launch on December 5th.

Kerry-Ann: Okay. And so let us go into we, I’ve heard stories about it, but it’s not really covered in depth. So let’s talk about what is radicalization in the Caribbean, like, we think we know what it means. So let’s talk A little bit about that.

Kiran Maharaj:  Well, let me first of all say radicalization takes many forms, right? I mean if you’re an extremist, you can have a radical ideology about lots of things. Where it starts to get terrible is when you want to manifest your ideology and all of these radicalized thoughts and perceptions, by engendering them in a violent form. So that’s why we have violent extremism. So it does exist in the Caribbean. And scholars will tell you that some forms of gang violence is because of the type of radicalization but the perspective of the podcast is really radicalization As pertains to the presence of ISIS, the Islamic State, and its presence and in the region. And so the podcast story really starts in Trinidad and Tobago.

Kerry-Ann: Oh, wow. So for some listeners that is like maybe something that’s very shocking ISIS in the Caribbean, and why Trinidad as a starting point. 

Kiran Maharaj:  A lot of people probably won’t know this. But Trinidad and Tobago has the highest number of recruits for ISIS per capita in the Western Hemisphere. And a lot of that has to do with the fact that back in 1990, we had a coup. I don’t know if you knew that Kerry.

Kerry-Ann: No.

Kiran Maharaj:  Yeah. So there was a coup and it was actually the only Islamic militant coup in the Western Hemisphere. And what happened was the gentleman who had stage that coup, if you want to call them a gentleman, his name is Yasiin Abu Baca, and he was the imam at the Jamaat al Muslimeen located in Port of Spain. And it was 6 days. He eventually surrendered based on an amnesty deal that he had cut with the government. But what happened was on that day, July 27 1990, the two things happen simultaneously. Some of his members broke into parliament while the parliament was in session. An MP Leo Davines was actually shot and killed in that episode. 24 people all together died in the coup. And while he broke into parliament, or his people broke into parliament, he broke into this state run television station. It was the only TV station on the island at that time, TTT, Trinidad and Tobago Television and on the country basically was under siege for six days. So some of the members of his organization, they are the ones that have been pinpointed as the men Who started to develop this radicalized ideology and ended up not just being involved in recruitment for ISIS, but one of the guys his name was Ashmead Choate. And you know, he not just recruited but he and his family left. So you had those seeds being sown from back then. And the bad thing about all of this, the sad thing actually is that nobody was really tried everybody who stayed that coup. Got away. They got off, which has been to the bewilderment of many members of our population, you know, a point of contention as to why it happened. But that is the history of Trinidad and Tobago. And, and what we’ve seen is that back in 2013, the first set of ISIS recruits left the first Boy, I have to call him a boy, he would have been in His 20s His name was Shane Crawford. And he was the first one to leave. And he actually became a poster boy for ISIS, and was featured on that magazine, the beak, you know, and so it kind of started to spiral. So to date, the feeling is that we’ve had over 214 known ISIS migrants. And I say known, because with Trinidad, there was no tracking. And I think with some of the region, most of the region may have had ISIS migrants, there was no tracking, you know, people leave. And as Muslims, it’s not abnormal for them to want to go, you know, to places like Turkey and Syria or to go to Mecca, you know, and so nobody really thought that they would be going for that reason until it got out of control. And we started seeing images and videos popping up on social media on the Internet. And from foreign newsagents started to realize what was happening.

Kerry-Ann: I am speechless, because Wow, I don’t even know where to start. Because first of all this coup like, I I’m not I wasn’t even aware of it. You’ve heard about the invasion in Grenada, but like something like this, I am not even sure how, you know, for me, or anyone else how this was not even talked about in Trinidad and Tobago. But I have to unpack that at a different time because I’m like, this is this is. So first, let me let me try to get back. I am so glad that you’re here because this is a history lesson. And this is an opportunity to learn things that we wouldn’t normally learn. Now you said that radicalization in the Caribbean and you look at, you know, Trinidad as a starting point. Right. So, what has happened? How is that proliferating to other Caribbean countries?

Kiran Maharaj:  Well, Trinidad although it may have been the highest per capita for ISIS recruits, it doesn’t mean that the other islands where unscathed. We have had ISIS migrants who have gone from places like Guyana, Suriname. We’ve heard about the other islands and investigations that continuing. Jamaica, you just had the case of Al-Faisal, who has faced or is facing extradition right now, I think he has been extradited, and he’s to be tried. So he was heavily involved and actually he was an influencer. So what happened was you had you have to understand the model. Why does radicalization even happen in the form we’re talking about? Some of it is because we do have what you might want to say religious extremists who believe in an Islamic State and fought for the cause. But then how do some of these younger men get involved, and it has to do some of it but our socio economic conditions. So in the case of let’s say, Shane Crawford and his colleagues, Milton Algernon, Shawn Parsons, you know, they, they came from a lower income and they were actually involved in crime, even before they left and in trying to find themselves. They gravitated towards people who would talk to them, people they were influenced by people who showed them love and a sense of belonging. And those people obviously you know, they are part of that, that community because they are looking for prey they are looking for, young minds Who they could easily convert to join their cause. So there’s a lot of rumor. And some people have confirmed, I can’t tell you there are large numbers because we’re lacking a lot of data on this in the region. But in the beginning, what we do know is that when you were recruited, they started to look after your family. So the recruiting officers, and I have to call them that because what a lot of people may not know is that ISIS really ran itself like a formidable business. They have manuals that train you on how to recruit manuals that train you and all types of warfare. They had a very strong media outfit, a lot of their videos, you know, they, they were very similar to what you’d see as a movie trailer. So they love to do things in a cinematic way. It was all very attractive. And so they started to recruit and pay a lot of These young people who joined started to support them, and so they could support their families, etc., etc. And that’s how it really started to take root. So, radicalization, what it does is it attracts weak minds who are looking for a purpose in life and a sense of belonging more than anything else. And that’s why it has been able to take interest in our region, you know, but outside of our region also.

Kerry-Ann: Oh, boy. Wow, this is this is probably one of the most in depth conversations that I’ve had, because we’ve seen it. We’ve seen newspaper like there was an article in New York Times that kind of briefly mentioned, you know, but it focused on Trinidad. It didn’t talk about how this was happening in other islands. So I think, you know, having this conversation to kind of debunk the myth that this is only a Trinidad problem. This is a Caribbean problem. So let us consider the ramifications of this right? The location of the Caribbean to the US, what impact does this have on the region and the Diaspora? You know, for us Caribbean people going to the going back home for lack of a better word. What’s the impact? And also, is probably a whole bunch of question that is not journalistically. Correct. But then once we do that, let’s talk about how the Caribbean investigative journalism network, what role they play in uncovering some of this information in this data of radicalization in the Caribbean. So first, the impact of the radicalization in the Caribbean considering the proximity of the Caribbean to the US.

Kiran Maharaj:  Okay, so let’s back up a little bit. We had Caribbean people who were involved, even from the time of al Qaeda and when they were very strong, right? In Jamaica, one of one of the key men who, whose name pops up a lot of times when we look at radical influences is a guy named Bilal Phillips. And one of the things we need to bear in mind is that these people went under our radar. So they may have been going to and from and setting up cells, you know, visiting family, some family members may not have even known. So I want I want everyone to understand that this is probably always been that way, but the Caribbean is seen as paradise, right? So the travel routes, let’s say, in the Trinidad, case, because they didn’t want to be detected in the US, they would have traveled via places like Venezuela, Panama, even Barbados, because it would it was easy to get flights from there to go to Turkey and head to Syria. Now at one time Venezuela had direct flights to Russia, you know, and that’s the route some of them use now. When they come back to their home countries of let’s say Trinidad or Barbados, or Jamaica, and they are undetected, they can just travel into the US, because there would have been no red flags. So you understand that Kerry? 

Kerry-Ann: Yes, totally. Now, it makes sense.

Kiran Maharaj:  So that’s why they had used these alternative travel routes. It is still unknown. How many are out there or who’s alive and who’s not because there is a dismantling of ISIS in Syria. Some of these families of fighters and possibly male fighters probably will read to you at home, we don’t know. And there’s not a lot of security in place to monitor them. So I want to say that first so the impact that the region is not something that should be taken lightly at all. In the case of Jamaica, Jamaica really is a forerunner has really strengthen their anti terrorism legislation, which I think is you know, is really exemplary for the rest of the region. While Trinidad has strengthened this legislation, the grounds on which you can hold someone accountable and investigate them for acts of terrorism. It’s not you can’t, you can’t do it for anything that has been passed. It’s not retroactive. So you can only deal with what happens from the time legislation was passed this year moving forward. So it’s a bit weak in that sense, but the Trinidad government is, you know, is trying to find ways around it. But our primary concern as journalists in the region from what we have seen is that there truly is a lack of monitoring and security and there is also a lack of knowledge on the ground. Because these people do have when I say these people, let me be more specific. The ISIS migrants would have been in Touch with family and friends, you know, in our islands in our countries, and we don’t really know who is who. So we have to be careful. And because there’s so much data missing of, you know, how many of them are alive, how many were killed in battle? Are these children we’re bringing back, are they all truly, you know, the children or babies of, you know, former fighters who were Trini or not. So there is a lot of groundwork that still has to be done. So I can move to your second part of the question, which talks about the Caribbean investigative journalism network. So a CIJN was formed because for years and years, you’ve had a lot of conversation happening among media owners and journalists were in this region because we’re such small societies and everybody’s connected to somebody, it’s very difficult to do proper investigative Reporting, because journalists can be discovered easily. And while Reporters Without Borders say that some of our countries are doing well, on our freedom of press index, when you talk to some of the journalists, they’ll tell you even when they have information, they don’t want to disclose it, because they have a fear of victimization and in some cases, even fear of life, which is why I think a lot of our gang activity in some of the islands is getting out of control, right, particularly in places like Jamaica and Trinidad. So CIJN is not just a group of regional journalists. We also have journalists who are outside. And so it’s a collaboration almost of our regional journalists and some of those outside of the region, to pull things together and bring things to light. Investigative reporting is not something that happens overnight either. These investigations would have been going on for months and months, and there’s a lot of cross-referencing of the data and the information. So I think that this is the region’s first initiative of this kind. It’s, it’s something that those of us who are steering it feel is very important for the region at this point. And I think it’s also a recognition of the necessity for the Caribbean region to really come together to not just bring issues to light but to try to find solutions to the problems. And our Caribbean brothers and sisters in places like the US, Canada and the UK become very, very important in all of that.

Kerry-Ann: So in what way is the Diaspora important? How, what role do we play or what role can we play,

Kiran Maharaj:  advocacy. Advocacy is what is missing, I think for a very long time. You know, things have been swept under the carpet. And it’s because they’ve not been put into spotlight. And so with the diaspora, if questions are asked, you know, and some pressures applied or people want to know more, it not only allows the cause of the journalists working at CIJN to be fulfilled, but it means that collectively, our voices can come together and start to advocate for changes in policy and changes that will obviously have a positive effect long term.

Kerry-Ann: So what kind of policy Give me an example of a policy that would help because again, like our audience listening, we’re mostly based here in the US. So we, you’d have to give us a window. I know that there’s, you know, the Caribbean is or whatever country are on is small. So you everybody from one end might know the other person on the other end. So we know it’s very hard. Unlike the US where you can be secretive you can’t really be secretive because all you need to do is put one and one together, and you figure it out. So give us an example of the policies that you your you’d like to see in place or you know, should be in place and where the Diaspora could advocate for Investigative Journalism.

Kiran Maharaj:  Okay, so let’s use the case of radicalization since that’s the way we you know, we started our conversation. So if more and more people in the diaspora started to get together in forums and public sessions, and start asking experts in these areas who you all can access easily. Can you guys have a discussion with us on what are really the effects and what we need to be aware of with returnees to these islands or to the region? What are the loopholes because there are lots of loopholes? What are the loopholes that governments are not clamping on the on right now? That could help us, you know, strengthen our borders, or monitor and navigate this situation, if there were forums where you could get together and ask those questions and do simple things like there was a forum of the Diaspora there were 100 people. This was the discussion. And these were the findings. And here is a suggestion in formal writing to CARICOM. For example, I think people will start to pay attention or to the governments of certain countries. That’s the kind of advocacy that we’re talking about. And obviously, news outlets like CIJN become important because we are the ones who are telling the stories and giving the information and we can help filter that information. So that you know the boots on the ground, the people on the ground, will get to see what’s happening and they will start to be able to ask those questions. And once things like that come into the spotlight and under the magnifying Glass. That is how change begins to happen. 

Kerry-Ann: Hmm. So I have a couple of questions because I don’t want to ask too many questions because I feel like with the podcast, we’ll talk about the podcast. But I’m thinking this is why you’re doing the podcast to dive more into, you know, the radicalization in the Caribbean and addressing certain things. But I had this other question, two other questions, socio economic status, and, you know, lower end of the socio economic scale. You know, there are quite a few Caribbean countries and people who are low at the lower end. What is there any data on the risk of them being more radicalized to join ISIS or any other extremist group?

Kiran Maharaj:  Yeah, so we have two groups. When we look at the data that we have, what you have is one group who just have radicalize ideologies based on their faith of Islam, and then you have the other group with and actually the group that that is radicalized and who are faith based and were born Muslim for us. So you know, to put it and they’ve gravitated towards Salafism. So I don’t want the audiences to think it’s all Muslims are all of Islam. It’s not. Right. It’s a particular group and the go to Salafi type mosques or independent, mosques they are not part of the larger organizations. So in that group, a lot of them are middle income. In the poorer Group, a lot of them who converted to Islam to join for the sole purpose of joining ISIS, they did have a history of criminal activity or were related to gangs before. So that does happen. And I guess if you were to put yourself in the position of being a gang, yet being in a gang and you know, and all of a sudden somebody comes up to you and says, look We’ll give you $500US, you know, every two days, it’ll help you feed your family, but you, we want you to join our cause. Obviously, that is something that you would probably do because you look at it as a way to make a living to earn a living. And you would probably think it’s probably not much different from what I’m doing right now anyway, but it’s a lot more disciplines and these people are more embracing than what I belong to.

Kerry-Ann: The other thing that we’ve seen, I’ve seen in news or you know, in media outlets, are people who go over and be a part of ISIS, and maybe this is mostly women. So we didn’t touch on that. In the Caribbean, Is it mostly men that are radicalized and travel? Are there instances of women who are going over there? Because that’s what we see here. 

Kiran Maharaj:  Yeah, okay. You do have a lot of women. In fact, in the case of Trinidad it was all families you didn’t have an instance of one guy just going off. Everybody who traveled with families, their husbands, wives and children. That’s how they left. So women play a very important role in ISIS. There’s actually a, they actually had a female militant group called Alkanza. So and they were like, not just women police but ensure the women, you know, follow the rules and regulations, but they would indoctrinate the women in such a way that the women would be able to teach as they caregivers of the future generations of ISIS would be able to teach the children and a lot of them were actually trained to for combat. So they’re called Alkanza and so women were very, very important part of the ISIS hierarchy.

Kerry-Ann: And my other question before we jump into you know, talk a little bit about the podcast. In that same vein, you know, we’ve noticed I, you know, on TV here or on media outlets, of some of those, some of the people who went over to be in ISIS who wants to come back home because it turned out to be not what they thought it would be. And so I’m curious to see if there were any of those instances where people understood or realize that, hey, this was not really what they said it was going to be, and they’re remorseful and they want to come back. Are you? Is there any data on any of those types of stories or instances?

Kiran Maharaj:  you have a lot of people who want to come back right now, there are just over 100 Trinis who are trying to come back from the al-hol camp and another camp to come back to Trinidad and Tobago. So let me let me say this, there’s, there’s a lack of data but I think that ISIS was so good at publicizing what they were doing that it would be very hard For me or anybody else to swallow, that you did not know what you were signing up for. And that is the sentiment of some of our Islamic leaders. Definitely in Trinidad who I’ve spoken to, and you will hear you’ll hear three of them in one of the podcast episodes. And their personal opinions is that, you know, as adults, you went there you must have seen the pictures and read the news. And be aware that there was a risk when you were going there. So to say that you didn’t know what you was signing up for, is a very hard pill to swallow. Me personally, I don’t believe that, who I do feel for the children. They had no choice and even some of those children because ISIS was known for child soldiers. And they had training videos and I’ve seen them and they were up on the web and they probably still are of how they trained Three and four year old boys, you know, shooting at them while they’re scampering on the ground under barbed wire fences, you know, and have a 10 year old boy practicing with his gun a Trini boy with a Trini instructor practicing with his gun. And the Trini instructor is shouting at him for missing his targets. Right. So I do feel for the children but we need to give consideration to how that is dealt with. Because even if the children come back, there has to be a rehabilitation and reintegration program that’s 24-7. You can’t allow them to mix with others. A couple of months ago June of this year actually there was a video released of a 14 year old who looks like 14 a boy and he is you know, from Trinidad and Tobago, and he’s committing a beheading. So you have to understand that some of these children, possibly permanently scarred. So the question is, how do you deal with it? And I honestly don’t think that any of our children’s authority units in any of our islands or countries in the Caribbean are really prepared to deal with that. We’re going to need help from outside. In the case of Trinidad, the US Embassy in Trinidad and Tobago have been engaged in a number of programs that deal with countering violent extremism. It’s called CVE for short, and they have been dealing with it not just in communities, videos, a lot of gang activity and we have seen some changes. But they’re trying to get more involved in getting people on the ground here to understand that there are real risks and these are things we need to have implemented. I do not feel that any of our governments have really thought this out properly or will know how to deal with returnees if we do bring them back home. But in, in all honesty the children is that’s what concerns me most. I can tell you of a story about an eight-year-old girl who came back to Trinidad from being with ISIS. Her father died as an ISIS fighter. She came back home and she had a lot of support from her community. And her reintegration has been a lot easier. But the things that she saw and faced are not things that I think we have even, you know, dreamt of in our nightmares. And so, there is there is hope for some of these children. But we have really have to look at the age groups and we have to look at finding out what they really saw and what they were involved in. And it has to really have that support around the clock for them.

Kerry-Ann: Just that last point every time I said, Oh, last question before the podcast. I mean, just that last point, because America is struggling with this. So I can only imagine how the Caribbean is struggling with crisis care, or trauma care from a mental health standpoint. And like, how do you know like, is there training is there are there programs in the US where, you know, behavioral or mental health care practitioners can or wherever it is, can go to get training to be able to support and even if they do that, is there enough bodies to help with the behavioral, the trauma, the mental, all the all that that needs to happen, especially for children and the trauma that they’re enduring so it comes back to, you know, the diaspora, what resources Because if the Diaspora itself isn’t speaking up, because from a from a diaspora standpoint, it’s just like, what does this mean economically for our region? Could the US, you know, impose certain sanctions? I mean that’s a big term, like, what are the implications for the Caribbean? And maybe the US or anyone else saying, hey, you guys need to take control of this situation. And if you don’t, we’ll do X, Y, and Z. Is that are there any rumblings or that or possibilities of that? I know if you don’t want to answer that’s fine, but that’s where my head goes. Yeah.

Kiran Maharaj:  Okay. There are countries who are discussing it and they are one and two who have started to take on that. There’s been a focus on children. And in the cases of women, you know, it’s a little bit difficult to deal with the women in particular, because the question remains was how involved were they? There is no easy solution to this problem. Let me Say that there will always be some division on it because the thing is you’re bringing them back always, with the risk of radicalization happening again, because with ISIS, their philosophy is that of having an Islamic states, it does not matter where that Islamic States exists. So if I have been radicalized, and I go back to my home country, and I have 20 acres of land, and I want to set up a commune and make it an Islamic State I can, and if five years down the road, because I believe that, you know, having an Islamic State is all good. There’s nothing to stop me from wanting to stage a coup or take all of that land and expand. And that is the real risk with the ideology of ISIS. It’s that it’s about having an Islamic state as any way you choose to have it. 

Kerry-Ann: I see. So all right, let’s talk about the podcast and what to expect from the podcast. So, by the time this, this goes live, you would have already launched a podcast. So what can we expect? When do we have new episodes? And you know, guests all that good stuff. Tell us a little bit about the podcast, and the name of the podcast.

Kiran Maharaj:  So the podcast is called Terror in the Caribbean, Phantom of Fact? And that is, that is to show you know, the, or make the point that a lot of people hear about ISIS in the Caribbean, but nobody really pays any credence to it. Well, I think a lot of minds are going to be changed after this podcast. So we start with Trinidad and Tobago, and how did this whole concept of radicalization develop or form that would force all of these people you know, to leave Trinidad to go to Syria to fight for ISIS? So we start with Islamic leaders locally in Trinidad, talking about their views on radicalization. And then we traced the 1990 coup and go into who was some of the prominent ISIS fighters, not just from Trinidad but in the region. And we turn our attention to what experts on terrorism have said and these experts, UK and US based. And then we look at what is being done at home to deal with radicalization in a lesser form, which is with gangs and gang activity. There are a lot of programs that deal with, you know, at risk communities at the grassroots level. And we talked to them about what they’ve been doing, and looking for ways of replicating those programs and asking them could they be replicated in different, you know, Caribbean countries. And so we then close off with, you know the truth about returnees what are the hard questions? And what are possible solutions? Because there is no solution, you know, at this point for the returnee issue, so it will leave it up to our audience to form opinions as to what they think should be done. 

Kerry-Ann: Wow, Kiran, I just want to thank you for being on the show. You’ve, you’ve presented so many eye opening points, information, I’ll definitely be listening more for the 1990 coup. And I’m just glad that we’re having this conversation to bring awareness. And again, you know, most of the audience, we’re in the diaspora and really just more information on how the Diaspora could be involved or engage in terms of advocacy to support investigative journalism, etc. So why don’t you tell the community where you can be found how to reach out, email website, social media, all that good stuff.

Kiran Maharaj:  Yeah, so just look for us as the website is Caribbean investigative journalism Network we are nonprofit news site, we have contact forms, there for all sorts of things. So things on if you want to have alerts on news stories if you want to reach out to us to make a donation. If you know want to get involved in a conversation to find out what we have coming up on how you can be involved, that’s the best place to find us. We are headquartered right now in Jamaica, the other thing is that you will want to definitely listen to the other stories, they will have podcasts but they have we have great multimedia stories on this site. So one of them is on Petro Caribe and the demise of the Caribbean With everything that’s been going on in Venezuela, and then there’s also a story on human trafficking in the region that I think we don’t pay enough attention to. But you know, how many people go missing in a lot of our islands, particularly Jamaica and Trinidad. And so there is a human trafficking story. And then we talk about, you know, the geopolitical landscape and shifts in the landscape. And, and, you know, it calls for transparency in certain contracts and agreements. And how is government handling some of these deals that they’re making on behalf of our country’s Some people think our countries are being mortgaged and we won’t ever be able to pay back some people think, you know, it’s good for, for wealth creation. Some people think it’s all temporary, because a lot of local contractors are missing out. But that’s another interesting story, what’s happening geopolitically in the region. So there’s some good information and because they’re a long form investigative journalism pieces, these stories are going to be updated every two to three weeks, with deep dive elements and we have a lot of new stories. So some of our planned stories will be on climate resilience, climate justice and climate change. We have stories on the Venezuela migrant issue and how it’s impacting the region. And that we’re working on right now to do with gang activity in the region, and what it’s been doing to our society. So a lot of good things will be coming up on that site. 

Kerry-Ann: Kiran, thank you so much for a very enlightening and wonderful conversation. Again, the new podcast Terror in the Caribbean Phantom or Fact will be out December 5, and it will be already live so you should be able to find it wherever you listen to podcasts. Now Apple podcast may be Google podcast Spotify, But I’ll definitely put a link to the website in the show notes. And again, thank you so much and I’m sure we’ll be having more conversations. And like I’d say at the end of every show, walk good


Kerry-Ann Reid-Brown is Founder & host of Carry On Friends one of the first podcasts dedicated to the Caribbean American Experience. She is leading the way for Caribbean Podcast as the founder of Breadfruit Media, the first Caribbean podcast production company; and founder of the Caribbean Podcast Directory a place to discover podcasts by people of Caribbean Heritage.