Who We Are
Lisa Boynes Sindass, MD.
Ed. Jones, Jr.
UDC TV Production Class Interns
Sister I Addis
The University of the District of Columbia, Washington D.C.
Sindass Productions, Washington, D.C.
Short History of CaribNation Television
CaribNation Television, the signature broadcast for Sindass Productions, premiered in 1995. Since then, it has grown from a small university cable program to a worldwide syndicated public television phenomenon! The word-morph, CARIBNATION, describes in essence the Washington, DC-based television show about the Caribbean , its people, and its culture. It epitomizes the oneness of a NATION, the utopia West Indies living in the Diaspora passionately strive for.
CaribNation TV is a multi-formatted show that provides a blend of hard hitting analysis, reports, interviews, featured segments, and profiles of people in the news. And in so doing, CaribNation TV present the highest-quality program, consistently and comprehensively.
CaribNation is the brainchild of Jamaican/Caribbean national Larry Sindass. In addition to his roles as executive-in-charge, Larry is an independent filmmaker. He received his Masters Degree in Television and Film Production from The American University, in Washington , DC , and has directed and scripted "Yadie" a film about Jamaican migration and identity. Building on these talents and concerns, Larry developed CaribNation so that, "Caribbean people, especially in the US , can be represented by their own images and persuasions." Sindass used his contacts at the University of the District of Columbia (UDC Cable TV, Channel 19) and established collaboration with them. The station provides both studio and post-production facilities. In the fall of 1995 CaribNation Television was launched.
CaribNation's commitment to variety and complexity in Caribbean peoples' process of representation can be demonstrated in the types of shows that have aired. They have produced shows with a critical component on culture - Carnival, Kaiso, Reggae, Cricket and the Reggae Boys. Shows on intellectuals like the late CLR James, who saw the generative and psychological power of politics, culture and ideology, Antiguan philosopher Tim Hector, Jamaican statesmen, Michael Manley and Edward Seaga, to name a few. The program's diversity also extends to politicians, everyday Caribbean people and other personalities from ambassadors, banana growers, fashion designers, doctors and Miss Universe. Specific show topics have included the Caribbean economy, CARICOM, the World Bank, St. Lucian banana growers and US drug, economic and political policy in the region. Shows on women, electoral politics in the US and inspirational stories like Haitian doctor Rose-Marie Toussaint have generated discussion and enthusiasm.
The audience response to these shows has reinforced CaribNation's commitment to quality Caribbean television. Caribbean people who provided feedback have been generous with their praise. Most often they are excited when Caribbean people overcome tremendous odds and achieve their goals. Audience members are also attracted to the range of topics and the depth of discussion by a spectrum of voices. Vanessa Remy, a Trinidadian living in Trinidad says, "It [CaribNation] makes me proud . . . to see all our cultures represented on one show, by our own people. It's not just a show promoting beautiful beaches-which we have-it deals with real issues and represents real people. For Audrey Stewart, a Jamaican in the U.S. , her favorite show was -Women and Development.- She says, That show was pivotal for me. Even today-over a year later I think about what was said on that panel. I think about what it means me to be a Caribbean woman.
An American of Guyanese parentage said, "It's nice to see the region represented beyond rum drinkers and scantily clad women and other clichés all to an island beat." Basically, the feedback has centered on the refreshing use of the media as regards to Caribbean people.
The evolution of CaribNation as an entertaining, enterprising, informative and critical voice for Caribbean peoples has meant an expansion of hosting and producing duties. Rotating hosts and correspondents help to articulate the region's different perspectives. At this juncture, Larry, along with the show's first host, Sidrack Franklin, started with a provocative selection of shows: - Cuba: Past and Present,- and -Panday in Power-, a look at Trinidad and Tobago's first Indian Prime Minister.
Larry later recruited David Hinds, a Guyanese political science professor at Howard University , as another host of the show. Hinds' philosophy and knowledge of the Caribbean region fit amiable into Larry's concept for a lead host/anchor for CaribNation. David remarked, "when I sit in front of those cameras, I am not a passive interviewer but a voice of the voiceless, a representative of the downtrodden of the Caribbean nation searching for its identity, its cultural and spiritual center and its ultimate liberation from colonial and neo-colonial societies. So I am a different kind of host. I don't set out to interrogate or embarrass my guests. I seek to engage them in a conversation about our past and present and most important our future. But I tell them when I disagree with them.
It's a place for discussion their ideas and their experiences in their daily lives in a language and style that they understand. Contrary to what some media people believe, the ordinary Caribbean person has that capacity to internalize and act on their own behalf when issues are placed before then in a non-threatening manner.
CaribNation has welcomed Derrice Deane, a seasoned radio personality and host of her own Caribbean show on Voice of America Network. Like Hinds, Deane focuses on a variety of topics from Jamaican artist Ruth Henirquez and a show on -Language and Development in Haiti . When asked what attracted her to the CaribNation family, Deane replied, "CaribNation's objectives are quite similar to my own. For the majority of my many years in the States, I have been frustrated by the lack of evident presence and contribution of Caribbean people. I felt there was no opportunity and forum for in-depth discussion of issues affecting the Caribbean people-a people who enjoy discussions and debates. It seemed that the only arenas for this sort of interaction were parties, private seminars or closed discussion groups.
The larger community could not hear or benefit from these discussions. CaribNation is providing this forum. As co-anchor of CaribNation Television, I endeavor to engage my guests in comfortable, honest, informative conversation, whether biographical or topical. As a journalist, my guests and/or topic take center stage." Deane brings over 15 years of media experience and finds television challenging, but simulating.
Other correspondents include Dr. Goulda Downer, a nutritionist, whose mission is to enhance Caribbean people's health through education. Dr. Downer has already presented shows on AIDS and Caribbean diet. In addition to Dr. Downer, John Blake, thirty-year host of -The Caribbean Experience- radio program, does the entertainment and business reports. The latest addition to the pool of correspondent is former Guyanese presidential candidate Paul N. Tennessee. Paul reports primarily on non-English speaking countries of the Caribbean , and on foreign trade.
These hosts and producers along with CaribNation's commitment to continued growth both in topics and markets have challenged its creator. Although the show is seen from New York to Florida and airs in several Caribbean markets ( Guyana , Jamaica , St. Kitts and Nevis ), Larry is eager to expand. He is constantly searching for funding and production sites while maintaining the quality of the show.
CaribNation, like the name and in keeping with its mission, hopes to join the Caribbean across geographical, linguistic and ideological boundaries as well as across ethnicity, economy and culture. This joining does not mandate agreement; rather it facilitates understanding [of common goals interests and agendas]. Fifteen years and the efforts of many people have made CaribNation an exceptional television experience.