Nadege Green / WLRN

This story originally ran on September 22, 2015

I was born and raised in Miami, but my very Haitian mom always kept true to her roots — especially whenever I didn’t feel well.

Have a sore throat? Sour orange leaves can fix that.  A tummy ache? Freshly picked mint from the backyard will ease the pain.

She is a believer of remed fey, or bush medicine.

My mom comes from a line of Haitian women herbalists from Gonaives, Haiti.  She learned from her mother, who learned from her mother, who learned from her mother and so on.

Jamaica Information Service/Prime Minister's Office

These days the Caribbean seems better known for debt ruin than for dark rum.

The region – South Florida’s next-door neighbor – is home to some of the world’s most indebted countries. Since 2010, five of them have defaulted. The government of Puerto Rico, a U.S. territory, may soon shut down thanks to its epic debt crisis.

But Jamaica – whose more than $16 billion debt represents 130 percent of its GDP – may be the Caribbean’s debt champ. And that’s a big reason Andrew Holness is expected to be sworn in this week as the island’s new Prime Minister.

Collin Reid / AP via Miami Herald

Jamaica will soon have a new Prime Minister. In yesterday’s parliamentary elections, Andrew Holness and the Jamaican Labor Party scored an upset victory.

Which means they will now have to deal with the Caribbean country's heavy economic crisis.

Jamaica’s debt situation is among the world’s worst. To rein in the problem, current Prime Minister Portia Simpson-Miller has imposed strong economic austerity measures. Economists say she’s made progress. But political observers say Jamaicans are weary of the belt-tightening.

Michael Erickson

When I recently met Jamaican-American author Max-Arthur Mantle at a South Beach café, we talked about his engaging debut novel, “Batty Bwoy.” But we also chatted about the way he was sitting. That is, with his legs crossed.

“In Jamaica, if you cross your legs, if you’re a male, in a quote-unquote effeminate way, I would get my ass kicked,” Mantle told me.

“As soon as they see me their eyes would roll, then they would get red, and then the anger, then the whole hate will come. And then the slurs.”

Kenya Downs / For WLRN

The island nation of Trinidad and Tobago boasts one of the world's largest carnivals. Dating back to 1783, the pre-Lenten celebration blends French, African and Indian cultures, all leading up to two days of masquerading, also called “playing mas.”

And unlike its South American counterpart in Brazil, anyone can take to the streets in a glitzy, colorful costume, dancing through Port of Spain to the sounds of sweet soca music.

How One Family Is Bringing Steel Pan Back

Oct 8, 2015
Lisann Ramos / WLRN

Henry Potter was a 10-year-old in the Virgin Islands when he was first captivated by a noise from a churchyard.

He remembers:

“I’m like, ‘What is that ting-ting-ting?’ so I looked in and I saw kids playing and I watched them. The next day I went back. And probably about the third day, the guy who was in charge of the band, he asked me, ‘Do you wanna play?’ I’m like scared but I said yes. He said, “Well no problem, you can come, you can come and learn to play.’”

Nadege Green / WLRN

Hundreds of thousands of Dominicans of Haitian descent could face deportation from the Dominican Republic after a constitutional ruling stripped them of their citizenship.

South Florida has one of the largest Haitian populations in the U.S., and over the past few weeks, the Haitian community here has mobilized, holding protests and meetings.

Nonprofit organization Color of Hope is remembering the victims of the 2010 Haiti earthquake by updating a digital memorial wall with 12 names every hour on Monday, Jan. 12.

Five years ago, the disaster ended over 300,000 lives -- and Color of Hope has been maintaining a memorial ever since. The wall can be found at

Ed Shakespierre, the organization’s founder, sought to represent victims who he says may have remained nameless otherwise.

Noel “King Sporty” Williams, reggae songwriter and DJ, died at Jackson Memorial Hospital Monday evening. He was 71.

Williams was a prolific, if not widely known, musician. He made several contributions to popular music -- including penning the Bob Marley hit “Buffalo Soldier.”

Roger Lewis, Sporty’s friend and member of the Grammy Award-winning band Inner Circle, reflects on Williams -- who he says was a key figure in the formation of Miami’s musical styles.

Andres Martinez Casares / For The Miami Herald


The death of former Haiti president Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier has stirred strong emotions locally and in Haiti.

After learning of Duvalier’s death, many Haitians took to social media and radio to recount the horrors and brutality suffered under his regime.

Diego Saldana-Rojas / WLRN

On a rainy and humid afternoon, a steel drum band played on the outer terrace of the Perez Art Museum Miami. The distinct Caribbean sounds celebrated the launching of the 30th Miami Broward Carnival.

South Florida's version of Carnival takes place in October, whereas Brazil and the Caribbean celebrate in February and March.

18 Degrees North

Eighteen degrees north is the latitude where Jamaica and much of the Caribbean sit. It’s also the name of a new television newsmagazine show, perhaps the first to take an unflinching look at the problems and potential of the Caribbean.

“18 Degrees North” is in its second season. It debuted in South Florida this summer, airing Sundays at 2:30 p.m. on CBS affiliate WBFS-TV, My 33. It’s hosted by former Bloomberg TV reporter Zahra Burton.

Due to a labor dispute, dozens of Caribbean Airlines pilots called in sick Tuesday, leaving hundreds of passengers stranded.

Nearly all of the Trinidad-based airline's flights were disrupted across the Caribbean and in major hubs such as Miami, New York and London.

Airline spokesman Clint Williams says the company is in touch with travelers affected by the sick-out and has provided alternate flights for them.

Michael Femia / Creative Commons

The music of several Caribbean island nations will play this Saturday at Young Circle Park in Hollywood, for the Colors of the Caribbean festival.

The event will celebrate the eighth anniversary of Caribbean-American Heritage Month.

The free family celebration will include performances by Jamaican reggae artist Wayne Wonder and reggae-roots group Midnite, from the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Listen To A Remembrance Of 'Sounds Of The Caribbean' Host Rich Davis

Apr 24, 2014

"Sounds of the Caribbean" host Rich Davis died in a private residence in Montego Bay, Jamaica, late Wednesday night, says funeral director Dale Delapenha.

As of Friday afternoon, cause of death has not been determined and an autopsy is pending for next week. Family members confirm Davis had a history of hypertension.