We are in the Port of Spain to cover Trinidad and Tobago's 50th anniversary of independence. A big deal in the twin island republic which so many South Floridians claim as their native homeland.
Ten of thousands of Trinidadians and Tobagonians live in the State of Florida. Lieutenant Governor Jennifer Carroll is a native of the country. Chances are you have a neighbor, a friend or a co-worker that hails from the twin island republic.
Trinidad and Tobago is very unique as Caribbean islands go because of its natural resources. It's vibrant industry of petroleum and petroleum products, making it a vital supplier to the region, including the United States. Lt. Gov Carroll just led a trade delegation to T&T this summer to build a stronger economic link between the two places.
Signs of the culture here in South Florida are everywhere. The steel band, which was created in Trinidad, is part of the soundtrack for our Caribbean lifestyle and tourism industry. Every year, Miami Gardens plays host to the hundreds of thousands who come in to town for the annual Carnival in October. In almost every city in South Florida, there are Caribbean markets and restaurants. Even groceries stores are stocking their shelves with more imports to keep up with demand to satisfy their Caribbean clientele.
I was born in New York to two Trinidadian-born parents who were struggling to find opportunity in their new not so tropical homeland that had many job opportunities. Caring for a child was not easy without family support, so at 3-years-old, I went to live with my grandparents in Port of Spain until it was time to go to college.
My story is one of thousands of similar experiences shared by Caribbean Immigrants in South Florida. We have embraced American culture and lifestyle but there will always be a feeling inside that makes T&T our home, too.
This is a big day for T&T, and I am honored to cover it for Local 10.
At midnight Friday, they will reenact the lowering of the British Flag and hoisting on Trinidad and Tobago's red, white and black flag for the first time 50 years ago. We are here on the ground to bring this special time to you.
For more on the island and the celebrations, go to www.tnt50.gov.tt.