South Florida Trinidadians have a range of opinions about U.S. President Barack Obama and 33 other hemispheric leaders gathering in their small island for the Fifth Summit of the Americas.
Some view the high-profile conference with alacrity, others with suspicion.
But this much, they say, is for certain: Trinidad and Tobago will shine next week when the Caribbean nation of 1.3 million is thrown into the world spotlight.
"For a small country, it's going to be very big – both politically and economically," said Garth Ferdinand, 37, a North Miami Beach businessman, as he sat for lunch at L.C.'s Roti Shop, a funky eatery tucked away between a fish market and tag and title agency on the high-traffic corridor of U.S. 441 in Miami Gardens.
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"The [world] interest will be focused right there – in the center of the Caribbean."
Ferdinand and other South Florida Trinidadians say they've been inundated in recent weeks with tales of the elaborate preparations for the summit. Streets have been cordoned off. Checkpoints have surfaced. The capital, Port of Spain, has had a face-lift.
Many of those stories are swapped across the counter at L.C.'s Roti Shop at the Caribbean Shoppes Plaza. The owners, Elsie and her husband, F. Chin, came to Miami more than 35 years ago from Victoria County, in south Trinidad.
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