As always in the Caribbean many of the channels were US based and being on the same time zone were coming to the end of their breakfast news sessions. The news out of New York was of a fire in one of the World Trade Towers. I switched from channel to channel and thought I was watching a recording of a plane entering the tower. I was wrong, I was watching live the second plane hitting the tower. The other was already aflame.
The conference was not due to start for another hour and I was transfixed to the television watching as first one then the other tower collapsed. I headed to the conference rooms and saw the crowds watching the screens in the lobby. At the first plenary session we held a moments silence. The sessions went on as planned but no-one’s hearts were in it. The next night was the big party of the conference, and we partied as best we could – we partied very well – but it was more resistance than enjoyment.
And as the conference drew to a close there was an issue. Airspace in the US remained closed and so many of the delegates, Caribbeans included, needed to travel home via the USA. I had already planned to remain at the hotel till the Saturday and was on a British Airways flight via Kingston, but instead of some relaxed solitude I found myself with over half the delegates from the conference still hanging around.