The Difference between North and South Trinis

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There is an unspoken rule that there are things that only Trinis could say about one another and any foreigner considering uttering a bad thing about us could receive a well deserved ‘bellas’.  Like squabbling siblings, we alone can affectionately call each other ‘cantankerous’, ‘bacchanalish’ or ‘Trickidadian’, while any outsider doing such can find themselves in the middle of a tag-team cuss-out session.

It’s the same with ‘bussin the files’ on the differences between North and South Trinis, so whether you from San’do or Diego, grab the clip and have a good laugh at our ‘cultural differences’.

For a North Trini, anything and everybody past the Lighthouse living in country and is a ‘Southie’. Like the Fringes in John Wyndham’s Chrysalids, life beyond said monument is dismal, frightening, and, worst of all, boring. Since Movietowne and Fridays are a stone’s throw away, why waste time going ‘quite-o’ Sout’? For why, they ask?

Northerners are ignorant about the beauty of South landmarks, and know what the Pitch Lake looks like from postcards and textbooks. While South people have to know about the runnings of North, either for work or for the latest fete in the Savannah, Northerners panic when the Highway suddenly ends at the by-pass by Cross Crossing.

Northerners claim they have the best nightlife and while Zen is still featured in design magazines across the region, who can forget Celebs? Southies took the concept of ‘the hole’- a poorly lit, ram-packed, music-thumping dancehall session – and made it worthy of your Wednesday to Saturday nights, including a banging pre-club session in the car park.

Well, since Mr. Soong is the legend behind Celebs and Zen, Southies will claim that they know about ‘session’ before a Northerner had time to hang their Bishop’s school tie.  And while the common rebuttal is, “but ent allyuh does come up in we zone to lime?”, the common answer is, “Yeah oui!”, and mean yes, but that doh mean we want to stay up North.

A Southie comparing life in South to that of North is like buying doubles from George by Brooklyn Bar. Is not like yuh wouldn’t buy it, or deny that it tasty, but yuh know it have better home.

While North life bursts to the brim with countless social events and limes on D Avenue, is more of a ‘who see who’ fiasco than the traditional ‘neighbour lime’ Southies bussin’ by their friends. Where friends can sit in on the culvert (for the Northerners: a sewer or drain crossing under a road or embankment) with a nip of overproof rum and a half-pack of cigarettes and call that a Saturday night.

With prices rising everywhere, Southies have revived the days of the ‘small lime’, while Northerners insist on paying the $100 every Friday to see the same people they saw in the same place last week.

Northerners does cross-dress. Ok, it not so dread but you ever see Saucy Pow in South? Being more sophisticated and in-tune with popular culture than Southies, Northerners embraced the tight pants and cut-off capris before those in South had a chance to say, “Wha de hell!”

Propagated by North “celebrities” like Hollywood Sachy and ‘if it not tight, it not right’ Jiggaman TC, Northerners boldface with everything, including their fashion choices.  While Southies remain daresay, more traditional, Northerners had DirecTV and cable back in the days when TSTT was still issuing dial-up home phones. Whether this information has made them superior to the still excited Southie Flow subscriber, is greatly debatable.

The accent! Yes, I know you know Southies and Northerners speak differently. As a child we categorized it as the “news reporter” voice, perfectly annunciated, well modulated…and highfalutin. Oh, and clone-like.  Listening to a conversation amongst Northerners, you wonder if they’re all related or at least classmates from Maple Leaf.

Southies’ accents are a melee of tones, pitches and slang, dependent on geographical location, level of education and occupation, and to live in South you must understand all of them. In the mutation of popular slang, a Southie has at least a dozen ways to say ‘friend’, while in North you can still hear “breds” and “pardner”. While some Northerners may argue that they are as up-to-the-times as any Southie, ask any of them if they know what a ‘piper roti’ is. Piper roti does real ‘lash’ by d way. Northerners dat mean it ‘cut’. And if you doh know what ‘lash’ or ‘cut’ means, go and ask someone.

As a born and raised South girl, first in Siparia (for the Northerners, you know where Penal is? No? Deeper South then) and now San Fernando (yes I am biased). Those of us in South understand the pull of the buried navel string and will gladly eat cascadura to ensure that we spend the last of our days here.  That being said, when yuh in foreign like I was for seven years, the distinction between North and South Trinis don’t matter, you just glad to hear, “Waz d scene?”, and be with someone who understands the meaning of ‘allyuh’ and know that wine is more than something you drink.

Whether you agree or disagree on the differences above, I’d love to hear your views.

PS: Check out this new tune by local Hip Hop artiste Da Face featuring J-Smoke and Kane called “South dat we reppin'”.

Image credit:


Quilin Achat

Quilin Achat is an avid lover of reading, so it's no surprise that she runs a small, unconventional bookstore called The Fire is Lit, in San Fernando. Check out the Fire is Lit at


  1. Quilin Achat


    September 13, 2010 at 2:51 am

    Always, for life, I eh live anywhere else in Trinidad. Thanks K for having the sense to put meh boys vid at the end (das why you is d bosslady :P), the first anthem for Southies fuh real!
    Thanks to everyone who took a read, no offence meant, if allyuh seriously offended we would love to have a witty take on whatever everyone past the lighthouse missing out on. OUTlish to d world! Bless!

  2. Carissa

    September 15, 2010 at 3:13 am

    Qui, you know you’re my fav writer! Big up David too. I like a lot!

  3. Quilin Achat


    October 13, 2010 at 12:04 pm

    Umm…a piper roti is a mini-roti, normally for school kids or…pipers?! Really don’t know where the name came from (gd assumption though, right?) but back in the day, when a full size chicken roti was $12, a piper was $5…potato, $4. Now that chicken roti is kajillion dollars, a piper roti by Karamath’s on the Coffee is $10 (chick). See why South have the bess deals?!

  4. Jono

    August 23, 2013 at 1:29 pm

    This wasn’t an article about the differences, this probably should’ve been named “Why i think south better than north”.

    The fact that this person still talking about Zen and Jonny Soong confirms how slow the news is to reach south

  5. PAP

    August 23, 2013 at 2:15 pm

    you seem to be describing upper middle class northerners only because people from east moorings do not have that accent of which you speak and they go on excursions to Vessigny all the time. ( and in case you are wondering I am San Fernando born and bred)

  6. American Idiot

    August 23, 2013 at 2:51 pm

    Yeah, this “article” is basically just one bitter woman bashing the entire North. This headline had nothing to do with the “article”. Just because someone was born up north and you from south, you feel you better cuz youz “southies”
    So now that I got my ranting out the way, this really is a biased piece. There is no hard evidence to prove that south is better and writer is just making fanciful claims to back her bias-ness. And the failed attempt at being witty by describing what words or phrases mean, or giving directions, etc. just comes off as condescending and shows a sense of false superiority.
    The headline looked interesting and i thought this would have been a fun, interesting article, but it fell short by a mile and a half. (Silly me for thinking it would have actually shown the “differences between North and South Trinis”)
    Extremely disappointing!!!

  7. Kris

    August 23, 2013 at 3:15 pm

    Jonny had Coconuts going the same time as Celebs.

  8. Misternavin

    August 23, 2013 at 3:45 pm

    Well “typical” South inferiority complex vis-a-vis aside I don’t think North people see past the lighthouse as South. If you lived in the North you would understand that. Maybe they may be some geographically challenged people in d West that may say that but I have hardly ever come across that and even so called North people think those people are idiots. Culturally, East of the lighthouse is considered East – which in itself is geographically ridiculous. There is a debate on where South begins after that. Some say it starts from Grand Bazaar (as it is South of the Churchill/Roosevelt highway), or South of Chaguanas and environs – yes people do see Central as a distinct place. With Chaguanas and Price Plaza booming more and more people do acknowledge Central proper. The debate obviously ends in that South proper is San Fernando.

  9. ari

    August 23, 2013 at 6:07 pm

    oh yay! another baseless article pointlessly dividing the country further. If you wanted to write an article on “why I think south is better than the north” (and apparently to you the north consists solely of port of spain) at least name the article appropriately. As someone from arima living in port of spain, you generalizing like that and regurgitating ridiculous cliches only makes you appear ignorant and bitter. It comes across as though you have some kind of inferiority complex as well. Funny thing, I’ve yet to come across an entire article written by a ‘northerner'( as you call it- as if we all even have the same culture) bashing south.

  10. Jay

    August 23, 2013 at 7:00 pm

    Sorry but i’m from south and i think this article was so very biased and gives the impression that you know very little about people from the “North”. You mention Celebs as tho the North didn’t have a club comparable to it at the time. Your point about the accents is also very misleading. You seem to have written this comment after meeting a couple of people from the West. You could have written a lovely article with legit comments instead of this biased work with very misleading and sometimes outdated points. If the “Northerners” believe this is how “South” people think, they will surely have a good laugh.

  11. Slim

    August 23, 2013 at 7:41 pm

    You all are aware that this was written, 3 years ago right?

  12. Sanjay

    August 29, 2013 at 11:39 pm

    Omg what did I just read. I applaud you for acknowledging the fact that there is a difference between south and north Trinidad. I used to actually think it was just a joke where a southerner and a northerner would go at it, but this article makes me to believe that either there is a serious north south tension or you are just crazy. Nevertheless this only proves that back in 2010 you were slightly backward in your thinking when you wrote this article. I hope that now you have grown and become mature enough to know that this kind of thinking is the cause of the condition of our country today. Sweet sweet TNT oh how ah love meh country.

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