Featured Posts (1258)

Cuba lends a Helping Hand with COVID 19


The head of the 148-strong Cuban medical team that arrived here two weeks ago to help with Jamaica's novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) fight, wants Jamaicans to believe in the contingent that he says will do its best to give this nation's citizens the finest-possible medical care.

General practitioner Dr Eduardo Ropero said that he and his team members were oozing with confidence to get involved in the fight, alongside local health sector workers, to control and eventually tame the outbreak that has caused woe and destruction across the global landscape.

“We will not let the people of Jamaica down...Never,” Dr Ropero told the Jamaica Observer in an exclusive interview Friday evening, at the end of the team's 14-day quarantine.

“We are here to support the Jamaican health system to fight the new pandemic; interchanging knowledge with colleagues of this country and improve the knowledge and health of the Jamaican people,” the veteran practitioner of 25 years stated.

 The Cuban team of 46 doctors, 98 nurses and four technicians arrived in Jamaica on Saturday, March 21. Starting this weekend, they will be deployed across the four health regions (South East, North East, Western, and Southern) at hospitals and health centres. Dr Ropero will be based in the western region but does not know exactly where yet.

“Jamaica can depend on us 100 per cent. The Cuban medical personnel are filled with humanity and solidarity. We love our profession and we care for our patients,” Dr Ropero underscored.

Now that the period of quarantine has elapsed, Dr Ropero has joined other medical personnel, near and far, in appealing to remember that people that paying attention to health care tips is in their best interest.

He wants Jamaicans to know that the best approach in dealing with the COVID-19 crisis is for people to understand how importance it is to “wash their hands frequently, avoid touching the eyes, nose or mouth if you are out of the house; keep social distance of almost one metre; use sanitary face mask or handmade mask” — a message that is now like an echo across the globe.

More can be done, he argued, while noting that some people refuse to self-isolate and don't understand that it is necessary for their wellness. Dr Ropero said that it is necessary to involve all media, in particular television, print, radio, and the Internet, in educating the population.4331651050?profile=RESIZE_710x

He, too, is not against the wearing of masks, as the debate rages over whether or not the items are necessary, as according to him, “the advice from the WHO [World Health Organization] is that just ill persons must use the mask, but it is very difficult to know when a person is sick — because the patient could be an asymptomatic person for 14 days”. Like other members of the brigade, he too has his fears of getting infected but remains confident that members of the team will be as careful as they can be.

“Yes, of course it is a real possibility, but if we follow correctly the safety indications, the risk of contracting the virus will be very low,” he maintained. Dr Ropero praised the Government of Jamaica, in particular the Ministry of Health and Wellness, for being “far-sighted” about coronarivus, citing the ministry's programme of informing the people from early about how to care for themselves, self-isolation, and effecting control on travellers. The first-time traveller to Jamaica, who has worked in Venezuela for seven years and Brazil for two, does not see a challenge for him and his team to fit into the Jamaican culture and enjoy what it has to offer, including the food. There are 77 members of the 138-team which has experience working abroad.

“Almost everything I heard about Jamaica is good — your culture is great; I love Bob Marley I heard from other Cuban doctors who worked here that you are very kind people, very friendly and hard workers; and of course all Cubans love Usain Bolt. He is unique.

 “The food is spicy, and yes, it is a little problem... a little hot for our mouths, but we try to get in the habit of eating spicy food. In the hotels the cooks are the best. The food is always delicious.”

Jamaica's dark side though — violence and crime — is of concern to the Cuban medical leader and his team, and they will do everything necessary to protect themselves. “I don't like what I hear about the violence and crime in Jamaica. In Venezuela and Brazil we treated shooting patients and some injured by the knife, and it's a painful picture for any person, even a doctor. But we are here to work and that is our main focus,” said the medic who admitted to being a sportsman of sorts, having played “a little baseball and soccer”, though confessing that he was not good at either.

The team was part of a contingent of Cuban medical personnel who were selected last year by a group of Jamaican technocrats who visited the north Caribbean socialist state from June 12 to 16 to recruit almost 300 professionals.4331661534?profile=RESIZE_710x

The selections were done by a team that was headed by senior director, human resource management in the Ministry of Health and Wellness Gail Hudson, and also included head of surgery at Annotto Bay Hospital Dr Ray Fraser, who studied medicine in Cuba; regional technical director for the Western Regional Health Authority Dr Diane Stennett Campbell; Nurse Educator Sheila Daley Jones; Director, Human Resource and Industrial Relations Coleen Ricketts-Evans; Director, Human Resource and Industrial Relations Pauline Roberts; Director, Nursing Services (KPH) Joan Walker-Nicholson; Chief Nursing Officer Patricia Ingram-Martin; Director, Nursing Services (Cornwall Regional Hospital) Gillian Ledgister; Director, Nursing Services (St Ann's Bay Hospital) Marcia Lafayette; Regional Nursing Supervisor (SERHA) Marcia Thomas-Yetman; and Senior Medical Officer (St Catherine Health Department) Dr Francia Prosper-Chen.

This is the third and final batch of medical personnel to arrive from Cuba within the last nine months.

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It could mean your life, the life of people you love or someone else's loved one.




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When you think of Carnival, soca music naturally springs to mind. And when you think of Jamaica, dancehall inevitably pops up.

But what do you get when you mix the two? Well, you'll find out on the road next month with Xaymaca International as the Carnival titans have flipped the script to make it a perfect soca and dancehall fusion!

Having started the blend last year with the introduction of their Queen of Dancehall costume, Xaymaca upped the stakes today and took it one step further by signing dancehall artistes Ding Dong Ravers and Teejay as their official ambassadors for their 2020 Carnival season.

And we don't know about you but we're VERY excited.

Loop got a special invitation to the official signing this evening, and we caught up with Ding Dong and Teejay to find out what they think of their new ambassadorial roles.

Ding Dong beamed: "I respect Xaymaca to the fullest because they believe in me and they're the first to believe in me in the soca world. Big up Romeich because he convinced me from the first year to do Carnival. It was a very important move in my life and it worked out to be the best.

"I've a big soca song this year and I hope to create history with it on the road with Xaymaca."

Revealing some of what he'll be bringing to the road on April 19, Teejay added: "I will come party and enjoy myself." And he promised plenty of "wildness" and "madness".

Kandi King, Xaymaca co-director, explained a little bit of the reason for the dancehall partnership. She told Loop: "We really just wanted to give our international masqueraders a taste of Jamaica. Of course you can't think of Jamaica without thinking of reggae and dancehall, and if you think about dancehall, you have to think about Ding Dong. 

"So we just wanted to diversify and give them a small taste of what dancehall has to offer."

Andrew Bellamy, Xaymaca CEO, added: "We'll be bringing the perfect fusion of the Jamaican culture with soca. We have the best of the local dancehall scene, we have Ding Dong and Teejay and we'll be bringing some of the strongest 2020 soca artists and you combine that with the experience we provide from breakfast through to lunch and dinner.... It's going to be an unforgettable experience for our masqueraders."

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Niki Minaj - Proud Trinidadian


Celebrity musician Nicki Minaj has decisively claimed her Trinidadian heritage, saying via an Instagram post that she is a 'proud Trini'.

The rap diva shared photos to her Instagram account on Carnival Tuesday after wearing a costume from Tribe Carnival and enjoying the festivities with her husband while on a truck.

Minaj was seen partying with soca stars Machel Montano, Iwer and Kes, who all sang their hits including the popular 'Stage Gone Bad'.


Minaj, who just released her latest hit 'Yikes', was seen decked out in a blue and purple costume resplendent with feathers. 

She was joined by husband Kenneth Petty who she married in October 2019.

Minaj said she and Petty were once childhood sweethearts when she lived in Queens, New York as a child. 

Minaj produced a Carnival video for 'Pound the Alarm' in Trinidad in 2012. 

'Fast and Furious' actor and musician Ludacris was also in the island for Trinidad and Tobago's 2020 Carnival celebrations. 

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Turks and Caicos to set up Film Commission


Permanent Secretary for Tourism Cherylann Jones (l) and Permanent Secretary for Home Affairs, Transportation and Communication Clara Gardiner at the TCIFF.

Turks and Caicos will be establishing a film commission. Premier Sharlene Cartwright Robinson said seed funding is already available for the Tourist Board to set it up.

The Premier was speaking at the opening night of the Turks and Caicos International Film Festival on Friday.

This is the first year of the TCIFF and the Premier expressed hope that it would become a major platform to attract visitors. She also said the event, themed Blue and Green – the Oceans and the Environment, would also create more awareness about the environment. Cartwright Robinson revealed that the TCI recently signed a declaration to protect the oceans along with other countries in Europe.

The TCIFF is aimed at shining a light on environmental issues through film. The event opened with a screening of Tom Mustill’s short featuring environmental activists Greta Thurnberg and George Monbiot. Mustill, who is in TCI for the Festival, said when he made it he wondered if anyone would watch and if conservation and protecting the environment was too boring.

The movie, he said, now has over 50 million views. The feature film of the night was the Leonardo DiCaprio- produced movie Shadow of the Seas, a documentary that follows efforts of a Mexican journalist and environmental activists to save the Vaquita, a sea creature on the verge of extinction due to the illegal trade of the Totoaba swim bladder.

The Totoaba is a fish whose swim bladder is high in demand in China for its apparent healing properties. Fishermen in Mexico draw nets across the Sea of Cortez in an effort to catch the fish, the trade of which is controlled by the mafia. The fish is called the cocaine of the sea. Other sea creatures, including the dwindling population of the Vaquita, are often caught in the nets laid for the Totoaba and die as a result.

The documentary does only just highlight the urgency to save the Vaquita, of which there are about 15 left in the world, but shows how consumer behaviour, social issues, government policies, and law enforcement are intertwined in environmental issues.

The Festival continues today with panel discussions and more screenings.

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3778123209?profile=RESIZE_710xThe Carenage in Grenada was decorated with colourful lights for the Festival of Lights. Photo courtesy the Grenada Tourism Authority

To crown the Caribbean Tourism Organization’s (CTO) Year of Festivals in 2019, Pure Grenada, the Spice of the Caribbean, debuted its newest event, Festival of Lights on December 6 and 7. 

The Festival took place on the Carenage, which is one of the most stunning spots in the destination.

The beauty of the festoon lights on the Carenage was further enhanced by new spotlights, which lined the entire harbour area, lighting the historical buildings in a multi-coloured glow as well as a new laser light show.

Added to the ambience created by the lights was a mixture of carols, steel plan music, parang music, local cuisine, a Santa’s grotto and a night market that provided all the Grenadian Christmas goodies such as sorrel, ginger and household items.

Performances by local artists and groups such as the PBC Boys Choir, Sonika McKie, Kareem Alexis, Emily Rapier and Hess and the Boys crowned the entire affair.

The Festival of Lights was the brainchild of the Chairman of the Grenada Tourism Authority and adviser to the Minister of Tourism, Brenda Hood who championed the idea for a few years.

She said, “jThe Festival of Lights is an opportunity for us to show the world how wonderful and authentic Christmas time is in Grenada. It is also an opportunity for our visitors to interact with our friendly citizens.”

The Ministry for Tourism and Civil Aviation collaborated with the Grenada Tourism Authority to form a Committee to bring the Festival of Lights to fruition.

Minister for Tourism and Civil Aviation Dr. Clarice Modeste-Curwen said it was a great achievement for Grenada to host its first Festival of Lights.

She said, “This was true collaborative effort and we thank all the businesses that came on board. The Carenage is a stunning location and we hope to enhance it every year with the Festival of Lights.”

There will be two more events on Saturday, December 14 starting at 5 pm and December 21 at 3 pm to close out the Festival of Lights for 2019.

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At Mo’s Original, It Pays to Be Open-Minded


In Prospect-Lefferts Gardens, a neighborhood with a large Caribbean population and a lot of Caribbean restaurants, Mo’s stands out by finding the intersection of Jamaican and Japanese food. A pair of talented chefs have found success in the unexpected intersection of Caribbean food and ramen noodles. (Hannah Goldfield - The New Yorker)

The story of Mo’s Original, a new restaurant in Brooklyn, involves a few false starts. First, there was Glady’s, an eclectic sandwich shop opened in Crown Heights, in 2013, by Michael Jacober, a chef and grilled-cheese-truck impresario. The sandwiches were excitingly unusual, but after a few months Jacober, feeling like an interloper in the neighborhood, decided to rebrand as a Caribbean restaurant, focussing on Jamaican-style jerk to better serve the local community. If this was pandering, it was in good faith—Jacober travelled around Jamaica to educate himself and found a partner in one of his sous-chefs, Junior Felix, a native of St. Lucia—and it worked; in 2016, they expanded to a second, bigger location, in Prospect-Lefferts Gardens.

In these new digs, however, Glady’s didn’t quite take. And so, in May, Felix, with a new partner, William (Mo) Garfield, a onetime collaborator with Jacober (who recently divested from both places), decided to rebrand, as a Caribbean-ramen restaurant. If this sounds to you, as it did to me, like an outlandishly misguided and even lazily of-the-moment idea: I’m happy to report that it pays to be more open-minded. Garfield and Felix are not trend-chasing hacks but, rather, skilled chefs who have found the intersection of their passions. Garfield, originally from Portland, Maine, and a veteran of Japanese restaurants, is a devoted student of ramen; Felix is fluent in Caribbean flavors and a master of the custom smoker that he and Jacober designed for Glady’s, which burns American maple and ash wood in addition to traditional Jamaican pimento chips.

The success of Mo’s is best exemplified by the spicy miso-curry ramen. Curry is Caribbean, curry is Japanese, curry is fantastic when added in balanced proportion to an incredibly rich chicken broth, which is so thick with miso that it’s almost a sauce. Golden and creamy, it’s a perfect base for a tangle of thick-cut wavy noodles and generous curls of succulent smoked chicken thigh, nestled with charred cabbage and carrots and topped with wisps of scallion, garlic oil, and a house-made togarashi spice mixture.

The “smoke” ramen, made with both smoked-chicken broth and shreds of smoked pork loin, would be my second choice, and, in the mushroom-broth ramen, the three-dimensional flavor of the sweet smoked cherry tomatoes alone makes that dish worth ordering. (The latter is vegan, and the kitchen is unusually accommodating of dietary restrictions, using only wheat-free tamari in lieu of regular soy sauce and offering to substitute rice noodles in any ramen.)

But the menu goes far beyond noodles. Dinner begins with complimentary baskets of freshly made, copper-hued potato chips sprinkled with togarashi. Appetizers include crunchy tater tots topped with eel sauce, aioli, and bonito flakes; fried Brussels sprouts with vegan fish sauce (made with seaweed and mushrooms); and plump bao buns filled with sweet-and-sour pickles and meaty-textured deep-fried tofu. A “big salad” features frilly-tendrilled mixed greens that taste like they came from the farmers’ market as opposed to a plastic clamshell, tossed with carrots, daikon, hemp seeds, almonds, and herbs in an oniony dressing. The smoked chicken and pork loin are available barbecue style, too, and, to really please the crowds, there’s a burger—with two beef patties—plus a veggie “burger” (actually a smoked portobello cap).

A few months in, Mo’s has some kinks to iron out. On several recent evenings, the kitchen had run out of a good third of its offerings, and delicious-sounding specials, though prominently advertised, have been elusive; I’ve been chasing the smoked lobster with corn for weeks. I was sorry to see a dish of excellent head-on shrimp grilled in soy and ginger replaced by one with shrimp breaded and fried, and to be served a plate of tamari-brined fried chicken that was just shy of inedibly burnt. With a few tweaks, Mo’s could end its Goldilocks-like journey and feel exactly right. (Dishes $5-$15.) ♦

Published in the print edition of the October 14, 2019, issue, with the headline “Mo’s Original.”

  • Hannah Goldfield is The New Yorker’s food critic.

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Holy Moly!! Fashion in the Cathedral

3738450911?profile=RESIZE_710xThese are images from the fashion show held on Sunday at the Holy Trinity Cathedral that have ignited a big debate. The show, held from Friday 1st  to Sunday 3rd November, was part of Style Week Trinidad and Tobago and organized by Zetick Caribbean.

Express photographer JERMAINE CRUICKSHANK attended the fashion event and captured these images. 3738452100?profile=RESIZE_710x3738458457?profile=RESIZE_710x3738457398?profile=RESIZE_710x3738456868?profile=RESIZE_710x3738456282?profile=RESIZE_710x3738454842?profile=RESIZE_710x



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Jamaica and the Postcolonial Predicament
By Orlando Patterson

For a tiny island in the Caribbean, Jamaica has long enjoyed an outsize global reach — there are the songs of Bob Marley and the gold medals of Usain Bolt, as well as the millions of sun-seekers flocking to the island’s pristine beaches. It is quite an accomplishment for a nation “barely the size of Connecticut,” as Orlando Patterson notes in his fascinating study, “The Confounding Island: Jamaica and the Postcolonial Predicament.” But shadows hang over this sunny picture, not least distressingly high rates of poverty and homicide.

Patterson is a Jamaican who has long lived in the United States, working as a sociology professor at Harvard University, which allows him both an intimacy with the island and a degree of distance through which to analyze it. Although he provides extensive citations and robust discussions of theoretical frameworks, he also offers a personal story of affection and frustration, perhaps most evident in the questions that form all but one of the eight chapter titles. These include: “Why Has Jamaica Trailed Barbados on the Path to Sustained Growth?” and “Why is Democratic Jamaica So Violent?” Indeed, these two questions are so significant, he devotes the first half of the book to them.

"The Confounding Island: Jamaica and the Postcolonial Predicament" by Orlando Patterson.

Patterson starts by comparing Jamaica with its fellow former colony Barbados, which is 25 times smaller in area and, with under 300,000 inhabitants, possessing only one-tenth the population. Yet Barbados has more than twice the per capita G.D.P. of Jamaica and none of the political violence. To explain this, Patterson pursues lines of investigation that are not strictly economic. The themes of slavery and freedom run through his analysis; it is impossible to discuss contemporary Jamaica without their inclusion. Although Patterson’s time frame is postcolonial, to get to Jamaica’s economic present he navigates the pothole-strewn road of its troubled past.

Jamaica’s dramatic and complex history starts with the arrival of Christopher Columbus in 1494. In 1655 it fell under English control, and was subsequently transformed into a sugar powerhouse fueled by enslaved labor, until full abolition arrived in 1838. The island remained under British control until independence in 1962.

Such a trajectory is not uncommon in the Caribbean, but Patterson notes crucial distinctions in Jamaica’s development, particularly the British perception that it was dangerous and disease-laden compared with Barbados. As a result, there were fewer absentee plantation owners in Barbados and a more stable colonial population, which influenced the development of the island’s political institutions. The social history of these institutions is key to understanding how they functioned after independence, and why the implementation of what were often similar policies had divergent results.

Heywood Street market on West Queen Street in Kingston, Jamaica.Credit...Robert Rausch for The New York Times

From there, Patterson turns to violence, while also issuing some useful reminders about the nature of democracy. Jamaica, as he writes, is “genuinely democratic,” with a very robust civil society, and yet is rarely described as such. This is, in part, because of the notion that democracies, by their nature, are not violent, an idea “inconsistent with the realities of democratic history and practice.” Still, Jamaica remains an outlier in terms of scale, consistently topping global homicide lists.

Patterson examines how the political clientelism that took root in independent Jamaica has led to deadly “garrison-based politics,” in which a poor neighborhood is bribed or coerced through the threat of violence into voting for a particular political party. This phenomenon, mixed with persistent poverty, has given rise to the urban gangs and drug-related brutality that continue to blight the island. Patterson also revisits his own part in the development of Jamaica, returning to his time as an adviser to Prime Minister Michael Manley, who was the democratic socialist leader of the People’s National Party, and to the failure of the poverty-reduction program they tried to implement in the 1970s.

It is not all doom and gloom, however, especially when Patterson turns to Jamaica’s extraordinary cultural production. In examining the athletic prowess of the island’s runners, he swiftly dismantles any racist notion that Jamaicans are genetically more gifted as athletes, and instead returns to institutions. He lays Jamaica’s success in track and field at the swift feet of Michael Manley’s father, Norman, one of the nation’s founders, likening it to “the effect on track’s prestige in the United States had George Washington been a track star.” Manley was a talented athlete, and he promoted track and field as part of the formation of an independent national identity. Around this grew a nationwide infrastructure of running associations. Where institutions failed the economy, they proved to be champions in fostering athletics. In a similar vein, Patterson also looks at how the music industry has had enormous success beyond Bob Marley’s hits, in spite of the island’s limited resources.

Topics covered in other chapters range from women in the workplace to cricket, and such breadth makes this an eye-opening volume. It is also illuminating because Patterson carefully explores the complexity of the structural machinery behind Jamaica’s dazzling successes and dismal failures, rather than just chalking these up to simple causes. Although at times Patterson is critical of and disappointed by his fellow Jamaicans, his admiration for the nation’s independent spirit shines through.

Carrie Gibson is the author of “Empire’s Crossroads: A History of the Caribbean From Columbus to the Present Day” and, most recently, “El Norte: The Epic and Forgotten Story of Hispanic North America.”

Jamaica and the Postcolonial Predicament
By Orlando Patterson
409 pp. The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press. $35.

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Asafa Powell launches fitness and health website


Asafa Powell, the former 100-metre world record holder and current Guinness Record holder for the most sub-10 runs has launched asafafitlife.com, a fitness membership platform to help people around the world take control of their health and meet their fitness goals, with hands-on guidance on workouts and nutrition.

“Health is our greatest asset,” Powell said. “Having over a decade of dedicated workout and nutrition experience as an athlete I felt it was time to share that.”

The services offered on the site include but not limited to a 12-week fitness plan, nutrition advice, as well as recipes and fitness videos. Having done a soft launch to get feedback and fine-tune the site, the response has positive.

It has given persons the opportunity to start their fitness journey with someone they trust, can relate to and know that the support they need is at their fingertips.

“I wanted to create a community,” Powell said.

Once people sign up, they get access to a range of his e-books like 'Live Like a Legend', a 30-Day guide to help people kick-start their journey to fitness. There is also access to a private group on Facebook that members can join to share their progress, provide support, share recipe ideas and keep in touch with Powell as they embark on their fitness journey.

The site also features more than 50 fitness videos providing detailed workout instructions for beginners as well as expert advice on how to exercise safely and effectively as well as Powell’s Nutrition Mission eBook.

To learn more about Asafa’s fitness membership platform and to see why it’s poised to change the game visit https://asafafitlife.com.

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Gordon Arthur ‘Butch’ Stewart O.J., C.D., Hon. LLD is an anomaly in the business world. He’s managed to not only create an estimated billion dollar empire, but has done so wearing an ever-present smile along with his trademark striped shirt. The man often referred to as the “Cupid of the Caribbean” (he’ll tell you why later) has control of his privately-owned Jamaican-based empire that today includes 23 Caribbean properties, Appliance Traders Ltd., ATL Automotive, ATL Autobahn and The Observer media company. All told, Stewart spearheads two dozen diverse companies that collectively represent Jamaica’s largest private sector group, the country’s biggest foreign exchange earner and its largest non-government employer.

The 78-year-old Sandals Founder and Chairman is responsible for flipping the “all-inclusive” resort market on its head and making it a luxury enterprise, offering everything from butlers trained by the English Guild to airport transfers via Rolls-Royce Ghosts. And he is constantly working, creating new opportunities set to engage guests, such as his new golf course in St. Lucia alongside Greg Norman, a new Rondovals at Sandals South Coast and refreshed restaurants and rooms at Sandals Royal Caribbean.

Simply put, the Jamaica-born businessman—who is still based in the Caribbean to this day—is fueled by a dogged passion for hard work, duty to country and love of family who always seems to be having the most fun. “Honestly, I’ve never worked a day in my life,” he says. And now, he’s sharing how to do what you love—as he did—and make billions in the process. Talk about living your best life…
Sandals-South-Coast-Aerial-View-e1570186246958.jpghttps://hauteliving.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/Sandals-South-Coast-Aerial-View-e1570186246958-688x423.jpg 688w" alt="Sandals South Coast" width="752" height="462" />Photo Credit: Sandals

How did you get started in the hotel business and what drove you towards the hospitality industry?

Serving customers with a generosity of care and exceeding their expectations is the essence of hospitality and the values that have driven my lifelong approach to business – even before the start of Sandals. The late 70s and 80s were a politically sensitive time in Jamaica. As the value of the local dollar dropped, it became necessary to find a way to earn the stable foreign currency necessary to meet business obligations. That was the impetus for Sandals Resorts and exceeding expectations the source of its success.

You didn’t invent the all-inclusive concept, but you say you’ve perfected it. What do you mean?

After significant innovation in the space – from in-room amenities such as hair dryers and coffeemakers – which may seem quaint today to included transfers and premium brand drinks, we made a very conscientious decision in 2007 to go further, much further and create a premium all-inclusive resort experience that would compete successfully against any resort experience in the world. And we’ve done it. No beads, bracelets or winding buffet lines. The Sandals Resorts five-star standard begins with a phenomenal beachfront setting; selection of groundbreaking and beautifully appointed suites including over-the-water bungalows, which we introduced to the Caribbean; choice of at least 16 restaurants at every resort; top-shelf liquor and enhanced service including butlers trained by the Guild of Professional English Butlers. Quality, service, style and choice are what define our luxury included concept and we’re very, very proud of it.

What, in your opinion, is the secret to the success of your company?

Teamwork, a commitment to exceed expectations and leadership that makes these values the priority has been the essence of our success.

Rolls-Royce-Private-Transfer.jpghttps://hauteliving.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/Rolls-Royce-Private-Transfer-688x458.jpg 688w, https://hauteliving.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/Rolls-Royce-Private-Transfer-357x238.jpg 357w, https://hauteliving.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/Rolls-Royce-Private-Transfer-225x150.jpg 225w, https://hauteliving.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/Rolls-Royce-Private-Transfer-621x414.jpg 621w" alt="Sandals" width="752" height="501" /> Luxury stays at Sandals include private transfer via Rolls-Royces

Do you need consistent innovation and ingenuity to keep the brand fresh, or has the product simply perfectly established a formula at this point?

Any organization that stops innovating will not last very long. We are committed to exceeding guest expectations and they change, as they should. That’s why we include fast and free WiFi and have invested heavily in areas that today’s audiences demand such as quality interior and exterior design, excellent food and beverage, thoughtful service and new destinations. Whether it’s an incredible rooftop experience, opportunity go bowling or sip cocktails in an authentic speakeasy, we’ll never stop creating new ways to delight our guests.

Can you tell us about your five-star initiative?

Luxury customers know that signing chits and tipping don’t make for a better experience and that’s what our 5-Star campaign is all about. We are on a mission to dispel myths and to make sure customers seeking a true luxury resort experience – from in demand destinations and spectacular beachfront settings to standout suites, personalized service and incredible dining, consider Sandals Resorts.

What does Sandals offer that you yourself seek on vacation? What are you five “musts” for any hotel/destination?

When I travel, I look for an authentic vacation experience that’s true to the destination matched with the luxury of a 5-star resort, and I believe that Sandals does just that.

1. I’m a Jamaican who loves the water so a great beach with easy access and crystal-clear waters is a must!
2. Friendly, local staff are very important to me. I always like to learn more about a destination from the people who live and work there.
3. A variety of options! I like to have lots of choices when I’m on vacation. One day I might want to relax by the pool and then the next day, get out and explore the water sailing on a Hobie Cat.
4. Unique rooms and suites are key. I want to be wowed when I walk into my room, whether it be a large, spa-style bathroom or a pool on my balcony.
5. Top-notch dining is non-negotiable for me. A high-quality, authentic food and beverage experience is one of the most important elements of any excellent vacation.

Sandals-South-Coast-Bungalow.jpghttps://hauteliving.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/Sandals-South-Coast-Bungalow-688x459.jpg 688w, https://hauteliving.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/Sandals-South-Coast-Bungalow-357x238.jpg 357w, https://hauteliving.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/Sandals-South-Coast-Bungalow-225x150.jpg 225w, https://hauteliving.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/Sandals-South-Coast-Bungalow-621x414.jpg 621w" alt="Sandals South Coast" width="752" height="502" /> Luxurious accommodation at Sandals South Coast

Photo Credit: Sandals South Coast

Have you considered opening Sandals resorts outside of the Caribbean? If you’ve considered it, is this something we might see in the future?

Options are always to be considered. For now, we are proud of what we’ve built in the Caribbean, which is our home; the Caribbean people who have benefited from the opportunities Sandals has presented and the many people we have introduced through the resorts to this incredible part of the world.

There are plenty of perks that come with being the leading Caribbean Luxury Included resort company but what are some challenges that you have faced in your career that you’ve overcome, and if so how?

Every success comes with challenges and I’ve had my share along the way. Nothing worthwhile is ever easy, but I would point to the period immediately following 9/11 as one of the most challenging moments in the history of the company, as it was for too many. With travel absolutely halted, there was great temptation to slash prices and cut services. We made the decision to bet on us and an American customer in need of our style of vacation. While we did put incentives into the marketplace, we also used that time to acquire new resorts and begin extensive renovation at existing resorts. The risk was rewarded, and the company celebrated by initiating “Operation Relax,” donating $2 million in free vacations to active-duty military at home or abroad.

Obviously traveling is a part of your routine, since you get to travel to so many stunning destinations, where would you say is your favorite place in the world?

My favorite place is to be on my boat fishing.

GAS-Rio-Chico-HIGH-RES-800x706.jpghttps://hauteliving.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/GAS-Rio-Chico-HIGH-RES-688x607.jpg 688w, https://hauteliving.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/GAS-Rio-Chico-HIGH-RES-768x678.jpg 768w, https://hauteliving.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/GAS-Rio-Chico-HIGH-RES.jpg 1369w" alt="Gordon "Butch" Stewart" width="752" height="664" />Photo Credit: Rio Chico

Which of the Sandals properties do you enjoy the most and why?

Oh boy, that’s a tough one! I mean, how do you pick one child over the other? Sandals Montego Bay, our flagship resort, holds a very special place in my heart. I mean, that’s where the Sandals story first started. Whenever I visit Sandals Montego Bay, I’m always overcome with a flood of memories of those early days when we really had no clue how to run a resort. And yet, here we are in 2019 leading the way. The fact that Sandals Montego Bay recently completed a massive transformation from top to bottom, adding new rooms, new restaurants and new amenities will guarantee that a whole new generation of Sandals guests also fall in love with this amazing resort.

You’ve been in the game for a while now and have likely seen changes in the travel industry. How do you think the all-inclusive category has evolved since you started, in regards to luxury accommodations and service?

I think the most dramatic change within the all-inclusive space since we began in 1981, has been the shift in the perception of the category. Once upon a time, guests believed all-inclusive meant one thing: mediocrity. Every all-inclusive resort was the same. We changed that, paving the way for more entries into the category and more choice for consumers. And this is a good thing because Sandals has never aimed to compete on price. We are focused solely on quality of experience. This is why we take such tremendous pride in the location of our resorts, the beauty of our grounds, our incredible variety of suites that dazzle in their uniqueness from rondovals to over-the-water bungalows. It’s why we put so much care into our food and beverage, operating multiple standalone restaurants run by a dedicated staff and chef rather than servicing diners from a single commercial kitchen. Today’s luxury customer seeks customization above all else, personalization of every facet of the experience. That is the Sandals difference and the essence of our new 5-Star campaign.

What can we expect moving forward from the “Cupid of the Caribbean” (and how/why do you have that nickname)?

I always laugh when I’m called “The Cupid of the Caribbean” but when I first started Sandals in 1981, I was targeting the honeymoon market so everything was geared towards romance, for two people in love. And while weddings and honeymoons are a big part of our business, Sandals is also a great place for couples to get away and reconnect, away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, and enjoy the very best in luxurious accommodations, delicious dining, impeccable service and so much more. From romantic candlelight dinners under the stars to relaxing spa treatments in a seaside gazebo, we offer something for every couple at any stage of their relationship.

You’ve said in the past that you’ve “never worked a day” in your life, because you enjoy it so much. Do you think that’s the key to success in both business and in life?

Being fully engaged in the things that are important to me, committing to do my best – this is living life to its fullest. That is the ultimate success.

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3665152117?profile=originalAlmost five years ago on a local TV show in New York, the host was taken aback when the Jamaican reggae artist Gyptian was introduced by a diminutive, elderly Asian woman.

“He was not expecting to see a Chinese woman talking about reggae,” Patricia Chin, now 82, recalls with a laugh, during a telephone interview from New York.

But the half-Chinese, half-Indian Chin, who was born in Jamaica, knows just about everything there is to know about reggae. 

She and her late husband, Vincent “Randy” Chin, helped build the nascent reggae music scene in the late 1950s from their home in Kingston, Jamaica, along with the likes of the legendary Bob Marley and Peter Tosh.

In 1975, the Chins emigrated to the US and opened VP Records, in Brooklyn, New York. They later relocated the store, ironically, to the neighborhood of Jamaica, Queens.

This year, the label is celebrating its 40th anniversary with a year-long series of events, including a free concert in Central Park on September 10 and the release of a special box set and special-edition vinyl records.

The Chins’ foray into the reggae music scene began six decades ago after the couple met in 1957, the same year Patricia became pregnant and the couple married. She was a student nurse at the time, and admits they didn’t know much about reggae music.

Vincent was traveling around the Caribbean island updating vinyl records in hotel jukeboxes, which were the main form of musical entertainment. Patricia Chin quit nursing school to accompany him. They then hit upon a business idea.

Reggae singers Devonte (left) and Tanto Metro with VP founder Chin (center), VP CEO Randy Chin (second from right) and the Consul General of Jamaica Basil Bryan. Photo: AFP

“We went to the company Vincent worked for and asked them if we could sell the reject records from the jukeboxes,” Chin recalls. “Back then, 60 years ago, we didn’t have Jamaican music, but American music like R&B and Elvis Presley.”

People were happy to buy the used records and demand grew so large that customers lined up outside the door of their first shop, Randy’s Records, on Saturdays.

They had sublet a small space in a restaurant for the record shop, but eventually bought out the owner to expand their space. They even occupied the building next door to turn it into a recording studio, naming it Studio 17.

“There were seven or eight musicians doing reggae music, while we Chinese were the ones who owned the Chinese shops. [These shops] were the meeting places for young generation Chinese to mix with the blacks,” Chin says.

“The Chinese bought equipment like speakers and turntables, and the blacks had the idea of producing, singing and making music. The shops were like a [public] square for people to meet up.”

Like much of the Caribbean, Jamaica is a multi-ethnic country. Most people are of African descent, with smaller groups of European, Chinese or South Asian origin.

The Chinese originally arrived on the island in the mid-19th century as indentured laborers on plantations. Some stayed and started businesses, particularly grocery stores.

Chin with reggae singer Tarrus Riley.
Chin with reggae singer Tarrus Riley. Photo: Ajamu Myrie

The Chins made Studio 17 more affordable than other recording facilities to help young musicians.

“We invested in them, helped them press and sell records,” Chin says. “It was the natural thing to do. We were a hotspot for artists to listen to music.”

While Chin, who was nicknamed “Miss Pat,” was behind the counter selling records at Randy’s, she briefly met some of the artists her husband brought to the studio to record with.

“Bob Marley; he was very shy. He would come in with a producer. Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry and Peter Tosh were young, they were around 16 or 17 years old,” she says.

Bob Marley and Peter Tosh were among the original members of legendary reggae band The Wailers. Perry, now 83, is still dropping reggae albums.

But a recording didn’t mean instant success.

“In Jamaica, everyone is a singer, so they [Marley and Tosh] didn’t sell any records at all at first,” Chin recalls.

She adds that it wasn’t until British-born, Jamaican-raised producer and founder of Island Records, Chris Blackwell, discovered the likes of Marley and Tosh in the 1970s that they become world-famous.

To seek new business opportunities, Vincent went to America and hung out in jazz clubs, where he met many African-American musicians, including rock ‘n’ roll pioneer Fats Domino, reggae singer and songwriter Johnny Nash and keyboard player and composer Arthur Jenkins, who also visited Kingston to record in their studio.

Amid an escalation in political violence in Jamaica in the latter half of the 1970s, the couple found it increasingly difficult to operate the business, so they left the country bound for the US.

With four children in tow, they landed in New York in 1975 and started over with VP Records, using the initials of their first names. 

Unlike in their hometown, business was initially slow. American customers only knew of Marley, but not other reggae artists who, Chin says, were just as good.

They were also unaware of the different styles of Jamaican music, including cool hop, ska and dancehall. During this period, only a handful of mainstream music stores in New York carried reggae music, so it was a struggle for the Chins to introduce other reggae artists.

Reggae fans watch performers during the 25th Anniversary of VP Records show at Radio City Music Hall in New York City (2004).
Reggae fans watch performers during the 25th Anniversary of VP Records show at Radio City Music Hall in New York City (2004). Photo: AFP

“We thought that Bob Marley was popular so we brought other music like roots reggae, but we couldn’t sell [the discs],” Chin recalls.

They made only $270 a week and had to make ends meet by selling records in the back of a van in Brooklyn.

It took five years for business to pick up and they then began to sell reggae records across the US. After 10 years in business, VP Records moved from the small shop space in Jamaica, Queens into a bigger building at the end of the block.

In 2003, tragedy struck when Vincent died from health complications. By this time Chin’s children had begun to help her run the business.

Her eldest son, Christopher, had been working at VP Records since the age of seven and, like his father, was personable and liked talking to the artists.

Her younger son Randy, who had worked as an aeronautical engineer at McDonnell Douglas and Boeing, returned home to work on digital downloads, while daughter Angela works in distribution.

Two grandchildren have also gone into the family business. Chin’s stepson Clive, who also became a record producer, went back to Jamaica to set up his own record label, however.

Chin (center) with her children Angela Chung (left), Chris Chin (back) and Randy Chin in 2004.
Chin (center) with her children Angela Chung (left), Chris Chin (back) and Randy Chin in 2004. Photo: AFP

While VP Records is based in New York, they continued to sign artists in Jamaica, record them, make the records and then sell them.

“I didn’t go to business school – things happened naturally for me. [I was able to] see the need to develop artists, even though not all of them succeeded,” Chin says.

She adds that many years ago, there weren’t many Jamaican female artists, they were mostly relegated to the role of backup singer. Today, however, there are a number of successful women singers, including Current, Spice, Queen Ifrica, Jah9, Fay Ann Lyons and Ikaya.

Capping the 40th-anniversary celebrations for VP Records, at the end of this year, will be the publication of a coffee-table book Chin is writing to document the family’s music career.

“Sixty years of music in Jamaica. Looking back we were just doing a business,” Chin reflects. “Some people say to me that I have a glamorous business, but I don’t know anything about glamor.”

Bernice Chan
Bernice is a contributor to Inkstone. She is a senior writer on the Culture Desk of the South China Morning Post.
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Bolt scores in UNICEF Soccer Aid Charity Game


Usain Bolt, left, celebrates with Didier Drogba after scoring a goal in the Soccer Aid for UNICEF charity match at Stamford Bridge. Getty Images

Usain Bolt scored a fine goal in a UNICEF Soccer Aid charity match as his World XI side beat England on penalties after a 2-2 draw on Sunday.

The world's fastest failed in an attempt to become a professional football player after retiring from athletics in 2017, having an unsuccessful trial with Australian A-League team Central Coast Mariners, but after announcing that his "sports life is over" in January 2019, he has now showed people that he's still got a bit of life left on the pitch.

The 14th edition of Soccer Aid, played on Sunday at Chelsea's Stamford Bridge home, pitted a selection of England players and personalities against a World XI captained by Bolt, and was notable for being the first to feature female players. Yet it was Bolt who stole the show with a well-taken goal before half-time.

After former England and Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher -- playing alongside John Terry at the back -- hesitated when trying to defend an awkwardly bouncing ball, his mis-timed header allowed Bolt to steal in on goal with the loose ball, before finishing with a powerful, left-footed drive beyond former England goalkeeper David Seaman.

Gary Neville, Carragher's colleague as a television pundit on Sky Sports, was quick to end his summer-long Twitter sabbatical to call out the error, posting a replay of the goal and saying: "I was off Twitter ! Embarrassing !"

Bolt's goal for the World XI, which saw the Jamaican line up alongside Chelsea legend Didier Drogba, looked to be in vain as England were on course to win for a sixth time as they held a 2-1 lead late in the match thanks to a pair of goals from F2 freestyler Jeremy Lynch. But up popped TV personality Kem Cetinay right before full-time to level matters and Bolt's team went on to win the match from the penalty spot.

Bolt first expressed a desire to play professional football in 2016, mentioning how he'd love to play for the club he supported, Manchester United.

Since then, the decorated Olympian has had trials and training sessions at several teams in a bid to realize his dream, including training with Norwegian side Stromsgodset in early 2018, a summer training spell with Borussia Dortmund, and Central Coast.

Bolt made just a handful of appearances, scoring twice in an Oct. 12 friendly against amateur side Macarthur South West United, before leaving the club in early November. He also turned down a two-year offer from Valletta in Malta.

And while Bolt's professional career never quite got on track, he and the rest of the stars of the match can take heart in knowing they helped raise over £6 million for the charity in Sunday's game.

Other former professionals to take part in the game for England were Michael Owen, Joe Cole, Glen Johnson, Jamie Redknapp, and female players Katie Chapman and Rachel Yankey.

Lining up for the Rest of the World were Eric Cantona, Robbie Keane, Michael Essien, Ricardo Carvalho, Roberto Carlos, Robert Pires and Brazil Women ex-internationals Franzinha and Rosana.

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At 5 feet 11 inches, Bunny Shaw is a sturdy and strong forward, quick and inventive, a force to be reckoned with.

Photo: Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

MIRAMAR, Fla. — Upon graduating from the University of Tennessee last month, Khadija Shaw allowed herself a quiet moment of self-congratulation. She was the first in her family to receive a college degree. She had persevered through tragedy, having lost three brothers to gang-related violence in Jamaica and a fourth to a car accident. And now she was headed to the Women’s World Cup with Jamaica’s Reggae Girlz, with a chance to become a breakout star.

“I did well,” Shaw, 22, who is known as Bunny, told Brian Pensky, Tennessee’s soccer coach. “I did well.”

World Cups have a tendency to produce breakout stars, players who previously performed under the public’s radar but who, given a global stage and a moment in the spotlight, suddenly burst into the broader public consciousness. Shaw, a goal scoring force on a team appearing in its first World Cup, could be this year’s model.

At 5 feet 11 inches, Shaw is sturdy and strong at forward, but also quick and inventive, with a spontaneity developed from playing pickup soccer with boys in Spanish Town, Jamaica, outside Kingston, the capital.

Fans may still be getting to know Shaw, but top clubs are not. She recently signed a two-year contract with a team in the thriving French women’s league.CreditAngela Weiss/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

“She can play four feet tall and 10 feet tall,” said Hue Menzies, Jamaica’s coach. “You can’t teach it. She’s got the technical ability to do a lot of things women her size don’t do. Being in the streets does that.”

Pensky called Shaw “the Zion Williamson of soccer,” a reference to the former Duke basketball star who entranced the nation last season as a freshman with a guard’s deftness and a forward’s body.

“That’s Bunny,” Pensky said. “She’s 5-11, strong yet quick and fast, with soft feet, a great brain and the tools of a 5-6 midfielder.”

Video of Bunny Shaw's goals and highlights.CreditCreditVideo by AV Sports

Several weeks before Shaw graduated from Tennessee with a degree in communications, the United States State Department issued a travel advisory for Spanish Town, warning American tourists not to visit, saying, “Violence and shootings occur regularly.”

It seems harsh to reduce the history of a place to a warning to stay away. Spanish Town is a former capital of Jamaica, home to one of the oldest Anglican churches outside England. But there was grim resonance for Shaw in what the advisory cautioned.

Three of her brothers have been shot to death. In August 2017, the day Shaw went to Tennessee from a junior college in Florida, one of her cousins was wounded in Spanish Town in a drive-by shooting but survived, Pensky said. A friend said that Shaw grew reluctant to answer her phone, fearing more bad news on the other end every time it rang.

“Her life could have gone a whole other way,” Pensky said.

At one point, Shaw briefly considered giving up soccer and returning home to her family. But, she said, the sport brought her comfort and solace.

“It frees me up,” she said. “I don’t think about nothing when I’m on the pitch other than I really want to win. I’m free, relaxed. I don’t really focus on anything. I use it as motivation to keep going.”

Fans may still be getting to know Shaw, but top clubs are not. Multiple news outlets reported on Thursday that she had signed a two-year contract with F.C. Girondins de Bordeaux in the thriving French women’s league. She has been on this path since elementary school, playing in her front yard, or in the street, in Spanish Town with her brothers and other boys from the neighborhood. It was a dangerous place, she has acknowledged. Sometimes while walking home from practice, she once told The Knoxville (Tenn.) News Sentinel, she would saunter into crime scenes. Yet amid the danger, she said, her sport provided an oasis.

At 7, she began playing pickup soccer against boys as old as 15 or 16. They believed in her, she said, and told her she would be the future of the troubled community. They did not try to hurt her when they played in the yard or in the street, she said. Still, she asked them “to play me rough” because she wanted to be familiar with the muscularity of soccer when she got older and the games became formal and meaningful.

Until the Reggae Girlz, as Jamaica’s national team is known, became the first Caribbean nation to qualify for the World Cup, women’s soccer had been largely dismissed in Jamaica.CreditMark Runnacles/Getty Images

“The boys kept me going; they were with me,” Shaw said. “When I was feeling down, they would come to my house and they would yell my name. If I didn’t come, they would come in the house and pull me out.”

Until the Reggae Girlz, as Jamaica’s national team is known, became the first Caribbean nation to qualify for the World Cup, women’s soccer had been largely dismissed in Jamaica. Many considered it too rough and unfeminine. But at a young age, Shaw began to kick anything that would roll. Bottles. Stones. Boxes. Bags. Figurines. The remote control. Sometimes she played barefoot, and sometimes — when her mother was not home — she even played in her dress shoes.

“My mom would always get mad,” Shaw said with a laugh. “But she and my dad realized this is what I really wanted.”

One criticism of American soccer is that it is too organized, that athletes don’t play enough on their own, away from coaches, the way they do in basketball. Creativity can suffer, the theory goes. That is not the case for Shaw, who relied on ingenuity and inventiveness to succeed on makeshift fields, against boys who were bigger and faster. It is evident in her intuitive style, the way she wheels on a shot while facing away from the goal or cheekily chips a lob over a goalkeeper. The way she seeks contact, which Menzies, the coach, is seeking to lessen as a way to keep her from repeatedly being injured.

“She depends on her size to hold off defenders, but she’s got to separate quicker so it won’t be so combative all the time,” Menzies said. “She’s got to save her career.”

By age 14, Shaw was playing on Jamaica’s under-20 national team. In high school, she collected 128 goals and 72 assists. Last fall at Tennessee, she scored 13 goals in 15 games and was named the Southeastern Conference’s offensive player of the year. Now she has arrived at the World Cup.

“Bunny’s been through a lot of adversity,” Menzies said. “She knows she’s on a path to greatness. In the neighborhoods, soccer’s an opportunity to have a little bit of joy. Football is a cure. She’s part of that.”

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usain-bolt The athletics icon's brand Bolt Mobility, which he co-founded, joins an already crowded market for scooters, which users pick up and .. 

PARIS: His ambition for a career as a footballer may not have worked out but retired sprint superstar Usain Bolt announced Wednesday an unlikely new outlet for his energies - the Paris scooter market. 
The athletics icon's brand Bolt Mobility, which he co-founded, joins an already crowded market for scooters, which users pick up and park anywhere in the city via an app.lectric scooters have become wildly popular but also controversial in Paris over the last year, helping commuters navigate traffic but also seen as a nuisance and a danger by others. 

The athletics icon's brand Bolt Mobility, which he co-founded, joins an already crowded market for scooters, which users pick up and park anywhere in the city via an app. 

"I travelled all around the world for all these years, saw so much traffic and the need for our scooters to help," the eight-time Olympic champion said at the launch of the sturdy-looking contraption. 

"I have been in Paris so many times, I saw the traffic here and for me it helps to get everybody around on time," he added. 
Some 450 scooters emblazoned with his name are due to be deployed on the streets of Paris in the next days. 

But his entry into the market comes at a delicate time after Paris authorities warned operators of the thousands of electric scooters that have inundated the city to keep them off pavements or face a temporary ban.

On Monday, the ten competitors who have launched services in Paris all signed a "code of good conduct" with the mayor's office, which says the city is now "saturated" with the devices.

Bolt denied that he was too late out of the blocks, saying his brand had worked with the Paris authorities.

"It's not about (being) late, it's about doing it right," the 32-year-old Jamaican 100 metres and 200m world record holder said.

"We took our time to do the right thing and talk to authorities and get everything right to be sure that when we launch everything is perfect".

Since retiring, Bolt had attempted to become a professional footballer but a trial with an Australian club ended late last year without success.

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GEORGETOWN, Guyana, Thursday May 16, 2019 – People and businesses involved in trade and transport can expect an improved “ease of doing business” in Guyana.

This follows yesterday’s passage of the Customs and Trade Single Window System Bill 2019 which provides for a single submission of documents electronically for fees, levies, duties, and taxes due to the government on goods which are imported or exported.

Finance Minister Winston Jordan who presented the Bill in the National Assembly, explained that the legislation allows parties involved in trade and transport to lodge standardized information and document with a single-entry point to fulfill all import, export and transit-related regulatory requirements.

There are currently 20 ministries and departments that deal with import and export in Guyana. The majority of these agencies are paper-driven and the system is costly and time-consuming.

“International trade requires [the provision of information] and documents through customs and other regulatory agencies in compliance with laws and regulations….In Guyana, information is submitted and processed numerous times through Customs and other entities, be it on paper, automated or both,” Jordan noted.

He said while there was an attempt to implement the new system under the former administration, no progress was made up to 2015.

Recognizing the importance of such legislation, Jordan said, the coalition government resuscitated the project when it took office.

To date, the government has been able to secure a loan of US$6 million to aid the implementation of the Single-Window System.

The project will be implemented in phases. Phase One deals with modernizing the regulatory environment. The Cabinet also approved the establishment of a steering committee comprising the main border regulatory agencies. The committee is chaired by the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) and the Ministry of Business.

The GRA will be responsible for the management of the system and will define the expected roles, responsibilities and obligations of all agencies that will be involved in providing legal and technical assistance with its creation and operation.

The agency will have to adopt relevant internationally accepted standards, procedures, documents, technical details and formalities for the effective implementation of the single-window system.

Processes and technical aspects of the system will conform to the principles of transparency in relations to procedures being undertaken through the system; security of trade date information exchange, simplicity and accessibility, confidentiality and privacy, reality, trust and consistency and efficiency.

Read more: http://www.caribbean360.com/business/legislation-passed-to-make-it-easier-to-do-business-in-guyana#ixzz5o8KCfGZQ

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The Sandals Foundation, the nonprofit arm of Sandals Resorts, has come on board to provide the Ministry of Education with resources needed to continue the assessment and intervention programme of the School for the Deaf.

The donation valued at just over US$11,000/EC$28,000 continues the foundation’s commitment to supporting educational advancement across the Caribbean.

The donation includes a portable audiometer, literature and language resources, internationally standardised assessment tests, Amazon Fire tablets and a LCD Projector. Executive Director of the Sandals Foundation, Heidi Clarke, said it is critical that no child is left behind, especially those with special needs and disabilities who already face multiple challenges.

“Assessment is critical in providing teachers and caregivers with the information needed to plan the best way forward to assist children with disabilities. The provision of the right resources to test and accommodate learning for children with special needs increases their access to a better education, which is why we are very pleased to support the Ministry of Education in ensuring that the school has all that is needed to provide these children with equal opportunity for a successful future,” Clarke said.

Teachers of the School for the Deaf are excited and grateful for their new uptodate tools which will make their work even more efficient. “The various forms of assessments we now have thanks to the Sandals Foundation will enable us to zero in on specific problems our students may have whether it be their functional auditory skills, speech perception, comprehension, vocabulary, pronunciation or signing. We can then analyse the results of these new tests and work from there to improve each child’s performance,” expressed Michelle Brathwaite, Principal of the School for the Deaf.

https://www.nowgrenada.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/Some-of-the-assessment-tools-donated-150x129.jpg 150w, https://www.nowgrenada.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/Some-of-the-assessment-tools-donated-300x258.jpg 300w, https://www.nowgrenada.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/Some-of-the-assessment-tools-donated-768x660.jpg 768w, https://www.nowgrenada.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/Some-of-the-assessment-tools-donated-750x644.jpg 750w" sizes="(max-width: 900px) 100vw, 900px" data-pin-no-hover="true" /> Some of the assessment tools donated

Through the Special Education Desk (SEND) Programme, the Ministry of Education has placed a special interest in sourcing assistance for special needs children on the island. There are currently eleven schools participating in the programme which is aimed at identifying and providing the right learning environment for children with special needs.

Brathwaite continued, “We express our sincere thanks to the Sandals Foundation for acceptance of this project proposal for early screening and intervention for the deaf and seeing this as fundamental as you highlighted in your 2018 report, an investment in education is an investment in the future. It provides both children and adults with the tools they need to create better outcomes for themselves and their families. This is integral in creating the type of society we dream of in the region.”

https://www.nowgrenada.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/Four-of-the-twenty-Amazon-Fire-Tablets-donated-to-the-Deaf-Assessment-Programme-113x150.jpg 113w, https://www.nowgrenada.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/Four-of-the-twenty-Amazon-Fire-Tablets-donated-to-the-Deaf-Assessment-Programme-225x300.jpg 225w" sizes="(max-width: 675px) 100vw, 675px" data-pin-no-hover="true" /> Four of the twenty Amazon Fire Tablets donated to the Deaf Assessment Programme

Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Education, Kevin Andall commended the region-wide reach of the Sandals Foundation; “We recognise your generosity and your commitment not only in Grenada but right across the region. Every Ministry of Education does a lot, but critical to our functioning is engaging partners to support us in our commitment to our students. I believe, once we provide quality education, we will equip our people to ultimately be globally competitive.”

Equally impressed and thankful are the parents of hearing-impaired children. “Thank you to Sandals Foundation and all the organisations here in Grenada who continue to support deaf education, because of your support our children have a voice and are able to receive the opportunities they rightfully deserve,” said Florence Holmes, parent of a hearing-impaired child.

https://www.nowgrenada.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/Some-of-the-assessment-books-donated-150x113.jpg 150w, https://www.nowgrenada.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/Some-of-the-assessment-books-donated-300x225.jpg 300w, https://www.nowgrenada.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/Some-of-the-assessment-books-donated-768x576.jpg 768w, https://www.nowgrenada.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/Some-of-the-assessment-books-donated-750x563.jpg 750w" sizes="(max-width: 900px) 100vw, 900px" data-pin-no-hover="true" /> Some of the assessment books donated

For the past decade, the Sandals Foundation has worked with education ministries and institutions across the Caribbean to improve the education opportunities of children. The foundation has provided resources to schools, improved infrastructure, conducted and funded capacity building workshops for teachers and provided full scholarships for deserving students.

Sandals Foundation

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Calypso Rose wows them at Coachella

Calypso Rose performs in the Gobi tent last weekend, one of the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival at the Empire Polo Club in Indio last Friday. © Chanice Gibbs

With the ‘fire in her wire’ still ablaze, Ca­lyp­so Rose’s per­for­mance at the Coachel­la Mu­sic Fes­ti­val has gen­er­at­ed a pub­lic­i­ty whirl­wind on Amer­i­can news me­dia out­lets.

The 78-year-old ca­lyp­son­ian made her de­but at the Cal­i­for­nia mu­sic ex­po last week, and has been fea­tured on tele­vi­sion pro­grammes and dig­i­tal news pub­li­ca­tions for her his­to­ry-mak­ing set.

Rose, whose re­al name is McArtha Lin­da Sandy-Lewis, is the old­est singer to ever play at Coachel­la. She is al­so the first ca­lyp­son­ian to per­form a full 45-minute stage set.

The fes­ti­val is one of the largest and most well-known in the Unit­ed States, with Gram­my award-win­ning R&B artiste and Amer­i­can pop su­per­star Ar­i­ana Grande head­lin­ing this year’s edi­tion.

Dur­ing an in­ter­view on en­ter­tain­ment news pro­gramme, TMZ Live, host Charles Lat­i­beaudiere jok­ing­ly asked Rose about the tum­ble she took on stage last Fri­day as she wined on a con­cert go­er while singing her hit col­lab­o­ra­tion with Machel Mon­tano, ‘Young Boy.’

“That wasn’t part of the song, right?” Lat­i­beaudiere teased. “The ‘young boy’ isn’t sup­posed to, uh, well, I mean he is sup­posed to get you on the ground, but not that way, right?”

“Not that way,” laughed Rose with her il­lu­mi­nat­ing smile.

“You’ve been in mu­sic longer than Paul Mc­Cart­ney, you’re aware of that right?” Lat­i­beaudiere mused.

“I start­ed at age 13!” said Rose, who is set to turn 79 on April 27.

TMZ Live co-host Har­vey Levin mar­velled at Rose’s en­er­gy on stage.

“Why do you think you’re con­nect­ing?...There used to be a joke about (Las) Ve­gas that, a lot of peo­ple—once they get ‘up there’ in years—they end up in Las Ve­gas...Why do you think at 78 you’re per­form­ing in Coachel­la where it’s a very young crowd?”

She cred­it­ed her mu­sic la­bel in France for se­cur­ing a spot in Coachel­la, which she en­dear­ing­ly pro­nounces like the Trinida­di­an word for the spicy man­go rel­ish, kuchela.

News and en­ter­tain­ment web­site, Buz­zfeed, her­ald­ed her achieve­ments at the fes­ti­val in an ar­ti­cle pub­lished on Tues­day.

Buz­zfeed staff writer, Patrice Peck, praised Rose for rep­re­sent­ing Trinidad and To­ba­go’s cul­ture at her Coachel­la de­but, and for be­ing an ar­dent ad­vo­cate for women’s equal­i­ty.

That ad­vo­ca­cy was al­so the fo­cus of a video pro­file piece post­ed by dig­i­tal news out­let, Brut, which asked Rose to talk about her fem­i­nism and her ca­reer.

“All the men all over the world who ate lis­ten­ing to me here to­day: nev­er in your life raise your hand against a woman,” she de­clared.

The video has been viewed more than 640 thou­sand times.

“Ladies, I am still stand­ing up for you and I will stand up for you un­til the good Lord say ‘come home,’ and I know the Lord ain’t call­ing me home now,” Rose de­clared in the video. “I am here for a pur­pose.”

Rose is set to grace the Coachel­la stage for a sec­ond time to­mor­row. She has book­ings in Ger­many, Switzer­land and Eng­land in the com­ing months, and ap­pear­ances in Japan sched­uled for the end of the year.

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Alvin Burke celebrated his 100th birthday on April 7, 2019. (OH News Photo)

Editors Note: Alvin Burke is the Grand Uncle of the CaribShout's Administrator, CaribShout1.
Alvin ‘Busta’ Burke never thought he would live to celebrate his100th birthday.

As a young man growing up life for the now centenarian, who was April 7, 1919, was all about working hard and taking care of his family.

On his special day a few days ago many family members and friends converged at the Red Ground home, situated seven kilometers north of Old Harbour town, to celebrate Burke’s amazing milestone.

When Old Harbour News visited his home he greeted us with a pleasant smile, his face wearing a rather curious look though, as this was the first time we were ever meeting.

As he sat in his rocking chair on the verandah his 87-year-old wife, Leah, also greeted us as well. She was quite familiar with the other persons who accompanied me – Justice of the Peace and retired teacher Ena Hyatt and Cecil Wynter, both of whom are her cousins. As for me it was our first engagement, but I felt welcome, like an old friend she hasn’t seen in ages.

Leah and Alvin have been married for more than 30 years. They share no children together but their bond is unbreakable.

Not surprisingly Burke has outlived his three children – all now deceased – his last child passed away over a decade ago.

The son of District Constable Felix Burke and Letisha Burke, who was a stay-at-home mom, Alvin is a hard working man, who spent his entire life at the same place he was born.

He loved farming, so much so, family members even now have to be on the alert throughout the days as he would still make attempts to ‘work his ground’.

His passion for what was his main source of income and survival sometimes put him in danger, his wife and adopted daughter Sherlan Reader told me.

“One a di time mi get a drop. Mi can’t figet dat drop,” he recounted, before Mrs. Burke chimed “a because him a try go over di farm and end up hurt himself.”

Burke said he never thought he would lived a century, but believed God had a special plan for him.

“Mi eat nuff good food and mi nuh hackle up myself so much,” he surmises as reasons for his longevity, before listing yam, cassava, potato and cocoa and plenty cow’s milk as main staples he consumed.

As frail as he may appear and sound, Burke is still able to help himself.

“A him tidy (bathe) himself and feed himself man,” said Mrs. Burke.

From as far as Bullet Tree to Bartons, everyone knows ‘Busta’ who they described as a kind man who treats people with respect and dignity.

But those traits are sadly missing from the country’s social fabric in Burke’s opinion.

“Man a cut up man and a shoot man now,” he said. “Dem deh supm neva gwaan when mi a grow up. Man throw fist and if him lose a just so and it done deh so.”

The fact that Burke has lived to celebrate 100 years, is a blessing, contends Hyatt, who knew him from she was a little girl.

“Reaching this milestone is a milestone many people would want to reach, so we have to give God thanks for His blessings.

“He has impacted so many lives and I know that it is because of his kindness, because he’s a very kind man.

“I am so happy that I have lived to see this and we just pray that God will continue to bless him,” Hyatt, a former teacher at Marlie Mount Primary School, said.

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by Cory Zufelt, Co-Founder-CEO

I’m Local, a Grenadian technology company in the travel and tourism industry, has won 1st place in the 2019 Caribbean Technology Entrepreneurship Programme (CTEP) competition, the most highly recognised technology competition in the Caribbean.

Out of the 250 companies from over 20 countries that applied to the Scale Up programme, only 10 companies were chosen throughout the region. After 3 months of rigorous learning modules, workshops and mentorship sessions, followed by a live demo day and regional pitch finals, I’m Local attained the top spot, reinforcing that Grenada is the #1 country to invest in when it comes to technology in the Caribbean.

I’m Local, who previously won the GIDC’s Young Innovators Challenge and the Grenada Chamber of Commerce, Innovative Business of the Year Award, has developed a mobile application that enhances how tourists explore and experience the Caribbean in a fun new interactive way that protects local sites. Using voice recognition software, augmented reality and location-based technology, their new mobile app will provide an experience to visitors that is the first of its kind in the travel and tourism industry globally.

“Our goal is to create the Silicon Valley of the Caribbean, right here in Grenada. We want to put Grenada on the map as the high-tech hub of the Caribbean, not just regionally but internationally, winning CTEP is a step in that direction,” Cory Zufelt, Co-Founder-CEO.

With the current I’m Local application, visitors can book and pay for activities, tours, schedule transportation and even make restaurant reservations with the click of a button. For those who want to speak to a travel host, you can upgrade to have your very own virtual concierge 24/7.

A huge part of the I’m Local model is giving back to the heritage and tourist sites. Therefore, a percentage of revenue generated from travel experiences purchased by visitors, will be donated to ongoing projects, that are currently managed by the Grenada National Trust (Official I’m Local Partner). This will help fund the development and upkeep of sites that visitors are exploring. It is their way of ensuring that heritage and tourist sites are protected, and that the visitor experience is improved at all major points of interest.

I’m Local is in the process of scaling regionally into other Caribbean islands, starting with the Eastern Caribbean. They are currently looking for strategic partners regionally and local businesses who want to get listed on their platform or offer a new experience to their guests. Please contact Cory at cory@imlocal.gd or call (473) 418 8069 for more information.

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