caribbean (30)

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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The number of undernourished people increased for the third consecutive year in Latin America and the Caribbean. It has exceeded 39 million people. In addition, almost one in four adults is obese, while overweight affects 250 million; more than the entire population of Brazil.

For this reason, for the first time, four agencies of the United Nations system -FAO, PAHO/WHO, UNICEF and WFP- have joined together to publish the Panorama of food and nutrition security in Latin America and the Caribbean 2018.

This year’s edition focuses on inequality, a fundamental issue for the region. Inequality contributes both to hunger and several different forms of malnutrition. In Latin America, 8.4 per cent of women are in a situation of severe food insecurity, compared to 6.9 per cent of men. In ten countries, 20 per cent of the poorest children suffer three times more chronic malnutrition than the richest 20 per cent. Indigenous populations suffer greater food insecurity than non-indigenous people, and rural populations have higher rates of poverty than urban ones.

Without addressing inequality in food security and nutrition, we will not be able to fulfill the commitment we have adopted to leave no one behind, established in the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.

It is necessary to understand why malnutrition, lack of micronutrients, overweight and obesity have a greater impact on people with lower income, women, indigenous people, people of African descent and rural families. Above all, we must act in a differentiated way to ensure that these social groups and the populations of territories that are lagging behind can also fulfill their right to food.

FAO, PAHO/WHO, UNICEF and WFP are convinced that it is perfectly possible to transform our food systems to ensure a better diet for all, in a way that is more sustainable an adapted to climate change.

Today we understand that we need actions in production, international trade, processing and marketing of products to have healthy food. We can work to improve environments, in a way that facilitates access to healthy foods, and encourage practices that help people make more informed and responsible consumption decisions.

It is possible to change the current course of the region to accelerate progress towards the goal of eradicating hunger and all forms of malnutrition: the Sustainable Development Goal 2. For this, what we need most is to recover greater political commitment with the eradication of hunger and all forms of malnutrition.

Some governments are already implementing a new generation of policies to address the specificities of the groups that are suffering the most. Innovative public policies to reduce overweight and obesity are also being applied for the first time.

For these policies to be successful, we need the participation of everyone. Together we must think of ways for all the actors of the food system to act more responsibly with society and the environment, from producers to consumers. Together we can build food systems that ensure adequate food in the present and in the future. Together we can guarantee a healthy life for all and become the zero hunger generation.

*Julio Berdegué is FAO Regional Representative; Carissa F. Etienne is Director of PAHO; Marita Perceval is Director of UNICEF in Latin America and the Caribbean; Miguel Barreto is Regional Director of WFP

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NASSAU, The Bahamas, Friday May 4, 2018 
– Dr Merceline Dahl-Regis, a Bahamian public health pioneer known for her work in advancing and verifying regional disease elimination efforts, has been named a Public Health Hero of the Americas by the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO).

A Bahamian physician and public health expert, Dr Dahl-Regis is best known for her leadership of the International Expert Committee (IEC) for verification of the elimination of measles, rubella and congenital rubella syndrome and for her advocacy and support of the regional Dual Elimination Initiative, aimed at eliminating mother-to-child transmission of syphilis and HIV in the Americas. She most recently was invited to contribute her expertise on disease elimination as chair WHO’s Global Validation Advisory Committee.

“Dr Dahl-Regis’ list of accomplishments is long. But in addition to their number, there is something quite special about them, in that the most important ones in the areas of immunization and the elimination of Mother-to-Child Transmission of HIV and Congenital Syphilis are also regional achievements. They are historical milestones for public health in the Americas,” said PAHO Director Dr Carissa Etienne, during the award ceremony on Wednesday.

“She has carried on that Bahamian tradition of providing leadership for the pursuit of ambitious collective health goals. She has done so within the CARICOM sub-region, in the Americas as a whole, and most recently at the global level”. 300w, 400w" sizes="(max-width: 740px) 100vw, 740px" />


Dr Dahl-Regis was one of the first women to graduate in medicine in the Bahamas during the 1960s. Early in her career, she recognized the vital role of primary health care and universal access to clean water, sanitation, good nutrition and vaccines, and dedicated her work to ensuring the health and well-being of people throughout the Americas and beyond.

“She is just the second Caribbean national and the first Caribbean women to receive this prestigious award,” added Dr Etienne. “The title of Public Health Hero of the Americas is not one that is bestowed lightly, but I know that those of us who have work with, studied under, been cared for or mentored by her, will agree that she merits a place among this distinguished group of public health servants”.

Dr Dahl-Regis expressed gratitude for the recognition.

“This recognition of the work I have done in public health does not belong to me alone. I could not have done it without the contributions of so many, particularly of the health care workers in the field, the staff at all levels, my family, my friends, and lots of faith and prayers,” she said.

Dr Dahl-Regis spearheaded a variety of ground-breaking health initiatives in the region. She was a strong advocate for maternal and child health services, working tirelessly  with PAHO’s Latin American and Caribbean Center for Perinatology, Women and Reproductive Health, to ensure improvements in these areas. As Chief Medical Officer in the Bahamas, she also established the Comprehensive Adolescent Health Care Center in Nassau, which provides a holistic approach to health and development.

In 2010, Dr Dahl-Regis was appointed to lead PAHO’s International Expert Committee (IEC) for verification of the elimination of measles, rubella and congenital rubella syndrome. PAHO said that thanks, in great part, to her outstanding leadership, tireless commitment and holistic understanding of specific country needs and realities, during her tenure the Americas became the first region in the world to be declared free of measles and rubella.

As well as her work leading efforts towards the elimination of vaccine preventable diseases, Dr Dahl-Regis’ career was also distinguished by her contribution to the success of the dual Elimination Initiative, which seeks to prevent mother-to-child transmission of syphilis and HIV.

PAHO noted that the impact of her work is also felt at a global level. In 2015, she was invited to chair the WHO’s Global Validation Advisory Committee, a role that she continues to carry out today. She is also in demand in other regions to provide guidance for verifying the status of measles and rubella elimination.

Dr Dahl-Regis has received numerous honors during her career, including the PAHO Award for Administration, which recognized her outstanding contribution to healthcare management and research, and to medical education in primary healthcare.

The PAHO Public Health Heroes initiative recognizes individuals for their invaluable contributions to public health in the Americas. Previous heroes include, among others, Dr Mirna Cunningham of Nicaragua, who worked as an advocate for human rights, the collective rights of indigenous peoples, and women’s health; and Dr Maria Isabel Rodriguez of El Salvador, who was the country’s first female Minister of Health, leading the transformation of the national health sector toward a universal, equitable and high-quality system based on human rights.

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4 Latest Caribbean Food Trends to Know

There is no limit to the variety of food you can enjoy in this world. Each and every region has its unique cuisine that has different taste. You can always have new experiences as there are always new things to try. The trends of food also keep on changing and the food lovers can always find fresh inspirational sources and try new things.

The Caribbean cuisine is an extremely popular cuisine. If you enjoy this delicious cuisine then you should be aware of the new emerging trends that are becoming a part of the delicious cuisine. Here are some trends you will find.

The new green vegetable:

According to the new trends, the kale is losing its place to seaweed as the green vegetable. The seaweed is going to the vegetable that you will see on everyone’s’ plate. People are replacing kale for seaweed because it is full of nutrition. It has a lot of fiber along with iodine, antioxidants and healthy fats. The seaweed is not just expected to be a part of a salad or just a side dish to the main course but is also expected to be a part of soups, spaghetti, smoothies, and salsa.

Plant-based alternatives:

People are becoming more and more food conscious and they are becoming very careful about the food ingredients they include in their diet. People have become suspicious of the farm raised meat and they also have a better understanding of the processed food. The changes in the attitude and demands of people have also forced the food industry to change their approach. They are looking to present a variety of plant-based alternatives so that they can satisfy the changing demands of the customers. The food businesses are trying to fill the ambient display counter with food that people want to eat. The Trinidadian delights such as lentil, tuber, tomato choka, and bean are expected to be popular choices. Other international dishes such as cauliflower, sunchoke curries, spicy eggplant, etc. are also expected to be leading trends

Avocado oil:

The latest trends show that avocado is going to in huge demand even in its peak season. The oil, extracted from the fruit directly instead of the seed, is full of healthy nutrients.  It has potassium, Vitamin E, and unsaturated fats. The richness of the oil is excellent for health and adding an extra texture to the food. There are different varieties available in the market. Pollock, a local variety, has a buttery texture which is an excellent choice for the centrifugal separation process.

The gourmet approach:

The food industry is evolving a lot. The restaurants understand people’s love for street food and they are giving the local street food a fancy touch so that people can enjoy them in a different way as well. People can find the local Caribbean in the fancy restaurants where they are presented in a new way. It can offer an exciting food experience to the people.

There is also going to be a waste not policy as restaurants as well as street food corners are looking for ways to reduce food waste. 

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KINGSTON, Jamaica, Tuesday February 9, 2016 – Jamaica’s Ministry of Youth and Culture is moving to have reggae inscribed on the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization’s (UNESCO) representative list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

Principal Director of the Culture and Creative Industries Policy Division in the Ministry of Youth and Culture, Dr. Janice Lindsay, says the ministry has set up a committee to prepare the documents expected to be submitted in March 2017.

“We have so far had one meeting. It has been a robust meeting. Essentially, the discussions have been about how we describe reggae when we put forward that nomination file,” she disclosed on Sunday.

Dr. Lindsay said the global appeal of reggae was why it should be inscribed on UNESCO’s list.

“We need to protect that distinctive history of reggae as an intangible heritage and we need to do this before someone else presents the elements in some other form as theirs,” she stressed, adding that the move would have far more bearing on future generations.

“[The young ones], 50 years from now, would not have forgiven us if they lived to read in bits and pieces that there was a music emanating from our country and that it was lost over time, because there was no proof of the origin and distinctiveness being uniquely Jamaican.”

Dr. Lindsay argued that important stories of Jamaica’s music must be safeguarded “since it is the only sure way of protecting the integrity of the music.”


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GEORGETOWN, Guyana, Monday February 27, 2012 – Guyana’s fishing industry is paving the way for that country to achieve its Millennium Development Goals of feeding its people at international standards.

Agriculture minister, Dr. Leslie Ramsammy said the country’s fishing industry was growing at a rapid rate, and described it as an important component in the country’s development.

He noted that as it related to food security, the fishing industry provided a cheap source of animal protein in the Guyanese diet, and allowed for the creation of jobs in the local market, providing over 15,000 jobs.

Dr. Ramsammy said the fishing industry also provided significant foreign exchange earnings, representing just under three per cent of the gross domestic product, and exports valued at GY$10 billion over the last three years.

He further noted that the country was able to buffer against food shortages, with the food index increasing within normal rates.

The minister said the per capital fish supplied in Guyana exceeded 58 kilogrammes compared with the global average of 17 kilogrammes

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Jamaican-American now Lauderhill Chief of Police

3665137082?profile=originalJamaican-American and former Lauderdale Lakes Chief of Police, Andrew Smalling, was on Thursday (Sept. 15) sworn in as the Chief of Police for the City of Lauderhill – a city with a high concentration of Jamaican and Caribbean residents.

The move from being in charge of a police department of a city of some 30,000 residents to one of over 70,000, is a huge step for the new police chief. However Smalling, who spent his early years in Jones Town - an inner city community in Jamaica, sees it as a significant challenge he is prepared for and welcomes.

In an interview with National Weekly shortly after the ceremony, Smalling said he has two immediate objectives.

The first is to direct the Lauderhill Police Department to be community oriented with the goal of enhancing relationships between the department and the community. He will work to ensure that the police becomes positively involved with homeowners (including stepping up neighborhood-watch programs), general residents and the business community and wants the department to take an active role in the city's chamber of commerce.

Lauderhill youth will be a special focus in this community outreach as he definitely wants the department to have a positive influence on the youth. He said already efforts were underway through a community police project to work with youth in the city's Windermere community. Plans are also underway for the police department to be involved in a special Halloween community project, with officers handing out candy to the city's children.

The chief's second objective is to eradicate crime from Lauderhill. One immediate plan to fight crime is the implementation of a Street Narcotic Unit to rid the city of drug trading and drug-use activities. He also wants to eliminate youth criminal gang activity, and the correlation between drugs and gangs.

Though he's lived in the U.S. most of his life, Smalling has not forgotten his Jamaican roots and is a keen observer of crime fighting activities in that country. He is disappointed that Jones Town has become notorious for criminal activity.

Indicative of his interest in youth and community development, in 2004 while attending the first Jamaica Diaspora Conference in Kingston, he made a proposal to the then P.J. Patterson Administration to establish a School Resource Officers Program with the police providing a secure environment for students. The proposal was adapted and implemented by the Jamaican government under his guidance.

Inherent desire to serve and protect

Growing up in Jones Town, Smalling felt the stirrings of becoming involved in crime prevention and community organization. However, it would take 21 years for him to fulfill his childhood ambition when he joined the Broward Sheriff Office (BSO).

Smalling migrated from Jamaica with his family at age eight and settled in New York, where he attended high school. He later relocated to Florida where he pursued a bachelor's degree at the Florida Institute of Technology, and a master's degree in criminal justice administration at Lynn University in Boca Raton. After college Smalling joined the U.S. Marine Corp. While serving he made up his mind to join law enforcement and became a Broward sheriff in 1991.

During his 19 and a half years tenure with BSO, Smalling served as a school resource officer, a narcotics detective, K-9 Unit Commander, and for the past 11 years Lauderdale Lakes' police chief. He succeeds Lauderhill's Police Chief Kenneth Pachnek.

Chief Smalling's vast leadership roles, including his Marine Corps success as an intelligence officer, will surely be an asset to the Lauderhill Police Department. He is very familiar with the city, having headed the police force of Lauderhill's neighboring community for the past decade.

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The highly anticipated staging of Jamaica’s 49th Independence & Cultural Celebration (JICC) promises exhilarating entertainment, interactive activities, a variety of delicious Jamaican food, and enjoyment for the entire family.

The exciting event, is scheduled for Sunday, August 7 from 1 p.m. to 10 p.m. at Miramar Regional Park, 16801 Miramar Parkway and will showcase and celebrate Jamaica’s history and rich cultural heritage. The event is being sponsored by telecommunications giant LIME who has pledged its full support for the festivities as presenting sponsor. The celebrations will feature the music, food, lifestyle, and history of Jamaica during a fun-filled family day in the park.

The event aims to connect the rich history and traditions of Jamaican culture to the greater South Florida community, all in recognition of Jamaica’s Independence Day. In addition to cultural games including ‘dandy shandy’ and traditional sounds of the ‘mento’ band, a premiere line-up of international performers are scheduled to take the stage.

Included in the entertainment package is the venerable Fab 5, Jamaica’s most popular live band who have been topping charts and receiving international recognition for the more than 40 years. Sharing the stage with Fab 5 will be international artistes Kashief Lindo, Ed Robinson, Amblique, Nikesha Lindo, and many more.

“For the last 140 years LIME has been part of Jamaica’s history and we have been one of the biggest supporters of Jamaican culture,” said chief marketing officer, Chris Dehring.

“We are proud to be part of an event which allows Jamaicans abroad to keep connected with their history and culture and enjoy a taste of home although they are overseas,” he added.

Jamaica’s 49th Independence & Cultural Celebration will be hosted by veteran radio personality Jamusa of WAVS 1170 Radio, and is produced by NRS, Inc. and Riddims Marketing in association with United Friends of Highgate. Sponsors include Western Union, VP Records, WAVS Radio, Vita Malt, Jamaica National Money Transfer, The Law Office of Kirk A. Barrow and Grace Foods. The event will be streamed live on the internet by Irie Times.

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3665136735?profile=originalPiton Calendar Girl. One lucky Saint Lucian beauty can win the opportunity of a lifetime by becoming the face of the popular Piton Calendar for 2012.

Interested ladies must be Saint Lucian nationals, eighteen years and over and should submit a full body profile photo and one head profile shot, along with their name, age and contact information to, or at the WLBL offices at Vide Bouteille or Vieux Fort. Deadline for submissions is August 31, 2011.
The winner will be announced via the local media later this year and all information submitted will remain confidential and private and will be for the sole purpose of Piton Calendar and WLBL.
Since 1992 Piton Beer has produced one of the most sought after and talked about calendars locally. From the models to the designs and printing the entire product is done locally to match the highest international standards, much like the award winning Piton Beer itself. The current 2011 Piton Calendar girl is Francilla Austin who won a similar search in 2010.According to Piton brand manager Germaine Serieux the search is open to Saint Lucian women from all over the island, who think they have what it takes to represent the brand. “You don’t necessarily need to have any experience we are simply looking for someone who is symbolic of the natural beauty of the island, its exciting culture and warm and friendly people,” Serieux says.

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The following article is part of a series prepared by the Jamaica China Friendship Association

When the Chinese first came to Jamaica, they were forced to improvise and make do with the foodstuff they were able to find here, as the supplies that they were promised from China were very seldom given, if at all. They were later able to import the necessities, but supplies were again scarce during World Wars I and II, so improvisation and adaptation were required. For instance, in the 1940s, Jamaican tamarind was substituted for the Chinese sour plums which are extremely important in the preparation of a popular Chinese duck dish.

The cuisine of the Chinese in Jamaica became a blend of available produce and Chinese favourites. Some of these combinations, so desirable and delicious, have remained in existence up to today.

Chinese food is now a favourite in Jamaica, as can be seen from the large number of thriving Chinese restaurants here. Jamaicans who have had the opportunity to experience Chinese food in other countries such as the US, Canada and even China itself, are somewhat disappointed that the food is not as tasty as it is in Jamaica. Many Jamaicans, including those of Chinese descent, do not like most of the food in Beijing, as it lacks the flavours we have grown to love. Perhaps this 'Jamaican-ness' is missing from the food in Beijing, as the majority of Chinese migrants to Jamaica were not from Beijing, but instead were of the Hakka National group. That group was from the south, with climatic conditions similar to Jamaica. One must remember that China is a huge country and has many distinctive cuisines unique to specific regions. The further north you go in China, the more subtle the flavours, as that is what is believed to be more suited for a cold climate. Further south in China however, the food is more robust and well-seasoned, like the food we are accustomed to in Jamaica.

There are, however, some things about food and eating that all Chinese have in common, no matter which region they are from. They all believe that eating is one of the few pleasures that man has on earth that should be enjoyed by everyone, and that you should eat whatever gives you pleasure and is good for your health. The Chinese perhaps eat more vegetables than any other group. They say that the job of the cook is to prepare the food, and that should be done in such a way that all the diner needs to do is take it from the plate or bowl to the mouth. The diner must not be required to cut up food. Hence, the use of chopsticks instead of knives and forks.

Perhaps the main gift of the Chinese to Jamaican cooking is soy sauce. There is hardly a Jamaican meat dish that is now prepared without soy sauce, both for colour and taste. Then there are oyster and hoisin sauces, as well as sesame oil. Sweet-and-sour sauce was also introduced and quickly became a Jamaican favourite. Pak choi (white vegetable), sometimes called bok choy, and a similar vegetable, Chinese cabbage were also introduced by the Chinese and are still enjoyed by many a Jamaican today.

The Chinese also introduced the wok and stir-frying to Jamaica. There are now several variations of this versatile utensil, as the Jamaican cooks have realised the efficiency and the health benefits of this cooking method.

Chinese food has found a special place among many Jamaicans and no doubt will remain so for a very long time

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Jamika Pessoa's Fusion of Flavours


If you are Food Network junkie, as is half of this country’s female population, then you would have followed Jamika Pessoa in the 2009 Next Food Network Star right up to her elimination. The self-described island girl who was really born in Alabama, USA, to a Trinidadian mother and a Jamaican father, Pessoa was one of the favourites of the competition and was best known for her spicy dishes and bubbly personality. As quickly as the doors of the Next Food Network Star closed on Pessoa’s dream to have her own show, a window of opportunity opened for her at The Learning Channel (TLC). And now Pessoa can be found on TLC’s Home Made simple series on Saturday mornings. The show pairs families in need of home care with experts for home improvement results. Pessoa’s job as the chef host is to help busy moms in the kitchen by showing them how to make three dishes that are easy, budget friendly and full of flavour.  “It (the show) gives me the chance to do three of my favourite things—cook, travel and look cute on camera.”

Perhaps it should have left a bitter taste in her mouth but honestly Pessoa would tell you that she’s thankful for her Next Food Network Star experience, even though the results didn’t swing in her favour. “It was an awesome experience. I was able to show a different type of chef as a young African-American female chef cooking food from my Caribbean roots,” she told WomanWise in an e-mail interview. “I loved the element of surprise in each challenge. It allowed me to truly test my chops as a chef. It was an adrenaline rush like no other. When that clock started, I was never certain of what I was going to prepare; I just knew I had to have something on the plate. “You can study all of your life as a chef, but you can never prepare for an experience like cooking and competing in front of millions of viewers.”

The Food Network also gave Pessoa the exposure she needed taking her from small town to celebrity chef in one fell swoop. “My career skyrocketed.” Growing up, Pessoa’s family home, which she shared with her sisters and parents, was also one filled with the aroma of island food. “Living in the South and being the daughter of island parents was quite interesting. My two sisters and I grew up eating some of the best food. “Any given Sunday, we could have fried chicken and biscuits and salt fish and ackee on the table. My parents made sure that although we grew up in the States, that we were well aware of our Caribbean roots. I grew up learning to appreciate my hometown in Alabama and my home islands in the Caribbean.”

Her Grenadian grandmother, who taught her to cook, is still, in her opinion, the best cook in the world.
“She taught me how to cook at a very young age and she taught me how to love to cook and how to add that love to my food.” Although Pessoa didn’t pursue cooking until she was an adult, having began her professional career as a corporate marketing executive, she knew even back then that she had a gift.
“Cooking was the one thing that I could do well even when I was not even trying.” It was her passion for food that made her leave her desk job to pursue a career in cooking. Her classical training includes schools in European countries such as Venice, Italy and Vienna, Austria and the International Culinary School at the Art Institute of Atlanta.

In 2006, recognising her desire to be the boss, she paired her love for cooking and entertaining and started her business—Life of the Party Personal Chef Services. Pessoa was positioned as a Chef to the Stars and became a highly sought after personal chef in Atlanta, Georgia, cooking for numerous celebrities and professional athletes. On set, Pessoa is charged. Her energy is infectious to those who view her. And that smile? Well, it is as real as all the fun she seems to be having in the studio’s kitchen. “My smile is not rehearsed or forced on camera. The fun you see is true. “I have a blast on set every time. I am very silly and laid back naturally, so I create that vibe in the kitchen as well. I want viewers to feel right at home when they watch me. Once people hear about her Caribbean and Southern background they immediately request a dish that combines both cuisines. As a result of this, Pessoa has had to develop several signature recipes that’re a little bit island and a little bit southern USA. She swears that the “fusion of flavours seem to dazzle all who try it.”

Her own favourite Caribbean dish is rice and peas with her father’s jerk chicken. “I enjoy cooking Caribbean dishes the most because I get to pay homage to my family and most importantly I get to make the dishes that my grandmother taught me when I was a little kid.” Ever so often, when time allows, Pessoa flies to Jamaica. “I recently visited the island of Barbados where I got married right on the beach. It was beautiful. My next quests are St Lucia and Carnival in Trinidad.” Pessoa wants to one day be a household brand with cookbooks, products and her own cooking show. “I was just named the new spokesperson for Hillshire Farm, so that will keep me busy touring. As long as I keep following my calling and keeping God first, the sky is the limit for me.”

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New magazine celebrates T&T’s cuisine

3665135138?profile=originalT&T’s thriving agriculture sector and the seasonality and abundance of fresh local ingredients have inspired a new food magazine. Called Dougla In Season, the quarterly glossy captures the richness and diversity of local food in its 120 full colour pages of recipes, how-to’s and feature articles. The first issue of In Season, which is the second magazine in the dougla brand of publications, is currently on news stands. It boasts many culinary heavyweights in the local food and beverage industry, among them Bernard Long, award-winning chef, former captain of the T&T National Culinary Team and highly sought after caterer; Moses Ruben, respected chef and owner of popular Ariapita Avenue restaurant Melange; and Eddison Hopkins, head chef at Tobago’s acclaimed Shirvan Watermill. 

“T&T is blessed beyond measure with the finest and freshest ingredients and produce. Some are indigenous to our soil, while various settlers throughout our history brought others. And what better way to revere them than when they are at their most abundant, at their ripest, at their sweetest, at their best…when they are, in season,” says In Season’s managing editor Sonja Sinaswee of the magazine’s concept and focus. The publication also celebrates Trinis’ love of food. It salutes the country’s gastronomical wonders, raising its fork, for instance, to local street food and liming, the vibrant market culture and the people who drive the country’s multi-billion dollar food industry.

In Season magazine has even managed to get local celebrities to put on their aprons and prepare their favourite dishes in a feature called Bess Pot. In its first issue, popular chutney producer and radio/television personality Big Rich cooks a pot of his famous pelau. “There’s one thing all Trinis have in common: we love our bellies,” Sinaswee said. “Gastronomy is our religion and we practice it all day, every day; wherever there’s an open food court, street vendor, fine dining restaurant or neighbourhood parlour. If our places of worship are closed, we congregate indoors and pay homage in our kitchen, at the table or in our backyard.”

In Season is published by The Groovy Image Company, the local firm that owns the dougla brand of magazines. The company also has a client base for which it provides copywriting services and undertakes media and editorial projects, among them public relations and marketing campaigns, and the production of publications like newsletters and advertorials. Dougla In Season retails for $20 and is available at Hi-Lo Food Stores’ Alyce Glen, Marabella, Maraval, St Augustine and Westmoorings locations. It is also on sale at D’Rite Stuff, Gourmet Foods at RT Morshead, Malabar Farms, Paper Based Bookshop, Peppercorns, and The Reader’s Bookshop. It can also be purchased online at and

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3665135690?profile=originalKINGSTON, Jamaica - Pedro Plains Jamaica Jerk’s exciting range of 100 per cent authentic Jamaican sauces will be featured on Lifetime Television Network’s “The Balancing Act” - the premier one-hour women’s morning show in the United States - on April 7th between 7:00 and 8:00 a.m. EST (Local time 6:00 – 7:00 a.m.).

Bertram Banton, the brand’s Managing Director, will join the programme’s segment host for a culinary experience that will include background information on jerk spices, as well as the preparation and sampling of various dishes prepared with sauces from the Pedro Plains Jamaica Jerk family of products.

"We are happy to have been invited on this programme, as we believe that it is important for the Pedro Plains Jamaica Jerk brand to have visibility like this on the largest cable network television channel in the United States. We managed to get on board with Lifetime based on the promotional benefits that we garnered from taking part in a trade mission organised by JAMPRO," said Bertram.

He disclosed that Pedro Plains Jamaica Jerk’s participation in the JAMPRO-led trade mission to the Summer Fancy Food Show in New York last year resulted in the brand’s discovery by Lifetime.

In the past year and half, Pedro Plains Jamaica Jerk has participated in JAMPRO-organised trade missions to the Fancy Food Show in San Francisco, SIAL in France, Grocery Innovations Canada (GIC) and the Americas Food and Beverage Show in Miami. At the latter event held in October last year, the brand’s Jerk BBQ Madness product won the award for “Best in the Americas”. Most recently, Pedro Plains Jamaica Jerk took part in the JAMPRO trade mission to the International Food and Drink Event (IFE), the UK's largest food and drink trade show.

Pedro Plains Jamaica Jerk products

The family of Pedro Plains Jamaica Jerk products includes Auntie Katie Jerk Marinade, Passion Fruit Jerk Marinade, Mild Jerk Seasoning, Jerk BBQ Madness, Honey Jerk Sauce, Hurricane Scotch Bonnet Pepper Sauce, Malicious Hot Pepper Sauce, Pure Original Jerk Sauce and Chaos Jerk Seasoning.

Pedro Plains Jamaica Jerk sauces are distributed in the United States by Tortuga Rum Cake Company/Tortuga Imports in Miami, Florida and Ken Young Food Distributors in Blue Island, Illinois. Plans are currently underway for the product line to be distributed in Canada and Europe.

The products can be purchased locally at CariHome Supermarket, Manor Park Plaza, Two Hampers and a Mule at the Norman Manley International Airport and Bluemont at Island Village, Ocho Rios. The company also plans to add new gift locations in the major tourist areas along the North Coast. Online shopping is also available in North America at

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Jolly Boys to tour Europe with Sade


PORT Antonio-based mento band The Jolly Boys are continuing their trendsetting ways under the guidance and direction of manager and head of Geejam Records, Jon Baker.

Following a personal invitation from international recording artiste Sade, The Jolly Boys have announced that they will join Sade on her European tour this spring.

This is another notch in the belt of the group, which was once referred to as the 'toast of Port Antonio' with their traditional 'mento' music, and have after five decades been enjoying a remarkable revival.

It was the legendary film star Errol Flynn who, having purchased a small swathe of northeast Jamaica, would stage wild parties at his home, and provide his favourite entertainment in the form of a local mento band, whom he nicknamed The Jolly Boys.

Mento originated as country folk music, with origins in African sounds, but with influences from European and especially Celtic music. It pre-dated and influenced everything from ska to reggae and dancehall. However the electrification of Jamaica and the gaining of Independence in the 1960s led to the decline of mento music and a new musical voice, reggae.

It was in 2009 music producer Jon Baker suggested The Jolly Boys record a new album featuring some surprising contemporary cover versions, including Rehab — originally recorded by Grammy-winning artiste Amy Winehouse. With that, mento music and The Jolly Boys were re-introduced to both Jamaica and the world. The album Great Expectation, released last year, went on to receive rave reviews.3665135580?profile=original

Since then The Jolly Boys have been taking their brand of Jamaican music across the globe, performing at some of the major international music festivals.

In their 60-year existence, a changing cast of at least 18 members has come and gone but now, with a combined age of 382, they make the Rolling Stones look like the Jonas Brothers'.

Since the release of their album, the band has performed on the BBC's Later with Jools Holland, as well as mesmerising audiences at the Cambridge Folk Festival, Secret Garden Party and The Big Chill. Now Sade's audiences will experience The Jolly Boys' special brand of Jamaican magic.


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CaribShout's City Spotlight - New Orleans

New Orleans is one of the most unique cities in America. Its blend of French, Creole, and Southern culture brings you a feel of the Caribbean islands. The city is known for its famous architecture, diverse mouth-watering cuisine, and its musical and festival scene. Before you book your next flight, check out New Orleans.


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In search of entertainment hundreds gathered at the newly refurbished Anchorage in Chaguaramas on Sunday. The occasion was the Chinese Arrival Dragon Boat Festival 2010. The first race got underway around 10.30 am and with the final dose of team excitement scheduled to commence at 4.45 pm, the enjoyment began along Anchorage Bay, Chaguaramas. The Chinese culture, its authentic traditions, food and entertainment offered a great deal to patrons who entered free but paid for Chinese cuisine—a wealth of which was served up throughout the day. Hosted by the Chinese Bicentennial Committee, in conjunction with the T&T Dragon Boat Federation, the event marked the 204th anniversary of the Chinese arrival in T&T.
The area surrounding Anchorage was also alive, as patrons who’d chosen to remain on the outskirts also enjoyed the races from some 26 teams that participated. Among the teams in action were the Excellent Stores Titans, South East Sea Dragons, the MLIS Predators, Tidal Blitz and even secondary schools like Holy Name Convent, El Dorado West Secondary and St Francois Girls’ High School. Amid the boating action, entertainment provided by the Chinese Arts and Cultural Society proved a welcome addition throughout the day.
Among the entertainment lineup were displays of the Chinese Dragon dance and even one Chinese native who showed his eager audience that he could walk barefooted on broken shards of glass. Children who came along with their parents seemed to have enjoyed the constancy of the excitement as never was there a dull moment throughout.

Spectators throng The Achorarage pier in Chaguaramas on Sunday at Chinese Arrival Dragon Boat Festival 2010.

Traditional Chinese music blared from time to time, offering locals a taste of what living in China would be like, complete with doses of musical entertainment. Races throughout the day yielded a wonderful outcome for the Holy Name Convent A Team, which placed first in the Girls Final; The Trinity One Ton Warriors which was also first in the Boys Final; the Royal Francois A, winner in the Mixed Final; PFBC Shockwave, winner of the Corporate C Division; GHL Oarstruck- also winner of the B Division of the Corporate competitors; and finally, the Aquaholics and Excellent Stores Titans which tied for first place in the Corporate Division A segment of the races. Drizzles in the afternoon did not disappoint as everything went ahead as planned, leaving most, if not all with high hopes for the next year’s festival.

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Ladies night out - Trini style

Beauties filled the precincts of the Trinidad Country Club in Maraval to witness the unveiling of Harts International Carnival 2011 portrayal Planet Rock designed by Gerald Hart. The launch, which was held on August 14, was a perfect reminder that Carnival is woman. There were 15 sections: Turquoise in Matrix, Andesine, Aquarmarine, Ametrine, Peridot, Moonstone, Howlite, Hematite, Heliodor, Goldstone, Citrine, Chrysocalla, Azurite, Sardonyx and Rhodochrosite. Cosmopolitan women represented the beauty and richness of the gems contained in Harts International’s collection. Of course, Miss Universe 1998 Wendy Fitzwilliam was the crown jewel. Patrice Roberts and the sultry HD dancers as well as Michelle Xavier of Imij & Company showcased their feminine wiles, while the promotional girls on locations weren’t undone at the cooler party which had the right ingredients for a night of unbridled fun.

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Harlem New York will never be the same after being exposed to the passion and energy that Marva Allen brings to the conference table. Single-handedly her activism has brought unity and structure to a floundering community. She has taken on a role that has been uniquely American and designed for politicians, but like most West Indians with a vision, she refuses to accept mediocrity and living beneath the threshold of success. At the time of her birth in Sav-la-mar Jamaica West Indies, no one knew that this innocent little girl would grow up to impact the lives of an entire community thousands of miles away in America. Marva Allen left her beloved birth place in rural Jamaica at the age of 9 years, and attended boarding school at Alpha Academy in Kingston. At the age of 16 years, she graduated high school and migrated to England. She achieved her first degree while in England and became a nurse. After 6 years there, she moved to the United States of America., and attended medical school at the University of Michigan. In her sophomore year she got married, left the medical school, and completed her master’s degree in Business. For the next twenty-three years, she successfully owned and operated her own computer company. Then she retired and moved to New York to become an author. In 2003 she walked into the bookstore that she now owns, and that was the first time that she had ever been in an all black community; Harlem. That was when she discovered that she really did not know the history of her people; and that the people around her did not know who they really were.In 2004 she became the owner of the bookstore, and there she began a journey to receive as she describes it, ‘an education that her degrees did not provide’. The book store features a café that accentuates the heartwarming ambiance that permeates throughout. The store carries an impressive collection of books written by authors in the black community; also highlighting the works of many West Indian writers. Every age group is facilitated at Hueman Bookstore and Café, which is home to several writing and reading clubs. Along with its book signings, readings, community discussions and other activities, Hueman Bookstore and Café has become a pillar in the Harlem community. Marva Allen champions the idea of self-sufficiency, and has devoted every waking moment to motivate her people to embrace a paradigm shift, and rise higher to achieve their goals. “For too long”, she says “Black is seen as a limitation of our culture; it prevents people from dreaming big”. “The hardest thing for me is to help people understand their total value”. She says. Mrs. Allen believes that a vehicle must be created to provide opportunities for people to be self-sufficient; and she has created such a vehicle, by establishing the ‘Power of One Program’. Along with 35 Harlem businesses, the Power of One program was launched in 2010. It is the basis for a national campaign to encourage urban communities to spend, save, invest, and donate in their own communities. The Power of One is a for profit social entrepreneurship company designed to support and reinvigorate the Harlem community by re-funneling funds back into the village of Harlem. People who live, work, and visit Harlem can enjoy discounts and benefits at participating Power of One businesses by purchasing the Power of One Affinity card for $1.00. The profits from the sale of the Power of One Affinity cards are then re-invested into those Harlem businesses and become a dynamic means of sustaining and providing economic growth in the Harlem community. The grassroots movement hails the Power of One as a model that can be used in any urban market to transform communities one dollar at a time. The goal is to sell $1 million (plus) $1.00 Affinity cards and then reinvest that money back into the Harlem community.

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