jamaica (19)

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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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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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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Jamaica Enticing Travelers with Local Food



KINGSTON, Jamaica, Thursday July 27, 2017 – The rich, authentic and tantalizing tastes of Jamaican foods and wines are to be showcased when well-advanced plans by the Tourism Ministry to market Jamaica as a hub for Gastronomic Tourism materialize.

The first step in claiming a piece of that market is the establishment of a number of Gastronomic Centres across the island, with Devon House, in Kingston, as the first. For that heritage site, the Ministry plans to improve upon its environs by providing a space where visitors from across the world can come to cook their own meals.

“We’ll be establishing a kitchen. We’re inviting the world to come and cook at Devon House. Families can come; no chef will be in the kitchen, you are the chef,” says Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett.

As part of the culinary experience, a fully stocked farmers’ market will be established where visitors can purchase spices and condiments to include in the cooking of meals at Devon House.

Gastronomic tourism refers to that branch of the sector where persons make trips to destinations where the local food and beverages are the main motivating factors for travel. According to the 2012 United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) report, 88.2 per cent of persons “consider that gastronomy is a strategic element defining the brand and image of their destination.”

And head of the Tourism Linkages Network, Carolyn McDonald Riley, says Jamaica wants to carve out a slice of the market.

“If food is the dominant reason why people are travelling, then we should be marketing our foods, and what we do with food, this is one of the driving factors,” she said.

Read more: http://www.caribbean360.com/travel/jamaica-aims-entice-travellers-local-food#ixzz4o4aaHLDd

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Using Dancehall to Teach Maths and Science



KINGSTON, Jamaica, Friday February 24, 2017 – The Jamaica National (JN) Foundation has collaborated with Mathematics and Science Professor at Columbia University, Christopher Emdin, to launch it’s a project that fuses dancehall music with science.

The ‘Science Genius Jamaica’ education project was officially launched this week. While Science Genius uses hip-hop music in the United States to reach students, Science Genius Jamaica will use dancehall music to bring the subject to life for students and teachers in an exciting dancehall clash competition that is geared at helping them explore and discover the wonders of science.

Senior Manager, Learning, Development and Culture at JN Group, Dr. Renée Rattray, said the initiative aims to inspire the confidence of students by using music and culture to get them more enthused about learning.

“As part of the broader science movement initiated by Chris (Professor Emdin) in New York schools a few years ago, our project aims to connect youth culture with education, so that learning the rigourous content of mathematics and science becomes more effortless for young people,” Dr. Rattray said.

She noted that statistics showed that students were not performing as well as they should in Mathematics and the core science subjects. She said the pass rate for Mathematics is 48 per cent; Chemistry, 57 per cent; and Physics, 63 per cent.

“The influence of dancehall on our young people is a no-brainer. It is our popular culture and its influences, today, extend beyond class boundaries and country borders. It is like the air our children breathe,” she said.

Minister of Science, Energy and Technology Dr. Andrew Wheatley welcomed the project, noting that it is intended to convert students into science lovers through the use of popular culture.

“I thank the JN Group and its Foundation for setting an excellent precedence in public-private sector partnership in assisting in the rescue mission of science and mathematics in Jamaica. So let me say thank you for your efforts in birthing the new generation of scientists, mathematicians, statisticians, engineers, botanists – both girls and boys,” Dr. Wheatley said.

He also thanked Professor Emdin for taking the time to come to Jamaica to introduce his model of fusing popular music with science and mathematics education.

“Importantly, and as the educators have stated, this new fusion approach brings the sciences and the arts together and, in the land of reggae and dancehall I believe it will reap positive results in the near future and improve the national Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) Science performance,” he noted.

State Minister for Education, Youth and Information Floyd Green also commended the JN Group for its initiative.

“We all recognize now that no one cap fits all and no one size fits all and you have to take different approaches if you are going to truly connect with your students,” he said.

Meanwhile, Professor Emdin noted that by merging dancehall to science “you are retraining the brain of youth who are embedded in dancehall, to reimagine themselves as scientists”.

“We are engaging in not just a cute programme; we are engaging in rewiring our generation,” he said.

Read more: http://www.caribbean360.com/news/using-dancehall-teach-maths-science#ixzz4Zo95lV9o

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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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Health Minister Horace Dalley (right) and with Cuban Ambassador His Excellency Bernardo Hernandez (left) sign two Technical Cooperation Agreements between Cuba and Jamaica.

KINGSTON, Jamaica – The Ministry of Health yesterday signed two bilateral partnership agreements with Cuba. The official signing took place at the ministry’s head office in Kingston.

 The agreements signed are:

• Technical Cooperation Agreement between the Ministry of Public Health of the Republic of Cuba and the Ministry of Health of Jamaica.

• Agreement on Cooperation between Cuba and Jamaica for the functioning of an Ophthalmology Centre.

Health Minister Horace Dalley said thousands of Jamaicans have benefitted from the forty three years of diplomatic relations with Cuba. “Cuba has never refused to help us. Many Jamaicans have benefitted especially from the Jamaica/Cuba Eye care programme,” Dalley said.


 Under the Technical Cooperation agreement several Cuban health workers have been coming to Jamaica and making important contribution to the health sector.

There are currently 71 Cuban professionals working in Jamaica, 53 of which are from the Jamaica-Cuba Technical Agreement and 18 of which are under the Eye Care Programme partnership.

Of the 71 Cuban professionals in the island 27 are doctors, 36 are nurses and 8 are professional technologists.

On July 28, 2009 the Bilateral Agreement of Cooperation for the establishment of a Centre of Excellence was signed between the Jamaican and Cuban Governments. Out of that came the Jamaica/Cuba Eye Care Centre which was officially opened in January, 2010.

Since its inception, the Ophthalmology Centre has received in excess of 78,000 visits.

More than 24,000 people have been screened and more than 9,842 procedures done, all in Jamaica.

“There has been a concerted effort by both the Cuban and Jamaican Governments to ensure that our people get the best health care. Our partnership in health with Cuba over the years has been extremely beneficial and we look forward to continuing to work with the Government and people of Cuba in the future,” Dalley said.

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Sizzla leads August Town revival


BY RICHARD JOHNSON Observer senior reporter johnsonr@jamaicaobserver.com

SIZZLA is working to bring cultural and historical awareness within his August Town community through his Sizzla Youth Foundation.


The artiste is spearheading month-long celebrations for the August Town Emancipation Birthday, commemorating 177 years since the St Andrew community was officially established.


"It is paramount that we remind the youths of the community where they are from and the rich history and tradition which they must uphold. They must be aware of the strong links to the fight against slavery as the original settlers in these lands came from the Mona and Papine plantations... so we just need to re-education the community so they know where they are coming from so as to chart the course forward," said Sizzla.


The celebrations started Wednesday with a peace march through August Town.


Other events include the unveiling of a wall dedicated to renowned August Town spiritual leader Alexander Bedward. This takes place tomorrow.


A Senior Citizens Day is scheduled for August 2. August 6 is Bedward Day at the Bedward Temple in the community. The Greater August Town Violence Prevention Day is set for August 13, while the World of Reggae Concert featuring Sizzla and friends is at the UWI Bowl, Mona, on August 16.


The month's activities are completed by the Back-to-School Family Affair and Treat at the UWI Bowl on August 30.


According to Sizzla, his foundation which was founded in 2010, wants residents and persons from outside August Town to be aware of the good that has, and can come from, the area.


"We want to eradicate violence from August Town. This can only be achieved by instilling values which stress Africa and education. We must rejuvenate the minds and with that we can achieve much," he said.


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                         Minister of Youth and Culture Lisa Hanna among these school-age children in Accompong

ACCOMPONG TOWN, St Elizabeth— British High Commissioner to Jamaica David Fitton believes that the long and colourful history of this Maroon community should be marketed to boost tourism and provide viable business opportunities.

He does not, however, believe that it should be done at the expense of losing the unique culture of the area. Speaking on January 6, at the 276th celebration of the signing of the peace treaty with British colonisers — led by Maroon leader Captain Kojo (also spelled Cudjoe) — Fitton said that Maroons should focus on attracting visitors to their rugged mountain communities.

The High Commissioner observed that the theme of the Maroon festival was aimed at ending poverty, promoting education and the safeguarding of culture. As it relates to ending poverty Fitton said “… I think the secret to that is to find another way to become active and to do business.3665141754?profile=original

The business, I think, here is one of attracting people from outside — from other parts of Jamaica , from other parts of the world.” The British envoy, who was visiting Accompong for the first time, said that it was “an area of great beauty” and he looked forward to returning and taking visitors along. Accompong, located in the Cockpit Country of northern St Elizabeth, close to Trelawny’s southern border, is named after the Leeward Maroon leader Accompong, who was brother to Kojo.

The latter is credited for his role in the formalising of a peace treaty with the British which ended decades of guerilla warfare. To the east, the Windward Maroons who fought the British from bases in the Blue Mountains and its environs also subsequently agreed to peace terms. Historians identify Jamaican Maroons as descendants of slaves who were left behind by Spanish colonisers when they fled Jamaica following invasion by the British in 1655, as well as runaway slaves from British plantations.

Some historians suggest that the early Maroons interbred with remnants of the Taino people who occupied Jamaica when the Europeans arrived just over 500 years ago. Maroon communities in Jamaica are led by an elected ‘colonel’ and are said to adhere to traditional practices and are exempted from property taxes. Maroon leaders boast of very low or non-existent crime in their communities. “Outside influence need not be a bad thing providing it doesn’t interrupt what you have of your own and it adds to the learning that you already have,” said Fitton.3665141749?profile=original

He added: “Believe me, the culture of the Trelawny Town Maroons (the Accompong Maroons are so called) has much to offer and I think it’s important that we continue to remember that. If we stop to think for a moment, a society which is so close, which has no need of police and which does not suffer from the evil of crime is a rare thing anywhere in the world. I think you have all the ingredients for perfection here if you keep hold of them (the culture) tightly and you introduce them as best you can to others as you have done to me today.”

Colonel Noel Parthay of the Scott’s Hall Maroons in St Mary, used the occasion to express his dissatisfaction with the treatment of Maroons in the context of what he said were treaty commitments made by the British. He spoke of unfulfilled promises of financial contribution regarding education and the development of infrastructure.

As is usual with the January sixth celebration in Accompong, hundreds of people flocked to the community to witness centuries-old rituals, listen to speeches by Maroon leaders and visitors, and enjoy light entertainment. As usual vendors lined the narrow streets, selling food and a variety of goods ranging from trinkets to clothes.3665141818?profile=original

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The 'Taboofication' of the Number Two

The number two has become quite an aberration in local popular culture. Indeed, a very weird phenomenon and one which is both amusing as it is perplexing.  For the life of me I cannot understand how this simplistic second child of the Greek numeral has come to be so scorned and vilified.

What is most amusing are the countless euphemisms that have succeeded the number two in popular discourse. It is commonplace to hear such phrases as ‘twice’, ‘second’, ‘one plus one’ or ‘that number between one and three’. Quite ludicrous!  

Fast food establishments’ bear the onslaught of this comeuppance, where not only are they contending with the fad and hype associated with local pop culture, they also have to consider potential language barriers that could impede their sales. They must tap into the psyche of this growing trend as when a young male in particular, approaches the cashier and orders a 'number twice' or a 'number second' from the menu display board, he or she must know to what he is referring.

The number two became taboo with the upsurge in the gaming culture. Numbers are assigned specific  meanings or rakes,  and the number two unfortunately, is the number that connotes sexual depravity and homosexuality. We already know how homosexuality for one is perceived in Jamaica. And so the number two has been alienated, exiled, vilified, and slowly and agonizingly, dying from its wounds of oral assassination.

Counting, commerce and language cannot be the same without the number two in its proper context. Imagine teaching your child to count or even do simple arithmetic. Foolhardiness maybe more acceptable in popular culture hence it’s cool to say one, second, three, but try holding a formal discuss in that manner.   

Jamaicans are bi-lingual - oops, bi also means two. Let's rephrase...

Perhaps Jamaicans are more multi-lingual than was original thought. There’s Patois, the Queens English, Jamaican English and on the flip side, the language of context which is spoken in the popular domain. Within this domain, nothing is at mere face value. Words and in this case numbers, have double meanings. The shocking part is that the language of context in Jamaican popular culture evolves constantly. Am surprised the number two has not been fully exiled already, but on second thoughts, it’s already taboo.



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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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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 www.dmarketmovers.com and www.trinitrolley.com

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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 www.pedroplains.com.

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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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Students from Winston Park Elementary and Parkway Middle School participated in the Arts Inspire... workshop. FORT LAUDERDALE – The Broward Center for the Performing Arts, designated as the county’s first international cultural embassy by the Broward County Board of County Commissioners, has given students a passport to other cultures through its interactive “Arts Inspires…” annual workshop, which has featured artists such as Romero Britto and Pablo Cano. Recently during “Arts Inspire… Jamaican Rhythms," percussionist Willie Stewart led a drumming workshop for 60 fledgling musicians from Winston Park Elementary and Parkway Middle School. Stewart, who has performed around the world and with legendary performers such as Stevie Wonder, Carlos Santana, Bob Marley, Quincy Jones, Sting and Michael Jackson, educated students on the influence and impact that Africa has had on Jamaica’s people, rhythm/music and culture. The workshop was presented by the Broward Center for the Performing Arts and the School Board of Broward County with participation by the Jamaican Consulate. “With a significant Jamaican community in South Florida, we are pleased to partner once again with the Broward Center to educate, celebrate and promote Jamaican culture to local students,” said Consul General Sandra Grant Griffiths of the Jamaican Consulate. The Abdo New River Room of the Broward Center was the backdrop for the workshop, where students were first introduced to percussion instruments from around the world. They then focused on musical concepts such as rhythm, timing and beat; tonality and harmony; performance techniques; and the role of percussive music forms in ritual and culture. The workshop culminated with a performance by Stewart and the students, who demonstrated the rhythms they learned during the workshop to an audience that included School Board of Broward County members Maureen S. Dinnen, Phyllis C. Hope, and Benjamin J. Williams; The Honorable Sandra Grant Griffiths of the Jamaican Consulate; and representatives from the participating schools. “The School Board of Broward County is committed to educating the total child,” said Maureen Dinnen, of the School Board of Broward County. “The arts are a critical component of our educational programming, kindergarten through 12th grade. In the workshop, we saw students energized, excited and inspired to meet and learn from Willie Stewart. We are proud to participate in such a rewarding program that offers our students enriching and memorable educational experiences.”

L-R: Maureen S. Dinnen, School Board of Broward County; Willie Stewart; Sharon Brooks, Broward Center Director of Education. More than two million students have attended educational programs at the Broward Center through the nationally award-winning Student Enrichment in the Arts partnership program with the Broward Center and Broward County Public Schools. The two organizations also collaborate on initiatives which encourage literacy skills among pre-school and elementary school children. “Collaboration has always been central to the Broward Center’s mission. Our partnership with Broward County Public Schools allowed us to create the “Arts Inspires…” program, which connects talented artists in our community with our students and helps them learn about the rich mosaic of cultures we enjoy in South Florida,” said Broward Center President and CEO Kelley Shanley. “I am delighted that the event focused on the tapestry of cultures that have influenced Jamaican music – and highlighted the richness of Jamaican culture. Our partnership with the Jamaican community, which started with the Jamaican Consulate in Miami and continues to grow, has allowed us to bring many exciting Jamaican events to the Broward Center.”

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