All Posts (2277)

Sort by


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more:

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

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

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

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

Teachers of the School for the Deaf are excited and grateful for their new uptodate tools which will make their work even more efficient. “The various forms of assessments we now have thanks to the Sandals Foundation will enable us to zero in on specific problems our students may have whether it be their functional auditory skills, speech perception, comprehension, vocabulary, pronunciation or signing. We can then analyse the results of these new tests and work from there to improve each child’s performance,” expressed Michelle Brathwaite, Principal of the School for the Deaf. 150w, 300w, 768w, 750w" sizes="(max-width: 900px) 100vw, 900px" data-pin-no-hover="true" /> Some of the assessment tools donated

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

Brathwaite continued, “We express our sincere thanks to the Sandals Foundation for acceptance of this project proposal for early screening and intervention for the deaf and seeing this as fundamental as you highlighted in your 2018 report, an investment in education is an investment in the future. It provides both children and adults with the tools they need to create better outcomes for themselves and their families. This is integral in creating the type of society we dream of in the region.” 113w, 225w" sizes="(max-width: 675px) 100vw, 675px" data-pin-no-hover="true" /> Four of the twenty Amazon Fire Tablets donated to the Deaf Assessment Programme

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

Equally impressed and thankful are the parents of hearing-impaired children. “Thank you to Sandals Foundation and all the organisations here in Grenada who continue to support deaf education, because of your support our children have a voice and are able to receive the opportunities they rightfully deserve,” said Florence Holmes, parent of a hearing-impaired child. 150w, 300w, 768w, 750w" sizes="(max-width: 900px) 100vw, 900px" data-pin-no-hover="true" /> Some of the assessment books donated

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

Sandals Foundation

Read more…


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more…


by Cory Zufelt, Co-Founder-CEO

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more…


One thing that hurts your current dates is comparing them with your ex. Although they may have flaws, it is not good to bring up the issue of your past relationships in your current relationships. According to experts in relationships, some people just find themselves comparing their current partners with their ex no matter how perfect they are. It is almost like an illness that a person must fight. If you practice the right things, you will have a happy relationship that will last a long time.

This is how to stop comparing your current date to your ex.

Find Great Qualities in Your Partner

Unless it is a sickness, a person will compare their partner to their ex if they do not take the time to appreciate them. The first thing to do is look for the great qualities that they have and focus on those. Avoid focusing on flaws, especially because you also have yours. If you would not like to be compared to anyone, do not compare else. Those who have found great qualities in their partners remain happy at all times.

Correct Cautiously

Correcting a partner is not wrong, but how you do it might be wrong. Do not compare him or her with one of your exes, even if they were the best as far as the issue at hand is concerned. In fact, it is not right to compare their issue to anyone. Be polite when mentioning the mistake and say how you would have preferred the issue to look. Your partner will not only appreciate it, but will avoid repeating what they did wrong by all means.

Accept Changes

Two people cannot be the same, and the same can be said about two different relationships. This is a change that you must embrace. Luckily, dating sites like allow you to read the profile of the other person before you start dating. Thus, you already know a few things about them even before you start dating. The most important thing is to accept that this is a new relationship with unique qualities. Accepting changes will help you to avoid comparing your current date to your ex.

Give Your Best

Instead of comparing your partner to your EX, live like an example and give your best. When you do this, your partner will also make an effort to stop things that are hurting the relationship and join you. With both parties making efforts, the relationship will work perfectly and no one will have to compare the other with anyone.

Learn to Love More

Love is different from many other things in a relationship. It opens the eyes of people to know when they are hurting their partner and when they are making them happy. Love avoids things that hurt the other person. If you have a challenge loving your partner, it is time to grow your love by any means.

All people need to stop comparing their partners with their exes. This should go both ways for a better relationship. With the above tips, you will agree that this is very possible. Start it now!

Read more…

Calypso Rose wows them at Coachella

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The video has been viewed more than 640 thou­sand times.

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

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

Read more…

Jamaica poised for more investments from China


Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator the Kamina Johnson Smith (left) and Chinese Ambassador to Jamaica, His Excellency Tian Qi (right), exchange the signed agreements under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), at the MInistry in New Kingston. (Photo via JIS)

Telegram Jamaica is poised to benefit from significant economic and infrastructural development initiatives under a new Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the People’s Republic of China.

Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator the Kamina Johnson Smith, and Chinese Ambassador to Jamaica, His Excellency Tian Qi, signed the agreement under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), at the Ministry’s New Kingston offices last week.

The BRI is a new model of international development cooperation, promoting broad and inclusive connectivity across countries and regions. It also provides a powerful framework to ensure that development cooperation brings shared benefits to China and its partners.

Jamaica is the fifth Caribbean nation to sign on to the BRI, following Trinidad and Tobago, Suriname, Guyana and Barbados. Through the initiative, the Chinese are expected to invest heavily in a country’s infrastructure and economy.

Senator Johnson Smith said the MOU allows the two countries to identify specific proposals for projects in priority areas.

“With today’s signing of the MOU, our two countries must now…develop a mechanism by which projects and programmes in priority areas may be proposed and evaluated at the technical level, forming the basis for potential agreements,” she noted.

She said that under the BRI, Jamaica and the People’s Republic of China will seek to deepen collaboration so as to promote greater connectivity in the areas of trade, facilities and infrastructure, policy coordination, financial systems and people-to-people connections.

“Such connectivity and the potential it holds can serve as a catalyst for bringing Jamaica closer to the attainment of our economic growth and sustainable development goals,” she added.

Senator Johnson Smith said that the new framework, coupled with existing bilateral mechanisms “can provide an impetus for increased trade and investment as well as channel support to critical sectors, such as infrastructure, logistics, and manufacturing.”

She noted that over the years, Jamaica and the People’s Republic of China have forged a mutually beneficial partnership transcending distance, size, level of development and culture.

The partnership between the two countries has resulted in many tangible outcomes, she said, citing acquisition of Alpart in 2016 by Jiuquan Iron and Steel Company (JISCO) and the proposed development of an industrial park and special economic zone alongside the JISCO/Alpart operations in Nain, St Elizabeth.

The Minister further mentioned the western children’s hospital project, completion of two state-of-the-art early childhood institutions last year, as well as the Bright Journey Eye Care Mission now underway at the Kingston Public Hospital (KPH), where hundreds of persons are receiving cataract surgeries.

Additionally, she said that hundreds of Jamaicans have travelled to China on scholarships and training programme annually and have returned to the island to contribute to national development.

“These are but a few of the many projects which demonstrate the positive impact of bilateral cooperation with China,” Senator Johnson Smith noted.

Read more…


A commercial kitchen is the center of the food service business. The food is stored, prepared and cooked in the kitchen and then served to the customers. Without a proper kitchen, it is not possible to turn a food business. The kitchen has a lot of safety hazards and without proper precautionary measures, the kitchen can become a dangerous place. Electrical hazards are a serious issue for the commercial kitchen. To run an efficient food service you will need to invest in commercial grade electrical appliances like ovens, blenders, commercial upright display fridge, etc. and they need to stay away from water sources. Electrocution and electrical fires are common safety hazards.

Here are a few tips for kitchens to make sure that there are proper safety precautions in place to avoid electrical accidents.


Identifying Potential Electrical Hazards in a Commercial Kitchen:

A restaurateur needs to hire a professional electrician to identify the potential electrical hazards. Identifying the problem is the key to taking the right precautionary measures. The kitchen staff will not be able to work properly if the working environment is not safe. There are some areas those more vulnerable to electrical hazards than the others.

The areas that contain countertop equipment can have worn out electrical cords and they can be extremely dangerous. The electrical appliances and water is a terrible match so an area where both are present is a vulnerable place. Faulty wiring and worn out electrical equipment create a danger zone. The areas that use extension cords are a hazardous area as well.


Awareness of Electrical Hazards:

Investing in electrical safety equipment is important but it will not be effective if not used properly. The electrical safety of a commercial kitchen depends significantly on the awareness of the kitchen staff. The kitchen staff should be aware of the potential electrical hazards present in the kitchen.

The staff working in the commercial kitchen should know how to shut off power in case of an emergency. The staff should also know the proper way to use cords, plugs, and electrical appliances.

The restaurateur should have a program that is effective in spreading safety awareness and training them to properly use the safety equipment.


Meet Health and Safety Standards:

 A successful restaurant needs a commercial kitchen that satisfies the occupational safety and health standards. The safety standards are put in place to make sure that the kitchen does not become a hazardous area. Without the health and safety standards, it will be hard to avoid food contamination and the quality of service will suffer significantly.

The appliances used in the commercial kitchen need to be of a certain standard. The kitchen staff also has to follow all the safety protocols like washing hands, wearing gloves, protective goggles, etc. The safety guidelines and protocols are put in place for a reason and they should never be avoided. The standards will keep the commercial kitchen safe from electrocution and electrical fires.

The success of the business depends on the quality of service they offer and to offer the best service it is essential to take care of electrical hazards.

Read more…

4 Effective Ways to Improve Restaurant Sales

Image result for improve restaurant sales

Starting a restaurant is exciting but also a complex and difficult process. There are a lot of challenges that a restaurant has to overcome so that it can establish a reliable reputation in the industry. There is too much competition in the industry and small mistakes can cost a lot of restaurant sales. To run a successful restaurant it is important to stay ahead of the competition and have a plan to deal with industry challenges.

To run a successful food service business it is important to be persistent. To attract more customers a restaurant needs to think out of the box so that it stands out from the competition. Here are a few tips for restaurants to improve their sales.

Make the Best Use Of Social Media Marketing:

Social media is a powerful tool for promoting businesses and the best thing about it is that it is free of cost. Social media marketing offers access to a wider audience and gets their attention. Social media needs to be a part of the marketing plan. Professional and active social media profiles are essential for attracting more restaurant sales.

Keep the social media profiles active by sharing content that will get customer attention. Delicious pictures of the food you serve or the menu or other industry related content will help in running a successful business.

Improve Restaurant Sales with a Pricing Strategy:

Developing the restaurant menu properly is important for running a successful restaurant. There are a lot of important things to consider while creating a menu. You cannot make a list of all the dishes that you like. You need to think about the food cost and profit margin while compiling the menu. Taking help from the head chef and menu engineers will make it easier to establish an effective pricing strategy. The price of the food you are offering should be according to potential customers. If the prices are too high for them you will have a menu that will cost you more than you can afford, so establish a pricing strategy that will earn the business a good profit.

Make the Best Use of Material Marketing:

To increase the restaurant sales it is important that a restaurant is able to make the best use of material marketing. There are a lot of marketing tools at the restaurant’s disposal and it needs to use them properly. The setting of the restaurant should make sure that it is memorable and people want to come back to it. Use serve over counters to offer self-serving options and seasonal deals and use leaflets and signs to let people know the delicious menu you have to offer.

Develop a Restaurant App:

Nowadays people use apps all the time. If they are looking for a good place to dine out then they will do online research. A good app will make the business visible to potential customers. Offer special discounts to people who order using an app so that people are encouraged to install it. It will make it possible for the restaurant business to stay in touch with the customers and send notifications of latest deals and offers.

Read more…


Calabar’s Kevroy Venson 'silences' the crowd after upstaging KC's Ari Rodgers in the 1500m at last year's high school athletic championships.

With Karyl Walker

It is undoubtedly the Olympics of school athletics championships. The ISSA GraceKennedy Boys and Girls Championships, popularly called ‘Champs’, is now underway and the eyes of the athletics world are upon Jamaica.

By the time the championships are over, records will fall, new heroes will emerge and true champions will have defended their titles from last year. More importantly, scouts from all over Europe, the United States and other regions have descended on Kingston, Jamaica.

Their intent? To poach our youngsters into signing up for their clubs and offer them attractive contracts or scholarships to tertiary institutions so they can get a piece of the Jamaican talent.

In my days as a high school student, the championships were divided along the lines of sex. Girls Champs was held separately from Boys Champs and held less prestige, but smartly, in 1999, ISSA merged the two, and now 20 years afterwards we have a great spectacle that the world has been forced to stretch their necks and examine closely.

Many are still wondering how Jamaica can produce so many great athletes. What is our secret?

Some jokingly say we are used to running from the police and know how to scamper away when the guns bark. Some put it down to the yam from Trelawny while others grudgingly spout nonsense that we have mastered the art of masking the use of pharmaceuticals.

My take is that it has been embedded in our psyche from the toddler stage.

On a recent trip to the island, I was staying at an apartment complex that was just across the road from a basic school. One morning, about 9 am, the loud toots of horns and frantic cheers could be heard.

It was sports day.

The three and four-year-old kids were participating in their basic school Olympics and it was a sight to behold. It seemed the children were running for their parents as mothers and fathers were frenetic as they urged on their offspring to run.

There was one little girl in particular who was a cut above the rest. She beat everything in sight. I smiled broadly as the pint-sized child blazed away akin to our own Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce. The future of athletics seemed secure for the land of my birth.

As Jamaicans, we place great importance on our children performing well on the track from an early age. It can be likened to the basketball or NFL culture in the USA. These sports are second nature for most American children. We have inculcated in our culture that running fast is a Jamaican thing. It goes without saying.

But back to Champs.

In the days leading up to the event, a lot of controversy swirled around two of the major stars that are representing defending champions Calabar. One can only hope that the boys rise above the effluent and are able to perform at their utmost. After all, they are Jamaican youth who seem to be focused on taking up athletics as their chosen career.

The controversy may be a good thing for those athletes. In the real world, they will be faced with many other challenges that were unplanned for and this may be the mock exam for the life they will have to face. At least they will learn early enough that nothing in life comes easy. It should be used as a learning curve for them to realize that, if they achieve stardom, there will be people waiting in the wings to bring them down off the podium of glory in one fell swoop.

As has been the case for many years, there is a battle shaping up between Calabar and many time winners Kingston College for the boys crown, while Edwin Allen is being touted as a shoe in for the girls title.

One can only hope that whoever wins does so with grace and the loser is able to lick their wounds and get on with life.

As much as some Jamaicans like to think that our national sport is football, the island has since pre-independence been a more potent force to be reckoned with in track and field.

From the days of Arthur Wint, Herb McKenley, George Rhoden, Les Laing, Donald Quarrie, Merlene Ottey, Jacqueline Pusey, Usain Bolt, Veronica Campbell Brown, Deon Hemmings, Everod Samuels and many other greats too many to mention, Champs has been the feeding tree for athletics clubs and has produced many world beaters.

I am sure more future stars will emerge this year.

What a nice fi live, sweet Jamdown.

That is my view from the outside.

Read more…

3665152072?profile=originalThe reggae star’s return to the stage after eight years in a Florida prison was one of the biggest music events in Jamaica’s history.

When flight 559 traveling from JFK touched down in Kingston, Jamaica on Wednesday March 13, the pilot thanked the passengers for flying Jet Blue, told us to enjoy the island’s 85-degree temperature, and insisted we have fun at the weekend’s concert.

Obviously, he didn’t need to specify which concert: it’s the gig that’s filled up flights to Jamaica’s capital for the past week, packed hotels and guest houses, and increased Airbnb bookings to nearly 100% occupancy. Websites crashed within minutes of tickets going on sale, unable to handle the demand.

Buju Banton’s Long Walk to Freedom Concert, one of the biggest music events in Jamaica’s history, was held Saturday night at Kingston’s National Stadium, marking the reggae icon’s return to the stage after an eight-year absence. Banton didn’t willingly take a break from performing; he had been incarcerated in federal prison following a conviction on cocaine trafficking charges.3665152021?profile=original

Banton, born Mark Myrie, was arrested in December 2009 and charged with attempting to possess and distribute cocaine, and was promptly incarcerated for 11 months in Florida’s Pinellas County jail, outside of Tampa.

Banton’s September 2010 trial resulted in a hung jury and two months later, he was freed on bail. Bob Marley’s, son Stephen, who testified on Banton’s behalf at the trial, posted his home as bond. While out on bail, Banton performed a fundraising concert to generate money for his mounting legal costs.

The Before the Dawn concert (named after Banton’s 2010 album, released on his Gargamel Music label) was held at Miami’s Bayfront Amphitheater on January 16, 2011; 10,000 fans turned out to witness what might have been Banton’s final U.S. performance.  

On February 13, 2011, Before the Dawn won the Best Reggae Album Grammy, but Banton couldn’t attend the ceremony because his second trial began the following day. Less than two weeks later, Banton was found guilty of attempting to possess and distribute cocaine. On June 23, 2011, he was sentenced to 10 years in prison, where he remained until December 7, 2018, when he was released and deported to Jamaica.

Banton has yet to speak publicly about the circumstances that led to his criminal conviction and his time in prison. His silence on such serious life-altering events, coupled with his 10-year absence from a Jamaican stage, undoubtedly heightened the anticipation surrounding the Long Walk to Freedom concert. Banton’s dramatic—and contentious—career arc has rendered him a revolutionary to some, and a divisive figure to others.

The youngest of 15 children born to a street vendor mother, Banton’s coarse, unrelenting deejayed vocals—the Jamaican equivalent of rapping—and ferocious delivery took him to the pinnacle of dancehall superstardom in the early 1990s.

His 1994 song “Murderer,” written about the fatal shooting of his close friend and dancehall artist Panhead, as well as Kingston’s escalating gun crime, helped temporarily redirect dancehall reggae away from gangsterism, towards Rastafarianism-themed positive messages.

Banton’s 1995 album ‘Til Shiloh (Loose Cannon), widely considered his masterpiece, played a further role in shaping roots reggae for the 1990s and beyond. But Banton has also been a longstanding target for gay rights activists who were outraged by the lyrics to his song “Boom Bye Bye,” which advocated the killing of homosexuals.

Banton recorded “Boom Bye Bye” when he was 16, and he has explained that it was written about a specific incident in Jamaica: a pedophile’s abuse of a young boy. A translation of the song’s dense patois lyrics first surfaced around 1993, when Banton released Voice of Jamaica, his sole album for Mercury Records. He has apologized for the sentiments the song expressed and stopped performing it many years ago, yet it continued to impede his career, with protests resulting in concert cancellations as late as 2009.

Additional controversies surrounding Banton—from the videotape showing him tasting cocaine in a Florida warehouse and asking if there were more from his trial, to seizing the title of Nelson Mandela’s auto-biography for his return concert—largely subsided as the concert date approached.

190317-buju-embed2_qaeds4 The crowd reacts at Buju Banton’s concert.

As fans arrived hours early to soak up the revelry amidst The Gargamel’s (as Banton is also known) long-awaited return, vendors lined the stadium’s entrance, selling snacks, soft drinks, Red Stripe beers, air horns and an assortment of memorabilia bearing Banton’s image.

New York City’s Bobby Konders and Jabba of Massive B Sound and Hot 97 (WQHT FM) set a fitting tone with their selections of 1980s and 1990s dancehall classics. The stadium was packed, nearly reaching its 35,000-person capacity as the 8 p.m. showtime drew closer.

Ticket prices ranged from $32 for bleacher seats up to $200 for the VIP section. Several opening acts were on the bill. Among those who fared best were singer Ghost, best known for his 1990s/early 2000s dancehall hits, but is truly a timeless entertainer; and vocal quartet L.U.S.T. who dazzled with exquisite harmonies; and the dynamic dancehall artist Sasco, who was mentored by Banton early in his career.

Young roots reggae star Chronixx seamlessly merged dancehall influences and roots reggae’s Rastafarianism-imbued messages as this decade’s embodiment of a musical path Banton helped pioneer in the mid-1990s. Most notable was veteran Rastafarian singer Cocoa Tea; unlike the other acts, he tailored his performance to the occasion. As he strode on stage, he adapted the words of his 1995 Rastafari anthem “Holy Mount Zion” to a welcome home song for Banton: “After eight years of incarceration Buju still stands strong/after eight years of incarceration, he finally gets to witness this long walk to freedom.”

Popular Jamaican radio personality Elyse Kelly of the island’s all reggae station IRIE FM Radio (107.5 FM) introduced the artist as someone “who makes us laugh, he makes us cry, he makes us think as we take this long walk to freedom. From the chains of incarceration, we are celebrating liberty and freedom. Jamaica the wait is over, help us bring on stage Buju Banton and the Shiloh Band.” With that, attendees roared their approval and held their cell phones aloft, to capture historic images of Banton’s return to the stage.

190317-buju-embed1_mfu5r7 Buju Banton performs with Wayne Wonder during his first concert since his release from prison

Banton, resplendent in a white suit, his waist-length dreadlocks freely swinging, cut a striking figure. He opened his set with a prayer, chanting “Oh Lamb of God have mercy on me.” He closed his eyes and placed a hand on his forehead, as he dropped to his knees for greater emphasis.

For the next 90-minutes, Banton chose songs from his extensive catalog that helped convey the remarkable narrative that had led to this long-anticipated moment, which was best summed up by his first selection, “Not an Easy Road.” With the superb backing of the Shiloh Band, led by keyboardist Steven “Lenky” Marsden, Buju continued his reflective mood singing “Destiny,” “Close One Yesterday,” “Lord Give I Strength,” but also incorporated his kinetic dancehall brand with “Too Bad,” “Only Man,” and “Walk Like A Champion.”

Banton’s vigor was impressive throughout as he bounced, jumped, danced and kicked, working the stage as if he had never been away from it. His deep, distinctively granular voice has not yet been restored to its full capacity and too often he let his female backup trio, or even the audience, take over the vocals; however, there’s little doubt that the Voice of Jamaica will soon regain his optimal form.

Several of Buju’s collaborators also joined him onstage to celebrate his return. They included Marcia Griffiths, former member of Bob Marley’s I-Threes, whom Banton said he regarded as a mother; Wayne Wonder, with whom Banton performed the 1992 dancehall classic “Bona Fide Love” and one of Banton’s mentors; and singer Beres Hammond. Beres and Buju performed their exuberant ode to dancehall “Can You Play Some More,” and caused the already frenzied crowd to scream even louder when they sang each other’s verses on their 1992 hit, “Who Say?”

Banton had little to say about his incarceration except for counting down, to the second, the amount of time he was locked up, which served as the introduction to “Driver A.” Banton’s 2007 hit about a ganja dealer sending his driver to make a delivery in East Flatbush, Brooklyn, contains a somewhat prescient lyric, as he cautions his driver: “Just remember the damn speed limit cause if you run into the Feds, my friend, that is it.” For the time being, maybe that’s the only direct reference to his incarceration that Banton needs to make.

@itsknottv for The Daily Beast

Read more…

10 Jewellery Trends to Follow for 2019

#The Nose Ring


The Indian nose ring never left design, for some, ladies wear a little gold or precious stone stud type nose ring once a day, but it is currently being hailed like never before as an essential face accessory or adornments. It has been reinvented by modern adornments designers to consider more designs. Silver, white metal, and antique gold are a portion of the metals that are being explored different avenues regarding to craft out an Indian nose ring. In this way, something which was prior only a modest decoration presently has procured 'the greater the better' tag. Impact of the Kutch style can be found in the nose pin and nose rings that are trending. Bollywood biggies like Aamir Khan likewise donning a nose ring in his most recent flick has begun the pattern of even men presently supporting this piece of adornments.

#The Multi layer jewelry


Adornments designers feel that the sort of jewelry worn by Bollywood big names at their weddings a year ago will be the kind of this current year and that was the multi layer neck-piece. Social sites are overwhelmed with pictures of Anushka and Deepika wearing these neck-pieces which had a Rajasthani touch to them.

#The Maang tikka


When just a bride's strong point, the Maang tikka is currently being worn by every last one. Exquisite patterns in gold, kundan, and polki work run truly well with traditional Indian dresses. You don’t need long hair too to wear this ethnic piece for it looks perfect with any length of hair.

#The Jhoomar


Helping you to remember the beauty and class of the Mughal time, the jhoomar runs well with the most recent in apparel, the gharara and kurti mix. When wearing a jhoomar in your hair, make sure to coordinate your rest of the gems with it as well.

#Bridal Chokers


Likewise knows as the bib jewelry, they cover your neck area . Embellished with amazing stones set in gold, a choker necklace raises the look of a lady. Ladies are notwithstanding getting their accessories tweaked with dolls emblazoned on the accessory.

#The Chandbali


Made famous by Bollywood films and superstars, the chandbalis are staying put. They look dazzling in silver and stunning in kundan and gold. The best part about chandbalis is that they make any attire look incredible, be it ethnic or western.



Pearls are immortal marvels that give a lady the royal look. This will be the time of the pearl but an extraordinary pearl. Baroque pearls are being utilized to create rich incredibly in different shapes and hues. A pearl necklace with a little diamond pendant or set with a valuable stone like ruby or emerald is an unquestionable requirement for each storage room. You can style your LBD with a pearl neckband and by including some matching studs, a similar accessory can draw out the excellence of a silk saree.

#Go Floral


Hued flower designs in pendants and hoops are a most loved of ladies today in light of the fact that these pieces are sufficiently flexible to be worn both with an Indian or western clothing. Include a dainty chain and you can wear the pendant to an office meeting too. A neckband with big flowers made in gold and connected together looks awe inspiring when worn on the event of a cocktail or a gathering function.

#Temple Jewelry


Heavy accessories with matching hoop embellished with the statuette of Indian Gods and Goddesses, characterizes temple adornments which is no more appointed to a space in your bank lockers. The time has come to bring those old marvels out and wear them easily. The unpredictable craftsmanship of temple jewellery makes it a head turner. It looks best in an antique gold finish and you can style it with a Kanjeevaram sari which is additionally from the southern area of India like the temple jewellery.

#Statement Jewellery


This could be anything from a multilayer accessory to oversized jhumkas. This one piece alone is sufficient to make you amaze on any event. If you are a wearing statement jewellery then you have to pursue the standard of less is more, for you can't pack your look then with some other decoration. Except if you are the bride, keep the quantity of such adornments pieces to a limit of two.

Read more…


Koffee is a teenage reggae artist who'd rather toast than boast.

By: Reshma B. - Vibe

Back in 1962, a 17-year-old Jamaican singer/songwriter named Robert Marley recorded a song called “One Cup of Coffee” and went on to take reggae music around the world. Fast forward 55 years to 2017, when a 17-year-old Jamaican singer/songwriter named Koffee dropped her first record, “Burning,” setting her on a path to become the most talked-about new artist in dancehall reggae right now.

Koffee got her big break when veteran singer Cocoa Tea invited her onstage at the January 2018 edition of Rebel Salute, Jamaica’s biggest roots reggae festival. “She name Koffee and me name Tea,” he quipped, calling her the “next female sensation out of Jamaica.” The artist born Mikayla Simpson doesn’t actually like coffee though—she prefers hot chocolate.

After graduating from Ardenne High, the same school dancehall star Alkaline attended, Koffee turned her focus to music. She shot a live video with new roots superstar Chronixx at Marley’s Tuff Gong Studios, then dropped her breakout single “Toast,” produced by Walshy Fire of Major Lazer fame. That video has racked up 10 million+ views and made the artist, who stands just over five feet tall, a very big name on the island. Now signed to Columbia UK, Koffee will release her debut EP Rapturenext month.

“Mi only spit lyrics, don't really talk a lot,” she states on the track “Raggamuffin.” But when Koffee turned up to VIBE’s Times Square headquarters, bundled up against NYC’s February chill in a hoodie, thermals, and Nike x Off-White sneakers, she opened up about her musical journey, the power of gratitude, her surprising inspirations, and how she plans to spend her birthday.


VIBE: I haven’t seen you since your EP listening in Kingston. Congratulations on an impressive body of work.
Koffee: Thank you. I feel humble and proud at the same time. I really put a lot of thought into the EP, the way I structured it, and the content, the lyrics. It really means a lot to me, so I appreciate you saying that.

It’s amazing how much you’ve accomplished since Cocoa Tea brought you out on Rebel Salute.
Yeah, and that was only a year and a month ago!

So how did the link with Cocoa happen?
Actually, it happened through Walshy Fire. After my very first single “Burning,” Walshy reached out and sent me some riddims, in hopes of us working together, which we ended up doing. We were supposed to meet up at a studio in Florida and when we went there Cocoa Tea was already in the building. We were like, “Wow, Cocoa Tea!” Because Cocoa Tea is a reggae legend for us in Jamaica. Walshy actually introduced Cocoa to some of my music, and Cocoa was like, “Wha? Mi gonna bring her out on Rebel Salute next month!” This was in December, and Rebel Salute was in January.

Timing is everything.
Rebel Salute made a huge difference. It opened me up to a lot of opportunities. Even today a lot of places that I go, people remember me from there. I was doing music before. I’d done a few shows here and there, but the audience at Rebel Salute is very important. It’s an epic stage to present yourself.

Were you nervous?
Just before going out on the stage I was backstage pacing back and forth. I was trying to keep warm as well because it was chilly that night. But I was really nervous because it was my first time being in such a light.

Do you think being so young has helped you? Like, you may not overthink everything.

I think you have a point. Because I’m young, my mind is a bit more pure, or uncorrupted. Experiences do have a way of taking away your mental space and the things you’re willing to try. Staying in “the comfort zone” is the most comfortable thing, but sometimes pushing yourself to step outside of that will help you overcome your fears. That, and just the drive and motivation. I definitely try to keep challenging myself.

Reggae has always been a male-dominated industry, but female artists are definitely on the rise. How do feel getting catapulted into that category?
I feel like it’s a big responsibility, and “to whom much is given, much is expected.” So I don't look at it as, “Oh, I’ve made it.” But I acknowledge that I’m in a position where I have a responsibility now to fulfill and to pull through. It just pushes me to work harder, make more things happen, and just keep it going.

I love the line in your song “Raggamuffin” where you say, “Mi give them heart attack inna mi halter back.” Was that inspired by Althea & Donna’s “Uptown Top Rankin’” from the ‘70s?
Yeah, I love that song. That’s the thing, I would say that every artist is an influence to me. Growing up, I would hear these songs being played by people next door, down the road, all around. Just in the Jamaican environment on a whole. So those songs definitely do have an influence on me, the messages from those times. Once you hear it, it’s in your head. You know it now and it really makes a difference in how you think, how you speak, and everything.

When people think of a female dancehall artist they usually think of colorful hair, long nails… But you seem to have your own swag. How would you describe your style?
I would definitely say unique, but at the same time, it is natural to me and not calculated. I don't put a name to it and say, “I’m gonna be this way.” I just kind of flow and whatever you see is me doing what I feel. Like, I’m not sure what these pants are, but I bought them in Berlin. I got this hoodie in the UK—I’m not sure what brand this is either. I was just trying to keep warm. My friend Ayesha from the UK styled me with this top recently for a shoot.

There’s a line on “Burning” where you talk about “Koffee pon di street, tank top inna di heat / Jeans pants an’ Crocs / No socks pon mi feet / Knapsack mi a beat / Well pack up an’ it neat.” Was that your real-life dress code in 2017?
Yeah, I remember at that time that’s how I used to roll. You know in Jamaica it’s hot, so I probably had my tank top and my jeans on, or my shorts. And I had this one pair of grey Crocs that I just wore everywhere. And I always have my knapsack. So yeah, that was my reality at that moment.

How far away does that feel, now that you have a stylist and travel the world?
That’s amazing. It’s a transition that’s really beautiful and something I really appreciate.

I have a feeling you’re going to re-introduce words like “appreciate” and “give thanks” into pop culture.
I hope to start a wave of gratitude. Even by writing that song “Toast,” when I say “We haffi give thanks like we really supposed to,” it reminds me to be grateful. I aspire to be humble and I pray and ask God to help me be grateful. I try to maintain it and I hope that will inspire other people to do the same.

Let’s talk about “Toast.” On the chorus, you say “We nah rise and boast.” But then again, a lot of reggae and dancehall artists are very “boasy.” That’s part of the culture.
When I say “Wi nah rise and boast” it means that no matter what happens along the journey, we’re still gonna remain the same. We gonna big up we friend and hold a vibes. I’m just making it clear that we never come fe hype.

You can spit pretty fast, but I feel like some people may be missing some of the things you say. But if you listen carefully you’re talking about real things.
Thank you for noticing that. When I wrote “Raggamuffin,” a lot of my musical influence came from artists like Protoje and Chronixx. Chronixx has basically been an advocate for the youths, so his message had an impact on me. When I was vibing to the beat, I wanted to cover myself, cover my country where I come from, good things and bad things, and the music, reggae itself.

Growing up, did you see inner city kids not being looked after by their own government and their own people?
Most definitely. I wouldn't say that the government is responsible for the lives of everybody as citizens. But there are some general things that need the government’s attention and they don't pay the attention that they should. They'd rather focus on things that can garner income. There are roads that need to be fixed in places that tourists don't necessarily visit. And nobody cares about those roads. Minor injustices, major injustices—just things that really need to be spoken about so that people can think about it and look into it.

BDP used the term Edutainment—education and entertainment. Is that something you present in your music?

Yes, it’s definitely something I aim for. I think that it’s important to keep people interested enough to want to absorb what you are saying. And then it’s equally important to present something that is worth absorbing. Something productive, something inspiring, motivating. Just mixing both so that you have their attention and you’re also delivering something that’s worth their attention.

You were still in school when you did your song “Burning.” As a new artist did you have to convince the producers to work with you?
Gratefully, no I didn't have to convince them. Because I did a tribute to Usain Bolt before that. I wrote a song with my guitar titled “Legend” and posted a video of me performing it with my guitar on Instagram.

Usain came across it and reposted it, so that garnered a lot of attention. People from the music industry reached out to me, and in that group of people was Upsetta records with their Ouji Riddim. They sent it to my first manager like, “Let’s see what she can do” and so forth.

There’s this thing in Jamaica called Sixth Form. It’s like you graduate high school and there’s an extra two years that you can do as like a pre-college. I applied for it and didn’t get through. Right after that, I did the tribute to Usain Bolt and then Upsetta sent me the Ouji Riddim. I was in a state of mind where I felt disappointed. I felt the need to motivate myself, so I was like “Come with the fire the city burning!”

How does your mom feel about all of this?
I started writing lyrics at 14 years old, but she didn't find out until I was 16, when she saw me perform at a competition in school. I invited her there and she was taken aback, like, “Wow! So this what you've been doing?” (Laughs) She wanted me to do academics like every parent wants. And she was little disappointed when I didn't get through to Sixth Form. But over time, as I wrote more and performed more, she began to trust my talent and just trust the process. So she started appreciating the music and now she's fully on board.

What did your mother think of “dancehall pon the street,” like you sing about in your song “Raggamuffin”?
As you know I’ve been living with mommy since I was a baby up until I was 17, so being under her roof I didn't go out much. I was always in the house just chilling and stuff. I know that there’s a dance on like every corner. lf you are driving, you always hear music playing. You have the oldies dancehall, you have the new dancehall—everybody just hold a vibe. That’s basically where that line comes from.

Do you go to dances now?
I’ve been going to a few parties and getting out, but I haven't been to like a dance dance. I’ve been to Dub Club, you get some really good music there. But Dub Club is like a relaxed kinda vibe.

You recently performed at Bob Marley’s 74th birthday celebration in Kingston. Do you still listen to his music?
Most definitely! Bob has set such a great and amazing foundation for the music, the industry, the genre itself, the country, the youth... He’s set such a great example that you haffi really learn from it and take a lot from it so that you know where you’re coming from. You haffi understand how to execute in honor of such people.

What are some of your favorite Bob songs?
Well, I performed “Who the Cap Fit” that night, so that’s one of my favorites. And I like “Is This Love” and “Natural Mystic.” That’s just a few.

I know that’s a hard question. What about a dancehall legend like Super Cat?
Hmm… “Mud Up” woulda be my favorite Super Cat.

Yeah, because of the flow he has on it, not necessarily the content. See, I’m from Spanish Town. Jamaicans on a whole, we like vibes. We like lyrics that, as we would say, “it slap!” It touches you, and really hits that spot. So I listen to a lot of different things, and the lyrics that I listen to aren't always conscious. But what I derive from music is not necessarily the message. Sometimes the flow that you’re hearing, that’s the wave for the moment. It may not be the best for the youth, but that’s what people like to vibe to. So you take that vibe, put a positive message to it, and that’s the spin. So I listen very widely.

One of my favorite songs on your new EP is the “Rapture” remix. It was dope that you got together with Govana on that.
When I first wrote “Rapture,” Govana had recently done a song called “Bake Bean” that took off in Jamaica. When him drop that, it’s like the flow really resonate with me. I was like, “This is dope.” So when I did “Rapture” I was listening back to it and thought I should probably try to get Govana on this track. And it turned out so sick!

That’s cool to have the credibility where other artists respond to you like that. Because I'm sure it’s not always that easy.
No, it’s not always easy. Me haffi give thanks for the way people have been responding.

So no one has kissed their teeth and said, “Nah man”? (Laughs)
No, not yet. (Laughs) But what I have to appreciate is just when another artist really listens and pays attention. Sometimes an artist can be good and they don't get the response or the attention that they deserve. Some people don't want to listen, so I give a lot of respect to who is willing to listen.

Well Govana has given you that “crown” in his verse, which reminds me—how did the song “Throne” come about?
I remember Walshy sent me that riddim in the first batch of riddims that he sent me. The riddim for “Toast” was also in that batch, but I started with “Throne.” It was basically like a challenge for me. I was like “How am I gonna spit on this?” Because the riddim sounded so dynamic. I was like “mi haffi mash this up!” Hence the fast spit-fire kind of vibe.

What music are you currently listening to on your phone?
I don’t listen to my own songs that much. I’m vibing to Mr Eazi. I’ve been going in on the Afrobeats. Burna Boy. Smino the rapper. And I’ve been going in even more on Bob Marley.

Well, it’s reggae month right now. So there’s lots of legendary birthdays—Bob Marley, Dennis Brown.
That makes the month even more significant! By the way, I’m born in February also. (Laughs) February 16th.

Happy Earthstrong! Were you keeping that quiet?
I just remembered. I’ll be 19!

Wow—you’re gonna be out of the teens soon. What you gonna do on your 19th birthday?
Wowwwww—I dunno. I’m gonna see when I get to Jamaica which party. I’ll probably just try and go to a dance or something. That ah go be mad!

Read more…


Minister in the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Investment, Marsha Caddle addressing a Stakeholder Review on the Planning and Development Bill 2019. (Credit: B.Hinds/BGIS)

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Friday January 25, 2019 – Government is expected to establish a “doing business” subcommittee of Cabinet to tackle how business is conducted in Barbados.

This disclosure came from Minister in the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Investment, Marsha Caddle, as she addressed a Stakeholder Review on the Planning and Development Bill 2019.

She said once the subcommittee is approved by Cabinet, it would be supported by a competitiveness council, which would be a smaller subcommittee of the private sector, trade unions and other parties.

The Minister explained that the creation of a subcommittee was “not to have general discussions about productivity and ideological discussions about competitiveness”.

“These committees are to get to the business of improving these doing business rankings…and improving these indicators, so Barbados works for Barbadians and those who want to come and live and work here. And so we have made a commitment to get to the root…of what is impeding business and investment in the country and this reform and review of the Town Planning legislation is a very large part of that,” she said.

The recently released 2019 Doing Business Report showed that Barbados had fallen to 129 in rankings.  Caddle noted that in the area of dealing with construction permits, Barbados ranked very low.

The Minister told the gathering that the draft Bill represented a fundamental shift in how government sees the role of planning and development in the country; its role in growth and investment; and its role in social and economic development in creating the required Barbados.

“There are a few changes in the way we approach the idea of refusal and approval and one of those is the idea of provisional refusal – the notion that rather than just giving a yes or a no, rather than just acting as a regulator, that the Town Planning Office is now cast, through this new Bill, as a facilitator of development,” she pointed out.

“Information is important and it certainly is an economic good as it allows people to make key growth and investment decisions. So we believe the role of the Town Planning Office and the entire planning and development architecture is not simply to give a yes or no, not to withhold information that might help facilitate development, but to have a conversation with those who are interested in fostering development in this country.

“That is really the new orientation that you will see at different points throughout the Bill and that we think is a very important step forward,” she added.

Minister Caddle also stressed the importance of the Barbados Economic Recovery and Transformation Plan, saying that it was not just about fiscal adjustment. Stating that Barbados could not adjust its way out of this crisis, she reiterated that growth and transformation were critical.

“What it means is that the powers of Government are not simply tax and spend, but we have to use all the powers of Government as regulator, facilitator, and legislator to be able to bring about the economic growth that we want to see,” she told the audience.

Read more:

Read more…


Love is one of the most amazing things in people's lives. Finding a perfect partner with all the characters that you have always wanted gives a good feeling. If you are already enjoying a perfect relationship, you would not want to know that it has a bizarre side. But science has proven that there are numerous such facts. This article will look at some of the common ones that will leave your mouth wide open. Read on to know more.

You Need Only 4 Minutes to Like Someone

Studies conducted by reputable researchers have shown that a person takes up to 4 minutes to like a person and fall in love with them. This is what most people call love on first sight. It does not matter whether you have met online or physically. The instincts rarely lie to a person, especially when you meet a person who has the qualities that you like. Although this could be infatuation, the psychological reaction and effect are almost the same.

A Relationship Can be Both Painful and fulfilling

Have you been in a relationship that is both fulfilling and painful? If not, you should understand that this can happen to you. Science has proven that not always that people will walk away when a relationship is hurting. There can be a lot of things that you like about it and cannot imagine leaving without them. Still, it is the same feeling of fulfillment that makes most people give their relationships another chance even after a breakup. When the pain is too much or life threatening, some people usually give up and move on with their lives. It is more fulfilling when you get another perfect partner who will love you more.

Insecure Relationships Lead You to Social Media

If you are in an insecure relationship, you are likely to spend more time on social media pages like Facebook. Such people usually like posting pictures of themselves with their loved ones more often to console themselves. It is a psychological problem that digs deep into the minds of those who are insecure as they think that they can convince others of how happy they are. Whether you are dating a sugar mommy or sugar daddy whom you met on, insecurity can be traced in your social media activities.

Falling in Loves Gives the Same Feeling as Taking Cocaine

This is a neurological effect that occurs when people fall in love. Science has been able to confirm that it is the same feeling of unexplained feeling that cocaine users feel. As we all know, cocaine is addictive since people want to feel the feeling over and over again. Likewise, being in love is something people want to feel over and over again. That is why people do not get tired of listening to their partners when they are expressing how they feel about their love. This feeling does not know the age limit as long as a person has reached the age of understanding what love is.

Low Self Esteem Can Ruin Your Relationship

Are you suffering from low esteem? If so, you could be ruining your relationship without knowing. The feeling hinders you from appreciating the love from your partner and also playing your part to nurture the relationship. On the other hand, not many people who would like to be associated with a person who has low self-esteem. The problem is that they do not know how to express themselves and are always worried about themselves. They are not the type of partners you would like to introduce to your friends.

Cuddling Can Release a Natural Painkiller

According to science, cuddling is a natural remedy to pain. But how does this happen? The body sensors trigger the love hormone that is found on the testicles, ovaries and the brain. It is said, that this hormone has the capability to relief pain like mild headaches, muscle pain and other minor injuries. Surprising as it is this is a fact most people do not know or understand how it happens.


From these insights, it is clear that love is a good yet bizarre thing. Although many people prefer to enjoy it without digging deep about it, it is important to be aware of such facts.

Read more…


Drake and Tory Lanez are in Jamaica living their best lives.

We’re told that Drake and Lanez booked out an ultra private villa in Portland for the weekend that’s within close proximity to where Popcaan is hosting his highly anticipated Unruly Fest at Lyssons Park in St Thomas. The party pre-show party saw Tory Lanez and Champagne Papi inviting a bunch of smoking hot ladies and some of their homies over to the crib. Sources told us that Popcaan and a few of the Unruly Gang members were also present. A few other local dancehall celebrities were spotted at the private event.3665151991?profile=original

The two Canadian rappers are set to make a special appearance at Popcaan’s highly anticipated show, Unruly Fest, set for Saturday December 22 at Lyssons Park in St Thomas. The show is shaping up to be one of the biggest dancehall stage shows of the years based on the lineup which is expected to pull thousands of local and overseas fans to St. Thomas, the birth parish of dancehall hitmaker Popcaan.3665151925?profile=original

On Friday night, Drake shared a photo of himself in a recording studio, and now we’re learning that the photo was taken at the Geejam Studio in Portland, which means that the OVO rapper is recording some new music.

On Friday, Tory Lanez was also spotted at a local weed shop in Kingston, and it appears that he took all that weed to the party since he was spotted lighting up his spliff.

Both Drake and Tory Lanez arrived in Jamaica on Friday for the Unruly Fest event which will brought thousands of dancehall fans overseas to St. Thomas.

Read more…

Gargamel is Free: Buju Banton returns to Jamaica

3665151366?profile=originalBuju Banton in 2003: raunch and gravel Photograph: Linda Nylind for the Guardian

Having served seven years in a US prison on drugs charges which many believe to be a case of entrapment for his lyrics, Buju Banton is returning to a hero’s welcome.

The most eagerly awaited arrival in Jamaica since Ethiopia’s Emperor Haile Selassie touched down in April 1966 might just be this weekend’s return of Mark Myrie, better known as Buju Banton.

Myrie, perhaps the most famous Jamaican artist whose name isn’t Marley, has served seven years in a US prison after being found guilty of intent to deal more than 5kg of cocaine. On 8 December, the gravelly voiced rastafari artist will be put on a plane in Florida and flown to Kingston to a nation that has been eagerly awaiting this moment.

Jamaica’s culture minister, Olivia “Babsy” Grange, reports that Banton “is now really about, from what we understand, employment of young people. If he can help shape and resocialise young people, that is something we should embrace.”

That said, the government isn’t pulling out any stops. “We can’t give him a hero’s welcome,” says minister of national security, Horace Chang. “He committed a crime.” And yes, Grange agrees, “There’s no getting over the fact that he was convicted, but Buju was loved long before he was convicted and he will be loved just the same, even if he comes home in handcuffs.”

Raised in Salt Lane, a poor area of Kingston, the man nicknamed Buju by his mother honed his craft as a child, performing live with soundsystems under the name Gargamel aged 12 and recording by the following year, 1987. Jamaica fell for Banton in the early 90s, when he established himself as arguably the most significant dancehall artist in the country.

Banton was beloved for his baritone grit, raunchy songs such as his ode to short shorts, Batty Rider, and his responsiveness to his audience. When some fans felt excluded by his hit Love Me Browning, about a penchant for lighter-skinned women, he followed it up with the equally catchy Love Black Women.

Reggae artist Protoje says: “There is nothing that he cannot do musically. He’s a prodigy. He was awesome from 18 years old. He is one of the greatest artists to ever do it in Jamaican music, so I would never count him out.”

In 1992, he overtook Bob Marley’s record for No 1 singles in Jamaica and signed with Mercury Records. Less happily, he also released the most infamous Jamaican song ever recorded, Boom Bye Bye, which openly incited the killing of gay people. It received local and international condemnation, culminating in the the Stop Murder Music Campaign, organised by UK group OutRage! in collaboration with Jamaican LGBT-rights group JFLAG.

The campaign ultimately led to concert cancellations – 28 of Banton’s were cancelled between 2005 and 2011. In June 2007, he signed the Reggae Compassionate Act, which meant he agreed “to not make statements or perform songs that incite hatred or violence against anyone from any community”.

Banton wrote Boom Bye Bye when he was 15, and has since found other lyrical topics. In 1995, he released the critically adored ’Til Shiloh, which embraced rastafari consciousness and demonstrated his versatility, as fluent in hardcore dancehall as roots reggae.

Since his imprisonment in 2011, a new generation of reggae artists have gained global success, and Banton will have to compete with with likes of Jah 9, Raging Fyah and Kabaka Pyramid; Chronixx and Protoje drew 10,000 fans to London’s Alexandra Palace only last month. “The last album he released prior to his incarceration was Before the Dawn, for which he won a Grammy,” notes Sonjah Stanley Niaah, author of Dancehall: From Slaveship to Ghetto. “What’s interesting to me is that Buju will have to come to terms as a stage presence with a reggae revival.”

Artist of the moment Spice, real name Grace Hamilton, is excited about what might accompany Banton’s return: “It is extremely significant to the genre because his music uplifts our roots and culture. His first concert in Jamaica will prove that. I’m sure mass amount of tourists will travel to our island just to see the great Gargamel.” Banton’s Long Walk to Freedom tour (named after Nelson Mandela’s autobiography) will reportedly begin in Jamaica on 23 March.

It’s rumoured that Banton has been writing songs and reaching out to potential collaborators. There is at least one album that is ready to go. UK producer Blacker Dread released the tantalising Stumbling Block single last year, one of a range of tracks recorded in the early 2000s, put off due to the death of Dread’s son in 2004 and then Banton’s imprisonment. “Man is a king,” says Dread, “I have tracks with Buju that are timeless.”

Unlike the similarly revered dancehall artist Vybz Kartel – whose 2014 conviction for murder led to a life sentence that will see him serve at least 35 years, yet who still seems to be able to release track after track – Banton has been all but silent. In a statement to the Guardian, he described the impact of imprisonment and his means of coping. “Prison can be traumatising not just on myself, but on my family as well as emotionally draining,” he explained, “For me, I drew strength from immersing myself in my situation. Do not live in yesterday but live in today. And education was the only thing that kept me up and alive. I immersed myself in reading so much – theology, philosophy and other subjects.”

Human rights activist and former member of OutRage! Peter Tatchell is confident that Banton will continue to put the past behind him, stating that “it would be even better if he could acknowledge and apologise for those violently homophobic lyrics, but the main priority is that he doesn’t continue and repeat them.” Dane Lewis, former director of JFLAG, states that “the reality is that [in Jamaica] the most vulnerable continue to face some extreme forms of homophobia ... but in the last 10 years we have seen some shifts regarding homophobia and the ways LGBT in the region experience life.”

In many ways, Banton is coming home to a vastly different Jamaica. The Kingston he knew is now populated by shiny new high-rises; the economy is healthier with record low unemployment, and the music scene is always changing, with the UN designating reggae as an “Intangible Cultural Heritage”, soca-soundtracked Trinidadian-influenced Carnival exploding in popularity, and major radio stations blaring top 40 music from the US. Yet Banton, even if only musically, will likely slip back in with ease.

Rory Gilligan, a founding member of the famed Stone Love soundsystem, which helped establish Banton’s career, says the artist will have a relatively seamless transition, at least in comparison to other involuntarily returned citizens. According to Oswald Dawkins, president of the National Organization for Deported Migrants, about 1,500 people are involuntarily returned to Jamaica from the US, the UK and Canada every year. “I think he will adjust very easily. He has no financial problems. He has the resources,” Gilligan says. “There is nobody who has anything bad to say about him.”

DJ Agent Sasco might agree, especially when it comes to the airwaves and dancehalls, which are crying out for fresh Banton tracks. Sasco – whose first recording was produced at Banton’s Gargamel studio – insists that the star will likely bring a sound that is unique to the present. “Don’t expect that it is going to be 2006 or 1994, but just to take him in 2019 and wherever he is at as a person and an artist,” he counsels. Then again, in the rush of enthusiasm for his return, whatever Banton releases is due a rapturous reception: “He could put out a single of him singing the ABCs and it would be a huge success.”

In one of Banton’s most memorable songs, Destiny, he speaks of wanting to chart his own future, singing “my destination is homeward bound … I know I must get through no matter what a gwaan”. As the prodigal son returns, finally his destiny is back in his own hands.

Read more…

3665151267?profile=originalFILE PHOTO: Julian Marley performs at a concert celebrating his father's 69th birthday in Kingston

PARIS (Reuters) - UNESCO has declared reggae, the Jamaican music that spread across the world with its calls for social justice, peace and love, to be a global treasure that must be safe-guarded.

Born in the poor neighborhoods of Kingston in the 1960s, reggae reflected hard times and struggle but could also be joyous dance music with its distinctive off-beat.

Its most famous songwriter and performer, the late Bob Marley, became a global superstar with hits like "No Woman, No Cry" and "Get Up, Stand Up". Other notables include Jimmy Cliff and Toots and the Maytalls.

Artists such as the Clash incorporated its chunky beat and its politics into their own music, bringing it to a wider audience. It caught on from Britain to Brazil and Africa.

"Its contribution to international discourse on issues of injustice, resistance, love and humanity underscores the dynamics of the element as being at once cerebral, socio-political, sensual and spiritual," UNESCO said in a statement.

The Paris-based UNESCO, the cultural agency of the United Nations, made its ruling at a meeting this week.

Read more…


In a photo taken by Honduran human rights observer César Fuentes on Dec. 1, 2017, a member of the Honduran military police is seen firing a M4 rifle at two young men fleeing, after officers broke up an anti-government protest in the center of Tegucigalpa. Fuentes said bullets were flying everywhere, and he checked himself for bullet wounds after taking the photo. Courtesy César Fuentes

They’re killing us in Honduras with U.S.-made guns, some in caravan say

Read more…




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

Read more:

Read more…