R&B Stars Record Full Length Reggae Project

Published: Sunday | August 25, 20130 Comments


R&B and Soul vocalists Syleena Johnson and Musiq Soulchild have joined forces with acclaimed reggae producer Kemar McGregor, aka Flava McGregor, to create a full-length reggae-influenced project titled9INE. The official video for the lead single Feel the Fire has also been released.

The 9INE project, which was birthed after the acclaimed singers got together to record a duet for McGregor’s compilation album, is comprised of nine tracks recorded in nine days, by the artistes who are coincidentally born in the ninth month of the year (September).


Gov’t Hush Hush On Gay Pressure …As Promoters Forced To Pull Queen Ifrica From Canada Show

Published: Sunday | August 25, 2013

Queen Ifrica
Queen Ifrica

Hasani Walters, Gleaner Writer

Pressure from the Jamaica Association of Gays and Lesbians Abroad (JAGLA), a Canadian gay-rights group, has led to the removal of dancehall/reggae artiste Queen Ifrica from the roster of performers at the Rastafest International Reggae Concert which was held at Downsview Park, Canada, yesterday.

Early last week, a Facebook campaign was launched by the group in an effort to prevent Queen Ifrica from performing at the stage show.

“The campaign was started because we discovered that Queen Ifrica was slated to perform at an event called Rastafest in Toronto. Off the heels of her recent homophobic outburst (at the Grand Gala) days after the death of Dwayne Jones, our members felt disrespected that she would be allowed to perform in our country. It’s a gross double standard on her part, to even travel to Toronto, one of the most diverse countries in the world, to perform for money,” a representative from JAGLA told The Gleaner prior to the show.

Lobby pleased

In a press release to The Sunday Gleaner, the group expressed their support of the move by the promoters to withdraw the entertainer from the line-up.

“This is a welcomed move by the promoters. We have to send a clear message that persons who make comments that jeopardise the well-being of members of the LGBT community in Jamaica will not be welcomed in Canada. We hope that other homophobic persons will use this instance as a reminder that acts that incite hate will have negative consequences. We hope as well that the Government of Jamaica will move swiftly to put in place measures to protect members of the LGBT community,” the release stated.

Efforts to contact Queen Ifrica proved unsuccessful. However, in an earlier interview, when asked about her utterances at the Grand Gala, Queen Ifrica said that she had only expressed what she believed in.

“Like myself, I think they are exercising their right to speak for what they believe in. However, I think it is unfair for them to incriminate me when there is no incrimination there. I simply spoke for what I believed in. They should simply speak from what they believe in but not try to tarnish my character in the process,” she said.

The Government was also hush-hush on the matter, as efforts to get a comment from the Minister of Youth and Culture Lisa Hanna only returned an emailed response from Sasha-Gay Lewis, the senior communication officer at the Ministry of Youth and Culture, which read, “We have no comment.”

A statement by Jamaica Forum for Lesbians, All-Sexuals and Gays (J-FLAG) stated that the group took “note of recent local and international developments subsequent to Queen Ifrica’s performance on August 6, 2013 at the Grand Gala”.

J-FLAG also acknowledged that less explicitly anti-gay music is being produced and broadcast in Jamaica. They believe, however, that dialogue is important in order for a greater understanding about the impact of anti-gay sentiments on the exclusion of and hostility towards LGBT people in Jamaica.


Three Arrested For Smoking At Sumfest

Published July 28, 2013

by Janet SilveraWESTERN BUREAU:Three smokers who ignored reminders by the police were arrested during last Thursday Dancehall Night at Reggae Sumfest 2013.

Several other smokers were let off with a reminder by the cops that the new smoking ban makes it illegal to smoke at events such as the music festival held in Montego Bay, St James.

Assistant Commissioner of Police Warren Clarke said the three smokers were among 30 persons arrested as some of the dancehall’s finest entertainers performed.

According to Clarke, the three smokers were repeatedly warned, but chose to defy the instructions given by the security personnel.

Their arrest follows the implementation of the smoking ban by the Ministry of Health, which took effect July 15.

According to Summerfest Production’s security manager, Robin Russell, no-smoking signs were erected throughout the venue, and although on Thursday several persons had to be cautioned, by the first International Night on Friday, most of the patrons were aware that the police meant business.

He pointed out that the rules did not go down well with smokers attending the festival, particularly those who have supported it over the years.

“The smokers felt they had lost. They are accustomed to coming to Reggae Sumfest and being able to smoke, and now felt the rules were draconian.”

According to Russell, even non-smokers who are happy for the ban were of the opinion that an open-air event such as Reggae Sumfest should not have been affected so severely.

Gone too Far

Media producer Damali Kai Little-White Lorenz, a patron at the festival, agreed with Russell, stating that in bringing Jamaica in line with international norms of smoking regulations, the Government may have gone too far and should consider the backlash of abrupt implementation.

“The economic fall-off locally, and impact on tourists not used to these more restrictive tobacco regulations, could lead to a review of the ban,” she argued.

Little-White went further questioning why tobacco, which is still being sold in pharmacies throughout the country, carries harsher fine than the illegal marijuana.

“The ban, as perceived by the public, is more restrictive than what is in place in countries with existing smoking bans for 10-plus years,” she argued.

Under the new law, persons who breach the regulations governing the ban on smoking in public spaces can be fined up to $500,000 or spend six months in prison for their actions.

Are we fast becoming a country ready to act instead of thinking things through thoroughly before enacting something into law? if we are not careful this can really do more harm than good especially within or tourism sector.Image

CSME ( Caribbean Single Market & Economy) is it worth the mere paper its written on???

Posted on August 25, 2013

The CARICOM Single Market and Economy is intended to benefit the people of the Region by providing more and better opportunities to produce and sell our goods and services and to attract investment. It will create one large market among the participating member states.

The main objectives of the CSME are: full use of labour (full employment) and full exploitation of the other factors of production (natural resources and capital); competitive production leading to greater variety and quantity of products and services to trade with other countries. It is expected that these objectives will in turn provide improved standards of living and work and sustained economic development.  In the Grande Anse Declaration and Work Programme for the Advancement of the Integration Movement, Heads of Government expressed their determination to work toward establishing a single market and economy. The signing of such a treaty took place on July 20, 2006, with several head of Governments in attendance at the UWI Mona Visitors Lodge.

Then Prime Minister of Jamaica the Honourable P.J. Patterson said the signing was a moment at which Caribbean people “can take considerable pride” and that the single market would make the region stronger in international trade and negotiations and increase economic growth and employment. Is that a reality for us all in 2013, seven years after its actually signing?. I strongly believe not, with many things that have come out of the region they are only and have brought us closer as region or even more economically viable as countries within the region.

The major issue for each state is whether its existing businesses and workforce can survive the increased competition when businesses that are more successful enter the local market. Many states are uncertain as to whether their local economy can survive the transition. From all indications, it appears that the CSME is about survival. Businesses that do not have the resources or capacity to compete will surely wither away. States that fail to develop their capacity must prepare to deal with economic calamity.

But the most debated issue is the implications for employment. The free movement of labour is limited to qualified and skilled persons. Therefore, the idea that with the emergence of the CSME will result in mass movement of unskilled persons to more prosperous member states seems far-fetched. There are several thing which causes the masses to wonder if it was really worth it entering into the CSME, due to the fact that many countries including Jamaica find it hard to get their goods and services into the markets of Trinidad, Barbados, Dominica just to name a few which is largely hindered by the trade tariffs which exist in these member states.

Although it is said that Jamaica is a very expensive country due to the varying taxes that we pay the amount of bureaucratic red tape that is there really doesn’t hinder any of these member states within Caricom to do business in Jamaica.

Trinidad is one such country, which many Jamaicans are beginning to wonder they own Jamaica now due to the amount of Trini’s taking over Jamaican businesses, on the supermarket shelves we see many products originating out of Trinidad and less Jamaican products on the shelves. It is the reverse within these territories because not many Jamaican products are in their country and we cannot say we want to go into their country and take up job offers their due to the fact that they want their nationals within the workforce although they are part of the signing of the historic CSME, what a crying shame. I believe many of these other territories should see Jamaica making as much repreve for what was done during the time of federation, but instead of taking the bold step forward and following in the step of our European Union partners we are still looking to these countries that once colonised used for handout instead of charting a course forward that leads to greater productivity and economic viability for us as a region.

Whatever the issue, the CSME is a reality that all member states must confront. At the end of the day, sink or float, it’s all about survival of the fittest.ImageImageImage

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Limacol CPLT20 Tournament Likes and Dislikes

Posted on August 25, 2013

Scotiabank among other partners have  extended  its relationship with cricket by becoming an Official Partner for the first season of the 2013 Limacol Caribbean Premier League (LCPL). The sponsorship is part of the Bank’s commitment to supporting cricket across the region. The tournament began on 30 July and ends on 24 August. Twenty-four matches will be played across six franchise countries – Antigua & Barbuda, Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica, St. Lucia, and Trinidad and Tobago – and will feature top Caribbean and international players.

The tournament is off to a pulsating starting which sees cricket stadiums all over the Caribbean packed to capacity on any given night cricket is being played across the various islands and territories.  What is also interesting about the LCPLT20 tournament is that it not only showcases Caribbean players but those in the international arena with the likes of Ricky Ponting , Muhammed Hafeez, Muthiah Murali, Ahmad Shahzad, Hershelle Gibbs, Misbah-Ul-Haq, Kevin O’Brien, Shoaib Malik just to name a few.

These international cricketers but a lot of flair and excitement to the competition that leave you on the edge of your seat.  Each night as a game is play spectators are in awe at how many of the batsmen play and particular shot or how catches are taken. Case in point last night match (August 10, 2013) Jamaica Thallawas Vs. St. Lucia Zouks where Andrea Russell was bowling to

CPL, A Huge Success

The general consensus is that the inaugural season of the Limacol Caribbean Premier League (CPL) has been a resounding success.

The season that came to an end last night with Jamaica Tallawahs facing Guyana Amazon warriors, saw rabid cricket fans filling seats from Guyana to Jamaica, Trinidad and Barbados and has drawn praise from West Indies Cricket Board president Dave Cameron.

“The support of the Limacol CPL by the West Indian fans has been overwhelming and this is evidenced by the sold-out crowds at each and every match so far. That says to me that the interest and passion for the game is still there, and it’s our responsibility to continue to nurture that love, which is what the CPL is all about,” said Cameron.

“In addition, the entire world has come to play through the global reach and appeal that the tournament has achieved. The combination of some of the best regional and international T20 players with the amazing carnival, party-like atmosphere for which the Caribbean is renowned has turned the eyes and ears of the world to our shores, and we could not be more pleased about that exposure.”

a commercial success

Even more important, the inaugural season of the CPL has been a commercial success as well. For years the WICB has staged regional tournaments before empty seats and with little or no sponsorship support. The CPL has changed that.

“It’s a truism to say that with West Indies cricket, responses have been rather sparse over the past decade. If you look at our commercial programme, we have sold it out and we have a number of great Caribbean brands that have supported us,” said the CPL’s 43-year-old commercial director Jamie Stewart. “We’ve got some brands that are new to cricket, brands like Guardian, who’ve never sponsored before, Courts, who have never sponsored before, as well as having cricket heritage brands like Scotiabank, Busta and Digicel, of course. Limacol came like a bolt from the blue for everybody and they have been terrific for the league in a number of ways, and they have really put their weight behind it. So commercially, it has far exceeded anyone’s expectations.”

commercial team sponsors

Stewart revealed that they have also signed more than 30 commercial team sponsors for the event.

“Going from a base of zero which is where West Indies Cricket was coming from, it’s a pretty impressive outcome for us, so we are delighted with that. The sponsors are absolutely delighted with the product and the experience so far.”

Going forward, Stewart says, there is need to work on a few things to make the CPL even better. “We have to get our television distribution on a slightly broader footing next year, but now we have the product that’s going to be a lot much easier.”

The feedback from broadcasters, he said, is that it is the most entertaining thing they have seen on television.

“You are very lucky in the Caribbean to have a surfeit of attractive people who really know how to have a good time. Television is a visual language and the fact that the people of the Caribbean are having such a great time at the event, if you don’t mind me saying it bluntly, the number of beautiful women attending the game, had broadcasters calling me saying, ‘We want to book a flight to Trinidad, how do we get there’?”