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Jamaicans bid farewell to Violet Moss Brown



#Jamaica, October 11, 2017 – Montego Bay – It was not the usual funeral service.   No hushed solemn stillness, visible tears or wringing of hands.   Just laughter and the sharing of heart-warming memories as family, friends and well-wishers from all across Jamaica gathered at the Duanvale Baptist Church in Trelawny on October 7 to celebrate the life of Violet Moss Brown, who was known simply to the people of Duanvale as “Aunt V”.   The large crowd spilled from the halls of the church into the yard, with some persons accommodated in a tent erected outside.

Formerly the world’s oldest person, Mrs. Moss Brown, who at age 117 was recognised by the Guinness Book of World Records as the oldest person alive, died on September 15, closing a chapter on a life that has been a witness to history – two world wars and the golden age of Queen Victoria.

“My grandmother epitomised the meaning of the word love,” said Lilieth Fairweather, granddaughter and director of the Violet Moss Brown Foundation.

“She was a unifier, not a divider. She was a musician, who played the organ here in this church for 40 years,” she noted.   She said the world has lost “a real beacon of hope… a shining light on the hill… someone who knew how to work a room and make everybody happy”

Ms. Fairweather’s father and Mrs. Moss Brown’s son, Harland, passed earlier in the year at age 97, and was at one point the oldest living person, who had a parent alive.

For Andrew Whyte, who met his great-grand-aunt only once for her birthday back in April, said “it was amazing that at 117 she still had all her faculties intact”.

“I live in England, and so I came down with the rest of the family to celebrate Aunt V’s birthday.   We were all in the room when she gathered us all around and prayed for us as a family.   I playfully gave her my wallet and asked her to pray for it also.   She was very jovial and was also very happy about meeting my children.   I remembered her singing the song ‘I am blessed’ all the time,” he recalled.

Raised by Christian parents, Mrs. Moss Brown, in addition to being the church organist, was a music teacher for more than 80 years.   After her husband’s death in 1997, she took over his responsibilities and became a record keeper for the local cemetery, a job she continued well beyond her 100th birthday.

“She has witnessed a lot of what you would call historical events,” noted grand-niece, Dr. Vanilyn Brown-Daley.   “She also loved to tell stories, especially about Queen Victoria and the two world wars.   She also used to tell us about the thrills of seeing a car and an aeroplane for the first time. Even at 117, she also would take a sip of red wine every now and again,” she laughed.

Dr. Brown-Daley added that Mrs. Moss Brown never forgot her very humble upbringing and was a stickler for discipline and good manners.

“She didn’t have it easy growing up, but she never used that as an excuse. Even until the very end, she loved to read her Bible and knew the scriptures well. She was also very fond of her Church and remembered names very well,” she said.

For her part, Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, the Hon. Olivia Grange, who was representing Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, told the gathering to remember “Aunt V” for the spirit of love she embodied throughout her life.

“Don’t matter what your differences are, just take a page out of Aunt V’s book and remember how she has lived her life. And so I make a special appeal to you, make her proud, make Jamaica proud.   And don’t do anything at all that will make you or anyone else ashamed,” Ms. Grange appealed.

In April, Mrs. Moss Brown became the world’s oldest living person following the death of Italian Emma Morano in April 2017.   On September 3, she was visited by representatives of the Guinness Book of Records, who presented her with a citation and the 2018 edition of the book.

Her body has been donated to the University of the West Indies (UWI) for scientific research.

Release: JIS


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Bob Marley – One Love Actor Endorses Black River Film Festival



#MontegoBay, May 27, 2024 – The inaugural staging of the Black River Film Festival (BRFF), set for June 28 to 30, is being welcomed by local actor, Cornelius Orlando Grant, who sees the potential of the event in unearthing local talent and attracting investment from the international film industry.

Addressing a recent JIS Think Tank held at the agency’s Montego Bay Regional Office, Mr. Grant, who stars as gangster Bucky Marshall in the Bob Marley – One Love biopic, said the BRFF could leverage the interest and attention being generated towards Jamaica and its film industry following the premiere of the movie.

“Look at it this way, the Prince (Harry) came to the premiere and his presence attracted extra attention to [the film industry]. The Bob Marley movie is creating and breaking more records… . Just recently it opened in Japan [where]… reggae music and Bob Marley have a big fan base. Furthermore, people in the [diaspora] that I spoke to are saying that when they view the movie, it brought them vibes of home,” he noted.

Mr. Grant said that with Jamaica being positioned as the hub of the Caribbean film industry and with the increasing number of young persons emerging as content creators, “I think now is the time that we can capitalise on this. The Black River Film Festival is doing just that because it is not only incorporating new content creators but also showing students new career possibilities”.

Young content creators, 14 to 18 years old, who wish to enter or are already practitioners in the field of filmmaking will benefit from masterclass sessions during the Festival.

Mr. Grant will be among the speakers during these sessions.

The Ministry of Education, Region 5 will be partnering with the Festival producers at a workshop to be held at St. Elizabeth Technical High School (STETHS) in Santa Cruz on June 28.


Photo Caption: Jamaican actor, Cornelus Orlando Grant, gives his support to the Black River Film Festival (BRFF), while addressing a recent Think Tank at the Jamaica Information Service Montego Bay Regional Office in St. James.

Okoye Henry Photo


Contact: Sharon Earle

Release: JIS

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May 21, 2024 – The Turks and Caicos Islands have clear laws prohibiting the possession of firearms and or ammunition without a licence and strict penalties in order to serve and protect the community. Our Firearms Ordinance, which was amended in 2022, states that:

No person (other than a licensed gunsmith in the course of his trade) shall have in his possession, discharge or use any firearm or ammunition unless he is the holder of a firearm licence with respect to such firearm, or in case of ammunition he is the holder of a licence for a firearm which takes that ammunition.

Firearm and/or ammunition offences carry a mandatory minimum custodial sentence of twelve years plus a fine. Where a court finds there are exceptional circumstances, the sentencing judge has discretion, under the law, to impose a custodial sentence and a fine that are fair and just in the circumstances of each case rather than impose the mandatory minimum.

The Chief Justice is advancing sentencing guidelines in respect of the application of exceptional circumstances. Wider work is also ongoing with criminal justice partners to review the efficiency and effectiveness of case progression, in driving justice outcomes.

It is the traveller’s responsibility to ensure their baggage is free of firearms and/or ammunition. Permission from an airline carrier does not constitute permission to bring firearms or ammunition into the Turks and Caicos Islands. Travellers are also strongly advised to search their luggage before they travel to the Turks and Caicos Islands to ensure they do not bring in forbidden items inadvertently. Such offences will result in arrest.

The Turks and Caicos Islands is a British Overseas Territory with a common law legal system, and reserves the right to enforce its laws. All persons, including visitors, must follow lawful process.

The Turks and Caicos Islands welcomes all visitors but reminds travellers that persons in the Turks and Caicos Islands do not have a constitutional right to carry firearms. Equally, the importation of firearms, ammunition (including stray bullets), and other weapons is strictly forbidden, unless licence to do so has been issued by the Commissioner of Police.

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CTO to Focus on Aviation at Caribbean Week in New York



New York (May 16, 2024) – Celebrating its 35th anniversary, the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) is set to spotlight the future of Caribbean aviation during Caribbean Week in New York, scheduled for June 16-21, 2024, at the InterContinental Times Square in midtown Manhattan.

Under CTO’s annual theme “Connecting the Globe, Celebrating Diversity”, the week promises a diverse lineup of activities emphasizing innovation and connectivity.

A key feature of the premier event for travel industry professionals, journalists and members of the Caribbean Diaspora will be the Caribbean Airlift Forum.

Rosa Harris, Chairman of the CTO Board of Directors and Spokesperson for Caribbean Week, will moderate the forum. She emphasized the importance of this session as a critical platform for discussing the challenges and opportunities in Caribbean air transportation.

The session will cover topics including route development, aviation competitiveness, partnerships, infrastructure investment, regulatory frameworks, and market demand strategies. It aims to foster dialogue among airlines, airports, tourism authorities, and aviation ministries, enhancing connectivity and optimizing access to Caribbean destinations.

“In the wake of the pandemic, Caribbean aviation has shown remarkable resilience and adaptability, rebounding strongly in key areas. However, as we celebrate these gains during our Caribbean Week in New York, it’s crucial that we don’t become complacent,” stated Harris.

“We must continue to innovate and address the persistent challenges within intra-regional tourism, which, while recovering, remains a challenge for many of our destinations,” she continued. “Our focus at the Caribbean Airlift Forum is not only on celebrating our successes but also on critically analyzing our challenges to strengthen and diversify our connections to, from and across the region, ensuring a more robust and connected Caribbean.”

The week also features a Business and Tourism Marketing Symposium, the Caribbean Media Awards, and sessions focused on artificial intelligence, crisis communications, and multicultural marketing.

With the support of headline sponsor, the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism, Investments & Aviation; gold sponsors Cayman Islands Department of Tourism and the United States Virgin Islands Department of Tourism; and Diamonds International and the Caribbean Media Exchange, Caribbean Week in New York 2024 is poised to be a pivotal meeting for tourism professionals and stakeholders in the region and the Diaspora.

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