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Jamaican Reggae Month ends with Prime Minister’s Reception

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#KINGSTON, March 5 (JIS):   Earlier this week, the lawns of Jamaica House came alive with the pulsating sounds of authentic reggae music, with the staging of the Prime Minister’s Reggae Month Reception.

Photo by JIS News

The venue was transformed into the centerpiece for a live stage show, which culminated Reggae Month celebrations in February. The setting was replete with the customary trappings of a popular stage show, including professional lighting and the rhythmic instrumentals of renowned live band – Lloyd Parkes and We the People Band.

The celebratory atmosphere was punctuated by swaying bodies, bobbing heads and tapping feet. So infectious was the music, Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness; and members of the Diplomatic Corps could not resist ‘dropping legs’ to the sounds of reggae acts such as Luciano, Shuga, Julian Marley, Gee Wiz, Rohan Morris, and Michigan, who gave electrifying performances.

Prime Minister Holness, who spoke to JIS News following the event, said it signified a celebration and appreciation of Jamaican music.

From Bahamas Ministry of Health

“This is the event which marks the end of the Reggae Month celebrations. It was truly a great event, a great display of talent and celebration of what is good about reggae. It is also a demonstration, in a real way, of the Government’s commitment to standing by the development of what is probably the greatest music form to have been created in the 21st Century,” he said.

Mr. Holness noted that through the staging, the Government is ensuring that the organisers of the music, the singers, the managers and all the people who are involved in the industry are brought together to reflect on the music, to discuss the issues and also to have a fraternity.

 “As we socialised, we managed to get in a few conversations about what is important for the Government to develop music. Infrastructure came up. The music fraternity is saying they need a place or several places where they can truly develop the art form without having to contend with permits and lockdowns and all the other issues that plagued the music industry last year,” he said.

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“We are committed to that. Minister Grange has started one of the entertainment zones, which we have committed to, and I know that this year there might be one or two more developed,” the Prime Minister added.

For her part, Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Hon. Olivia Grange, said the reception marked the end of the “biggest and the best” staging of Reggae Month.

“We have been able to cover all the genres, all the age groups, and the different aspects and elements that have gone into making Jamaican music the best in the world,” she added.

Ms. Grange said the celebrations also involved the diaspora for the first time, noting that Reggae Month celebrations were held in Miramar, Florida, in the United States (US) this year, and that there are plans to extend the celebration further across the US to Los Angeles, New York and Toronto next year.

Vice-Mayor, City of Miramar, Florida, Alexandria Davis, who was also in attendance, shared with JIS News that when she visited Jamaica for the launch of Reggae Month in December last year, she decided at that point that she wanted to be a part of “spreading this love of reggae music outside of the island of Jamaica and celebrating Reggae Month”

“I had not heard of such a month… so I wanted to add that [to our other celebrations] and it was very fitting that it fell in the month of February as we celebrate black history, and so we dubbed it ‘Black History Meets Reggae’.”

Ms. Davis further mused that a “sound clash” could be a “nice addition” to the activities for Reggae Month next year.

In the meantime, Chairman, Jamaica Reggae Industry Association (JaRIA), Ewan Simpson, said he was heartened by Reggae Month activities, which he said “brought extra life, extra energy, and extra visibility to brand Jamaica through reggae music.”

Public Relations and Marketing Director, Reggae Month 2020 Secretariat, Jacqueline Knight Campbell, told JIS News that she was extremely excited and pleased about the exposure that the brand, Reggae, has achieved for 2020.

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She noted that reggae was exposed globally through multiple marketing streams and activities, including live streams, through the Reggae Month mobile app, which was installed on thousands of cellphones in six different languages across the world.

“We have had over 3,000 [persons] log on to the app [and] over 30 countries being exposed [to Reggae Month activities],” she said.

The reception also featured the work of two local artists – Christopher McKenzie and Patrick Kitson – who have done paintings and illustrations of many of Jamaica’s musical greats.

The Prime Minister was quite impressed with the work of Mr. McKenzie, who was recently diagnosed with a progressive neurodegenerative disease, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS).

Mr. Holness bought a painting of artiste Koffee, made of coffee. The Prime Minister was also given a painting Mr. McKenzie did of the late former Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Edward Seaga, as a gift.

Reggae Month activities were celebrated under the theme ‘Come Ketch di Riddim’ and included an exhibition titled, ‘Jamaica Jamaica,’ at the National Gallery, which showcased the evolution of Jamaican music; the ‘Children of the Icons’ concert, that featured the offspring of some of the industry’s most influential artistes; and the Echoes of Sound Systems event at the National Indoor Sports Complex.

Reggae Month involved collaboration with the Ministry of Tourism, JaRIA, public and private-sector entities and other major stakeholders.

JIS News by ALECIA SMITH

Magnetic Media is a Telly Award winning multi-media company specializing in creating compelling and socially uplifting TV and Radio broadcast programming as a means for advertising and public relations exposure for its clients.

Caribbean News

Turks & Caicos Islands Cabinet Report, Meeting held January 10

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#TurksandCaicos, January 26, 2023 – His Excellency the Governor, Nigel Dakin, chaired the 1st meeting of Cabinet on Tuesday 10 January 2023 at the Premier’s Office on Providenciales.

All Members were present.

At this meeting Cabinet:

  • Approved the Fiscal Strategic Policy Statement (FSPS) 2023-27 which includes the fiscal targets of the Government for the next four (4) years to be submitted to the UK Government before being submitted to the House of Assembly for approval. Members also agreed a wide range of associated steps going forwards.
  • Approved an application for duty concessions on the importation of construction materials, furniture, fixtures and fittings from Grace Bay Club Ltd. to allow the resort to complete refurbishment work.
  • Approved an extension and revision to the MOU between the TCI Government and TCI Finance Limited, which leads on the development and growth of Financial Services in the Turks and Caicos Islands.
  • Approved adjustments to the Agriculture Finance Support Programme (Agro- Grant Incentive) for the provision of compensation for registered farms that incurred damages due to Hurricane Fiona in 2022. Members also supported the adoption of a “Farmer Information System”.
  • Approved proposed measures to control the roaming of livestock in the country covering the registration of livestock farms, construction and maintenance of holding facilities, and the transport of livestock.
  • Approved a proposed model and structure for the New Destination Management and Marketing Organisation and Tourism Regulatory Authority. Members also approved an implementation process, the composition of the appointed Board of Directors, staffing implications, and a financing model, including the establishment of Tourism Improvement Districts and the payment of fees by tourism entities.
  • Approved amendments to the Schedule of the Ports Authority (Stevedorers, Fees, and Charges) Regulations 2008, introducing a variation of stevedoring tariffs. Members also agreed next steps.
  • Noted the impact of the moratorium on the issuance of new visas to Hattian nationals originating out of Haiti and approved the implementation of a moratorium on the issuing of all visas to Haitian Nationals entering the Turks and Caicos Islands for six months with effect from 11 January 2023.
  • Approved the granting of a licence to a named individual for the purpose of erecting a swim deck protruding from the Crown parcel 60400/366 into the adjoining sea and the payment of associated annual fees.
  • Approved the renewal of a lease for the rental of office space for the Government’s Planning Department on Providenciales for a period of three years.
  • Discussed the renewal of a lease for the rental of office space for the Government’s Gender Affairs and Social Development Departments on Grand Turk and agreed next steps.
  • Approved the use of existing funds for the use of retrofitting the Turks and Caicos Islands Community College.
  • Approved the gradual outsourcing of janitorial services for government buildings, including schools.
  • Approved the observance of Public Holidays on 8 May 2023 to mark the King’s Coronation and on 19 June 2023 to mark the King’s Birthday.
  • Was updated on issues related to the Ministries of:
  1. Tourism,
  2. Education, and
  3. AG Chambers,
  4. Office of the Deputy Governor, and
  5. Office of the Governor

Further information on these matters will be provided by Ministers in due course.

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Caribbean News

JAMAICA: Multibillion-Dollar Shipyard Project Launched

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#Kingston, Jamaica, January 23, 2023 – Economic opportunities are expected to abound for Jamaica, through the establishment of a multibillion-dollar ship repair and maintenance facility in the country.

Called the German Ship Repair Jamaica (GSRJ) Shipyard, the project will provide dry docking (lifting the ship out of the water) for commercial vessels up to 20,000 tons, and a range of maintenance and repair services to vessels operating in and around the Caribbean and Central America.

Phase one of the project, which is to be completed by October/November this year, is being undertaken at an overall cost of nearly $6 billion (or US$37 million), with financial partner Sagicor Bank committing to half of this amount as a bank loan. This will see the first floating dry dock, JAM-DOCK 1, becoming operational.

Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, who  delivered the main address at Tuesday’s (January 24) launch at the Kingston Harbour along the Sir Florizel Glasspole Highway,  said that “this project will earn foreign exchange”.

“It will provide high-quality jobs, and it will contribute greatly to the prosperity of our country,” he added.

Mr. Holness noted that the development will contribute to the positioning of Kingston Harbour as a global logistics hub, pointing out that each year, Jamaica receives approximately 3,000 port calls while approximately 180,000 vessels operate within the region.

“With the investments that are being made in improving Kingston as a logistic hub, we are certain that we have now closed one of the major gaps that have existed and that more ships passing through the region will be inclined to come to Jamaica,” he said.

For his part, GSRJ Limited Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Colonel Martin Rickman, said that the project “represents a new industry for Jamaica with great opportunities for other spin-off businesses, hence even contributing more to the economy”.

He pointed out that Jamaica’s “excellent geo-strategic location” makes the country particularly suitable for having a shipyard.

Detailing the specific operations of the facility, Colonel Rickman explained that “we here at GSRJ Shipyard will be able to lift that ship out of the water to conduct many types of work on the hull, the propeller, engine repairs and the entire nine yards, so this is significant for us”.

By international maritime law, all ships are required to be dry-docked to check for safety and integrity once every five years and attain class certification.

The CEO said that the training component of the project is crucial to enable  workers to meet the international standards to carry out the required operations.

He informed that some persons have already been trained.

In his remarks, President and CEO of Sagicor Group, Christopher Zacca, said that as lead arranger, the organisation is “confident that this new development will make a significant impact on the country’s shipping industry while also contributing to our productive economy”.

“We want all Jamaicans to share the vision of the stakeholders; this is a big deal for Jamaica and we want Kingston to have the leading ship repair and servicing port in the Caribbean,” Mr. Zacca said.

The GSRJ’s partners include Harren and Partner Group, Germany; Kingston Holding, Jamaica; Kloska Group, Germany and HAT-SAN Shipyard, Turkey.

Government agencies involved in the project are the Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ), the National Land Agency (NLA), National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA), the Attorney General’s Department, and others.

Several private-sector entities are also involved in making the project a reality.

The GSRJ started business in Jamaica in 2016 with the intention to build a ship-repair facility at the Kingston Harbour to boost employment and introduce the country to viable economic activities in the shipping and maritime industry.

 

Contact:  Mickella Anderson

Release: JIS

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Bahamas News

Statement From The Ministry  of Foreign Affairs – On Order  For All Bahamians  To Leave Haiti

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#TheBahamas, January 26, 2023 – The Prime Minister  has ordered an immediate involuntary  departure from Haiti  of all diplomatic  personnel or as soon as security conditions  permit.Up to this time, there was a voluntary departure order in place and all staff at the embassy  chose to stay.  Per the new instructions, they are to leave for home as soon as conditions  permit.  This is only a temporary  measure in light of recent developments  which require a corporate  security and intelligence  assessment  and restaging.This morning  the Chargè  reported that they had been stopped by Haitian police and relieved of their vehicle and weapons. This is part of a protest by the Haitian National Police against  their own authorities.All of our diplomats are personally  safe.There also is a report  of 5 Bahamians from Bahamasair who landed at Port Au Prince Airport who were unable to leave the environs of the airport.  They are all safe and well.  The security situation  appears less stable over the past three days in the country, and we are taking steps out of an abundance  of caution.The pattern of security concerns is one of ebb and flow and these withdrawals are sometimes  necessary  to regroup.  The Security Forces  in our country have been alerted to these developments.  As soon as conditions  permit a team will be sent back into Haiti without further announcement.PLQ
Courtesy of BIS

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