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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

ScotiaBank Turks & Caicos Awarded Best Consumer Digital Bank 2021

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Providenciales, Turks & Caicos Island – September 24, 2021 – Scotiabank TCI has been named the “Best Consumer Digital Bank 2021” by Global Finance (New York), which regularly selects the top performers amongst banks and financial services and is a trusted standard of excellence for the global financial community.

In commenting on the award, Patricia Adams, Managing Director (Acting), Scotiabank TCI said, “Supporting our customers during the ongoing uncertainties remains our top priority and we are thrilled that our significant focus and investments in our digital banking platforms continue to yield positive results.”

“During this period, we have continuously relied on feedback from our customers about their specific personal or business needs and we remain committed to further improvements as we aim to make it easier and safer for them to conduct their banking” Adams concluded.

Some of the most recent investments include the expansion of the capabilities of the Scotiabank Mobile App, upgrades made to the Bank’s ABM network to include intelligent deposit machines and the use of digital analytics to anticipate customer needs and deliver personalized financial solutions.

Winning banks were selected based on the following criteria: strength of strategy  for attracting and servicing digital customers, success in getting clients to use digital  offerings, growth of digital customers, breadth of product offerings, evidence of tangible benefits gained from digital initiatives, and web/mobile site design and functionality. Read more about the awards here.

Scotiabank TCI’s award for “Best Consumer Digital Bank” follows another recent global recognition for innovation in financial services by The Banker’s Global Innovation in Digital Banking Awards 2021. The ‘Most Innovative in Data’ award acknowledges the Bank’s investments in data and analytics, as well as its commitment to delivering a more personalized customer experience.

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Bahamas News

Over 68,000 STAYED HOME in Bahamas Elections; We have BEST and WORST for Voter Participation

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#TheBahamas, September 21, 2021 – The just-concluded General Election in Bahamas has presented a new shift in governance.  The former ruling part, Free National Movement, lost nearly all the electoral seats it secured in the 2017 general elections.  However, this seems a swap of the Progressive Liberal party’s score in the 2017 general elections in which the former ruling party (FNM) won nearly all the parliamentary seats.

68,000 STAYED AWAY

While the FNM secured 35 out of 39 seats in the 2017 ballot, leaving only four slots for the Opposition, the 2021 elections presented “new day” with the Opposition clinching 32 parliamentary seats, leaving the former ruling party FNM with only seven slots.

However, the election results showed a significant drop in voter turnout compared to the 2017 election results. Out of 194,494 registered voters in The Bahamas, only 126,414 voted, translating to 65 per cent voter turnout.

PREVIOUS ELECTION HIGHER

This was different from the previous election in which 160,407 out of 181,543 registered voters cast their ballots, translating to a remarkable 88.36 per cent voter turnout.

Being the first election in the island nation since the Covid-19 struck the Caribbean; the dismal voter turnout could be attributed to the severe impact of the Covid-19 pandemic in The Bahamas and the current countermeasures taken by individuals to avoid contracting the deadly virus.

It could also be voter apathy.

BEST IN SHOW

Despite coronavirus prevalence in the country, North Andros & Berry Islands, Cat Island, Rum Cay & San Salvador, and Mangrove Cay & South Andros constituencies recorded an impressive voter turnout of 77.99 per cent, 76.11 per cent and 73.06 per cent respectively.

North Andros & Berry Islands had 2,126 out of 2,569 registered voters cast their ballots, followed by 1,255 out of 1,622 in Cat Island, Rum Cay & San Salvador, and 1,706 out of 2,164 registered voters in Mangrove Cay & South Andros.

VERY LOW SHOW

The bottom three constituencies in terms of voter turnout include Bamboo Town, which had 3,436 out of 5,838 (58.63 per cent) registered voters cast their ballot, followed by Garden Hills with 3,033 out of 5,287 (57.09 per cent), and   Central & South Abaco falling at the bottom of the list with 1,844 out of 3,271 (55.96 per cent).

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Bahamas News

BAHAMAS: Nine new Cabinet ministers sworn-in

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#TheBahamas, September 21, 2021 – Prime Minister the Hon. Philip Davis today introduced the first set of new Cabinet ministers with portfolios covering the Attorney General, Foreign Affairs, Education, Works and Public Utilities, Health and Wellness, Government Affairs, Agriculture, National Security and Legal Affairs.

The nine ministers were sworn-in on Monday 20 September 2021 by Governor-General the Most Hon. Sir Cornelius A. Smith during ceremonies held at the Baha Mar Convention Center.

“They are the initial members of a Cabinet which will reflect the breadth and depth of the competencies and characteristics of our team: experience combined with innovation; expertise combined with a willingness to see things anew; integrity and a strong sense of purpose,” said Prime Minister Davis.

“They are receiving these appointments because of their determination to get things done.”

Among the new Ministers sworn-in on Monday were:

  • Senator the Hon. L. Ryan Pinder, Attorney General;
  • Hon. Fred Mitchell, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Public Service;
  • Hon. Glenys Hanna-Martin, Minister of Education, and Technical and Vocational Training;
  • Hon. Alfred Sears, Minister of Works and Utilities;
  • Dr. Hon. Michael Darville, Minister of Health and Wellness;
  • Senator the Hon. Michael Halkitis, Minister of Government Affairs and Leader of Government Business in the Senate;
  • Hon. Clay Sweeting, Minister of Agriculture, Marine Resources and Family Island Affairs;
  • Hon. Wayne Munroe, Minister of National Security; and
  • Hon. Jomo Campbell, Minister of State for Legal Affairs.

“I am confident that these first-appointed members of our Cabinet team are ready to deliver on the promise of a New Day for our Bahamas,” said the Prime Minister.

Prime Minister Davis pledged to move with urgency to address the economic and health crises that are faced by The Bahamas.

Many thousands of Bahamians are out of work, people are losing too many loved ones to the COVID-19 virus and Bahamian schoolchildren are falling behind, said Prime Minister Davis.

“I want to be clear: we are not here to tinker at the edges of these problems,” said the Prime Minister.

“We are here to meet them head on.”

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