#KINGSTON, November 18, 2020 – by CHRIS PATTERSON
Late reggae singer and cultural icon, Frederick ‘Toots’ Hibbert, joins a select list of distinguished Jamaicans who have been laid to rest within the hallowed walls of the National Heroes Park in Kingston.
He died at the University Hospital of the West Indies (UHWI) in St Andrew on September 11 at age 77, after a bout of illness.
On hand to witness the interment and bid farewell to Mr. Hibbert on Sunday (November 15) were: Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Hon. Olivia Grange; his widow, Doreen Hibbert, and family members, as well as friends and well-wishers.
Sunday’s ceremony featured musical tributes from well-known members of the local entertainment fraternity, among them: saxophonist, Dean Fraser; performing arts company, Nexxus; drummer, Bogo Herman; and singer, Demario McDowell.
The tributes also included several medleys of Mr. Hibbert’s vast musical repertoire.
The act of committal was undertaken by Pastor of Fellowship Tabernacle in Kingston, Rev. Merrick ‘Al’ Miller, and Dr. Carlene Davis.
In an interview with JIS News, Minister Grange said Mr. Hibbert stood out as one of Jamaica’s most outstanding singers, songwriters, performers, patriots, and loyalists, while describing him as a countryman “who was true to his roots”.
“He embodies everything that you would look for in a true Jamaican of African descent. You couldn’t find a warmer person, more loving individual, and a better human being,” she shared, noting that Jamaica and the world will miss his unique sound.
“His music is a treasure chest. His performance is something else. No-one else can perform like Toots. We have some great artistes, we have some great performers and songwriters. But there is just nobody like Frederick ‘Toots’ Hibbert… and I will say that over and over and over again without apology,” she added.
Ms. Grange urged his family to honour the name of the cultural icon who has performed outstandingly over the years.
“He loved everyone and his family has a responsibility to show that warmth and appreciation to each other and to others who are not family,” she said.
The Minister commended the medical team at the University Hospital of the West Indies who attended to Mr. Hibbert after he fell ill and was admitted.
“I just want to commend them for all the attention they gave him and all the work that they are doing to keep other Jamaicans alive and to have them survive this COVID-19 pandemic,” she said.
Dean Fraser, who spoke with JIS News, described Mr. Hibbert as “one of the real superstars out of Jamaica”.
“His vocal ability was huge… better than the rest; and this is a real loss which can’t be replaced,” he shared.
Rev. Miller said Jamaica has lost an icon who has served Jamaica well, noting that “he means so much to so many of us all around the world”.
“Let us not just look at the loss; it is real, it is part of the journey of life. But remember Toots [as] the daddy, the husband, the brother, the friend who you knew, and remember him for who he is… and give thanks for his contribution to life,” he said
Mr. Hibbert’s group, Toots and the Maytals, which was formed in the 1960s, was pivotal in birthing, shaping and popularising Reggae music.
The group’s 1968 single, ‘Do the Reggay’, was the first song to use the word ‘Reggae’, which led to the genre’s naming and their subsequent introduction of the music form to a global audience.
Other popular songs by the group include ‘Monkey Man’, ‘Pressure Drop’, ‘Sweet and Dandy’, and ‘Bam’.
The latter two singles are among the three that propelled the group to the National Festival Song titles during the competition’s formative years, between 1966 and 1972.
The group topped the inaugural competition in 1966, with ‘Bam-Bam’, and replicated the feat in 1969 with ‘Sweet & Dandy’, and 1972 with ‘Pomps & Pride’.
Toots and the Maytals returned to the competition, which became their signature stomping ground, 48 years after their last triumph to participate in the 2020 edition with their entry ‘Rise up Jamaica’, which was among the 10 finalists.
Among the other notable accolades the group earned were: the 2005 Grammy Award for Best Reggae Album with ‘True Love’, while Mr. Hibbert was recognised by the Government in 2012 with the Order of Jamaica for his contribution to Jamaica’s music.
Mr. Hibbert was laid to rest beside another globally-acclaimed Jamaica icon, the undisputed ‘Crown Prince of Reggae’, singer – Dennis Emanuel Brown.
Regressive recession looming, forces UN to issue Cease and Desist message to ‘big’ countries
By Dana Malcolm
October 6, 2022 – Central Banks in advanced nations must stop pushing up interest rates now or risk sending the globe into recession where developing nations suffer most according to the UN.
In the last several months, The U.S. Federal Reserve, the Bank of England and Bank of Canada have all spiked interest rates in an effort to control borrowing power, buying power and possibly push down inflation
“The world is headed towards a global recession and prolonged stagnation unless we quickly change the current policy course of monetary and fiscal tightening in advanced economies.” It said, mincing no words, the agency described the potential global recession as ‘policy induced’ by developed countries. And this recession could be worse than the 2008 crisis. This is especially true for developing countries like those in the Caribbean.
“While all regions will be affected, alarm bells are ringing most for developing countries, many of which are edging closer to debt default.” The agency said.
And if it happens the recession could set developing nations back years in the struggle to increase their standards of living.
“As climate stress intensifies, so do losses and damage inside vulnerable economies that lack the fiscal space to deal with disasters let alone invest in their own long-term development— The global slowdown will further expose developing countries to a cascade of debt, health, and climate crises.”
If the globe proceeds as is the world will lose 20 percent of its income by and push developing economies growth rate below 3 percent which the UN says is ‘insufficient for sustainable development’
Inaugural FinTech Conference on now in Barbados
By Sherrica Thompson
#Barbados, October 6, 2022 – Barbados is now hosting the first-ever global fintech conference in the Caribbean.
Over 300 delegates from across the globe and varying sectors within the industry will be attending the event. It began on Wednesday October 5, concluding October 7 and is being staged at the Hilton Barbados.
The Fintech Islands conference will feature renowned fintech leaders delivering key addresses and over 20 hours of curated content. The mandate of the event is to create a world-class event that will be a catalyst for the growth of the fintech ecosystem in the Caribbean.
One major highlight of the conference will be the welcome address by the Prime Minister of Barbados, Mia Mottley, who will also host an exclusive VIP meet and greet.
Some of the major themes of the event that are relevant to the context of the Caribbean venue are Financial Inclusion, Climate Fintech, Cryptocurrencies and Decentralised Finance and Embedded and Open Finance.
The event will have a range of speakers from founders, CEOs and fintech leaders from North America, Latin America (LATAM), Europe and Africa.
142 Farmers Formally Settled on Plots of Land in Bernard Lodge
#Kingston, Jamaica, October 6, 2022 – Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, says, to date, 142 farmers have been orderly and formally settled on plots of land as part of the Bernard Lodge Development Plan, in St. Catherine.
Providing an update on the Plan in the House of Representatives on October 5, Mr. Holness informed that the SCJ Holdings has paid more than $650 million in compensation to the farmers.
“Members would be aware that to meet the requirements of the development master plan and regularise the informal and ad hoc occupation of the lands, a structured and orderly settlement plan was undertaken that included relocation, formalisation of leases and payment arrangements associated with those leases and assessment of cost associated with this exercise,” he said.
“The cost of land clearance and preparation, farm road construction and rehabilitation, the opening and expansion of storm water drains, the provision of electricity and the construction of an irrigation system have also been borne by the SCJ, and work is ongoing,” he said.
Mr. Holness informed that irrigation water is now provided to farmers by the Rio Cobre canal system, adding that the cost for the time being is absorbed by the SCJ until the construction of a modern pressurised irrigation system is completed.
“We have started the engineering designs already,” the Prime Minister said, noting that one of the two proposed reservoirs is already constructed to ensure an uninterrupted supply of irrigation water.
“These reservoirs will have a combined capacity of 10 million gallons. Already, many of the farmers are in full production, with vendors and other persons visiting the farms on a regular basis to purchase produce for retail and domestic use,” Mr. Holness said.
He pointed out that there is a well-structured agro-park that has the potential to become a model for agricultural development in the Caribbean.
“I visited it, Madam Speaker, and I am very pleased to see how former sugar lands have been transitioned into other forms of agriculture,” Mr. Holness said.
He noted that the lands, which have been underutilised for many years, were becoming a location for illegal dumping, illegal sandmining and even for criminals.
Cabinet appointed an Enterprise Team, chaired by Chartered Accountant, Linval Freeman. to supervise the divestment of government-owned lands within the Greater Bernard Lodge Development in St. Catherine.
They commenced work in late January 2021 with the aim of divesting the development lands in phases.
To date, two phases have been successfully completed, with a third now in progress.
The Development Bank of Jamaica monitors and gives technical support to the Enterprise Team to ensure that the divestment is in keeping with government policy and governance standards.
The Greater Bernard Lodge Development Plan will create an integrated community of 5,400 acres of land, of which 3,027 acres are dedicated to agriculture and the remaining designated to housing, light industrial and commercial activities, social services, open and recreational space and an urban centre.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Holness said, so far, the Cabinet has approved the sale of some 1,225 acres of land for mixed residential, commercial and light industrial purposes to seven different developers.
“Cabinet has also approved the transfer of 102 acres of land to the National Housing Trust and the Housing Agency at Jamaica at zero cost, as part of efforts to lower the cost of housing to persons of limited means. To date, gross earnings from land sales are expected to exceed $3.8 billion,” he noted.
The Prime Minister said SCJ Holdings Limited has substantial legacy obligations of more than $2 billion incurred in connection with the divestment of the government-owned sugar estates and significant operating costs associated with the maintenance and securing of unused properties.
He informed that the net proceeds of the Bernard Lodge land sales will be applied in clearing these obligations, and the divestment of the properties will lower SCJ’s operating cost and place the organisation in a stronger financial position.
“Aside from its primary duty in managing the sugar lands, it also has an obligation to develop agriculture and other uses for land they own. Therefore, the SCJ has undertaken significant expenditure to improve agricultural infrastructure in the master plan area in payment of compensation to farmers and the cost associated with land preparation and the re-establishment of farmers,” he said.
Contact: Chris Patterson
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