#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.
Construction Industry Continues to Grow
#Jamaica, November 27, 2021 – The Construction industry continues to figure in Jamaica’s gradual recovery from the economic fallout precipitated by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The sector is estimated to have grown by 1.7 per cent during the July to September 2021 quarter, relative to the corresponding period last year, and contributed to the Goods Producing Industry’s 2.8 per cent expansion over the three months.
Director General of the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ), Dr. Wayne Henry, said the out-turn for construction was spurred by growth in the ‘Other Construction’ and ‘Building Construction’ components. This, he added, reflected a 5.6 per cent increase in sales of construction and related inputs.
Dr. Henry said growth in the ‘Other Construction’ component resulted from increased capital expenditure on civil engineering activities during the review period This was mainly reflected in the National Works Agency’s (NWA) disbursement of $9.1 billion, up from $5.1 billion in the corresponding quarter of 2020.
The Director General said the provision largely covered work on the Yallahs to Harbour View leg of the Southern Coastal Highway Improvement Project (SCHIP). Additionally, Dr. Henry said the National Road Operating and Constructing Company Limited (NROCC) disbursed $2.2 billion, as against $1.3 billion in 2020.
“Expenditure facilitated works on the SCHIP Part ‘A’; that is, the May Pen in Clarendon to Williamsfield in Manchester component,” he told journalists.
Dr. Henry indicated that growth in the ‘Building Construction’ component was driven mainly by the performance of the non-residential category. This, he said, reflected hotel construction and renovation activities, as well as the buildout of commercial office space.
The economy is estimated to have grown by an overall 6.3 per cent during the July to September 2021 quarter, with the Service Industry recording 7.3 per cent and the Goods Producing Industry 2.8 per cent.
Contact: Douglas McIntosh
SOEs To End This Weekend
#Jamaica, November 27, 2021 – The States of Public Emergency (SOEs) now in place in seven police divisions across the island will expire on Saturday (27 November). This, after two resolutions to extend the SOEs until February 12, 2022, failed to get the required number of votes in the Senate, following a marathon sitting on Thursday (November 25).
The resolutions are the Emergency Powers (Parishes of St. James, Westmoreland, and Hanover) (Continuance) Resolution, 2021, and the Emergency Powers (Specified Areas in the Parishes of Kingston and St. Andrew) (Continuance) Resolution, 2021.
These apply to St. Andrew South, Kingston West, Kingston Central, and Kingston East in the Corporate Area, and St. James, Hanover, and Westmoreland.
Opposition Senators voted to end the enhanced security measures, which were announced by Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness on November 14.
Thirteen senators voted to extend the measures; three voted against it; and five members were absent. The extension of emergency powers must be approved by a two-thirds majority of the Upper House.
The resolutions, which were approved in the House of Representatives on Tuesday (November 23), needed one vote from an Opposition Senator to be approved.
Leader of Government Business in the Senate and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator the Hon. Kamina Johnson Smith, expressed disappointment that the resolutions were not approved, noting that “it’s a sad day for the people of Jamaica and, in particular, it is a sad day for the people who live in the communities covered by the seven divisions of the SOEs.
“We convey our apologies to the security forces who recommended and have been utilising the space and who had hoped that the debate today would rise to the level of reason and regard for the professional advice given and the realities on the ground,” she said.
“I only regret that as Leader of Government Business, that this Senate has not delivered a better result to the people of Jamaica today,” she added.
President of the Senate, Senator the Hon. Tom Tavares-Finson also voiced his disappointment with the result of the vote.
The resolutions were moved by Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of National Security, Senator the Hon. Matthew Samuda.
Contact: Alecia Smith
Header: President of the Senate, Hon Tom Tavares-Finson, disappointed with the outcome of the vote to extend the States of Emergency in seven police divisions. Two resolutions were moved for extension of the SOEs but they failed to get the required two-thirds majority for approval. Photo: Rudranrath Fraser
1st insert: Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of National Security, Senator the Hon. Matthew Samuda, moved the resolutions to extend States of Emergency in seven police divisions. The resolutions did not get the approval of the house. Photo: Rudranrath Fraser
2nd insert: Leader of Government Business in the Senate and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator the Hon. Kamina Johnson Smith, expressed disappointment that the resolutions to extend the States of Emergency in seven police divisions did not pass. Thirteen senators voted to extend the measures, three voted against it, and five members were absent. Photo: Rudranrath Fraser
Bahamian Para-Athlete Erin Brown to Become Godmother of RC’s Odyssey of The Seas
#TheBahamas, November 24, 2021 – A Bahamian woman who lost her leg to cancer and went on to defy odds and inspire thousands will be named godmother of Royal Caribbean International’s Odyssey of the Seas. Erin Brown, a 41-year-old mother of two and a para-triathlete who cycles, runs, swims and competes at an international level, will accept the honour at a special ceremony in Florida later this week.
“From the moment we heard the story of Erin, how her courage and determination in the face of adversity inspired others and led to a more inclusive consciousness about succeeding with disabilities, we were moved and knew she was a great candidate for godmother of our newest ship, Odyssey of the Seas,” said Michael Bayley, president and CEO, Royal Caribbean International. “A godmother serves as the guiding spirit of the ship and brings good luck and safe travels to its crew and guests.”
While she was in college participating as a track and field athlete, Brown was diagnosed with a rare form of bone cancer called osteosarcoma after suffering a fall that resulted in a broken leg. After more than a year of chemotherapy, her tumor showed no signs of shrinking, and Brown made the difficult decision to amputate her limb above the knee. Brown, who watched her own mother struggle for five years before losing her battle with lupus linked to cancer, knew she had to keep going because her child depended on her. She underwent surgery and woke up to one less leg. “Mind over matter,” she repeated. And then, she re-invented herself.
She said she recognizes now that her disability was a signal to start over. The first time she completed the 100-mile cycling event, Ride for Hope, raising money for cancer research, education and prevention, she led a group of adaptive athletes who heard the thunderous applause and cheers from the crowd that had witnessed the one-legged cyclist achieve what few with two legs could on the hilly terrain.
“A sudden change like the one I experienced is just an opportunity to rebrand yourself to yourself and to society. All those skills you had before – you still have them,” said Brown who has gone on to become an advocate for rights for the disabled and works at the University of The Bahamas as the compliance officer and counselor for the physically challenged.
“Having Erin as our godmother is a fitting way for us to pay tribute to The Bahamas,” said Bayley. “Our company’s very first port of call outside the U. S. was to The Bahamas more than 50 years ago. To this day, Nassau remains one of our most popular ports of call and Perfect Day at CocoCay remains our top pick by our guests. We are excited about this ceremony and honouring our long-time partners, as well as the newest Bahamian flagged ship in our fleet.”
Photo Caption: Erin Brown, who calls herself a limb-difference individual, will be named the first Bahamian Godmother of a Royal Caribbean International vessel when she presides over the naming of Odyssey of the Seas.
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