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Frederick ‘TOOTS’ Hibbert interred in Jamaica National Heroes Park

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#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.

Toots Hibbert – 1942-2020

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.

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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.  

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Caribbean News

Grants for farmers

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#TurksandCaicos, January 31, 2023 – Good Morning to my colleagues in government, I recognize……..and most importantly good morning to the farmers. It is my pleasure today to have you here at this award ceremony.  For the very first time in Turks and Caicos, farmers are getting relief for hurricane damage.

This shows that the government is committed to ensuring that the people of the Turks and Caicos Islands have access to a constant and nutritious supply of food, reduce the food import bill and retain money in the local economy. Food Security is the foundation of all human needs. Given the threat to the global supply chain and growing inaccessibility to enough nutritious food, the Government is committed to supporting the farmers to produce local food, to supplement the food requirement of the country. My government’s priority is to provide an enabling environment, to facilitate local investment within the Agriculture Sector as outlined in the People’s Plan for Empowerment

In February last year (2022) my government launched the Agriculture Finance Support Programme (Agro-Grant Incentive). This Finance Support Program for farmers is the first program of this kind in the Turks and Caicos Islands and shows Government’s mandate is to invest heavily in local food production through providing financial support. My government has allocated US$250,000.00 in this first year to promote agriculture development. This Finance Program has 3 areas of support

  • Improvement Programmes – to upgrade farms, Existing registered farmers who wish to perform farm upgrades can receive a maximum of $20,000
  • New Farm Start Up/Young Entrepreneurs– For new or younger farmers between the ages of 18-25 years can receive a maximum of $15,000
  • Disaster Relief – this is specifically in response to National Natural Disasters “Acts of Nature” inclusive of earthquake, hurricane and storms and other approved natural disasters. The value of this grant will be 10% of the assessed damages (up to a maximum of $20,000 USD

To date 12 farmers have received grants in the first 2 categories. Today we are here to give disaster relief to those registered farmers who would have suffered from losses due to the passage of hurricane Fiona in September last year.

Government knows that Farming is an expensive business, farmers livelihood depends on the investment they make on their farms. We live in a small island state that is vulnerable to natural disasters such as hurricane. These disasters can have devastating effects on farms, destroying years of productive work and effort farmers would have put in.

Government in recognizing the important contribution farmers make to Food security and the vulnerabilities they face has moved into action to provide much needed support towards the rebuilding of the farms. Today 15 registered will be receiving funds for disaster relief to assist with their rebuilding efforts. This monies I know will be used for the purposes granted.

I want to thank my Cabinet colleagues and Premier for supporting the continued efforts to grow the Agriculture Sector.

My department of Agriculture recognizes farming is dynamic and as such has lobbied Cabinet for continued support. I am pleased to say that in August last year through a Cabinet Paper, government had approved amending the Agriculture Policy to provide full exemption of import duties for farm vehicles registered farmers can now apply through the department for this support. At that meeting we also agreed for the Department of Agriculture to develop a comprehensive Agro-Incentive Program to support farming in the TCI.

Once again I would like to commend the farmers who are benefiting today for their hard work and dedication and look forward to serving you as your minister

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Bahamas News

U.S. Supports the RBPF With Additional Crime Fighting Vehicles on The Bahamas’ “Road to 50”

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#TheBahamas, January 31, 2023 – Since 1973, the United States and The Bahamas have enjoyed a long-lasting security partnership.  To mark this valued friendship, the United States Government, on January 31, 2023, renewed its support for the Royal Bahamas Police Force (RBPF) with 20 new Ford Police Inceptor Hybrid SUVs valuing nearly $1.4 million.  The United States’ Chargé d’Affaires Usha Pitts; Prime Minister, the Hon. Philip Davis; Minister of National Security, the Hon. Wayne Munroe and RBPF Commissioner Clayton Fernander were on hand for the donation at RBPF East Hill Street Headquarters.

The 20 hybrid vehicles will be added to the 32 vehicles previously donated to the RBPF by the US government to help replace crucial infrastructure lost during Hurricane Dorian.  Recovering from a hurricane is an arduous process that requires support at many levels, from roads and housing to mental health services.  The U.S. government hopes these vehicles will contribute to one key step in the process: citizen security.  These vehicles will not only assist the RBPF’s efforts to combat crime but will also reduce greenhouse gas emissions on the islands.

In her remarks Chargé Pitts noted, “these vehicles are just one example of the United States’ continued efforts to help for The Bahamas’ keep its citizens and visitors safe.”

Prime Minister Philip Davis showed his appreciation for this timely vehicle donation as it will assist with added capacity and increased saturation patrols on the streets.  The Prime Minister added that residents will notice an increased police presence and the police will have new capacity to respond quickly to any criminal activity.

RBPF Commissioner Clayton Fernander highlighted that “we have noticeably taken more illegal firearms and ammunition off our streets in 2022.  We have also seized more illegal drugs including marijuana and marijuana plants than in [previous] years.  Suffice to say, we have efficiently utilized all 32 vehicles previously donated by the U.S. government in our crime fighting efforts.”

In recent years, the U.S. Government, through U.S. Embassy Nassau, has delivered more than $25 million to assist The Bahamas with efforts to fight crime.  On behalf of the Bahamian people, Minister of National Security Wayne Munroe extended his gratitude for the U.S. government’s assistance noting “It seems that when we’re together there [is] always an occasion where they [U.S. government] have helped us and assisted us substantially.”

Captions: Credited to U.S. Embassy Nassau

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Caribbean News

BTC Water Sports Department Celebrates with staff

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PROVIDENCIALES, Turks & Caicos Islands: In a show of appreciation for outstanding service over the past year, particularly with the addition of new offerings following the expansion of the Beaches Turks & Caicos waterpark, the resort management recently held a commemorative function for its dedicated watersports team.

The function, which took the form of a special luncheon in the resort’s lavish ballroom, was spearheaded by the resort’s leadership including General Manager, James McAnally and WaterSports Manager, Mark Henley.

General Manager, James McAnally, (right) presents Nicorge Edward from St Lucia with a token of appreciation at the recently held awards ceremony

McAnally thanked the team  for their unwavering efforts in providing stellar service over the past year and reminded them  “The resort recently received recognition from the Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) for more than 25 years of certification which means that you as our valued team members, have been providing world-class watersports experience for our guests.”

“Among you, there are three team members who have been recognized for over 60 years of diving experience, combined. As a team, you have all continued to give nothing but outstanding service as you provide amazing experiences for our guests every day.  This is just one way for us to let you know that we see you, and we appreciate you.  Thank you all for your continued support as we remain committed to not only exceeding our guests’ expectations but to also elevate our brand offerings and positioning as the best place to work in the Turks & Caicos Islands,” said McAnally.

For his part, Henley stated, “each of you here today has shown tremendous will and determination to make this resort the best family resort on the Islands. For the three men who have each given more than 21 years of service each, I encourage you to continue to show the way forward to those who are not as experienced in this field. Let us continue to grow as a team, having fun as we work hard together.  We believe that, together everyone achieves more.”

Evanz Inelus, Pool and Waterpark supervisor while sharing his commendation for the team noted, “we are forever a team in this department and the resort in general. As we continue to grow in our professional life, let us look forward to the new year with getting more certifications from the Sandals Corporate University (SCU). Beaches Turks and Caicos has made it possible for us to grow professionally in what we love in this department by allowing us to be certified while we are doing what we enjoy in the water sports department.”

Mamrio Pierre (right) accepts his certification of recognition from Mackenson Petit from the Learning and Development department

Three members of the team were given special recognition for their years of service to the resort; Jacquelin Pierre, Marion Pierre and Charitable Sertune August. Marion Pierre, while sharing his gratitude for the recognition added, “Beaches Turks and Caicos is the best place for anyone to start their career. My team and I are very grateful for this award as the resort continues to build us into becoming the best professionals that we can be. The training and exposure provided, allow us opportunities at other Sandals and Beaches resorts across the Caribbean and to get certification from some of the most recognised institutions in the world. Working with this company has given me and my family the opportunity to live a prosperous and comfortable life.”

Two team members, Jed Arkim Reggie and Nicorge Edward, from Sandals La Toc, St Lucia who were on training and experiencing the resort, were recognised for their contribution to the department. Edward stated, “what I love most about this company is the opportunity to gain professional experience in different cultures and regions. My colleague and I came here to gain valuable leadership experience while learning more about the daily operational duties of the watersports department at this, the largest and most equipped resort. We are grateful for the exposure and look forward to going back home to share the best practices we have learned.”

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