Thursday, 21 January 2021

PEOPLE IN THE NEWS: NERHA’s Tyrone Robinson hailed as ‘visionary leader’ / Chris Williams on the ball for new-look Premiere League/ Adrian Allen prepping for Jazz & Blues reboot

MAN OF THE PEOPLE: Health and Wellness Minister Dr. Christopher Tufton has paid tribute to the late Chairman of the North-East Regional Health Authority (NERHA), Tyrone Robinson, who passed away recently in Florida at age 58. “[He] was a visionary leader who brought his expertise to public health, especially to the north-eastern side of the island,” Tufton said. “We have benefitted tremendously from his leadership and his passion for service.” Robinson, NERHA Chair since 2016, was in charge of the region encompassing St. Mary, Portland and St. Ann – a zone including four general hospitals and 70 health centres. Robinson also divided his time among pursuits in farming, business and aviation. 

GAME PLAN: As Chairman of the newly formed Professional Football Jamaica Limited, Chris Williams has hit the ground running, meeting with sponsors of the new-look league set to commence in the coming months. Among the sponsors on board so far: WATA/Wisynco, Yummy Bakery,Digicel, SportsMax, Mount Pleasant Football Academy and Jamaica Producers. Says Williams, “[These] companies recognize the value that a successful Jamaica Premiere League season will bring in securing income for a vulnerable grouping and much-needed entertainment for Jamaicans at home and in the Diaspora.” 

BRING BACK THE MUSIC: Last staged in 2015, the Jamaica Jazz & Blues Festival looks set to make a memorable comeback, as long as all goes according to plan. That’s theword from Adrian Allen, the man behind Steady Image Media Group, having secured the license to reboot the festival with a virtual staging from January 28 to 30. “The festival has always been waiting on the right time to come back,” he said in a November interview. “We are getting quite a bit of support from brands who have bought into the value of the digital reach, which enables them to capture three times as much as actual events. And we are continuing to look for more support.”

Monday, 18 January 2021

2020 IN REVIEW: Shenseea is our pick for Entertainer of the Year

SHE DID THAT: From hit records to business ventures, Shenseea was 2020's girl on fire

THE story of Chinsea Lee (more popularly known as Shenseea) continued to take fascinating twists and turns in 2020, proving that when an artiste chooses to define her brand by the hallmarks of versatility, consistency and commitment to craft, the results can be transcendent. And this year, Shenseea’s profile, and indeed her reach and creative influence, expanded by leaps and bounds. 

Not only did she put out a diverse bunch of hit singles (“Sure Sure”, “Bad Alone” and “Good Comfort”, among them), signalling a new boldness to her musical output, the 24-year-old dancehall-pop star showed that she’s also been smartly plotting major business moves.

Hence her endorsement deal with Boom Energy Drink; becoming the first Caribbean ambassador for Rihanna’s Savage X Fenty lingerie line; gracing magazine covers; and recently tapping into the beauty game to launch a line of faux lashes. 

Sadly, there is a gloomy note to this chapter of her rapidly evolving success story, as earlier in the year, as her monster track “The Sidechick Song” flew to the top of the charts, Shenseea lost her mother, Castilyn, an untimely departure that sent her daughter reeling. “Since the passing of my mom, I just find myself showing appreciation more. It’s like God taught me a lesson in the loss,” she shared, sitting down with Yendi Phillips for a reflective interview.

But with the support of loyal fans, her son and close family circle, not to mention a solid working relationship with manager Romeich Major (the main man guiding her career and pushing her into uncharted territory), Shenseea quickly found her stride again. “I don’t take anything for granted,” she noted during her Yendi’s Odyssey interview. “Being at peace is one of the most important things to me right now.”

‘BUTCH’ STEWART’S LEGACY: Late hospitality mogul hailed as innovator, trailblazer and family man

THE BUILDER: Stewart won legions of admirers for his work in tourism and commitment to nation-building.

SANDALS Resorts, for the umpteenth time, copped the coveted prize for Leading All-Inclusive Resort, at the 2020 World Travel Awards in December. For many, their continued dominance in the category speaks vociferously of the visionary leadership of Gordon ‘Butch’ Stewart, the hotel chain’s Founder and Chairman, who died at his home in Miami, Florida, on Monday, January 4 after ailing for some time. Mr. Stewart was79. 

His exact cause of death remains unrevealed but his son and heir Adam Stewart issued a statement, in which he noted that his father “chose to keep a very recent health diagnosis private, and we respected that wish.” 

The bereaved family, Adam further stated, has found it difficult to come to terms with Mr. Stewart’s untimely passing, but they’ve chosen to remember what made him such a larger-than-life public figure and, at the same time, a devoted family man. “My dad lived a big life,” Adam Stewart said. “[He was] a singular personality and an unstoppable force who reveled in defying the odds, exceeding expectations for his family and whose passion for his family was matched only by the people and personality of the Caribbean for whom he was a fierce champion… There will never be another quite like him, and we will miss him forever.” 

In addition to the mega-successful Sandals chain, Stewart also founded the ATL automotive group and the Jamaica Observer daily newspaper. “[His] legacy is monumental,” says former Jamaican Prime Minister Bruce Golding, “and will undergird our efforts at nation-building for many years to come.” 

For long-serving tourism minister Edmund Bartlett, Stewart blazed a trail and paved the way for countless others in the hospitality sector. “[He] was truly an icon and innovator, philanthropist and, perhaps, the greatest marketer tourism has ever seen,” Bartlett offers. PM Andrew Holness, meantime, has expressed similar sentiments. “Butch was a man way ahead of his time,” he noted. “He was an extraordinary human being with an unwavering commitment to the social good.”

Tuesday, 5 January 2021

GOOD MEDICINE: Is your house making you sick? / The healing aroma of nutmeg / The 5-minute breathing exercise that works

HOUSE PROUD: Experts recommend cleaning your mats and rugs at least once per week.

* If you find that you're prone to post nasal drip or a dry scratchy throat your house could be the culprit. According to Woman's World, at least 52 million people are sensitive to common household irritants like dander and dust And since we've been spending more time indoors (thanks, Covid) the symptoms can get worse. Here's how to breathe easier... 

1. Wash your bath mats and towels every week using hot water and, if possible, toss them in a hot dryer for 30 minutes. You'll kill 94 percent of the dust mites and allergy-triggering mold hiding in their nooks and crannies. 
2. Opening a few windows for two minutes can whisk away up to 45 percent of the allergens making you miserable. According to Canadian researchers, most of the allergens causing sinus trouble are airborne and a gentle breeze can quickly clear them out of your home. 
3. Spritzing your sinuses with a saline nasal drip is great for speed healing from colds and viral infections. Saline rinses flush out dust, dander and other irritants. And gently blowing your nose after each rinse can reduce your indoor allergy symptoms by as much as 35 percent. 

* According to research published in The Journal of Medicinal Food, breathing in the familiar aroma of nutmeg (the spice or the essential oil) can help you feel much happier in two minutes. Myristicin, the active ingredient in nutmeg, energizes the nerve cells that produce serotonin, while stimulating the focus-enhancing frontal lobes in your brain. 

* Try this... for deeper breaths and better airflow 
While sitting, put one hand on your chest and the other below your ribcage. Inhale through your nose so your stomach moves out against your hand. The hand on your chest should remain still. Tighten your stomach muscles as you exhale through pursed lips. Do this for 5 minutes up to 3 times a day. 

Wednesday, 30 December 2020

THE E-BUZZ: New home, new name for Redbones / Enter the J’ca 60th Logo Design Competition / Jamaica cops top prizes at Travel Awards

>> Jamaica cops 8 trophies at 2020 World Travel Awards 
When the curtains came down on the recent 27th renewal of the World Travel Awards, there was ample reminder that Jamaica still ranks among the most beloved destinations on the planet. As in years past, Jamaica copped multiple awards at the ceremony (eight in total), including the coveted prizes for World’s Leading Family Destination and Cruise Destination and, interestingly, Wedding Destination. As for the other five awards: Round Hill copped Best Villa Resort; Goldeneye’s Fleming Villa won Best Luxury Hotel Villa; Island Routes Caribbean Adventures was named Best Caribbean Attraction Company; Sandals Resorts was once again named World’s Leading All-Inclusive Company while the trophy for All-Inclusive Family Resort went to Beaches.

>> Jamaica 60th logo design contest now open for entries 
The celebrations to mark our 60th year of Independence are set for 2022, but Jamaicans can get in the milestone spirit from now by entering the Jamaica 60th Logo Design Competition. Being put on by the culture ministry’s Secretariat of Commemorative Events and Special Projects, the purpose of the competition is to ensure that the design of this al-important logo will be “selected from a wider pool of creative energy and not just from a small pool of people.” Entries should “embody the Jamaican spirit in every shape and form.” The winner will be awarded US$2,500. Deadline for submissions is January 19, 2021. 

>> Redbones Blues Café finding new life – as District 5 – at R Hotel 
St. Andrew-based connoisseurs of fine dining and live music will have fond memories of the Redbones Blues Café on Argyle Road. After closing its doors and exiting the social scene a few years ago, the beloved high-end eatery has resurfaced. Now based at the R Hotel in New Kingston, it has been rebranded and has re-opened its doors as District 5 – with renowned culinary star Brian Lumley as its head chef. Says General Manager Alexander Pike, “We have paired one of Jamaica’s best and most innovative chefs with a great location overlooking New Kingston, with excellent customer service.” What else can patrons look forward to? Spacious open-air dining, fun and interactive themed nights and a mix of Jamaican, Caribbean and global cuisine.

Thursday, 24 December 2020

AT THE THEATRE: Pantomime Company looking to connect with audiences new and old with their first virtual revue

FULL CIRCLE: Cast members in rehearsal for this season's production.

WHENEVER the Pantomime Company assembles to commence work on a new production, the excitement is through the roof. The cast and crew gets a real thrill out of the annual meet-ups for creative collaboration. So one can imagine the immense thrill, joy and relief, given the dreaded COVID restrictions, when members were informed that for the 2020 production they would be coming together to do a revue, which will be taped for virtual presentation. 

“The guys are happy to be back because there was a lot of doubt, a lot of back and forth, as to what would happen this year. So when they heard that we’d still be doing something, everyone was glad. [Coming together] is something we look forward to every year,” says LTM team coordinator Anya Gloudon, following a recent rehearsal. 

The 2020 production is titled Nah Give Up, and it’s a nearly 90-minute revue that will feature excerpts from previous hit shows (The Upsies and the Downzies, Iffa Nuh So, Queenie’s Daughter, among them), with lively song and movement accompanied by tracks and their in-house band. 

“We’re basically using pieces and certain characters from previous pantomimes that we’ve done to relate to what’s happening now,” Gloudon explains. “We’re leaning a lot on technology, like Zoom, so we’ll premiere it on our Facebook and other social media pages.” 

Helmed by renowned stage director Pierre LeMaire, the 78th annual production will feature a cast comprised of Pantomime regulars, led by such veterans as Kevin Halstead and Ray Jarrett. 

Nah Give Up is set to debut on Boxing Day (Dec. 26) at 6pm.

Saturday, 19 December 2020

CHAT ’BOUT: Alfred Dawes on fighting COVID-19 spread; JAAA’s Garth Gayle on reviving track-and-field; Tyrone Wilson on bringing back Reggae Sunsplash, and more

“It will increase economic activity, and it will bring back many jobs. I believe we have struck the right balance to increase but at the same time not encourage risky activities that would increase [virus] spread.” – PM Andrew Holness on the new COVID-19 curfew times to take effect over the holiday season 

“One simple measure that would go a long way in saving the hospitality sector is the mandatory quarantine period. Test and re-test travellers to make sure that they do not have the virus, rather than sentencing them to quarantine needlessly. That will allow resources to be focused on other measures rather than policing them.” – Noted medic Dr. Alfred Dawes in a recent newspaper column 

“We have a lot to do to begin the work put forward in our manifesto. We have a lot to do as we have the pandemic, and we need to get the sport b back on track… on behalf of track-and-field in Jamaica.” – Newly installed JAAA president Garth Gayle 

“The difficulties did not take away from the quality of the show, and we’re very happy with the comeback.” – Reggae Sunsplash showrunner Tyrone Wilson 

“Jamaica can boast that its electoral processes are above reproach and that there has always been a smooth and seamless transfer of power after the results of elections are declared. There has never been the spectacle of government refusing to demit office after losing an election. Jamaica is clearly a world leader in this respect.” – Integrity Commission Chairman, Justice Seymour Panton, in his message to mark International Anti-Corruption Day 2020