Friday, 30 August 2019

TALLAWAH BOOK CLUB: Three outstanding Jamaican men release powerful new books

>> Editor’s Pick! 
Jamaican politicians almost never publish books while in office. Dr. Christopher Tufton is among the rare exceptions. Ian Randle Publishers recently released State of Mind: Politics, Uncertainty and the Search for the Jamaican Dream, in which Tufton (our current health and wellness minister) offers a firsthand account of competitive party politics and domestic governance, while offering a view of contemporary Jamaican politics rarely seen. Packing 228 pages, the book also charts Tufton’s own journey in the public service, highlighting such repeat stints as cabinet minister and deputy leader of the ruling Jamaica Labour Party (JLP). 

TRANSFORMATION & SUCCESS: “My very early years produced nothing remarkable. I was a rather dull child until it was discovered that I had poor eyesight. This [discovery] turned my whole world around, and I became an avid reader and an academic,” reveals Prof. Errol Morrison. Such jaw-dropping admissions are in ample supply in his new autobiography Growing Tall, Pursuing Excellence. Released by Pelican Publishers, the inspiring book invites readers to reminisce with the Jamaican stalwart as he charts his rise from such modest beginnings to becoming a noted professor of endocrinology, President of the University of Technology (UTech) and a member of the Order of Jamaica. 

WORD TO THE WISE: Everyone from Prof. Elsa Leo-Rhynie (“powerful”) to Lt. General Rocky Meade (“a template for daily living”) have been raving about Reflections for Living and Growing, a compilation of the writings of Rev. Dr. Webster Edwards. “The central theme of the book is that we are living in a world that is good, that it is an exciting time to be alive, and that life is to be celebrated,” says the Princeton University alum and World Council of Churches scholar. “This is the brightest period in the intellectual development of humankind, and there is a measure of latent goodness permeating the world, just waiting to be discovered.”

ON THE SCENE: Highlights from Huawei’s Seeds for the Future ceremony + Jesse Royal gives a helping hand + B’day celebrations for Beenie Man, Usain Bolt

HEAD OF THE CLASS: Aug. 22, Kingston. China-bound undergrads were the toast of the Huawei Seeds for the Future departure ceremony, held at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in New Kingston last Thursday. The 16 students have been awarded internships and will participate in a two-week programme at Huawei headquarters in Shenzhen, China, from September 4 to 21. (Photo: Skkan Media)

ON MESSAGE: Aug. 22, Kingston. Technology minister Fayval Williams was among the speakers at the ceremony for the Huawei Seeds for the Future initiative, now in its third year. The programme selects top college students to go to China for an internship devoted to training future ICT professionals. (Photo: Skkan Media)

CATCHING UP: Aug. 22, Kingston. Moses ‘Beenie Man’ Davis was the man of the hour, as his Boom-sponsored birthday festivities took centrestage at Jangar’s, drawing support from celeb friends like Zachary Harding(Photo: Skkan Media)

HIS KIND OF FOLKS: Aug. 24, St. Andrew. Also celebrating an August birthday, Usain Bolt and friends partied at Devon House’s Fridays at the Devon, to mark his turning 33. (Photo: Sleek)

FOR THE PEOPLE: Aug. 27, Kingston. Roots-reggae rocker Jesse Royal put in some charity work earlier this week, hitting the road to meet and greet residents on the WATA Hydration Tour. Talk about walking the walk! (Photo: Sleek)

Wednesday, 28 August 2019

THE WRITE STUFF: JCDC honours outstanding entrants at Creative Writing Awards; St. Elizabeth’s Rohan Facey cops top honours

AHEAD OF THE PACK: Facey collects his Best Overall Writer Prize from JCDC Commissioner Kenneth Shaw at the ceremony.

BEFORE a sizeable audience at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel’s Talk of the Town perch one recent Monday evening, St. Elizabeth-based poet and playwright Rohan Facey secured a hefty prize haul as the curtains came down on the 2019 Jamaica Creative Writing Competition.

In addition to gold and silver medals for poetry, and a couple of merit awards for his plays, he received class awards for having the most outstanding submissions in Junior Poetry and Intermediate Poetry, plus the most coveted award of the evening: the trophy for Best Overall Writer, which comes with a cash prize.

Short-story writer Nordia Grant of Kingston & St. Andrew took second place (Outstanding Writer), Collette D. Robinson, also from Kingston, was awarded Special Writer (or third place), with Kenneth Gant (Choice Writer) and fellow St. Catherine native Britney Smith (Noteworthy Writer) finishing fourth and fifth respectively. 

Each year, the Jamaica Creative Writing Competition, organized by the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC), presents gold, silver, bronze and merit awards to the most impressive participants (in the categories of poetry, short stories, novels and essays at junior, intermediate and adult levels), with the crème de la crème earning trophies, gift baskets and cash incentives. 

This year, nearly 630 entries were submitted for the five categories, with participants sending in work from all 14 parishes.

THE BEAUTY PAGE: The best sunscreen for dark skin / Miss J’ca Universe beauties / Ce’Cile’s bold new moves

>> Question: If I have dark skin do I really need to wear sunscreen?
According to the experts, the answer is yes, especially if you want to avoid photodamage, like sun spots and wrinkles. But skin cancer from sun exposure is less of a concern for those with dark skin. As it turns out, melanoma is 20 times more common in white people than black people. “Melanin offers some innate protection from the sun,” explains Dr. Dendy Engelman, a New York-based professor of dermatology. “That doesn’t mean you should throw caution to the wind and never wear sunscreen. But do you need to wear SPF 100 every day? Probably not.” Try these: Among the new formulas designed to be invisible on dark skin are Urban Skin Rx DermShield All Day Sun Protection Mattifying Moisturizer SPF 30 and Black Girl Sunscreen SPF 30.

>> Go Girls! 18 lovely beauties vying for MJU crown
This year’s Miss Jamaica Universe finalists, a bevy of 18 stunning young ladies, are gearing up to bring the heat and wow the judges and audience members on August 31, when the grand coronation show takes place inside the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel ballroom. The contestants are: Yanique Morgan (Miss Jamaica Postal Service); Terina Dryden (Miss D’Marie Institute); Aiysha Hemmings (Miss Curves); Iana Tickle Garcia (Miss Rose Hall Developments); Sasha Henry (Miss Eden Gardens); Jewell Baldie (Miss Trend Steppaz); Rochell Ravers (Miss Kingston Graphics); Christine Samuels (Miss Thirsty Spirits); Fesco Sian Connolly (Miss Black Radiance); Chevonne Beadle (Miss Heaven’s); Deidra Kelsey Jones (Miss Dunn’s); Christine Butler (Miss Bliss Bridal Boutique); Leah Hollingsworth (Miss Rixon OC Group); Toni Ann Lalor (Miss Loud Fashion); Imani Jenkins (Miss Ettenio); Umeko Chin (Miss ER Designs); Fiona DaCosta (Miss Apollo Taxi) and Annecia Morgan (Miss Dale Carnegie Training Institute). The winner will go on to represent Jamaica at the Miss Universe pageant, set for December 19 in South Korea.

>> Ce’Cile: New look, new attitude, new label
The evolution continues. “I personally think I’ve done 90 percent of my time as a dancehall artiste. I’m doing something else, but I still love dancehall so much that I have decided to start working with artistes and be a music exec,” Ce’Cile dished in a recent Gleaner interview, announcing plans to start her own record label as she embarks on a fresh chapter in her career. Mogul ambition is nothing new for the bombshell, who has been co-producing her own music for years, including her latest CD, Music + Magic, released in March. At the moment, she also has a children’s book in the works, along with plans for a clothing line. Says Ce’Cile, “I’ll never stop being an artiste. I love it. But I like when I can control what I do.”

NEWS FEED: CXC passes improve / Is Jamaica ready to leave the IMF? / Noel Dexter to be laid to rest Sep. 2

MR. DEXTER’S OPUS: Funeral arrangements are now being made for the late musicologist and composer Noel Dexter, who passed away last Sunday. In addition to original compositions, which have become staples in the Jamaican songbook, Dexter was perhaps best known for his work as Artistic Director of the world-famous University Singers, based at the Mona Campus. “He was the most humble individual that we’ve ever met. He was a great man, and when you were around him you knew you were in the company of greatness. He was a mentor, a friend,” former chorister-turned-current Singers director Franklin Halliburton noted in a Gleaner interview. While soprano Althea McKenzie hailed Dexter as a nurturer of talent, All Together Sing’s Michael Sean Harris said, “He’s really a part of the fabric of the Jamaican musical landscape, especially with the classical and folk music.” A man of many honours and awards, Noel Dexter was 80 years old at the time of his passing. The thanksgiving service has been scheduled for Monday, September 2 at the UWI Mona Chapel.

ON THE MARK: Of the Jamaican students who sat the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) exams in May/June, 89.3 percent obtained grades one to three, according to a preliminary report from the education ministry. English Language and Mathematics recorded percentage passes of 82.8 percent and 54.6 percent respectively, representing a 7.4 percent increase in English passes but a 3.2 percent decrease in passes for Math – when compared to last year’s results. Overall, according to the ministry, higher scores were recorded in 23 of the 34 subjects taken. A total of 33, 639 students from public schools were registered for CSEC this year.

STATE OF AFFAIRS: IMF rep Dr. Constant Lonkeng Nguoana says Jamaica is ready to manage its own affairs. “Jamaica has reached a place where we don’t need to be here all the time. We are taking the back seat, and Jamaica is in the driver’s seat,” he says. “With what Jamaica has achieved over the past six years, we believe Jamaica is ready to exit the IMF and run its own business.” Jamaica’s current programme with the financial organization is scheduled to officially come to a close in November. “When Jamaica exits the financial support of the IMF, there will still be that consultation; we will offer our advice through technical assistance and so on, but not the heavy monitoring.”

Saturday, 24 August 2019

NEW ARTIST SPOTLIGHT: On-the-rise actress Shakira Kelly dishes on stand-up fathers, headstrong women and being a go-getter

MISS INDEPENDENT: The talented Miss Kelly strikes a pose.

ARMED with a UWI Mona degree (Literatures in English/Political Science) and dreams beyond her wildest imagination, Shakira Kelly is wasting no time executing the big plans she has for her life. At 22, the Wolmer’s Girls alum is a full-time teacher in her native St. Catherine but Jamaican theatre audiences have been witness to the fact that her talents go way beyond the classroom. The rising actress, a super-fan of Taraji P. Henson and Viola Davis, ranks among the talented newcomers we’re raving about. 

TALLAWAH: Last season you made your debut as Delcita’s granddaughter in Granny Del; this season you’re playing her nemesis Strawberry in Honeymoon. How have you been enjoying your theatre experience? 
Shakira Kelly: I’d say I’m enjoying it and achieving growth as an actress. Last year I was playing the grandkid and everybody loved me. This time I’m playing the very vicious Strawberry and everybody hates me (Laughs). So it’s been a fun and a great learning experience. 

TALLAWAH: How do you define yourself as an artist? Who is Shakira Kelly? 
SK: I’m a fun, creative person. I’ve loved performing since I was seven. I started out in my church, and in high school I did the JCDC Festival, and then when I was in my third year at UWI I got to audition and started working with Delcita’s team. I’m now a full-time teacher. 

TALLAWAH: Strawberry has such a mean streak. What’s her deal? 
SK: I’d say she is the typical woman. We all have a little Strawberry inside of us (Laughs). So many of us have our good jobs and are climbing up the corporate ladder, and we’re so focussed on our careers that other parts of our lives get neglected. Some of us are lonely and grasping for affection. And sometimes in searching for that love we get rejected, and the vicious and vindictive side comes out. 

TALLAWAH: To that end, what’s your take on where the global women’s empowerment movement has reached in 2019? 
SK: I must commend it. I’ve always considered myself a feminist and being against the idea that women aren’t allowed to do certain things. We get bottled in, especially by the expectations of our male counterparts. There has to be balance. I have a lot of dreams. Growing up your career ambitions change frequently, and there are still a lot of things I want to accomplish and should be able to. It’s our world. 

TALLAWAH: Father’s Day was observed last week. Are Jamaican fathers stepping up? 
SK: I definitely think Jamaican fathers are doing a good job, but they could do more. My father has been a great supporter over the years, financially and in my dream to become an actress. But not everybody has been so fortunate. More girls need to be able to say their fathers helped them to achieve their goals in life.

TALLAWAH: Absolutely. What do you see in your future five, ten years from now? 
SK: I want to act internationally. Hollywood is my dream destination. I have an entrepreneurial streak so tapping into that is also in my plans for the future.

Thursday, 22 August 2019

PEOPLE IN THE NEWS: Tami Chynn “overjoyed” to be a mom again; New registrars appointed at CXC and UWI Mona

>> Three time’s a charm for entertainer-entrepreneur Tami Chynn, who welcomed a son – Oz Orion David Mitchell – with hubby Wayne Marshall, on the morning of August 5. “Wayne and I are overjoyed to welcome to the world our beautiful boy. May he realize and accept that every good desire and love is already is,” the doting mom said in a social-media post. “May he be a happy, pleasant, intelligent, loveable, inquisitive, wise, powerful, understanding mover and shaker of a human being.” Congrats to the Mitchell family.

>> Jamaica’s Dr. Wayne Wesley has been appointed the new registrar and CEO of the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC), effective August 1. A former Executive Director of the HEART Trust/NTA, Wesley first joined the CXC family in 2008 as Director of Exam Operations. The Fulbright scholar also serves on the boards of the Jamaican Foundation for Lifelong Learning, the University Council of Jamaica (UCJ) and the University of Technology. Stepping into his new role at CXC, he replaces Glenroy Cumberbatch, who retired at the end of July.

>> The University of the West Indies (UWI) has tapped Dr. Donovan Stanberry to serve as the new registrar of the Mona Campus. A veteran lecturer, he holds degrees from the Russian State Agrarian University (a Master’s in agricultural economics), the Mona School of Business and Management (an MBA) and UWI (a doctorate in environmental management). Stanberry has served in government ministries, most notably as permanent secretary for land and environment, agriculture and fisheries and industry and commerce. He is a certified teacher of Russian, an elder in the SDA church and a member of the Order of Distinction (Commander Class).

SHOP TALK: Shades of Africa channels the spirit of the Motherland into vibrant and attractive garments

STYLE & SUBSTANCE: The design house has become synonymous with show-stopping prints and patterns and exotic creations.

ONE of the numerous ways Black people stay connected to the Motherland is through fashion. For over a decade, Shades of Africa has been meeting the demand here in Jamaica, resulting in the design label quickly achieving household-name status.

The brand has become so popular locally and overseas that everyone, from our current and former prime ministers to our Miss Jamaica girls, have attended events and posed for the cameras dressed in Shades of Africa pieces. In fact, says founder Tonya Cameron, reigning Miss Jamaica Festival Queen, Khamara Wright, was outfitted by Shades of Africa for the recent Independence Day Grand Gala at the National Stadium.

In short, Shades of Africa (known for gorgeous kente prints, head-wraps and looks bold and vibrant enough to stop traffic) is a fashion success story that continues to evolve. “The response has really grown over the years. We started out as a tiny tot to now becoming something of a global brand,” says Cameron, a 40-plus year-old creative who did some of her training at a fine arts college in Miami, earning a BA.

She gives major props to Saint International’s annual Style Week showcase for priceless exposure. “It gives me a platform to exhibit the work to the global market. We’ve become recognized internationally,” says the designer who now hires tailors and seamstresses to allow her to take on more administrative and managerial tasks.

Her celebrity clientele includes Professor Verene Shepherd and entertainers like Tarrus Riley, who adore the to-die-for garments. Kenya, Nigeria and some parts of the US are Cameron’s go-to spots for the exotic fabric.

“Some of our local stores also carry great fabric. Some we have to dye ourselves. But it depends on the order because some customers come with specific ideas for custom-made items. Since the Black Panther movie, we’ve seen a surge in orders for theme parties, costume parties and other events. We also get orders for church banquets,” shares Cameron. “It’s getting better. A lot more people are wearing something African.”

What’s next for Shades of Africa? “For the upcoming 16th anniversary, we are expanding online by starting an e-commerce website,” the savvy businesswoman shares. “And we’re now in the process of opening a storefront in Miami. A five-year plan is what we’re working on.”

Monday, 19 August 2019

THE OTHER SIDE OF: Karen Harriott dishes on good friends, good food and inspiring young Jamaicans

CHANGE AGENT: "A big part of my focus will be on motivating youngsters and doing a lot of spiritual work," Hariott says of future plans.

AT age 50-plus, celebrated character actress Karen Harriott continues to find work that not only excites her but pushes her to produce stellar, award-worthy performances. Recently, she was one of the guest performers in the ensemble dramedy Remember You Owe Me at Freedom Ministry’s 2019 renewal of the Earth Runnin’ drama series. Up next for Harriott: filming a family TV series with costars Rosie Murray, Deron Silvera and Glen ‘Titus’ Campbell. She spoke with TALLAWAH… 

One thing that always cheers me up is: Having a chat with my good friends Deon Silvera and Nadine Sutherland. 

My favourite movie is: I have so many, but right now I am really enjoying the work of our Jamaican filmmakers. I just saw Sprinter, which I liked. Several of our local creators are turning out good work, and you have to applaud them. 

These days I’m most grateful for: Life, and good health and the ability to bring a smile to people’s faces. 

Oxtail or pork? I don’t eat meat. 

The best thing I can cook is: Grilled salmon with steamed vegetables and white rice. 

My idea of perfect happiness is: Having good people around me to enjoy a moment, whether it is spiritual or secular. 

In five years I’ll be: Doing a lot more motivational work. Family-wise, my kids will be grown. I’m not sure I’ll be a grandma yet (Laughs). A big part of my focus will be on motivating youngsters and doing a lot of spiritual work. I want to tap into that side of me.

SOCIETY, SOCIETY: Peter Phillips vs. Peter Bunting getting exciting / A different role for Patrick Hylton / Fly J’ca making a comeback

>> As the September 7 election draw closer, it’s been announced that Dr. Angela Brown-Burke has agreed to serve as campaign director for Peter Bunting, who is on a mission to unseat Dr. Peter Phillips as President of the People’s National Party. But what recently had the cocktail circuit atwitter is the fact that Brown-Burke’s husband, Paul Burke, is an ardent Peter Phillips supporter. And according to a letter that was reportedly leaked, he had absolutely no idea that his wife was planning to support the Bunting campaign. But, by all appearances, Paul Burke is a reasonable husband. He has conceded that his wife can support whomever she pleases. That’s how you keep the peace in the household.

>> Shakeup at NCB! According to recent reports, Patrick Hylton is being replaced as CEO by Septimus Blake as of this month. Dennis Cohen, in the meantime, is stepping down as Chief Financial Officer, making way for Malcolm Sadler. Concerned NCB loyalists will be glad to hear that Hylton is not leaving the financial institution as he will now serve as president and CEO of the parent company NCB Financial.

>> The owners of Fly Jamaica plan to return the airline to the skies in early September and will be supported by an expanded fleet of planes due for delivery by October/November. CEO and majority owner Glenn Logan projects that getting the airline fully operational again could see them spending as much as US$15 million.

>> Calling all retirees and returning residents: a new US$10 million residential high-rise is being planned for Bloomfield in cool, cool Mandeville. See the press for details.

Saturday, 17 August 2019

SECRETS & LIES: Powerful ‘Pit to Pulpit’ pulls back the curtain on private lives in pastoral ministry

HOUSE OF CARDS: The new play is populated by dynamic, headstrong characters.

Pit to Pulpit (Mikhail Solomon Productions)
Director: Mikhail Solomon
Cast: Michael Nicholson, Trishana Wright, Natoya Lee, Toni-Ann Johnson, Joelene Clacken and David Tulloch
Venue: Phoenix Theatre, New Kingston

WHEN details of the double lives of members of the clergy become public knowledge, we are often too shocked for words. To our minds, pastors (as moral authority figures) are supposed to exemplify the idea of living right and leading by example. But, sadly, they too are subject to human frailty and failings.

The powerful new gospel drama Pit to Pulpit, written and directed by youth pastor Mikhail Solomon, underscores this point, as it drives its message home.

Leading a super-strong ensemble cast, Michael ‘Stringbeans’ Nicholson stars as Henry Jackson, the soon-to-be-ordained new pastor of a community church. A devoted family man, he shares his home with loving wife Yvonne (Natoya Lee, in a superb breakout performance) and good-natured daughter Heaven (Trishana Wright). But, as we soon learn, things are far from perfect.

Behind Yvonne’s back, Henry has been carrying on an extra-marital affair with Yanique (Joelene Clacken), a clingy young woman who will not take no for an answer. What’s more, Heaven has gone in search of her long-lost sister Jesrine (Toni-Ann Johnson) for a happy reunion with the family. But the arrival of this estranged daughter sets off more fireworks than the Independence Day Grand Gala.

Rounding out this six-hander is fiery senior pastor Rudolph Baton (played with manic energy and comic relief by David Tulloch), who feels Henry has much to learn before he is finally ready to lead the church. In addition to his deep dark secrets, Henry’s impatience to take over seems poised to do more harm than good.

This is the kind of meaty, gratifying role Nicholson has been waiting to play, and he sinks his teeth into it, giving us lavish depth and range. It’s among the finest performances of his career.

With all the recent ripped-from-the-headlines stories about bad-behaving church ministers being hauled before the courts, Solomon’s play couldn’t be more timely. At the same time, we are reminded that even Christian households grapple with adultery and infidelity and other weighty issues that tear families apart.

We like the play’s balance of humour and seriousness, the attractive set design and lighting. Overall, it’s easily one of the most riveting productions to hit the stage so far this year. Tyrone’s Verdict: A-

>> Interview: Actor Michael Nicholson on the record

Saturday, 10 August 2019

HOT-BUTTON ISSUE: Michael ‘Stringbeans’ Nicholson says pastors are only human, but…

HIGHER CALLING: [Pastors] made a choice to do good, spread the gospel and lead by example," says Nicholson.

SAD but true: religious leaders constantly fail us. Every so often, the headlines deliver sordid tales of sexual misconduct, shady dealings, domestic drama and other shocking behaviour by members of the clergy that leave us scratching our heads and seeing them in a different light.

In the captivating new stage play Pit to Pulpit, Michael ‘Stringbeans’ Nicholson plays Henry Jackson, a soon-to-be-ordained minister whose home life (adultery, a bitter estranged daughter, dark secrets) leaves much to be desired – immersing Nicholson deep into that world. Above all, the actor says the biggest lesson he’s gleaned from the experience is that though pastors are cast in the role of moral authority figures, they too are imperfect human beings.

“They are only human and they do make mistakes, but they made a choice to do good, spread the gospel and lead by example, so no matter what befalls them we have to hold them to account. Religion is not something to treat as trivial,” the award-winning thespian says. “We want them to be positive people that we can look up to, but they do fall down.” 

Doesn’t the constant scrutiny and public pressure for them to appear no less than perfect men and women take its toll? Are we too hard on our church leaders? “They don’t get any leeway because much is expected of them. It’s not like a politician; the job of pastor is a much higher calling to serve God and to be an example, so we don’t ease up on them when they disappoint us,” argues Nicholson. 

He admits that portraying Henry Jackson forces him to draw on a titanic range of emotions. “One of my fears was that the character wouldn’t be authentic, so I had to dig deep into my gut to make it believable, and that the message would be delivered.” 

Meantime, Nicholson believes a major grouse for the public when pastors are caught in bad behaviour is that we often don’t hear their responses to the charges. “The interesting thing would be to hear from them when something goes wrong and allegations are made,” he stresses. “Because they do err and forgiveness is all they want.”

>> Interview: Writer and youth pastor Mikhail Solomon talks about his mission

>> Review: Pit to Pulpit is powerful stuff

PEOPLE IN THE NEWS: Keisha Riley-Harrow wins Nurse of the Year … Police Officers’ Assoc. gets new Chairman … Margarette May Macaualay re-elected IACHAR Commissioner

>> Keisha Riley-Harrow is the LASCO/NAJ Nurse of the Year for 2019/20. The announcement was made and trophies and other prizes presented during the annual awards ceremony, hosted recently by the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in New Kingston. Riley-Harrow took home a cheque valued at $350,000, presented by LASCO Chairman Lascelles Chin. Soshanna Grant-Terlonge was first runner-up, with Fione Collins being named second runner-up. The coveted trophy for Nursing Student of the Year went to Tacquise Campbell, right. LASCO hailed the finalists and all Jamaican nurses for their continued “quiet work behind the scenes saving lives, protecting patients and spearheading community development initiatives.”

>> The Police Officers’ Association has a new Chairman. Superintendent Wayne Cameron now heads up a seven-member executive, comprised of Vice Chair Supt. David White, secretary-treasurer Supt. Maldria Jones and her assistant Supt. Christopher Phillips. Superintendents Catherine Lord and Alvin Allen and Assistant Superintendent St. George Jackson round out the team. The POA represents members of the constabulary from the rank of assistant superintendent and above.

>> After a round of voting at the 49th Organization of American States (OAS) General Assembly, held in Medellin, Colombia recently, renowned Jamaican attorney and human-rights advocate Margarette May Macaualay was re-elected Commissioner of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR). Macaulay’s tenure runs from 2020-2023. Member states also re-elected Panama’s Esmeralda Arosemena de Troitino and elected new members Edgar Stuardo Ralon Orellano and Julissa Mantilla Falcon (Peru).

ON THE SCENE: Highlights from Dream Weekend; Kingston Kitchen; Denbigh 2019, and more

TOUR OF DUTY: August 4, Clarendon. As expected, the 67th staging of the Denbigh Agricultural and Industrial Show at the famed showgrounds in Clarendon attracted massive patron support and drew appearances from such VIPs as Jamaica Agricultural Society (JAS) president Lenworth Fulton, Agriculture minister Audley Shaw and Opposition spokesman Dr. Fenton Ferguson. (Photo: JAS) 

SHAPING UP: July 28, St. Andrew. Fitness buffs like media darling Paula-Ann Porter-Jones were front-and-centre for the recent renewal of the Guardsman Games, an exciting melange of endurance challenges and gruelling obstacle courses, pitting high-energy teams against each other. (Photo: Skkan Media)

BEST BEHAVIOUR: August 2, Westmoreland. Soaking up the non-stop party vibes at Twisted Spiritz (which climaxed with an electric live performance by Spice, inset), the fly girls were out in their numbers for the Dream Weekend festivities in Negril over the Emancipendence holidays. (Photo: Skkan Media)

BON APETIT! July 27, St. Andrew. The latest instalment of Kingston Kitchen was family night out for a number of folks, flocking to Hope Gardens to sample the delectable cuisine and support the hardworking food purveyors who had booths on display. (Photo: Skkan Media)

MILLION DOLLAR MOMENT: August 4, Kingston. The curtains came down on this year’s staging of the National Gospel Song Competition inside the National Arena, with MoBay-based songbird Joanna Walker taking top honours for her spirited entry “Taste & See.” Offering congrats and sharing in the cheque presentation are Olivia ‘Babsy’ Grange and Carole Guntley-Brady. (Photo: JCDC)

Saturday, 3 August 2019

CROWNING GLORY: Young culinary arts pro Khamara Wright (Miss St. Catherine) wins 2019 Miss J’ca Festival Queen title

ISLAND SPICE: Wright is flanked by runners-up Anna-Kay Hudson and Chardonnae Parkins following Thursday's coronation.

THE proud St. Catherine natives in the house, including co-emcee Dahlia Harris, were over-the-moon excited, when it was revealed that their representative Khamara Wright, a bright 23-year-old from Greater Portmore, had amassed the most overall points to walk away with the 2019 Miss Jamaica Festival Queen title.

The coronation took place inside the National Arena on Thursday night, before a capacity crowd. 

Wright, a sous chef and social activist with a culinary arts degree, is the first young lady from St. Catherine to cop the title since Harris last won it back in 1990, almost three decades ago. Wright’s prize haul included a cheque valued at $455,000, the coveted JCDC trophy, among other attractive awards. 

Meanwhile, Miss Kingston & St. Andrew, AnnaKay Hudson, took second place, while Chardonnae Parkins (Miss St. James) finished third. St. Thomas’ Dru-Lissa Grant and St. Elizabeth’s Tamara McPherson completed the top five. 

>> Sectional Prizes: Who won what? 
. Best Performance – Reneise Johnson (Miss Hanover) 
Most Active in the Community – AnnaKay Hudson (Miss Kingston & St. Andrew) 
Most Poised – Dru-Lissa Grant (Miss St. Thomas) 
Most Congenial – Chantelle Bryan (Miss St. Ann) 
Most Popular on Social Media – Elieza White (Miss Portland) 
Most Culturally Aware – AnnaKay Hudson (Miss Kingston & St. Andrew)