Saturday, 27 February 2021

ON THE RADAR: Jamaica closing its embassy in Brazil... Sandals launches Gordon ‘Butch’ Stewart scholarship…. Sagicor Sigma Run nets $42M

>> In honour of their late founder and Chairman, Sandals Resorts International has announced the establishment of the Gordon ‘Butch’ Stewart Tourism and Hospitality Scholarship, to be awarded to team members interested in embarking on tertiary studies in the field of hospitality and tourism for up to four years. According to CEO Adam Stewart, “This scholarship’s core mission is to ensure a strong future for the Caribbean hotel industry by fuelling the talent pipeline with opportunity – a true reflection of my father’s passion for the region and its potential.” Applications are now accessible through

>> Effective March 1, Jamaica is closing its embassy in Brazil. “The decision to close the mission was reached after careful consideration of factors, including its exponential operational costs, which are difficult to justify, particularly at this time, in light of the minimal consular services required of it,” says foreign affairs and foreign trade minister Kamina Johnson-Smith. “Our assurance has been given to the [Gov’t of Brazil] of [our] continued support and engagement at the bilateral and multilateral levels.” 

>> As Round 2 action makes way for Round 3 and the hotly anticipated Quarter Finals in the 52nd season of TV-J’s Schools’ Challenge Quiz, viewers are being treated to enthralling first-rate entertainment. As expected, there have been casualties, upsets, nail-biting encounters and episodes where the favourites have prevailed. Among the notables: the Wolmer’s Boys 61-30 win over Denbigh High; Munro College’s 48-13 victory over their sisters and neighbours Hampton School and Campion College’s 43-22 triumph over York Castle. Among the other top favourites going for gold this season: Jamaica College, Wolmer’s Girls and Ardenne High. Visit for the complete schedule of matches and to watch highlights. 

>> The 2021 Sagicor Sigma Run has raised $42 million for beneficiaries Annotto Bay Hospital, Port Antonio Hospital and Get Back on Track Education programme. “We know that the past year has been a real challenge for many as we continue to live with COVID-19, and we are truly grateful for the outpouring of support and the kind donations we received for our beneficiaries,” says Sagicor Foundation executive director Alysia White. Persons can still make donations via direct deposit to Sagicor Bank account number 5502907486 or at

Friday, 26 February 2021

TALLAWAH BOOK CLUB: New and noteworthy books by Jamaican authors

>> Editor’s Pick! 
THIS FAR BY FAITH: Locals fans of spiritual-based literature were pleasantly surprised when first-time author Mary White debuted her devotional Glass Houses to a warm reception. Three years on, she’s back with a second helping, offering Glass Houses Volume II: The Proverbs Edition. It delivers more captivating and inspiring stories, golden nuggets of scripture and food for thought to lift you up in trying times. “I’ve also included a section for affirmations and more space for journaling because it’s about going on a spiritual journey being able to record your thoughts and feelings, express your gratitude, so you can go back and read it. We need to remember our blessings,” White tells Book Club. “That’s what separates Glass Houses from other devotionals.”

COLOUR MY WORLD: Visual artist, musician and provocateur Richard Nattoo has published his first children’s book, Ian Takes Flight (Bookman Express), which is about a boy who goes to spend the holidays at his godmother’s house, learns new things and how to appreciate the beauty in all he sees. “The story is expected to spark magic within the reader,” says the 27-year-old PM Youth Award recipient, who also served as illustrator for the project. “Sometimes as adults we forget our inner child, and this book is able to take you to a place of magical discovery." 

FAMILY TIES: In a Sip of Cerasee Tea: Taking the Boldest Steps (Sweet Wally Productions) by emerging author S.E. Williams, a now-teenaged daughter uncovers some surprising truths about her late father, who went missing at the height of the social upheaval that preceded Jamaica’s unforgettable 1980 General Elections. How these discoveries eventually alter and shape Sanaa’s future gives Cerasee Tea its juice, amidst an exploration of family, Jamaica’s evolving political culture and the resilience of human spirit. 

OLD STORY TIME: “As deep and thought-provoking as it is humorous.” That’s what critics are saying about Pastor Mann/Sister Precious in the Valley of Despair (LMH Publishing), a two-part novella by Deroll Barrett. Set in the 60s in rural Jamaica, it’s about Ezekiel Mann and the hardships he endures with the support of family and friends – and Sister Precious, a meddlesome woman who folks try to avoid. In other words, a pair of colourful Jamaican characters with challenging circumstances you’ll recognize immediately. 

LEARNING CURVE: Dr. Pauline Watson has done teachers a major solid with the publication of Sealing the Cracks: Managing Behavioural Problems in The Classroom (Urban Books & Publishers), a guide for educators on how to effectively respond to students’ behavior. But at its core the book also tackles such weighty issues as building children’s self-esteem, treating them with respect and teaching them appropriate skills for living.

Tuesday, 23 February 2021

NEW MUSIC REVIEW: Press play on these hot tracks from Serani, Romain Virgo, Chris Gayle and the A-Team

Usain Bolt and NJ – “Living the Dream” 
They say you can achieve anything you want in life if you set your mind to it and believe. This breezy jam from the A-Team leaders drives this point home. Lyrically, it’s a bit short on substance but the empowering message is palpable.

Serani feat. Duke – “Somewhere in Jamaica” 
We need more contemporary reggae and dancehall tunes celebrating the island paradise that is ‘Sweet Jamdung’. Serani got the memo. Teaming up with Duke, he’s produced, recorded and released this winning and catchy, reggaeton-inflected number reminding us that when all is said and done nowhere is better than ‘yaad’. A- 

Chris Gayle – “Blessings” 
The self-proclaimed Universe Boss has a lot to be thankful for. On the cusp of retirement from international cricket, the multi-hyphenate superstar (now owner of Triple Century Records) continues his exploits as a recording artiste and respectable lyricist/vocalist with this reflective mid-tempo track centred on gratitude, perseverance, loyalty and keeping it real. B+ 

Romain Virgo feat. Busy Signal – Pray 
Is this the first time Virgo is joining forces with his favourite deejay? It seems so. Fresh off his smash collabo with Kevin Downswell (“Carry Me”), the prolific reggae crooner reconnects with listeners on this groovy, radio-ready track that’s all about emotional uplift and divine guidance. B+

Tuesday, 16 February 2021

MADE IN JAMAICA: 3 Cool Things You Should Know About

ST. MARY’S OWN: Highgate in St. Mary is the home of Glenleigh Ltd, manufacturers of a range of sweet-smelling and body-nurturing products ideal for that moment when you want to reach for something home-made to pamper your skin. The noni soap, nutmeg soap and aloe vera soap are lovingly made from a batch of familiar and trusted ingredients, including olive oil, coconut oil and palm oil. Also available: bottled noni juice. Visit Contact 

AU NATUREL: Rich in antioxidants to soothe the entire body, the Aryton’s line of products promise self-seduction with palpable results. Their body butter moisturizers (Tropical Bliss, Juici Fruit, Dark Temptation, Midnight Fantasy and Amazin’ Grace) are formulated with 100% pure cocoa butter and Vitamin A. And why not add to your shopping cart a couple of their cute-as-a-button mini tubs of all-natural mango butter and shea butter. Visit Contact: 929-1497. 

BODY BEAUTIFUL: Two Kingston-based companies bringing top-quality offerings to the beauty market: Island Skin Line (with their Groovy Body and Bath Oil; Coconut Virgin Oil; Jamaica Browning Coffee Tanning Oil, among others) and Keera Organics (offering neatly packaged Goat Milk Face and Body Soap; Liver Spot Soap; Castile Face and Body Soap and a Turmeric Face and Body Soap).

Thursday, 11 February 2021

ON THE SCENE: Highlights from Journalism Awards; Dexta Daps in concert; Jimmy Cliff’s latest honour, and more

REASON TO SMILE: Jan. 30, Kingston. For an excellent piece on the plight of the Cockpit Country, RJR’s Dionne Jackson-Miller (pictured with PAJ president George Davis) copped the Environment Reporting award – and the President’s Award for Investigative Journalism – at the recent PAJ/National Journalism Awards ceremony. (Photo: PAJ) 

PEN PAL: Jan. 30, Kingston. Known for his incisive commentary on everything from religion to family life to politics, columnist Dr. Michael Abrahams took home the Morris Cargill Award for Opinion Journalism at the Jamaica Pegasus-hosted ceremony. (Photo: PAJ) 

THY WILL BE DONE: Jan. 31, Kingston. Reggae Month 2021 got a rousing kick-off at the Fellowship Tabernacle Church, where Kevin Downswell ministered in song and later offered up a prayer with a member of the Rev. Al Miller-led congregation. (Photo: Ministry of Culture) 

TRAVELLING MAN: Jan. 20, St. Andrew. Still a reggae ambassador at-large, Grammy-winning reggae icon Jimmy Cliff met with Culture minister Olivia ‘Babsy’ Grange and State Minister Alando Terrelonge at the ministry's Trafalgar Road offices to be presented with his Official Passport. (Photo: Ministry of Culture) 

STAGE PRESENCE: Jan. 17, Kingston. Songstress Ikaya was a vision in hot pink at Dexta Daps’ well-attended concert, where she joined the headliner for a rendition of their provocative new single “Nosey Neighbours.” (Photo: Skkan Media)

Thursday, 4 February 2021

PEOPLE IN THE NEWS: Yohan Blake opens wellness centre in Kingston / Imega Breese McNab appointed PSOJ Executive Director / TV-J’s Kirk Wright cops Journalist of the Year

IN TREATMENT: Monday, January 25 saw the official opening of the Yohan Blake Rehab and Wellness Centre. Located at 47D Old Hope Road in St. Andrew, the state-of-the-art facility aims to provide world-class treatments (in electrotherapy, dry laser treatment and ultrasound) among other services to injured athletes (et al) who would normally have to travel overseas for such treatment. Above all, Blake says, it’s about “getting athletes to recover faster, so they can get back to competition… this is the start of what’s to come.”

POWER PLAYER: Imega Breese McNab, former Executive Director of the Jamaica Manufacturers and Exporters Association (JMEA) has moved on to an exciting new gig. She now holds the post of Executive Director of the Private Sector Organization of Jamaica (PSOJ), her appointment taking effect on January 18. “[She] has just the right skills and experience,” says PSOJ President Keith Duncan. “I believe that she will engage stakeholders in a positive way, creating value and optimizing resources to achieve our organizational objectives.” For her part, Breese McNab says she welcomes the fresh challenge. “I look forward to this new journey,” she says, “and embrace the confidence placed in me to lead.” 

LEAD STORY: A dedicated workhorse for the Television Jamaica (TV-J) news team, Kirk Wright has won the 2020 Press Association of Jamaica Award for Journalist of the Year. The ceremony took place on the weekend at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in New Kingston, as the curtains came down on National Journalism Awards. In addition to the grand prix, Wright took home the trophy for Best Breaking News (for his excellent coverage of the Jodian Fearon saga) and for Health & Wellness Reporting (for a piece titled “Patients Plight”). Other big winners: Jamaica Observer’s Sharlene Hendricks (Young Journalist of the Year); RJR’s Dionne Jackson-Miller (Investigative Journalism); The Gleaner’s Jovan Johnson (News – Print); The Gleaner’s Gladstone Taylor (Sports Photography) and JIS’ Twila Wheelan (Best Radio Feature/Documentary).

Monday, 1 February 2021

LIFE + STYLE: Try the fruity, delicious new Guinness Smooth / Tessanne talks mommy joys and new music / Get that dewy glow with a Vitamin C serum

WINNING BLEND: Introducing Guinness Smooth, the newest addition to the Stout family. Officially launched in December, the beverage boasts an essence of coffee and chocolate, with the additional flavours of butterscotch and caramel marrying fruitier hints of green apple and banana. The result is “a delicious, flavourful liquid,” shares Nathan Nelms, Guinness brand manager, who adds that customers will also dig the balance of bitter and sweet. “We wanted to give our customers something new and exciting,” he says, “adding more variety for the discerning palate.” 

MOMMY DIARIES: Tessanne Chin’s baby girl, Zaia, is growing up so fast! “She’s crawling, eating big people food,” she says of the almost one-year-old, chatting recently with The Gleaner. “And I look back at the pictures of when she was just a little bunch in amazement. In a way, the pandemic has allowed her dad and I to be here experiencing the growth together.” Lucky for her diehard fans, Tessanne’s creative juices are flowing once again, and it won’t be long before she gives birth to another musical project. “Presently, I am working on different singles that I would like to use for a compilation, [an] EP or album,” she reveals. “I am just trying to find my balance and getting into the rhythm of things to concentrate on doing [the project].” 

GOOD LOOKING OUT: One thing dermatologists agree on: Vitamin C is great for your skin. The vitamin is study-proven to encourage cell turnover, brighten skin and promote collagen production, so your complexion looks youthful, renewed and radiant. According to First for Women magazine, Vitamin C-infused serums are highly recommended, thanks to their skin-brightening benefits, especially when used twice daily. Pat the serum onto damp skin, the mag advises, because “when the skin is moist, it’s more permeable, [allowing] the nourishing ingredients to get deep down into the skin’s layers fast.”