Tuesday, November 26, 2019

BRAATA PRODUCTIONS ‘OLD TIME GRAND MARKET’ RETURNS FOR TWO SHOWS ONLY, DEC. 14 & 15, NYC

By Aubrey Campbell

NEW YORK, NY. Tuesday, November 25, 2019-- Christmas is a time of year when we celebrate our cultures and traditions. And where else to celebrate those heartwarming traditions, if not at the gran’ market?

Well, get ready for a celebration of ‘Christmas in the Caribbean’, here in New York City, on December 14 & 15.

Braata Productions will once again offer New Yorkers an exciting and colorful taste of a traditional Caribbean Christmas, when it presents its annual Old Time Grand Market celebration at two venues in the city.

First up, will be the Harry Truman High School auditorium, located in Co-op City, Bronx, on Saturday, December 14. The vendor’s market will ‘open for business’ at 5:30 pm, followed by the concert segment at 7:00 pm.

Folks in Queens, Manhattan and Staten Island will get their sampling of the annual yuletide traditions a day later on Sunday, December 15, at The Park Church Coop, 129 Russel Street, in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.

The vendor’s grand market will open at 3:30 pm, to be followed by the Christmas concert at 5:00 pm.

Seeped in holiday traditions, ‘Grand Market’ – is a one-stop offering of music, food, craft vendors and numerous activities for children and families, in an atmosphere of merriment and merchandising. However, by including performers and participants from the wider Caribbean, Braata has dramatically expanded the appeal and the audience for the event, over the past six years.

“Ole time gran’ market is important to help keep the Caribbean holiday traditions and practices alive among our people, so we don’t forget where our traditions started and how they make us feel”, offered Andrew Clarke, who will celebrate his seventh season as producer of the annual event.

Sharing the main stage with the Braata Folks Singers, this year will be The Batingua Arts Ensemble, representing Trinidad & Tobago and the nationally acclaimed balladeer and recording artiste, Pluto Shervington, from Kingston, Jamaica.

Though a largely Jamaican tradition at Christmas time, ‘Ole Time Grand Market’ incorporates the wider Caribbean Diaspora and encourages broad-based support, evidenced by its growth and success over the years.

“When we started in 2013, we had no idea how we would be received. The spirit of the traditional Caribbean Christmas was fading somewhat in New York, and we thought this would evoke a bit of nostalgia for some and be a source of cultural education for others”, offered Clarke, who conceived the traditional (Braata) folk and culture ensemble in 2009.

Vendors participating in this family-friendly event will be selling everything from food and craft items to toys and Christmas specialties. Patrons and especially first-generation Jamaicans will be taken back in time to the days of pound, shilling, and pence (national currency), artifacts including clothes iron, "chimmey" (bedpan), and displays of holiday treat like black cake, punch a crème and sorrel, that make Christmas time, a holiday like no other.

The Jonkanoo Parade is sure to raise the level of awe and excitement across all age groups while browsing thru’ the marketplace!

“It’s a collaborative with a number of cultural groups, restaurants and key stakeholders who see the need to keep our culture vibrant and expose it to our younger generation, who are not so familiar.”
This year’s community partners are Team Jamaica Bickle (TJB) and the Jamaica Progressive League (JPL).
Tickets for both shows are available on the Braata Productions website and at select Caribbean outlets in the boroughs. Tickets are $25 pre-sold, $30 at the door and $20 for seniors and students with ID, at the door.
For tickets and information, call (917) 668.2209. See also www.braataproductions.org.
--end—

Photo captions…
STAR GAZING AT CHRISTMAS. Noted Balladeer and reggae recording artiste Pluto Shervington will headline Braata Productions’ Ole Time Grand Market’ Christmas in the Caribbean concert series in NYC, December 14 & 15.
-        Roger Jones Photo

BRAATA FOLK SINGERS. Costumed and ready, Braata Folk Singers will take patrons on a Christmas time journey through the Caribbean during the set of ‘Ole Time Grand Market in the Bronx and Brooklyn, December 14 & 15.
-        Photo courtesy of Travis South

CAROLLING AT CHRISTMAS. Braata Folk Ensemble with founder/artistic director Andrew Clarke (second left, front/seated), ready to share the joys of the holiday season at the Ole Time Grand Market, December 14 & 15, NYC.
-        Feen Elise Photography





CaribZone Commentary - And the 2020 Reggae Grammy Goes to, Any Marley??



NEW YORK. NY Tuesday, November 26, 2019 – Let’s be thankful for the season of eating, and may the Gravy flow on your Turkey, or whatever you choose to put Gravy on.

With the announcement of the 2020 Nominees in the Best Reggae Album in Reggae Category, and the presence of another Marley, we find it fitting to repeat Mr. Campbell’s commentary from last week. 

1.     RAPTURE - Koffee
2.     AS I AM - Julian Marley
3.     THE FINAL BATTLE: SLY & ROBBIE VS. ROOTS RADICS - Sly & Robbie & Roots Radics
4.     MASS MANIPULATION - Steel Pulse
5.     MORE WORK TO BE DONE - Third World

Campbell Commentary from 11/26/19 (with edits)

Reggae Grammy Overload
It has to do with our culture and heritage, very important benchmarks in determining who we are, now that we are detached from our place of origin.

In a matter of hours, we will know the five (5) albums that made the cut for consideration for the top prize in music. The American Academy of Recording Arts & Science will hand out the coveted Grammy Awards in February, next year.

Just in case you are following the developments, the Weekly Star newspaper, serving the Caribbean communities in the USA and Canada, carried a front-page story, making much to do about the fact that some 100 albums were submitted for consideration, something of an anomaly!

And if you find yourself asking the question…by whose standard, you are not alone. As a matter of fact, you are in good company!

Asked his opinion during our ‘power hour’ conversation – WSNR, 620 AM – on Saturday afternoon, Richard Lue said the matter was nothing more than a storm in a teacup!

Having more albums in front of the record jury is the right the thing to do for the further development of the music, the origin of which, until recently, it was in serious question.

Not so long ago, folks could be heard questioning the legitimacy of the music and whether of not only one family knows how to make good reggae music.

It is, therefore, safe to say that with more than 120 albums submitted, those in the business have gotten the message. Unless the work of art is taken from under the bushel and presented for judging, the result will always face unfavorable questioning!
Another point that Richard made was that given the worldwide  appeal of the music (genre) if more of the real, authentic stuff from ‘yard’ is not presented, the industry will continue to suffer from substandard work due to a lack of resources.

In other words, if we don’t go out and purchase the music through the proper channels, then we should not be surprised when the top prize ends up elsewhere.

Caribzone News Highlights




Jamaica

Jamaica’s Global Services Sector (GSS) is projecting 14,000 additional jobs in the local outsourcing industry by March 2020.

Business Process Industry Association of Jamaica (BPIAJ) Marketing Specialist, Cheryl Neufville-Crooks, made the projection while addressing a Jamaica Information Service (JIS) ‘Think Tank’ at the agency’s Regional Office in Montego Bay, St. James, on November 18.

Mrs. Neufville-Crooks, who is tasked with the responsibility to rebrand the country’s GSS, outlined that more than 36,000 Jamaicans are currently employed in the sector.

She said Jamaicans and the country’s economy by extension are now poised to reap even more benefits through the creation of these additional jobs.

It is anticipated that further GSS expansion in Jamaica will reposition the country to capture a greater percentage of the global market and bolster the island’s engagement in the fourth industrial revolution as well as attract new GSS investments.

The GSS comprises business process outsourcing (BPO) activities as well as information and communications technology (ICT), legal process outsourcing (LPO), Finance and Accounting Outsourcing (FAO) and more.
--oo--

Jamaica

Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. J.C. Hutchinson, says the export of mangoes to the United States earlier this year was a success for registered farmers.

Mr. Hutchinson said, as a result, many farmers who had given up their orchards, are now looking to put them back into production, “so that by next year they will be able to get certified and they will get their crops going”.

Mr. Hutchinson added that during the crop’s season, there were “several farms in St. Thomas that was verified [and] certified, and so we exported from there”.
He further noted that there are about six or seven farmers on the island who are certified to export their mangoes.

Mr. Hutchinson encouraged farmers with an interest to export the fruit to contact the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA).

In 2014, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) gave clearance for Jamaica to export mangoes to the country. However, this was subject to compliance with standards required by the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. As a result, the Government has had to work with the nation’s farmers to meet the necessary requirements.

Mangoes exported this year were the first to the US in 20 years. Exports resumed in June of this year and ended at the end of the crop season in late July. Once in season, export of mangoes to the US takes place twice per week.
--00—

Jamaica

The Electoral Commission of Jamaica (ECJ) has indicated that almost 70,000 names will be removed from the next voters’ list, which is to be made public on November 30.

The ongoing exercise, which began in late 2018, is being carried out in phases, with the aim of removing over 260,000 dead electors.

The Commission is working to confirm the deaths of the identified electors through collaboration with stakeholders who would have information to corroborate the deaths. These stakeholders include both public- and private-sector entities, such as the Ministry of Health and Wellness, the Registrar General’s Department, the Ministry of Labour and Social Security and media houses.Media houses with a database of death announcements are able to use those to confirm the electors’ deaths.

Mr. Brown estimates that by the end of next year, close to 200,000 names of dead electors will be removed from the voters’ list.
--00—

Sports

West Indies left-hander Darren Bravo last week struck an unbeaten half-century to pass 300 runs for the Super50 Cup as Trinidad and Tobago Red Force brushed aside United States by seven wickets moved to the top of Group B.

Chasing a modest 177 at Queen's Park Oval, the hosts romped to their target in the 42nd over with the left-handed Bravo spearheading the effort with an unbeaten 80 off 112 deliveries, while counting seven fours and two sixes.

The knock was his second-straight half-century and third of the tournament, to go along with his unbeaten hundred against Windward Islands Volcanoes in Red Force's opener.

Bravo, axed from the West Indies side in all formats due to poor form, has now gathered 349 runs in the tournament at an average of 116.

The victory for Red Force saw them leapfrog West Indies Emerging Players, whose clash with Volcanoes scheduled for Brian Lara Stadium in Tarouba was abandoned without a ball bowled due to rain.

Red Force has 20 points from six outings, two clear of Emerging Players with Guyana Jaguars third on 16 points.
--00—

National

The Shaggy & sting collaboration won last years’ Grammy award for best reggae album.  On January 26, next year the American Academy of Recording Arts & Science will choose the next best reggae album from a shortlist of five – More work to be done/Third World, Mass Manipulation/Steel Pulse, The Final Battle/ Sly & Robbie vs Roots Radics Band, As I Am/Julian Marley and Rapture/Koffee.
--00—

Barbados

The Barbados government has approved the framework of a comprehensive review of the existing immigration policy and legislation and will be presented with a new Immigration Bill in January, Home Affairs Minister, Edmund Hinkson, has said.

“A new Immigration Bill which we aim to present to the Cabinet in January [2020] and thereafter to Parliament, once approved will expand our categories of citizenship and permanent residence, abolish the status of immigrant and rectify some still existing inconsistencies between our legislation relating to this concept,” he said.

Hinkson said that one of the proposed amendments to acquiring citizenship will be by way of grandfathering. “In other words, if you are a grandchild or great-grandchild of a Barbadian citizen, you will be entitled to Barbadian citizenship,” he explained.

The home affairs minister noted that one aspect of the new policy will be the reduced time for application. He gave us an example applying for citizenship by marriage, where persons currently have to wait until after three years of marriage before applying. In future, that time will be reduced to two years.

Hinkson also addressed the difficulty Caribbean Community (CARICOM) skilled nationals experience in attaining Barbadian citizenship, pointing out that with the new policy, the government was proposing that “as a right, CARICOM skilled nationals, their spouse and dependents, are entitled to become permanent residents and then citizens through qualifying by way of time being spent in Barbados.

“Those who have currently been residing in Barbados for more than seven years would be eligible to be grandfathered into citizenship on their application,” he added.

The new immigration policy will also allow persons who wish to open a business or have substantial capital and are willing to invest significantly in the economy, to acquire permanent residence then citizenship. Persons who ordinarily, reside in Barbados for four years would be eligible for permanent residence.


Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Campbell Commentary: Voting for Reggae and Representation



By Aubrey Campbell
NEW YORK. NY Monday, November 18, 2019 – Brothers and sisters. Greetings and salutations as you settle into the Winter season. I have no doubt that like so many, you are looking forward to the days and weeks ahead and the time you will spend with family, friends, and associates, in that order, whether they or you, do the visiting.

It is, therefore, a time of great expectations and especially so for the Christian (religious) community. But allow me, if you will, to shift down a gear or two, to two areas of our community that are in expectant mood at this time.

Reggae Grammy Overload
It has to do with our culture and heritage, very important benchmarks in determining who we are, now that we are detached from our place of origin.
In a matter of hours, we will know the five (5) albums that made the cut for consideration for the top prize in music. The American Academy of Recording Arts & Science will hand out the coveted Grammy Awards in February, next year.

Just in case you are following the developments, the Weekly Star newspaper, serving the Caribbean communities in the USA and Canada, carried a front-page story, making much to do about the fact that some 100 albums were submitted for consideration, something of an anomaly!

And if you find yourself asking the question…by whose standard, you are not alone. As a matter of fact, you are in good company!

Asked his opinion during our ‘power hour’ conversation – WSNR, 620 AM – on Saturday afternoon, Richard Lue said the matter was nothing more than a storm in a teacup!

Having more albums in front of the record jury is the right the thing to do for the further development of the music, the origin of which, until recently, it was in serious question.

Not so long ago, folks could be heard questioning the legitimacy of the music and whether of not only one family knows how to make good reggae music.

It is, therefore, safe to say that with more than 120 albums submitted, those in the business have gotten the message. Unless the work of art is taken from under the bushel and presented for judging, the result will always face unfavorable questioning!

Another point that Richard made was that given the worldwide  appeal of the music (genre) if more of the real, authentic stuff from ‘yard’ is not presented, the industry will continue to suffer from substandard work due to a lack of resources.

In other words, if we don’t go out and purchase the music through the proper channels, then we should not be surprised when the top prize ends up elsewhere.

But first, let’s hear on Wednesday, which five albums make the cut for the Reggae Grammy, this year. Stay tuned!

Disingenuous
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade is using every means to discredit Jamaicans in the pivotal USA/Northeast region for demanding clarity regarding the new Global Diaspora Council (GJDC).
The ministry says those who are behind the move, myself included, are disingenuous. To that, I will say. ‘Pat a kuss kettle say it black!’

And why is that so?

From August ‘til now, the Ministry has not seen it fit to meet with key Diaspora concerns, those persons and organizations, always at the forefront, keeping the national development agenda current.

Coming out of conference, concerns are raised about the proposed construction of the Global Council to replace the current ABM set up, and before you know it, it turns into a political fight!

Jamaicans are being contacted to offer themselves for service on this council and others are being canvassed to vote. It is so bad that some persons think that they are being voted into political office!

You know what is disingenuous, the minister herself going on radio in Atlanta and Connecticut, to make her case that what the government is doing is legit and sustainable! They are out of touch, out there in the boondocks.

The seat in New York will be too hot and the questions beyond here reasoning. I guarantee you that. She will not get an open mic, here! And if that is not bad, they are even going as low as to call persons who questioned the legitimacy of the council to now change their minds.

Where is the structure to support this elaborate Global Diaspora Council and why is the government of Jamaica, staying in Kingston and organizing elections here, in these United States?

Key stakeholders are suddenly being lumped together as, ‘purveyors of negative distraction’ – if ever there is such a thing – in asking for postponement of elections until the terms of reference are better understood.

In mid-June when delegates voted to go forward with the new set up, they did so with the understanding that they could make adjustments as they go along. It’s not always that transparency and expediency mean the same thing. This is one of those cases!

And one more thing. Usually, the Consulate would step in on such matter but now it’s the Embassy. Of course, things and times do change.

We, the concerned Jamaicans in the Diaspora just have to remain vigilant!

No, to the election without representation!

You have the floor!

NEW GJDC ROLE TO BE THE SAME AS ABM, SAYS AMBASSADOR MARKS



By Derrick Scott – Information Attache, Jamaican Embassy, DC

WASHINGTON, DC. Wednesday, November 13, 2019 -- There will be no change in the role that elected members of the Global Jamaica Diaspora Council (GJDC) will play versus the current role of persons elected as Diaspora Advisory Board members when the new body comes into operation next January. Furthermore, the soon to be expanded membership of the Council is widely welcomed by Diaspora members in the US, UK, Canada and globally.  This is the word from Jamaica’s Ambassador to the United States, Her Excellency Audrey Marks.

She notes that “over the past few days, I have taken the opportunity to engage with a wide range of Diaspora leaders throughout the Northeast, to make sure that there are no concerns that we are not addressing,” 

She further stated that “All the community leaders that Consul General Wilson and I have spoken with, have expressed their support with their better understanding and realization that this is not a government “top-down” imposition. Rather, it is a suggestion that the government is facilitating for greater engagement with the Diaspora,” the Jamaican Ambassador pointed out.

Immediate Past President of the National Association of Jamaican and Supportive Organizations (NAJASO), Dr. Robert Clarke said, “After careful evaluation of the process, it is prudent and we are going in the right direction with the Global Jamaica Diaspora Council. Initially, it was not that apparent to me, it was after careful consultation with Ambassador Marks and other leaders within the region and looking at it from an objective point of view, it is in the best interest of the Diaspora for us to proceed…, ” Dr. Clarke said.

President of Jamaica Association of Maryland and Vice President of NAJASO, Rick Nugent said, “the reorganization is a good move and my association supports the establishment of the Global Jamaica Diaspora Council. This is important as it will make a change to the present structure and bring it under one umbrella which would be in the best interest of us here in the Diaspora.”

Registration to vote and nomination of candidates are both underways in the 3 developed Diaspora locations of US, UK, and Canada. Jamaicans from Africa, Asia, the Pacific, The Middle East, the Caribbean, Latin America, and Europe will join the elected members on the Council in order to support the growth of the movement in those locations.  

The GJDC, establishment of which was endorsed by delegates at the eighth Biennial Jamaica Diaspora Conference held in June, in Kingston, will replace the Diaspora Advisory Board. It will comprise 28 members, 14 of whom will be elected from Canada, the United Kingdom (UK) and the United States of America (USA), and the other 14 appointed. The Council will involve persons with expertise in the areas of Education; Health and Wellness; Arts; Sports and Culture; Citizen Security; Development Issues; Faith-based Community and Commerce.

Persons have until November 17 to register to vote or to register their candidacy online at www.globaljadiasporacouncil.com.

The elections will be in the form of electronic voting on the website, beginning November 21 and ending on December 15, 2019.



Jamaica’s Ambassador/USA, Audrey Marks.



Consul General of Jamaica/NYC
Alsion Roach Wilson, OD





Caribzone News Highlights


Jamaica

Portland is the latest parish to benefit under the Government’s initiative to construct water shops as a means of addressing the water needs of residents in drought-affected communities across Jamaica.
Two facilities will be built in the parish at a cost of approximately $19.5 million.

Minister of Local Government and Community Development, Hon. Desmond McKenzie, broke ground for the establishment of the first shop in the community of Commodore on Friday, November 8.
--00—

National

The Supreme Court last week weighed the fate of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), the Obama-era program that shields from deportation, hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants who arrived in the US as children. 

President Trump has long said he wants to do away with the program, but the Supreme Court is apparently not finding it to be a simple task.  

Their opinions of two key justices – John Roberts and Brett Kavanaugh - could decide the whole thing, and after a day of hearing arguments, it's not clear where either man will come down on the issue. 

Outside the court, immigrant advocates and DACA recipients from across the country gathered to listen to the proceedings and voice their support for the program.
--00—


Jamaica
Jamaicans are again being urged to consume more locally produced food to aid in reducing the country’s high importation bill which stood at just over US$900 million in 2018.

This renewed call comes from Chief Technical Director in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture, and Fisheries, Monique Gibbs who said that simply “eating Jamaican” can have the desired impact which includes retaining local jobs and saving foreign exchange.
--00—

Local

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Foreign Trade says Jamaicans in the Northeast USA are disingenuous in seeking clarity on the terms of reference for the new Global Diaspora Council (GJDC).

The Jamaicans are calling for a postponement of the elections to the council which would replace the existing Diaspora Advisory Board member. The elections are due later this month.
--00—

Guyana

With general elections now set for March 2, there is a split in the Guyana coalition government as to which side should select the candidate for prime minister. 
President David Granger whose APNU party has the larger majority, says he will select a nominee for prime minister when the time is right. 

The 2015 Cummingsbury Accord that brought the two parties together, gives the presidential nominee to the APNU and the prime minister nominee to the AFC, but Granger is saying not so this time! Stay tuned.
--00—

Jamaica 

General elections in Jamaica is still 15 months away at a minimum, but the two major political parties – the ruling Jamaica Labor Party (JLP), and the opposition People’s National Party (PNP), have already signed a memorandum of understanding for a series of debates to be organized and staged by the Jamaica Debates Commission (JDC).

The three debates will deal with social issues, economic issues and one between the contenders for the office of prime minister. 

Jamaica’s next general election is constitutionally due at the end of February 2021.
--00—

Grenada

Grenada’s Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) says that persons now depositing funds into financial institutions achieved through the traditional form of savings known as ‘sou sou’, will now have to meet certain guidelines.

The FIU said that the move is part of its efforts to combat financial corruption and money laundering. 
‘Sou sou’ is a form of saving in which several people collectively contribute a specific sum of money into a pool for a specific period.  Under the system, one person benefits on each occasion, known as a ‘draw’, from the funds placed in the pool.
--00—

Sports


Clarendon v KC in Champions Cup Final
After two contrasting victories on the weekend, Clarendon College and Kingston College will now meet in the final of the ISSA Champions Cup final.
Clarendon easily put aside Cornwall College with a clinical 3-0 drubbing while KC, after a 1-1 fulltime score were able to get by Jamaica College 3-2 on penalties.

Rodrick Granville scored twice for Clarendon College first in the 52nd minute and then in the 68th minute. The third Clarendon goal came late in the encounter, the 88th minute, from the boots of Tahjay Williams.
In the KC-JC match, KC took the lead through Demario McCarthy in the first half.

Playing with the rain pouring down in the second half, both sides had to change from their starting kits mainly because of the prevailing soggy conditions. Yet despite the conditions, JC found a late equalizer courtesy of Shadane Lopez in the 83rd minute.
The match then went to penalties, which KC won 3-2.
--00--

Monday, November 11, 2019

THE JAMAICAN STOCK EXCHANGE. In a League of its own



By Derrick Scott

WASHINGTON, DC. Thursday, November 7, 2019 -- The New York Stock Exchange on Wednesday (November 6), flew the Jamaican flag on its building in the New York business district in a tribute to the island’s stock market, the Jamaica Stock Exchange being rated the best performing stock exchange in the world.

According to the New York Stock Exchange, Jamaica is the only country where its flag has been flown atop its building in New York.

The Jamaica Stock Exchange commenced its North East USA Road Show on Wednesday with a visit to the New York Stock Exchange when the Jamaican flag was flown.

The visit is in response to an invitation from Jamaica’s Ambassador to the United States Audrey Marks, who is of the view that Jamaicans living in the Diaspora should be aware of the tremendous opportunities available in the Jamaican stock market so that they can look to place more investment on the island.

The theme for the show is “Exploring Wealth Creation opportunities while helping to build a better Jamaica.”  

According to the Managing Director of the Stock Exchange, Mrs. Marlene Street-Forest the move is an outreach into the Jamaican Diaspora in New York Philadelphia and Washington to sensitize them about the vast opportunities that are available in the Jamaican Stock Exchange.

The Managing Director of the JSE, Mrs. Marlene Street Forrest and a team including members from the Social Stock Exchange (JSSE) and a number of Jamaican Stock Brokers, visited
the New York/Tri-State, Philadelphia and Washington, DC areas, over the period November 5 to 10. 
Over the past decade, Jamaica’s financial sector assets have tripled and the number of institutions have grown eightfold, according to International Monetary Fund figures. While Kingston still regularly appears on global lists of dangerous cities, the World Bank now ranks Jamaica as the sixth-best nation in terms of ease of starting a business.
 
--end--


HEIGHTS. GREEN & GOLD. Jamaica’s flag has been flown on the building of the New York Stock Exchange, in tribute to the island’s stock market is rated the best performing stock exchange in the world.

-        contributed