Valiant Reflects On The Time Popcaan “Ran Him Off The Stage”

Black Immigrant Daily News

The content originally appeared on: DanceHallMag


Fast-rising Dancehall star Valiant took a moment during a recent performance to reflect on the time Popcaan “disrespected” him on stage almost four years ago.

The entertainer, who was the headliner at D’After Mas held at the University of the West Indies, Mona campus on Saturday, recalled how the Unruly Boss scolded him on stage at Bounty Killer‘s Inaugural ‘Trelawny Explosion Stage Show & Beach Party,’ in front of a large crowd in September 2019.

Popcaan had called Valiant on stage to perform one song and then asked the crowd whether they approved of his performance. When some in the crowd expressed disapproval, he told Valiant that he needed more training.

“Suh if unuh [Valiant] nuh ready fi go pon stage, doe ask Popcaan fi call unuh pon stage. Unuh nuh ready! Suh unuh betta gah training camp,” Popcaan said at the time.

Since then, the Speed Off singer has risen with a string of hit songs, and he couldn’t help but to bring up the incident that was etched in his memory as hundreds of fans endorsed him at Saturday’s party.

“Mi love eh whole a unuh. A far mi a fawud from enuh. Unuh nuh see di likkle video when di man run mi offa di stage…Not even applaud. Mi love unuh. From unuh rate mi seh ‘rububububup’,” the North Carolina deejay reflected. 

During his set, he also allowed two newcomers to perform their own songs, claiming that he was desrespected the last time another artist brought him on stage.

“Yuh see every time me a perform, me always try bring a artist pon eh stage cah nobody neva bring me pon stage. The last time dem bring me pon stage dem style me,” Valiant said while introducing one of the artists.

Valiant remained an Unruly Camp member for more than two years after the incident, releasing songs under Popcaan’s label such as Couple Million, Steady, Miss Your Body, Man Wah Rich, Better Than That, and Enjoy Yuh Life.

The Mannings Hill native rose to prominence last summer with a new management team of friends and producers dubbed 1Diplomats.

In January 2023, the 24-year-old was the No. 1 most streamed artist in Jamaica on YouTube, with nine out of ten songs on YouTube’s Music Charts for the island during that month. Valiant was also No. 1 in Guyana, Grenada, Antigua and Barbuda, and Saint Vincent in January.

As for his performances, Valiant admitted last month that he still had work to do to make his stagecraft even remotely good as that of Beres Hammond after observing the Lovers Rock Reggae icon’s recent show in Antigua.

Beres’ performance was “flawless,” he told CVM at Sunrise.

“So me as a younger artist, me teck een dat fi know seh me need more work; work di stage.  Me check mi performance, wha mi need fi improve pan.   Master mi a master mi craft; mi know mi sound.”

Valiant, whose real name is Raheem Bowes, added that being prolific with recordings, unfettered by criticisms, and not becoming complacent was the key to his recent success.

“What meck me successful now is consistency and not getting comfortable, because everybaddy know dah one song yah.  It nuh get to mi, because as dem seh ‘dem love you today and hate you tomorrow’.  So yuh haffi always stay consistent, pray and just work.  Never stop recording; just work, work, work.  It a guh pay off,” he said.

Some Twitter users have sung his praises following the performance.

“Just saw a video of a valiant performance and i’m mad impressed with his set.  nuff male entertainer jus a run up and dung pon stage,” @nellazhane tweeted.

“That valiant performance was one for the ages,” @_playboidante said.

@MANERUSH added, “Valiant deserve him place inna dancehall, the youth talent and stage performance unmatched.”

Prior to his appearance at the UWI Mona, a concerned student who identified herself only as “Sarah” wrote to the Editor at The Gleaner opposing a performance on the campus on the basis that his songs “promote scamming, violence and drugs.”

The show, however, went on even as the parish experienced inclement weather on Saturday. 

His set was just over 20 minutes long, but the attendees were thrilled to hear him perform hits like Glock 40Speed OffGuzu Bunx & Fada RockNarcissistic (with Stalk Ashley), C.A.LDunce Cheque, and Barbies.

Stalk Ashley and Razor B also performed at the event.

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The UWI named among winners of the Caribbean Sustainable Tourism Awards for partnership with UNDP and Frankfurt School

Black Immigrant Daily News

The content originally appeared on: Caribbean News Service

A collaborative project undertaken by The University of the West Indies (The UWI) together with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), and the Frankfurt School of Finance and Management (FS) to support MSMEs through upskilling and digitalization, was announced as a winner of the 2022 Caribbean Sustainable Tourism Awards.

Since 2000, the region’s tourism development agency, the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), has organised the Caribbean Sustainable Tourism Awards to highlight the impactful, sustainable tourism actions by its member countries. The Business Adaptation Programme, developed to assist tourism MSMEs in the Eastern Caribbean received the 2022 Caribbean Sustainable Tourism Awards in the category of Tourism Education and Training, and was honoured at a virtual awards ceremony held on Wednesday February 15, 2023.

In 2021, The UWI and FS were invited by the UNDP’s office for Barbados & the Eastern Caribbean to partner to assist more than 300 Micro, Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (MSMEs) increase their digital skills resilience to external shocks and access new markets within the tourism value chain. The UNDP Future Tourism Project was formulated as a response to the effects of COVID-19 on the tourism sector and its subsequent impact on MSMEs.

On receiving the award, Miguel Guirao, Project Coordinator from UNDP shared, “For UNDP, receiving this award was both an honour and a major milestone. We are committed to supporting the resilience of the region and MSMEs are key players in this sphere. Through our Future-Tourism Project, UNDP was able to not only provide funding to help MSMEs digitally transform their businesses, but we also expanded the technical capacity of the region’s entrepreneurs. We are grateful for the support of our partners to achieve this honour that serves as a testament that we are achieving our goal of supporting Caribbean Communities towards the achievement of the SDGs”.

Dr. Michelle McLeod, a Tourism Expert on The UWI COVID-19 Task Force, with over 30 years of tourism experience led the project’s implementation on behalf of The UWI. Through a series of online sessions hosted by the University’s Open Campus, the MSMEs were equipped with tailored training, coaching and mentorship, informed of steps to digitalization and provided with information surrounding digital technologies, marketing and financial planning.

Reacting to the award, Dr. McLeod said, “I am so proud to have been the UWI Open Campus Consultant on this project. It was great working with partners Frankfurt School and UNDP. Many congratulations to all the MSME beneficiaries in the Eastern Caribbean.” She continued, “The Business Adaptation Programme has to be made sustainable to contribute to the overall development of MSMEs in the broader Caribbean. Tourism is the mainstay of several Caribbean economies and tourism MSMEs account for more than 90% of the businesses in those economies. Training and development of tourism MSMEs will contribute to sustainable growth and innovation of the tourism sector in the Caribbean.”

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Public Health Stakeholders discuss health security issues including decline in routine immunization ahead of 29th COHSOD

Black Immigrant Daily News

The content originally appeared on: Caribbean News Service

Regional Public Health Stakeholders met virtually on Friday for a preparatory meeting facilitated by the CARICOM Secretariat ahead of the Twenty-Ninth Special Meeting of the Council for Human and Social Development (COHSOD) – Health scheduled for 26 April 2023.

The meeting was an important platform for stakeholders in health to provide updates on the implementation of health projects and programmes; share experiences on health responses, identify recommendations for the improvement of policy, strategies and programmes and endorse policy recommendations for actions undertaken under the broad-based health strategy of the Region (Caribbean Cooperation in Health – CCH).

The meeting was chaired by Dr Melissa Diaz-Musa, Director, Health and Wellness, Ministry of Health and Wellness, Belize, with the support of the Directorate of Human and Social Development, CARICOM Secretariat.

In her opening remarks, Helen Royer, Director, Human and Social Development, CARICOM Secretariat, acknowledged the contributions of technical experts in public health, including state actors, non-state actors such as the various non-governmental organization (NGOs), Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and our international development partners, who have supported the implementation of a coordinated multi-sectoral response for COVID-19 and the development of several public health goods.

“Your technical expertise, leadership and management in public health have undoubtedly contributed to improved coordination, resource mobilization, policy advocacy and improved public health outcomes,” stated Royer, “The Secretariat again takes this opportunity to thank the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) and Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) for working collaboratively with us and our CARICOM Member States to address the emerging health priorities and currently the efforts towards addressing the low immunization rates experienced in our routine immunization programmes”.

The Director emphasized that despite the best efforts of Public Health stakeholders and the gains achieved to date, the Region continues to experience existing and emerging public health challenges which have the potential to undermine the Region’s ability to achieve sustainable development. She underscored that the regression in vaccine uptake would continue to affect Member States if drastic steps are not implemented immediately. Ms Royer also noted that the challenges with health security should not be ignored.

“While these challenges are noted, I have no doubt that the updates and policy recommendations proposed by the various partners will result in the endorsement and implementation of innovative strategies that are guided by science, evidence and shared experiences,” stated the Director.

In a brief opening statement, Chair Dr Melissa Diaz-Musa urged stakeholders to note, in particular, the low immunization rates experienced in routine immunization programmes region-wide. She stressed that the trend could reverse the gains made in public health and highlighted the potential impact on the Region’s public health systems.

The meeting received a detailed technical update from CARPHA on health security issues in the Region and opportunities for funding through the Pandemic Fund, while PAHO led a discussion on the status of the Expanded Programme on Immunizations in CARICOM Member States. PAHO also shared an update on the Elimination of Communicable and Tropical Diseases in the Caribbean, among other issues.

In addition, participants discussed matters pertaining to the Port-of-Spain Declaration on Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDS), which included an update on the “Caribbean Moves Initiative” by CARPHA and a presentation on the status of Regional Mental Health Legislation with country experiences from The Bahamas and Guyana.

The outcomes of the meeting will inform the discussions for the upcoming COHSOD in Nassau, The Bahamas and ultimately lead to decisions to improve health outcomes for the people of the Caribbean Community.

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Bottled Water Masks World’s Failure to Supply Safe Water for All, Can Slow Sustainable Development: UN

Black Immigrant Daily News

The content originally appeared on: Caribbean News Service

The rapidly-growing bottled water industry can undermine progress towards a key sustainable development goal: safe water for all, says a new United Nations report.

Based on an analysis of literature and data from 109 countries, the report says that in just five decades bottled water has developed into “a major and essentially standalone economic sector,” experiencing 73% growth from 2010 to 2020. And sales are expected to almost double by 2030, from US$ 270 billion to $500 billion.

Released a few days prior to World Water Day (March 22), the report by UN University’s Canadian-based Institute for Water, Environment and Health concludes that the unrestricted expansion of the bottled water industry “is not aligned strategically with the goal of providing universal access to drinking water or at least slows global progress in this regard, distracting development efforts and redirecting attention to a less reliable and less affordable option for many, while remaining highly profitable for producers.”

Says Kaveh Madani, UNU-INWEH’s new Director: “The rise in bottled water consumption reflects decades of limited progress in and many failures of public water supply systems.”

When the Sustainable Development Goals were agreed in 2015, he notes, experts elsewhere estimated an annual investment of US$ 114 billion was needed from 2015 to 2030 to achieve a key target: universal safe drinking water.

The report says providing safe water to the roughly 2 billion people without it woulds require an annual investment of less than half the US$ 270 billion now spent every year on bottled water.

“This points to a global case of extreme social injustice, whereby billions of people worldwide do not have access to reliable water services while others enjoy water luxury.”

Tap water perceptions

The study quotes surveys showing bottled water is often perceived in the Global North as a healthier and tastier product than tap water – more a luxury good than a necessity. In the Global South, sales are driven by the lack or absence of reliable public water supplies and water delivery infrastructure limitations due to rapid urbanization.

In mid- and low-income countries, bottled water consumption is linked to poor tap water quality and often unreliable public water supply systems – problems often caused by corruption and chronic underinvestment in piped water infrastructure.

Beverage corporations are adept at marketing bottled water as a safe alternative to tap water by drawing attention to isolated public water system failures, says UNU-INWEH researcher and lead author Zeineb Bouhlel, adding that “even if in certain countries piped water is or can be of good quality, restoring public trust in tap water is likely to require substantial marketing and advocacy efforts.”

Not necessarily safe

Dr. Bouhlel notes that the source of bottled water (municipal system, surface, etc.) the treatment processes used (e.g. chlorination, ultraviolet disinfection, ozonation, reverse osmosis), the storage conditions (duration, light exposure, temperature), and packaging (plastic, glass), can all potentially alter water quality. This may be inorganic (e.g. heavy metals, pH, turbidity etc.), organic (benzene, pesticides, microplastics, etc.) and microbiological (pathogenic bacteria, viruses, fungus and parasitic protozoa).

According to the report, “the mineral composition of bottled water can vary significantly between different brands, within the same brand in different countries, and even between different bottles of the same batch.”

The report lists examples from over 40 countries in every world region of contamination of hundreds of bottled water brands and all bottled water types.

“This review constitutes strong evidence against the misleading perception that bottled water is an unquestionably safe drinking water source,” says Dr. Bouhlel.

Water bottlers generally face less scrutiny than public water utilities

Co-author Vladimir Smakhtin, past Director of UNU-INWEH, underscores the report’s finding that “bottled water is generally not nearly as well-regulated and is tested less frequently and for fewer parameters. Strict water quality standards for tap water are rarely applied to bottled water, and even if such analyses are carried out, the results seldom make it to the public domain.”

Bottled water producers, he says, have largely avoided the scrutiny governments impose on public water utilities, and amid the market’s rapid growth, it is “probably more important than ever to strengthen legislation that regulates the industry overall, and its water quality standards in particular.”

With respect to the industry’s environmental impacts, the report says there is “little data available on water volumes extracted,” largely due to the lack of transparency and legal foundation that would have forced bottling companies to disclose that information publicly and assess the environmental consequences.”

“Local impacts on water resources may be significant,” the report says.

In the USA, for example, Nestl? Waters extracts 3 million litres a day from Florida Springs; in France, Danone extracts up to 10 million litres a day from Evian-les-Bains in the French Alps; and in China, the Hangzhou Wahaha Group extracts up to 12 million litres daily from Changbai Mountains springs.

Regarding plastic pollution, the researchers cite estimates that the industry produced around 600 billion plastic bottles and containers in 2021, which converts to some 25 million tonnes of PET waste – most of it not recycled and destined for landfills – a mass of plastic equal to the weight of 625,000 40-ton trucks, enough to form a bumper-to-bumper line from New York to Bangkok.

According to the report, the bottled water sector used 35% of the PET bottles produced globally in 2019; 85% wind up in landfills or unregulated waste.

By the numbers

Among the report’s many insights, derived from data analysis and other information assembled from global studies and literature:

Over 1 million bottles of water are sold worldwide every minute
Annual spending per capita worldwide is US$ 34
Worldwide annual consumption of the three main bottled water types – treated, mineral, and natural – is estimated at 350 billion litres
The estimated US $1.225 trillion in bottled water revenues represent 17 to 24% of the global market for non-alcoholic packaged beverages
The biggest market segment (with 47% of global sales) is treated bottled water, which could originate from public water systems or surface water, and that undergoes a disinfection treatment such as chlorination
Citizens of Asia-Pacific are the biggest bottled water consumers, followed by North Americans and Europeans
60% of global sales are in the “Global South” (Asia-Pacific, Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean)
By country, the USA is the largest market, with around US$ 64 billion in sales, followed by China (almost US$ 45 billion) and Indonesia (US$ 22 billion). Together, these three countries constitute almost half of the world market. Other top countries by sales: Canada, Australia, Singapore, Germany, Thailand, Mexico, Thailand, Italy, Japan
The average cost of a bottle of water in North America and Europe is around US$ 2.50, more than double the price in Asia, Africa and LAC ($0.80, $0.90 and $1, respectively). Australia, the fifth largest market, has the highest average price: $3.57 per unit.
Bottled water per litre can cost 150 to 1,000 times more than the price a municipality charges for tap water.
Biggest per capita consumers: Singapore and Australia. Citizens of Singapore spent $1,348 per capita on bottled water in 2021, Australians $386
According to previous studies, about 31% of Canadians, 38% of Americans, and 60% of Italians use bottled water as their primary drinking source. In the Dominican Republic, 60% of households use bottled water as their primary water source, with a strong correlation between income and bottled water consumption. About 80% of Mexicans use bottled water, and 10% use home-purified water as their primary drinking water source; roughly 90% cite health concerns for doing so
Egypt is the fastest-growing market for treated bottled water (40% per year). Seven other countries from the Global South are among the top 10 fastest-growing markets: Algeria, Brazil, Indonesia, United Arab Emirates, India, Morocco, and Saudi Arabia.
In Europe, Germany is the biggest bottled water market; in Latin America and the Caribbean, Mexico is the biggest market; in Africa, it’s South Africa.
Treated water appears to be the market’s largest component by volume, while natural waters appear to generate the most profit.
Five companies – PepsiCo, Coca-Cola, Nestl? S.A., Danone S.A, and Primo Corporation have combined sales of $65 billion, over 25% of the global total
Earlier studies of water withdrawals declared in India, Pakistan, Mexico and Nepal showed total estimated withdrawals by Coca-Cola and Nestl? in 2021 at 300 and 100 billion litres, respectively

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Queen Ifrica Receives 2023 Young, Gifted & Black Reggae/Dancehall Icon Award, Hall Of Fame Induction

Black Immigrant Daily News

The content originally appeared on: DanceHallMag


Fyah Mumma Queen Ifrica recently added the 2023 Young, Gifted & Black (YGB) Entrepreneurial Awards’ Reggae & Dancehall Music Entertainment Icon Award and Hall of Fame Induction to her list of accolades.

In a release, which was posted on their website, the YGB organization noted that Queen Ifrica, whose given name is Ventrice Morgan, had her accolades bestowed at their 18th annual Black Tie Gala & Fundraiser in Queens, New York on February 22, but that it was officially presented to her in person, last week at the ROK Hotel in Kingston.

“Queen Ifrica’s scheduling only allowed acceptance of her honors virtually that night, however, organizers was able to arrange with the ROK Hotel Kingston by Hilton, a private meet & greet reception today to present in person their prestigious honors…,” the release noted.

Queen Ifrica was also presented with a US Congressional Proclamation from the Honorable Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke, a US Senate Resolution from Honorable Senator Kevin Parker & Mayoral Citation from Honorable New York City Mayor Eric L. Adams, the YGB stated.

Queen Ifrica told The Gleaner newspaper that the presentation was a humbling moment in her career.

“This is my legacy. More than anything else, I think it’s about legacy and the fact that I’m being recognised by people who are impacted by my music and by what I do as a public figure. I’m humbled, moreso because it was done of their own accord. I’m just humbled these people saw my name and thought I was deserving of such honours,” she told the publication.

Queen Ifrica’s music career began in 1995 after she shone at a local talent contest in her Montego Bay hometown. 

She became a part of Tony Rebel’s Flames Production in 1998 after the Fresh Vegetable deejay, heard what he regarded as her clean vocals, and saw the unmistakable quality of her performance, during a show in honour of the late Garnett Silk, and asked her to join his team.

In May 2010, following the release of her Montego Bay debut album, Ifrica was the toast of the International Reggae and World Music Awards, which was held in Queens, New York.    

Montego Bay, which was one of the most popular reggae albums of 2009, garnered her four awards: Artiste of the Year, Most Educational Artiste of the Year, Songwriter of the Year and Best Female deejay. 

The album tracks included Don’t Sign, Far away, In My Dreams, Lioness on the rise, Montego Bay, Coconut Shell, Yad to the East, calling Africa, Keep it to Yourself, Streets are Bloody, TTPNC and the controversial Daddy, a song about incest.  There were two versions of Daddy on the Montego Bay album, one in English and the other in Spanish.

Among Ifrica’s other hits are Serve and Protect, Times Like These, Far Away, Randy, Below the Waist and Let’s get Silly.

According to a VP Records release in late April 2021, Queen Ifrica, was working on new material in preparation for her forthcoming album for that label.

And in February last year, Ifrica had also revealed that both Nuh Rush Records and Organic Records were among the production houses with which she would be working to produce her upcoming album, which will be her first full-length project since her 2017 Billboard Reggae Albums chart-topping album Climb.

After disappearing from social media in 2020, and seemingly taking a hiatus from public life, Ifrica had resurfaced in April 2021 when she released the track Four Women (a Nina Simone cover version of an original released in 1966 on her Wild Is the Wind album) to mark the anniversary of the 1969 recording of the Jazz icon’s Live from Berkley album.

The track, which was produced by Medication singer, Stephen Marley, was released “in tribute to the legendary an American jazz singer, composer, pianist and arranger, and was part of a seven-track Reggae EP titled Celebrating Nina: A Reggae Tribute to Nina Simone, which also featured songs from her compatriots Cedella Marley and Etana.

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