The Pantheon Returns After First Major Trinidad Carnival

Black Immigrant Daily News

By Marcia Braveboy


News Americas, PORT-OF-SPAIN, Trinidad, Weds. March 29, 2023: The PANTHEON Exhibition in Trinidad was born out of the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown in 2020, and frustrating restrictions that crippled Carnival and the world.

This year, the first PANTHEON Exhibition post COVID and on the heels of the first major Trinidad and Tobago carnival was held on Sunday March 12th to Sunday 19th March, at Mille Fleur, one of the magnificent seven buildings around the Savannah in Port of Spain.

Curator and creator, Rubadir Victor who is also president of the Artist’s Coalition of Trinidad and Tobago, (ACTT). (Marcia Braveboy image)

Curator and creator, Rubadir Victor, resumed the reinforcing, persistent and motivational work of showcasing the phenomenal costumes of the Kings and Queens of Carnival.

Children delight in the costumes on display at the Pantheon Exhibit from March 12-19, 2023. (Marcia Braveboy image)

Carnival lovers, creators of the mas and citizens and children from across Trinidad and Tobago, continue to salivate over this exhibition, even after the first major Carnival event was held on February 20 and 21, 2023 for the first time without any COVID-19 restrictions

Many are spellbound not because it is the first of its kind in T&T’s Carnival history or that the exhibition was born out of a crippling pandemic but over the creativity of the Kings and Queens costumes and the intellectual presentations of why Carnival and the mas is so valuable to societies worldwide.

Citizens of T&T are still embracing the exhibition, weeks after carnival 2023, which saw mas creation slowly returning to a stronger sense of traditional mas.

Children have attended with their parents as well as tourists, mas creators and many other people from different walks of life were there.

Fiona Coomber was one among scores of visitors who visited and absorbed the exhibition on Saturday 18th March. Her mother was born in T&T, her grandmother in Grenada and her Grandfather in Barbados. (Marcia Braveboy image)

Fiona Coomber was one among scores of visitors who visited and absorbed the exhibition on Saturday 18th March, the seventh day of the showcase. She said more people need to see and appreciate all the hard work that go into the magnificent structures.

“I think it should be regular, every year, everybody should be able to see it; I think the creativity is extraordinary, it is magnificent, and I really think the whole world should know about it,” said Coomber, a British white woman of Caribbean parentage, about PANTHEON the Exhibition.

Some of the costumes on display at Pantheon 2023. (Marcia Braveboy image).

The majestic Peacock at Pantheon 2023. (Marcia Braveboy image)

She hopes that a space can be developed to at least house miniature versions of the costumes, as a way of preserving their significance for some time and maybe add just one giant size structure, since it is not practical to find the space required for several large sized costumes.

Deron Atz, the mas man. (Marcia Braveboy image)

Coomber said while it is not possible to house 50 years of Kings and Queens costumes, but she does see value in replicating the finished pieces into miniatures, and save that, so one can see the evolution of ideas to help assist the continued creation of mas costumes. She finds it heart breaking that they get destroyed immediately after Carnival events and one wild weekend.

Additional to the PANTHEON the Exhibition, were large screens and technological darkroom display of a history of traditional mas in Trinidad and Tobago.

The digital immersive experience room where the traditional costumes of past Kings and Queens of Carnival were shown. (Marcia Braveboy image)

NAN’s Marcia Braveboy (r) at Pantheon 2023.

PANTHEON the exhibition will be back in 2024 Victor told NAN news and promised to continue working with stakeholders, to find an adequate space to house the Kings and Queens costumes.

Guyana welcomes inaugural British Airways flight

Black Immigrant Daily News

The content originally appeared on: Caribbean News Service

Guyana on Monday night welcomed the arrival of the British Airways flight from London with the government saying it underscores its aggressive policy-driven approach to development and heavy investments.

“Connecting the world to Guyana remains a priority of this government. We see Guyana as an active part of a global travel network, and we are continually engaging major airlines with a view to encouraging them to serve this destination.

“Our pursuit of airline connectivity is part of a wider strategic economic objective to make Guyana easily and affordably accessible to all business in all sectors, including the leisure and pleasure travel sector,” said Tourism, Industry and Commerce Minister, Oneidge Walrond, adding that the introduction of the flights presents a myriad of opportunities for Guyana.

Public Works Minister, Bishop Juan Edghill, told the welcoming ceremony that “we are growing, and we will continue to grow. So, there are two things we’re doing. We’re expanding facilities at the airport, and we are growing routes”.

Minister within the Ministry of Public Works, Deodat Indar, said “Guyanese should be proud that what we have now is an environment that can bring more aircraft from different destinations.

“For an investment decision to fly the Guyana route, it took some amount of doing, some amount of calculation, and some amount of confidence in Guyana, and I am hoping that other airways follow suit as British Airways did to fly this route,” said Indar.

Among the passengers on the inaugural flight at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport,

were the United Kingdom’s Minister for the Caribbean and the Americas, David Rutley, and St. Lucia’s Tourism, Investment, Creative Industries, Culture and Information, Dr. Ernest Hilaire.

Hilaire said the return of British Airways to Guyana – United Kingdom (UK) route is a win for Caribbean integration.

“We came to celebrate you receiving this flight… I cannot recall a direct flight from Guyana to St Lucia, so just like this is a milestone for you, the flight returning is a milestone of St Lucia,” Hilaire said as he pointed to the new possibilities for people-to-people and tourism exchanges.

The airline will service the route twice weekly with one stop in St Lucia.

Last last year, London announced that Guyanese nationals would be allowed visa-free entry into the European country for up to 180 days.

Rutley said he would be using his visit here to “launch a new chamber of commerce as well which will then help to cement those relationships at the business level.”

UK High Commissioner to Guyana, Jane Miller said the inaugural flight is not only the culmination of hard work at the business and diplomatic levels but also a personal win for so many people.

“It feels transformational. It’s a huge step for me both personally and professionally,” she said.

The new organization, BritCham Guyana says it will foster an open networking environment where companies can engage and discuss issues impacting their businesses and UK-Guyana trade.

“We would like to congratulate BritCham Guyana and we look forward to working with the team,” said Anne-Marie Martin, Director of Membership UK & International at the British Chambers of Commerce.

“BritCham Guyana offers an opportunity to bring together a rich and diverse network of UK investors, exports, and services with strong governance, world-class standards, and experience that complement the ambitions of Guyana’s business community through long-term and sustainable partnerships,” Miller added.

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Trinidadian Olympian released on bail after being charged with gun and drug charges

Black Immigrant Daily News

The content originally appeared on: Caribbean News Service

Olympian Njisane Phillip will return to court on April 24 after being granted TT$300,000 (One TT dollar=US$ 0.16 cents) bail on firearm and drug-related charges.

Phillip, 31, appeared virtually before Senior Magistrate Armina Deonarinesingh in the San Fernando Court on three charges, including possession of a firearm, possession of ammunition and possession of marijuana.

He was ordered to surrender both his Trinidad and Tobago and United States passports and to report to a police station every Wednesday.

Njisane Phillip, a two-time Olympic cyclist, was arrested on Saturday evening after police pulled over his vehicle for allegedly speeding along the Solomon Hochoy Highway. Media reports said that while he was being questioned by the police, the officers got a strong scent of marijuana coming from his vehicle.

The officers searched the vehicle and allegedly found 62 grams of marijuana and a firearm with a magazine containing four rounds of 9 mm ammunition.

He was arrested and later charged.

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Jamaican farmers urged to guard against the TR4 Disease

Black Immigrant Daily News

The content originally appeared on: Caribbean News Service

The Banana Board is urging Jamaican farmers to implement measures to protect their holdings against the TR4 disease even though the disease has not yet been detected in any Caribbean country.

TR4 disease, which is also known as Fusarium odoratissimum, is a threat to commercial varieties of the local banana, plantain, and ornamental Heliconia crops.

“It is not in Jamaica and it is not yet in the Caribbean but in 2019 it came to South America to Colombia and it stayed there for a while. In 2021, it moved from Colombia to Peru and in January 2023, just two months ago, it jumped into Venezuela,” said Banana Board general manager, Janet Conie.

She said that the disease has the real danger or potential to wipe out the entire industry and that the TR4 is a soil-borne fungal disease that can stay in the soil for 30 years for which there is no cure and no resistant commercial varieties.

“What we need to do is to keep it out. What happens when it comes is that it spreads in the soil, in water, on tools and equipment, and by people moving. We are very concerned that it is in Venezuela because the traffic between Venezuela and Trinidad is real and the traffic between Jamaica and Trinidad is very real,” she added.

With the potential effects of the TR4, farmers are being encouraged to ramp up border security, farm biosecurity, as well as diagnostic and surveillance measures, which are critical to preventing the spread of the disease.

“We are motivating our farmers to secure their farms in Jamaica. We are telling them to fence them and put footpaths for persons that come on the farms, that they walk in these footpaths and to disinfect their shoes,” Mrs. Conie said, noting that the Banana Board is also encouraging Jamaicans who travel to be mindful of their movements in countries where the TR4 is present.

“Anybody can bring it in if they are unaware of what they do. If you go to a South American country now, into a banana field, we ask you not to bring your clothes and shoes back, because you may bring it inadvertently,” Mrs. Conie said.

So far, the Banana Board has been working to strengthen the industry against the threat of the disease.

“We have been preparing. We have varieties that are not so commercial but are fairly resistant and we have been multiplying those in Jamaica, so we have something for food security should we be affected,” she added.

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US increases visa processing fees for Caribbean visitors

Black Immigrant Daily News

The content originally appeared on: Caribbean News Service

The United States Department of State on Tuesday published a Final Rule regarding increases to certain non-immigrant visa application (NIV) processing fees for Caribbean and other visitors.

The increases, published Tuesday in the US Federal Register, will become effective on May 30, 2023.

The State Department said the fee for visitor visas for business or tourism (B1/B2s and BCCs), and other non-petition-based NIVs, such as student and exchange visitor visas, will increase from US$160 to US$185.

The fee for certain petition-based non-immigrant visas for temporary workers (H, L, O, P, Q, and R categories) will increase from US$190 to US$205, the State Department said, adding that the fee for a treaty trader, treaty investor and treaty applicants in a specialty occupation (E category) will increase from US$205 to US$315.

“NIV fees are set based on the actual cost of providing NIV services and are determined after conducting a study of the cost of these services,” said the State Department, noting that it uses an Activity-Based Costing (ABC) methodology to calculate, annually, the cost of providing consular services, including visa services.

The fees for most non-petition-based NIVs were last updated in 2012, and certain other NIV fees were last updated in 2014.

The State Department said other consular fees are not affected by this rule, including the waiver of the two-year residency required fee for certain exchange visitors.

“Visas for work and tourism are essential to President Biden’s foreign policy, and we recognize the critical role international travel plays in the US economy,” it said, adding “the Department of State is committed to facilitating legitimate travel to the United States for both immigrant and non-immigrant travelers.”

The State Department also said that the increased fees affect the Border Crossing Card (BCC) for Mexican citizens age 15 and over.

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Mighty Crown Sound System To Retire After 30 Years

Black Immigrant Daily News

The content originally appeared on: DanceHallMag


Renowned Japanese sound system Mighty Crown is on the last lap of its career after three decades. The decision might shock some, but with the changing climate in Dancehall, the selectors think it is time to step aside.

“The challenge with continuing is being forced to play songs that don’t speak of your experiences and Dancehall lifestyle. For example, Mighty Crown’s generation smoked weed. So, the sound enjoyed playing ganja songs because they felt the lyrical content.  It was a major part of the dancehall lifestyle. We are weed smokers.  We don’t do drugs, so how do we endorse songs about  doing drugs?” Garfield “Chin” Bourne of Irish and Chin, manager of Mighty Crown for over 20 years, said in an interview with DancehallMag.

Bourne added that the group of selectors, made up of Masta Simon, Sami T, Cojie, and Ninja, created their own legacy, and have no qualms with giving the fresh faces a chance.

“If you want to perform at your best, then your performance must be real. It’s critical because the realness shows in your presentation. Mighty Crown doesn’t live today’s Dancehall life,” he said. “The sound is one of a few masters of yesterday’s Dancehall life, so it’s time to let the younger generation carry the torch without interpretation from us (our generation).  Mighty Crown had the time and made the best of it! Mighty Crown made history….. but, the industry’s history doesn’t stop with this generation. Others will come and do great things because the music is speaking for their generation of greatness.”

Bourne continued: “I don’t want Mighty Crown to remembered as the sound team that should have quit while they were ahead. We want to be remembered as a multi-award winning sound team that sucessfully showed the world that when Jamaican sound system culture is marketed  the right way, sky is the limit.”

Mighty Crown recently kicked off the Final Round Tour in Japan and is looking to visit Canada, United Kingdom, United States and the Caribbean before bidding farewell.

Their last performance will be in mid-July on the Far East Reggae Cruise.

The sound system now represents the smaller component of their brand. Retiring the sound allows 100 percent focus on other business sectors, such as their record label, clothing line, event production and endorsements. 

Although the sound may be playing their “Final Round,” Mighty Crown will continue to make their mark as Asia’s most prominent Reggae Ambassadors.

The renowned sound system has made history as the first ever to have a sneaker/shoe collaboration. The Far East Rulaz zesty shoe game is impressive, raking in collabs with Nike, Mita Sneakers, Le Coq Sportif, Clae and Diadora. Mighty Crown closed 2022 on an all time high note, partnering with Clarks Originals for a second time. From this union, Mighty Crown puts their unique stamp on the classic Wallabees made popular by Jamaican music and culture, Reggae in particular.

According to Mighty Crown’s manager, all members are content with the level of success they have achieved over the last three decades.

“We all set different goals for ourselves,” he said.

“I wanted to create a legacy in sound system culture not only as a promoter, but as someone who helped the global development of the craft of sound system competitions aka sound clash.  At the same time, with Mighty Crown, I set out to prove to the world that talent is talent and the music should not be judged by colour, but by ability. Either you can do the job or not…. that is all that matters.”

“Ninja Crown proved to the world that he could overcome all doubts and enhance Mighty Crown’s career exponentially. Undoubtedly,  Ninja is credited as the Jamaican selector to transforn Mighty Crown from being a clash sound to being a household name. Sami and Simon fell in love with Jamaican music at a young age.  For them, becoming global reggae ambassadors and the biggest reggae act in their country is a dream come true,” Bourne outlined.

In an iconic career moment, “The Far East Rulaz” were hand-picked by Japan’s late Prime Minister Shinzō Abe to attend and perform at an exclusive, invite-only dinner welcoming Jamaica’s Prime Minister Andrew Holness to Japan in 2019. 

Abe had introduced Mighty Crown to Holness as “The 1999 World Clash Champions” and both men had engaged in conversation with the Mighty Crown selectors, about the impact of Jamaican music on their personal and professional lives.

During the event, Mighty Crown had played selections from several Jamaican artists, including Bob Marley, Beres Hammond, and Richie Stephens. And they musically introduced Prime Minister Abe to the ‘Crown Prince of Reggae,’ Dennis Brown.

As Bourne continued to reflect on the last few decades, he recalled how the group had made an unmatched mark for themselves thanks to hard work and creativity.

“They are the sound system that opened the door for non-West Indian sounds to be recognized and accepted in the global sound clash arena.  Their ‘99 World Clash victory sparked a movement of sounds from all over the world seeking to become famous,” he said.

“Mighty Crown raised the bar as it related to cutting dubplate specials.  Fans started to come to events just to witness what new customized dubs they would play and its impact on the crowd.  Mighty Crown’s creativity was next level.  This  forced sounds to also become more creative. Additionally, Mighty Crown is the only sound system that truly started from the bottom and made it to the highest level. They did it in an authentic way, competing and defeating the best the industry had to offer.”

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Three dead, 16 missing after boat from Antigua capsizes near St. Kitts

Black Immigrant Daily News

The content originally appeared on: Caribbean News Service

Three people died and 13 are missing after a boat capsized near the eastern Caribbean island of St Kitts early Tuesday, authorities said.

The boat was carrying 32 passengers, 16 of whom were rescued, according to the government’s Antigua and Barbuda Broadcasting Services.

Officials in St. Kitts are leading the search and said the majority of those rescued are from unidentified countries in Africa. It was not immediately clear where the people who died were from.

The boat sank about 40 miles (60 kilometers) northwest of Antigua. It was not immediately clear where it was headed, Col. Telbert Benjamin, chief of defense for Antigua and Barbuda’s Defense Force, told the government’s media outlet.

“The vessel went down in relatively deep water, and so recovery … might be a bit of a challenge,” Benjamin said.

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Major climate diplomacy breakthrough as UN General Assembly adopts resolution on advisory opinion on climate change

Black Immigrant Daily News

The content originally appeared on: Caribbean News Service

Today the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution by consensus seeking an advisory opinion on climate change and human rights from the International Court of Justice (ICJ).This is a milestone moment in a campaign launched over two years ago by the Pacific Island Students Fighting Climate Change (PISFCC), in a law school classroom in Vanuatu.

It was taken forward as a diplomatic endeavor by the Government of Vanuatu who worked alongside 18 nations on preparing the first draft and ultimately won the backing of over 120 countries before it was tabled in the UN today.

An advisory opinion from the ICJ will provide clarity to States on their obligations under international law to protect citizens, now and in the future, from the harms of climate impacts and their responsibility in upholding fundamental human rights.While non-binding in nature, it will add weight to efforts to hold governments accountable on climate promises and in climate negotiations in multilateral fora. It can be cited as an important precedent in climate litigation.

Today’s win is a significant diplomatic moment for Vanuatu and Pacific Island nations who have long championed the need for a Loss and Damage fund – which came to fruition at COP27- and more recently backed a six-nation Pacific region call for a global phaseout of fossil fuels and a Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty.The resolution will now reach the International Court of Justice to deliver an advisory opinion, which will be a first for the Court on the issue of climate change.

“This is not a silver bullet but it can make an important contribution to climate action. The world is at a crossroads and we as the international community have the obligation to take greater action. Together we can send a loud and clear message into the future that on this very day the people of the United Nations acting through their governments decided to leave behind their differences and act together to tackle the challenge of climate change,” said H.E. Ishmael Kalsakau, Prime Minister of Vanuatu, as he proposed the draft resolution at the UN today.

Reactions from civil society

“Today’s adoption in the UN of the resolution to seek an advisory opinion on climate change from the International Court of Justice by consensus by countries is a truly historic moment in our quest for stronger accountability and actions from governments in addressing climate change. This moment has been long in the making. What started as a campaign by Pacific Island students in a law school classroom, and then taken forward by the government of Vanuatu, is now set to go to the world’s highest court.This is a huge diplomatic success by Vanuatu and Pacific Island nations and another powerful example of how civil society and governments can work together to achieve success, as was also demonstrated by the agreement on the Loss and Damage Fund. We look forward to supporting the efforts to get clarity and seek justice through the ICJ on the obligations of States towards their citizens in the protection from climate change, now and in the future.”– Tasneem Essop, Executive Director, Climate Action Network International

“Today’s outcome is a win for people and communities across the world that are at the frontlines of the climate crisis. The Pacific has again exemplified that despite the threats of this existential crisis, we are resolute in our efforts to effectively and urgently ratchet up climate ambition, seeking avenues to protect the rights of those most vulnerable, including future generations, and uphold the principles of intergenerational equity. The work has only just begun, and the road to The Hague requires everyone to push their Governments to make submissions that highlight the clear linkages between the climate crisis and human rights when called on by the Court.” – Lavetanalagi Seru, Regional Policy Coordinator, Pacific Islands Climate Action Network

“The milestone reached today affirms the power of community-driven, people-centered campaigns for climate justice and accountability. This resolution marks a momentous step toward clarifying what existing law requires states to do to curb climate change and protect human rights. The International Court of Justice can translate the clear scientific evidence that fossil fuels are driving the climate crisis into clear legal imperatives to phase them out now and implement proven, available solutions. It also can – and indeed must – hold states accountable for the mounting suffering caused by their failure to act.” – Nikki Reisch, Director of CIEL’s Climate and Energy Program

“Today’s UNGA resolution is an important landmark in the campaign for the International Court of Justice Advisory Opinion on climate change and human rights led by the Pacific Islands Students Fighting Climate Change and the civil society of Pacific nations. An advisory opinion from the world’s highest court will cement consensus on the scientific evidence of climate change, the impetus for more ambitious action under the Paris Agreement and a roadmap for international cooperation and assistance to combat the impacts of climate change on the world’s most vulnerable nations.” – Sanjay Vashist, Director, Climate Action Network South Asia (CANSA)

“Climate lawsuits are booming in Europe at the moment, and an advisory opinion from the International Court of Justice could trigger even more cases, and should also carry weight and help national and European courts’ reasoning when deciding on climate change cases”.– Romain Didi, Climate Governance and Human Rights Policy Expert, Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe

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8 Caribbean countries take part in mission to know public school feeding policy in the Dominican Republic

Black Immigrant Daily News

The content originally appeared on: Caribbean News Service

Representatives from 10 Latin American and Caribbean countries took part in an international technical mission in the Dominican Republic from March 13 to 17, organized by the trilateral south-south cooperation project Consolidation of School Feeding Programmes in LAC, carried out by the Brazil-FAO International Cooperation.

The objective of the mission was to promote the exchange of experiences and good practices to strengthen the public policy on school feeding in the region, as well as conclude the second stage of a course on school feeding for participants from the Caribbean countries. Due to that, theoretical contents were presented and field activities were developed during the five days.

The mission was made up of managers and technicians from school feeding programmes from the Ministries of Education, Agriculture and Health of Belize, Brazil, Bahamas, Chile, Guyana, Jamaica, Saint Lucia, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Trinidad and Tobago.

The school feeding project is part of the actions of the Brazil-FAO International Cooperation Programme. It is developed jointly by the Brazilian Cooperation Agency of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (ABC/MRE), the National Fund for Educational Development of the Ministry of Education (FNDE/MEC), and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

The mission also concluded the second stage of the training School Feeding Programmes and Food and Nutrition Education – carried out by the Brazil-FAO Cooperation – with participants from Belize, Bahamas, Guyana, Jamaica, Saint Lucia, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and Trinidad and Tobago. The first phase occurred in 2020 and could not be finished until now due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The activity generated a space for theoretical and experiential learning, promoting a meeting among the Caribbean countries that are working on improving the quality of their school feeding programmes. A strong focus on food and nutrition education was highlighted in this activity. “Being able to share good experiences and think about joint solutions was enriching for all the participants and created beneficial professional relationships to continue this work,” said Gabriela Ayon Chang, course facilitator.

School and field experiences

During the five-day mission, participants visited schools and a family farmers’ cooperative, which allowed them to talk with school feeding authorities and technicians, fathers and mothers, teachers, students, as well as producers involved in the provision of local food, among other actors.

During the visits, it was clear the involvement of the community around the school, the use of school gardens as pedagogical tools, the importance of the school’s infrastructure, a healthy menu and the public purchases from family farming.

Participants were also introduced to the implementation of Dominican’s School Feeding Programme, developed by the National Institute for Student Welfare (INABIE). With the Brazilian participants of the FNDE, they also could learn about progress, challenges, concepts, guidelines, legal frameworks, objectives, and implementation of the school feeding policy at different levels of government (federal, state, and municipal).


“I saw here a glimpse of the future into what is possible mainly in terms of having people from the community having ownership and being a part of the process within the schools. So I see that as something that we can bring back locally and try to implement”, said Latoya Smith, coordinator of school feeding from the FAO office in Trinidad and Tobago.

“We were able to see the impact of school feeding in the field, in dialogue with students and family farmers,” said Mahendra Phaghwah, breakfast programme’s coordinator of Guyana’s Ministry of Education. “School feeding does not discriminate and it is not a vulnerability programme, school feeding is for all”.

For Bertland Bates, from the Jamaican Ministry of Agriculture, the experience of involving family farming in school feeding and the infrastructure of schools to offer food were the topics that most caught his attention.

The coordinator of the school feeding project of the Brazil-FAO International Cooperation, Najla Veloso, assessed that the mission promoted a space for dialogue and exchange among the Caribbean countries. “It was an occasion to call on sister countries to think together about how we can build a better continent and a better world, where all students eat, learn and improve their health conditions, moving the regional food chain with family farming. It was possible to understand that it is possible to do this policy better and better, how we do it in Brazil and how the Dominican Republic is doing”.

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Rick Ross, Beenie Man To Perform At VaCae Weekend In April

Black Immigrant Daily News

The content originally appeared on: DanceHallMag


Andrew Ellis, CEO of Supreme Team Limited — the entity responsible for spearheading VaCae Weekend — says American rapper Rick Ross is anticipating his performance at this year’s staging.

“Rick Ross is a family friend. He was the major performer at our Sandz Florida event; it was a good show, and throughout that time we’ve built a relationship with him. He loves Jamaica, as most people know…We’ve provided him with an opportunity to come to the island and deliver a strong performance for his fanbase, not only here—but in the diaspora markets who are coming back to the island. He’s excited about it 100 per cent. We expect a great performance,” he told DancehallMag at VaCae Weekend’s media launch held at Volkswagen Jamaica in Kingston on Wednesday night.

VaCae Weekend will be held in Ocho Rios, St. Ann, between April 7 and 10. It will feature a series of events, including The Lawn, Pan Di Plaza, Aqua Holix, Strictly 2K, Sandz, Ova Suh and The Estate.

Other performers include Beenie Man, Stalk Ashley, and Gyptian.

The Hustlin’ rapper told his Jamaican fans as early as January that he would be coming to Jamaica soon. He even teased his rendition of patois by using Valiant’s “rich ah lie??” slang.

Rick Ross previously teamed up with Reggae singer Skip Marley and Ari Lennox on the 2020 track Make Me Feel, and with Konshens and Rvssian on Big Belly, released in 2018.

Meanwhile, Ellis touted Jamaica as the entertainment capital of the world and says collaborating with international acts provides for exposure for the island.

“Everybody takes from us, everybody wants some of our influence because we have it. This is the home. This is the mecca of entertainment and definitely this is one step in that direction. We want to invite international artists here to the island so that people can understand that we have the capability, the resources and the venues that can facilitate first world performances. We want to be included in every tour, in everything that every major artist is doing so that we can build up not only the entertainment industry but the entertainment industry worldwide and push music forward,” the CEO said.

According to Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Hon. Olivia Grange last month, Jamaica’s creative sector generated approximately US$2.2 billion in earnings during 2022.

That is approximately 5.2 percent of Jamaica’s gross domestic product (GDP), and three percent of direct and indirect employment.

Adversely, the industry took a J$26 billion hit in just two months during the onslaught of the coronavirus lockdown in 2020. 

Ellis further told DancehallMag that his team is no stranger to rubbing shoulders with global stars, and patrons can expect to see more at its events in the future. 

“When we were doing Florida during Covid, we actually invited DaBaby. He was a major superstar. He was a part of Sandz Florida. Members on our team was also involved in the planning and execution of Burna Boy Live the other day, it was a good show so we’re gonna continue that. There’s a lot more shows to come too,” he said.

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