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Empowering new writers with prizes

Lifestyle - Sun, 07/15/2018 - 02:01

Literary prizes are proven investments with guaranteed returns, says a release from the Bocas Lit Fest. And a geographically small yet complex place like the Caribbean requires continuous investment to help draw out emerging literary talent.

One such venture, according to the Bocas release, was the Hollick Arvon Caribbean Writers Prize, which ran over the period 2013- 2015.

“Three years later, we have Thicker than Water—a new anthology of Caribbean writing showcasing new work by prize finalists, including Trinidadian winners Barbara Jenkins (fiction, 2013) and Danielle Boodoo Fortuné (poetry, 2015).”

Both writers also launched their books that resulted from the Hollick  Arvon Prize at the 2018 NGC Bocas Lit Fest.

“A publication of Peekash Press (Bocas’ very own publishing company), the anthology features the best of a new generation of Caribbean writers from seven countries, and celebrates the unique legacy of the first award for emerging Caribbean authors with truly regional scope.

“Following its Caribbean and international launch at the 2018 NGC Bocas Lit Fest, the anthology’s UK launch, hosted by Arvon (prize co-administrator and UK literary foundation), will take place on Thursday at the Free Word Centre in London. Five distinguished British-Caribbean writers: Colin Grant, Anthony Joseph, Karen McCarthy Woolf, Courttia Newland and Kerry Young will bring to life the work of Richard Georges, Barbara Jenkins, Diana McCaulay, Shivanee N Ramlochan and Hazel Simmons McDonald.”

The event will be livestreamed via the Bocas Lit Fest facebook page www.facebook.com/bocaslitfest/ from 6:30pm (UK time).

There is also a new prize dedicated to nurturing new Caribbean voices, The Johnson and Amoy Achong Caribbean Writers Prize, now open for submissions.

Managed by The Bocas Lit Fest and Arvon, this Prize replaces the Hollick Arvon Caribbean Writers Prize. It is an annual award, which allows an emerging Caribbean writer living and working in the Anglophone Caribbean to devote time to advancing or finishing a literary work, with support from an established writer as mentor. The prize is offered across three literary genres - fiction in 2019, non-fiction in 2020 and poetry in 2021.

The prize is named after Johnson and Amoy Achong and commemorates their lives as loyal and hard-working citizens of this country whose children have continued to contribute to the building of T&T.

Bocas Lit Fest founder and director Marina Salandy-Brown says “We must not underestimate the value of these prizes in honing talent and in growing the pool of Caribbean writers. We can safely say the returns on literary arts investments are evident as they are enduring. And we’re excited to see what this new prize yields for Caribbean writing over the next few years.”

The first winner of the Johnson and Amoy Achong Caribbean Writers Prize will be announced in 2019. Submissions close September 30, 2018. For more information and prize guidelines, see bocaslitfest.com

More info

About Thicker than Water

Difficult parents and lost children, unfaithful spouses and spectral lovers, mysterious ancestors and fierce bloodlines—the stories, poems, and memoirs in this new anthology tackle everything that’s most complicated and thrilling about family and history in the Caribbean.

Collecting new writing by finalists for the Hollick Arvon Caribbean Writers Prize, a groundbreaking award administered by the Bocas Lit Fest, Thicker Than Water shows us how a new generation of Caribbean authors address perennial questions of love, betrayal, and memory in small places where personal and collective histories are often troublingly intertwined.

About the Johson and Amoy

Achong Caribbean Writers Prize The Prize consists of a cash award of $20,000 (TT) (or the equivalent in USD), a year’s mentoring by an established writer, travel to the United Kingdom to attend a oneweek intensive Arvon creative writing course at one of Arvon’s internationally renowned writing houses, and three days in London to network with editors and publishers, hosted by Arvon, in association with the Free Word Centre and a leading London literary agency

Categories: Entertainment News

Friend or foe?

Lifestyle - Sun, 07/15/2018 - 01:45

This series of articles will cover inter-dog aggression. Readers must understand that these articles are for guidance only. Aggression between dogs is a complex psychological condition requiring a professional dog behaviourist to evaluate and treat each case individually. In this second (and then third) articles of the series we will assess how and when inter-dog aggression develops.

Inter-dog aggression is fighting between dogs living in the same household. In human society, it is often said that “we can choose our friends but not our family.” While dogs are social and live in groups, in a free-ranging environment a dog would be able to choose which group to live in and to leave those groups where he is not welcome. This applies to humans as well—most of us would not be able to live peacefully with a group of individuals that someone else picks for us. Most of us cannot even live harmoniously with our own families! However, we expect our dogs to do just that—live with friends that we pick for them, but some dogs will simply never be friends.

The natural dog pack consists of strong individuals and weaker members. The strong protect and guide the rest. Size is not necessarily an indication of strength in some cases—many dog owners are familiar with the tiny yappy fluffy dog who “rules over” the massive docile St Bernard! However, there is generally a parental figure (sometimes two—a male and a female) who takes charge and who the rest follow. At this stage, we must address the “alpha” concept. Sadly, many dog breeders, trainers, and owners still buy into the “alpha” myth. This outdated idea that there is a dominant male and/or female who aggressively keeps the rest of the pack in submission has little scientific data to support it. People who breed and train dogs often tolerate and perhaps even encourage aggressive behaviour between dogs because they think it normal when it is not. Rank is never absolute, and it is never taken—it is conferred by others. We will come back to this in a later article to this series and show you how you, as a dog owner, may be contributing to your dogs’ fighting.

Dogs have two developmental stages of maturity. The first is sexual maturity and this is when a dog becomes physically capable of reproduction—the testicles in the male descend and the female goes into her first heat. On average this happens at around six months of age. The second is social maturity which is when a dog becomes an adult, which occurs between 18 to 24 months of age. The period between sexual and social maturity is when a dog tries to challenge his owners and other dogs, similar to a teenager testing the boundaries set by his parents. It is during this period that an owner may first notice signs of aggression between the dogs.

Copyright © Kristel-Marie Ramnath 2018

Categories: Entertainment News

Quincy’s song of redemption

Lifestyle - Sun, 07/15/2018 - 01:33

The Sunday Guardian will begin its series today on rehabilitation and reintegration—stories of the lives of inmates and ex-prisoners.

Today we speak with former inmate Quincy Roberts about his passion for music and where he wants to go in life.

The need to feel loved, wanted, important, and recognised for his gift often makes ex-prisoner Quincy Roberts awkwardly desire to be back behind bars.

“Don’t get me wrong, ‘eh’ miss,” he quickly chimes in. “I ‘doh’ mean go back there for doing something wrong. But when I was in prison I was a star. Everything was Quincy Roberts this, Quincy Roberts that.”

The father of two, who describes music as his lifeline, gained popularity in the throes of Port-of-Spain Remand Prison from  this very love of music, quickly leading him to becoming an integral part of the various prison music bands.

Within six months of his incarceration, the then 25 year old became literate in music theory and versed on several instruments including the guitar, bass, drum, and keyboard. It did not come as a surprise to the former Beetham Gardens resident when he received a distinction in music through the prison’s music programme and soon after found himself as teacher of the art to other inmates. But that joy and sense of pride once felt by Roberts has died since the first-time offender, who spent nearly five years behind bars, was released on bail last year.

“Let me tell you something, eh. I love music so bad I’ll die for it. And when I was in prison, people…all them big musician who used to pass through, used to tell me ‘oh gosh, you could real play music, you could real sing.

When ‘yuh’ come out I want to help you do this and do that.’ And when ‘yuh’ come out of prison ‘yuh’ get to realise is just games people was playing with ‘yuh.’

He explained that without support it’s difficult for an exprisoner to have a fruitful life after incarceration as they are not taken seriously and most times people are unwilling to give them a chance.

“Is a nasty stigma ‘yuh’ does get.

Everybody does think when ‘yuh’ come out of prison ‘yuh’ come out to do the same thing again. People don’t even know what you were in jail for. Some people went to jail innocently. But once they hear you ‘was’ in jail, they think ‘yuh’ is a criminal and a no good.” Roberts has been looking for work since his release but has been turned down each time he spoke the truth.

“Miss, I don’t want to lie or anything, so I does tell them the truth because with a record how you producing a certificate of character when they ask for it? So I does tell them the truth and that does be the end of the interview right ‘dey’.”

A hustle since returning to freedom During the Sunday Guardian’s coverage on the Charlotte Street vending issue back in April, we ran into the former Morvant- Laventille student who was selling produce at the corner of Queen and Charlotte streets. He tells us that has been his “hustle” since returning to “freedom.” But there is no real joy in doing this, he reiterates, as music is Roberts’s first and only love.

He talks about his father beating drums for Trinidad All Stars Steel Orchestra back in the day and briefly reminisces on his childhood days when he would accompany his father to the pan yard for rehearsals.

“As long as I could remember, music was always in my head. I was always writing or chanting… the melodies and the rhythms does just keep flowing,” Roberts, who has filled two large notebooks with his own compositions, says.

Prior to our Charlotte Street “bounce up,” we first became acquainted with Roberts in February 2016 when he performed at the T&T Prison Service grand Carnival calypso fiesta concert, where each monarch from the various prison sections were brought out to perform for the public at Woodford Square.

Roberts, who placed second at the Port-of-Spain Remand Prison, was a crowd pleaser from the moment he took the microphone to deliver his self-composed social commentary titled Still in Slavery, which was inspired by the book, Mandela’s Way. With perfect diction and strong stage presence, he commanded the crowd that cheered him on as he sang his offering, which spoke to modernised slavery. Often times you could hear people shouting: “Kaiso! Kaiso!”

Back then, he told the T&T Guardian, he fashioned his style of performance after multiple Calypso Monarch titleholder Roderick “Chucky” Gordon, saying the calypsonian gives him goose bumps whenever he performs.

“His commentary on social ills does really speak to me,” he says. ‘Give us a chance’ Speaking of social ills, coming from a marginalised community, we asked Roberts who was raised in a single parent home, if he believed the environment in which he grew fosters or dictates an inevitable life of crime. Without hesitation and despite his older brother being murdered in these “rough paths,” he dispels this.

“Let me tell you something, ‘eh’ miss, we know that people say circumstances make you who you become. But I telling ‘yuh,’ no environment or community could make anybody do something wrong. It is a decision everybody does make to do something, so I will never blame the community or the area I’m from. Everybody have to know what ‘dey’ doing.”

With his burning desire and passion for music, now 27, Roberts wants to enter the Calypso Monarch competition in 2019. “I don’t know how that will work out or if I would even be allowed to do it, because my case still ‘upstairs.’ But God knows if I get that opportunity, I would be so grateful. I don’t even care about the money part. I just want to sing—I’m happiest and the most free when I do,” he says.

In the meantime, he said his hands won’t remain idle and he has no intentions of returning to prison. But he sends this message to the public and powers that be:

“Before you condemn us to death, give us a chance. Not everybody in prison supposed to be in prison. Stop judging us because of where we’ve been and support us in where we’re going. We need ‘allyuh’ support when we return to society. I understand is not everybody would want to make a positive change, but for those of us who do, please don’t make us keep paying for a debt that has already been paid.”


Categories: Entertainment News

Look Twice, It’s Your Wife on stage

Lifestyle - Fri, 07/13/2018 - 23:27

The Renaissance Theatre Company will be performing the original comedy Look Twice It’s Your Wife at the Naparima Bowl, San Fernando, on July 14 and 15. The play, written and directed by veteran actor and director Marvin Ishmael, had its first successful run at UTT Campus at NAPA as part of the Academy for Performing Arts’ Performing Arts Festival in June.

The play tells the story of Mootilal Singh, played by Narad Mahabir, who finds himself in a sticky situation when his complicated schedule for managing his relationships with his two wives, Nasha (Bridget Rampersad) and Sandra Singh (Renee King) is thrown into disarray following a car accident. With the help of his friend Bloods (Michael Cherrie), he attempts to keep his wives from finding about each other with

a complicated mix of lies and smooth talking. His cause is not helped by two police detectives who trespass into each others’ jurisdiction and arouse the wives’ suspicions.
Ishmael said for him the play shows the amazing wit of a Trinidadian when it comes to telling stories and how quickly an idea can spread, not only in the person telling the story but those who try to assist with the coverup. “For me it shows that although he might appear shiftless in one part of his life, he has the capacity to be an artist in other sections of his life especially when it has to do with the female and the offerings that we make here in Trinidad because of a very rich cosmopolitan background. It seems as if one person is never enough to fill the void for art, I call it art, for me the human body or the female is very art oriented. Now I love art but it doesn’t mean I take home all the art that I see but I can appreciate all the art around me and so I think the Trinidadian male is caught in that bind between wanting to just appreciate the art around him or sometimes to take pieces of art home that he hopes doesn’t stay there but he can take it back to the museum. Of course sometimes that is impossible, once you purchase the art it is yours and how do you keep one piece of art from getting jealous of the other piece of art that you have somewhere else? That leads the Trinidadian male to this ability to tell stories and cover his tracks and to me that shows the tenacity of the Trinidadian male.”

The Renaissance Theatre Company was established by Ishmael in 2018 as the next step for university graduates of theatre and the performing arts, to provide an opportunity for artists to continue honing their craft, and create work with an identifiable Trinbagonian Carnival aesthetic, which would be shared both regionally and internationally. Ishmael said for him the best part of the process has been working with the current and former UTT students, even though they haven’t done much comedy while in school. “For them it was a learning experience in terms of Comedy, what that demanded, trying to get into the head of the character very quickly or even quicker than they normally do because they don’t have that time because for me the tempo and the timing of the piece is important and therefore I have to get that and so all their searching needs to have happened pre-rehearsal and we brought that into the process so that we can block it, not only physically but vocally.”

Ishmael, who is originally from South Trinidad, said staging the play at Naparima Bowl is his way of going back home. “The Bowl has always been for me the Mecca of theatre in south Trinidad. I know they’ve been doing some renovations as well. Going back there is also a way for us to start rebuilding an audience base not just in Port-of- Spain but in South as well, in terms of the work of UTT and of future students and artists. Audiences in South often complain that they are left out in comparison to the offerings in North. I love the Bowl, I love the South and I thought a play like this would be able to attract some people from the South to come and see it.”

Tickets are $150 and can be purchased at Valini’s Drug Mart 657-6444/1053 and Hair by Jowelle 653-2160. For more information, go to https://theatrerenaissancett.com, email [email protected] and call 294 – 3490.

Categories: Entertainment News

Ministry, Nalis focus on health, Spanish collection

Lifestyle - Fri, 07/13/2018 - 23:25

Two projects, hosted by the Ministry of Public Administration and the National Library and Information System Authority (Nalis), have not been just successful initiatives, but have also begun yielding fruit.

Your Health is Your Wealth! This truism was reiterated at a joint Health and Wellness Fair, hosted by the Ministry and Nalis last month at the Old Fire Station Building, Hart and Abercromby Streets, Port-of-Spain.

The June 22 health fair commenced with the North West Regional Health Authority (NWRHA) facilitating blood pressure, cholesterol, glucose, body mass index (BMI), HIV and prostate tests.

Optometrists Today conducted vision screening sessions and a representative of the T&T Police Sports Club facilitated a zumba/burnout session.

Other activities on the day included the presentation of some 30 hampers as door prizes sponsored by Chief Brand Products, National Flour Mills Ltd, Langston Roach Industries and John Dickinson & Company West Indies Ltd.

Product samples were supplied by Nestle and one-on-one consultations were provided by Pan American Insurance and Risk Management Services; Bacon Woodrow and de Souza, RBC Trust, Guardian Life Insurance, Family Services Division of the Ministry of Social Development and Family Services, Tecu Credit Union, Petrotrin EAP Services, Happy Girls Happy Curls, OMO Best Start, Evergreene Virgin Coconut Oils, Textel Credit Union, Unit Trust Corporation and Down Under.

The joint health and wellness fair was attended by approximately 300 people which included Catherine Romain, Nalis’ executive director, and other members of the management team of Nalis as well as the Joan Mendez, permanent secretary of the Ministry of Public Administration, and Claudelle Mc Keller, deputy permanent secretary of the Ministry of Public Administration.

The main objectives of the health and wellness fair were to promote healthy lifestyles among staff, encourage staff to know their numbers (blood pressure, cholesterol and glucose) and reinforce that health and wellness include the fitness of body, mind and the freedom from disease or ailment.

Other health and wellness fairs will be held in September and December for Nalis staff working in central and south T&T personnel, respectively.

Spanish collection established at

PoS Adult Library

A collection, consisting of only Spanish language texts for adults, young adults and small children has been established by Nalis at its Port-of-Spain Adult Library, located at the first floor of the National Library of T&T in Port-of-Spain.

Situated on the northern wing of the floor, the collection includes books donated by the embassies of Argentina, Cuba, Guatemala, Peru, Spain, Venezuela and the now defunct Hispanic Women’s Club.

In addition to children’s storybooks, among the collection can be found such titles as: Historia de la Republica del Peru (1822 –1933) written by Jorge Basadre Grohmann (18 volumes); Clarivigilia Primavera and Poetia: Sien de Alondra, both written by Miguel Angel Asturias of Guatemala.

Also, visitors can delve into the works of classical and modern authors from Spain. The titles include: Pasión de la Tierra by V. Aleixandre; La ruta de Don Quijote by Azorín; Cartas Marruecas. Noches Lúgubres by J Cadalso; La Renta I and II by L. Clarín; Meditaciones del Quijote by Ortega and Gasset; and Campos de Castilla by A Machado, to name a few.

In addition to making Spanish literature available, the collection presents cultural manifestations of the Spanish-speaking community. The mix of authors and genres highlight how Spanish has evolved throughout the years.

Nalis also hosts Spanish language classes for students at its libraries; facilitates the Spanish conservation club, Club de Español, and last month held, over a five-day period, its second edition of Latin Nights —a celebration of Latin culture, folklore, arts and cuisine.

Categories: Entertainment News

Mekelia is Miss Fabulous Plus T&T 2018

Lifestyle - Fri, 07/13/2018 - 23:23

The 2018 edition of the Miss Fabulous Plus T&T Pageant was held at the Cascadia Hotel’s Banquet & Conference Centre, St Ann’s, on Saturday evening. From a field of ten delegates, Miss Arima Mekelia Miller was crowned winner.

The ten young women, rigorously trained by Lyndon Ross, showcased not only beauty but also their talents and knowledge of T&T’s culture, social and political spheres. The contestants spanned a wide pool of professions, inclusive of hair stylists, make up artists, fashion designers and modeling directors. They were judged by a panel of five highly-esteemed judges: Nicole Dyer-Griffith, Vashti Persaud, Sharon Imbert, Neuban Clarke and Richard Young.

Delegates, and the districts, they represented were Dannah Danclar (Santa Cruz); Josanne Paul (Belmont); Janine Peters (Morvant/Laventille); Tricia-Ann Cuffie (Couva); Jeannine Clarke-Jackson (Cascade); Nicole Reyes (Tacarigua); Joanne O’Garro (Chaguanas); Tamara D’Abreu (Cocorite); Mekelia Miller (Arima); and, Dalia Smith (Tunapuna).

The evening’s programme included segments and judging categories in Swim Wear, Evening Gown, and a Personality Interview.

Guest artiste vocalist Samuel Stewart wowed the audience with his beautiful voice. But, it when current Mr Impressive 2018 Ricardo Roberts serenaded the contestants that the all ladies present, on stage and in the audience, were at full attention, loudly cheering, gasping, and excited as he gave each and every contestant a red rose.

As proceedings progressed, and before the announcement of Queen Mekelia, past queens were acknowledged, a short vote of thanks given and former Miss Fabulous Plus T&T Cara Samlalsingh took her final walk.

Categories: Entertainment News

Naps girl shines at JA awards

Lifestyle - Fri, 07/13/2018 - 23:21

Shivala Rampersad, a Form Four student of Naparima Girls High School, walked away with double honours at the 48th Annual Future Unlimited Banquet and Awards Ceremony of Junior Achievement T&T last Saturday, taking the award of President of the Year and leading her company, Colibri, to the Company of the Year accolade.

Following presentation of the overall trophy, Rampersad was joined on stage by her ecstatic company colleagues who celebrated their victory for several minutes.

Earlier, Rampersad was presented with the President of the Year award by Gerard Jackson, head, government and stakeholder relations, bpTT longstanding sponsor of the JA movement.

The signature JA event, held at the Cascadia Hotel’s Banquet & Conference Centre, St Ann’s, saw Ashley Wharwood, a member of Finessecompany and student of St Joseph’s Convent (San Fernando), cop the prestigious award of Achiever of the Year.

Both Rampersad and Wharwood expressed delight on being selected for the top awards.

“This is a great achievement but I owe a lot to the other stakeholders of Colibri who all pulled their weight,” said Rampersad.

“I also have to thank my colleagues since we all worked as a team. The whole experience has been wonderful and I was able to make new friends along the journey,” said Wharwood.

Some 700 students, representing 33 companies, participated in the 2018 edition of JA’s company programme. Open to Form Four students, the project lasted 21 weeks where participants learned the fundamentals of entrepreneurship by owning and operating a business under the guidance of Junior Achievement. Feature speaker David Dulal- Whiteway, chief executive officer, Arthur Lok Jack Global School of Business, thanked Junior Achievement T&T for its determination in encouraging young people to be active, innovative, creative and socially innovative, creative and socially responsible citizens.

By the year 2030, he told the students, technology and internet advances and the growth of robotics and artificial intelligence would bring a new range of occupations where they would need to be bi-lingual and multi-skilled.

Dulal-Whiteway advanced five principles or values for success: Passion, Purpose, Plan, Persistence and Patience.

He elaborated: “When you are passionate in what you do, people will buy your products and services. To be successful, know your purpose. You must have a business plan. Be persistent in what you want; it can mean the difference between success and failure. Be patient; sometimes in life you have to be patient and see things through.”

JA executive director, J Errol Lewis, said total estimated income for the 33 companies for 2018 was in excess of $200,000, with the Annual Trade Fair, held in April at Woodford Square, Port-of-Spain, accounting for $100,000.

He disclosed that each company contributed a portion of monies earned and/or their time toward a charity of their choice and provided more than 130 hampers to families in need.

“Use your energies positively as you pursue your careers and your life goals. As our banner declares, your future is unlimited. Think big; think far,” Lewis urged the achievers.

Lewis disclosed that, for the first time, officers of the various companies in the JA programme were trained by a highly reputable learning institution in the principles of establishing and running a successful business, through a partnership with the Arthur Lok Jack Global School of Business.

Among the major JA partners are energy company bpTT, Arthur Lok Jack Global School of Business, Scotiabank T&T and the division of co-operatives of the Ministry of Labour & Small and Micro Enterprise Development.


Winners of major awards at Junior Achievement T&T Future Unlimited
Banquet & Awards Ceremony 2018:
Achiever of the Year:
Ashley Wharwood (Finesse)
Company of the Year:
President of the Year:
Shivala Rampersad (Colibri)
Adviser of the Year:
Kerriesse Williams
Salesperson of the Year:
Kharishma Mootoo (Euphoria)
Most Innovative Product:
New Wave
Best Trade Fair Booth:
Best Business Plan:
Dawn Richards Customer
Care Challenge Trophy:
Youth Eclectic
Best Stockholder/Annual Report:
Luna Productions

Categories: Entertainment News

Awards for young achievers in academics

Lifestyle - Fri, 07/13/2018 - 00:37

The youth of Belmont were celebrated last week when Belmont Is We (BIW) held its inaugural Halls of Academia Awards at St Margaret’s Parish Hall, located on Belmont Circular Road. The event was to congratulate the community’s top scoring SEA students.

The seven students honoured, representing seven schools, were Menelek Ferreira (Belmont Boys’ RC); Cherelle Hazelwood (Belmont Girls’ RC); Kelis Boucaud (Belmont Government Primary); Ayaisha Gibbs (Melville Memorial Girls); Nathan Pierre (Port-of-Spain SDA); Josimar Belgrave (St Margaret’s Boys); and, Taniya Hinds (St Therese Preparatory).

Arriving guests were greeted to pan music by St Margaret’s Youth Orchestra, an aggregation that has won the Junior National Panorama Competition on five consecutive occasions. Serving as the evening’s hostess was Arveon Prout and attendees were welcomed by BIW vice-chairman John Harper. Opening prayers were said by St Margaret’s Anglican priest Canon Ronald Branche.

This awards function was a milestone moment for the entire Belmont community, one rich with national heroes and exemplars in all fields of endeavour.

Among the prominent “Belmontonians” in attendance were Justice Charmaine Pemberton, Industrial Court Judge Gregory Rousseau, John Harper, Dr Godfrey St Bernard, former national footballer Marlon Morris and BIW chairman Gerald De Leon.

Also present was US-based Donna George, whose mother Mavis Lewis George, has a scholarship award named after. Finalists for the Mavis Lewis George Memorial Scholarship were Calista Alleyne and Amanda Julien, both of St Francois Girls’ College. Julien was the eventual recipient of the scholarship.

Candidates for Monday’s local elections, Liana Babb-Gonzales (UNC) and Felicia Holder (PEP), also took time off their campaigning to attend. Absent was PNM candidate Nicole Young.

Former H2O Phlo vocalist Jason “Fridge” Seecharan, also a son of Belmont, rendered two songs during the programme and St Bernard delivered the evening’s keynote speech.


Belmont Is We began as an online social media page comprising Belmont expatriates, reminiscing about the old times and old experience in Belmont. The group became a certified NGO in September 2017, with mission statement to create programmes to facilitate growth in the community. The group is particularly focussed on motivating and inspiring the youth, and assisting single mothers.


Gerald De Leon (chairman)
John Harper (vice-chairman)
Carissa Rampersad (treasurer)
Mario Montano (financial director)
Erlyn Branche-Nelson (secretary)
Amryl Lovelace (marketing)
Lindy-Ann George (marketing, USA)
Donna George (marketing, USA

Categories: Entertainment News

2018 Pan African Festival TT commemorating Emancipation gets underway

Lifestyle - Fri, 07/13/2018 - 00:33

July is a significant month for the Emancipation Support Committee of T&T (ESCTT), as it rolls out its flag-ship events of the Pan African Festival TT, the activities at the Lidj Yasu Omowale Village, the Trade and Investment Symposium and the Kambule on Emancipation Day August 1.

This year, activities at the Village will take place for five days during the last week of July, starting from the morning of July 28. But the events cannot begin without the Blessing of the Ground at 6 pm on Sunday evening July 22. The Blessing of the Grounds of the Lidj Yasu Omowale Emancipation Village, takes place at the Queen’s Park Savannah, Port-of-Spain, and is a necessary part of the Festival as it focuses on bringing positive energies to the venue which will be the centre for all cultural events during the period.

The Lidj Yasu Omowale Emancipation Village will be formally opened on July 28 at 10 am. The Village was named after the early co-chair of the Emancipation Support Committee, which was formed 26 years ago, to strengthen activities focused on the celebration of freedom from chattel slavery. The Emancipation Village will host a series of events that aims not only at celebration of this victory but at guiding our people to chart the way forward.

The morning opening allows visitors to have a head-start on shopping, as entrepreneurs from the African continent, the Caribbean and the best of T&T will have a wide variety of products on sale – authentic African and Caribbean clothing, shoes, fabric, pottery, handbags, accessories, and a host of natural products and a variety of tasty foods and drinks. From just after lunch, Rhythm and Voices of Africa will take over the Village and the Youth Concert, highlighting the talented young bloods, will be staged from 8 pm.

On July 29, it is Family Day at the village. The population are encouraged to “turn down your pot” and enjoy authentic African and Caribbean dishes. Sounds of the Youth Steel Explosion fill the Village from 2 pm featuring popular youth steel orchestras. From 6 pm, Jazz at Sunset and Pan Night will highlight local talented artists in the jazz genre and feature some of the country’s leading steel orchestras.

July 30 has been designated Youth Day, between 9 am and 3 pm. Organised by youth for youth, the day is meant for children from youth camps, communities and families to participate in creative and learning workshops. Attendance is free, but interested groups are advised to book early by calling the ESCTT office. Later in the evening, at 7.30 pm, Shikamoo – Ancestral Rhythms pays tribute to calypsonian Composer for his contribution to the artform. Leading bards will lift their voices in praise to his years of song.

The Pan African concert on July 31, brings to a climax the celebration of African culture with the presentation of the Kalabante, Guinea’s world renowned acrobatic dancers. Comprising young and talented acrobats and dancers from the West African State of Guinea, the group has received rave reviews across Canada and North America.

This will be group’s first visit to the Caribbean and T&T.

The finale of the celebrations is on August 1, starting with the Drum Call at 4 am at Trinidad All Stars Pan Yard which signals the start of this glorious day. The Kambule – the street procession which makes its way through the streets of Port of Spain - assembles in front of the Treasury Building on Independence Square, the historic site where the Emancipation Proclamation was read 180years ago.

Cultural performances will greet those families who mark the day at the Village and at 7 pm, the traditional flambeaux procession winds its way from the Queens Park Savannah back to the All Stars Pan Yard.

Categories: Entertainment News

Born in Darkness comes to light

Entertainment - Fri, 07/13/2018 - 00:30

Moving. Emotional. Spiritual. Powerful. All adjectives used by audience members to describe the launch of Freetown Collective’s debut album, Born in Darkness. The launch took place at Callaloo Company’s space in Chaguaramas on June 30.

The popular band, comprised of lead guitarists Muhammad Muwakil and Lou Lyons, along with backup vocalists Shanna and Malene Joseph and Tishanna Williams, added a variety of instrumentalists and vocalists to their line up. These included members of The Lydians, All Stars Brass, guitarist Kiwan Landreth-Smith, and producer Jayron “Rawkus” Remy, with live visual projections by North Eleven. The music drew from all genres, including rock, ballads, and soca, infused with the unique sound that is Freetown Collective.

The performances, including favourites such as Normal, Born Swimma and Born Soldiers as well as new music like the album’s title track Born in Darkness, Red Eye and Human Form, drew an enthusiastic response from the patrons, who sang along, screamed, chanted, jumped around and cried and cried throughout the two hour concert. The vibe was an intimate one throughout, as Muwakil paused to regale the capacity audience with stories about the making of the album and the journey the group has taken over the three years it took to bring the project to completion.

The full song list included Incantation, featuring The Lydians; Human Form featuring The Lydians and Kiwan Landreth-Smith, whose guitar solo had fans screaming; Born In Darkness, Lightman and where I am, featuring The Lydians & All Star Brass; interludes Cure and Vice and Hired Guns; Red Eye; Normal; Feel This; Space For A Heart; Believe Me; Born Soldiers; Good Swimma; Go; and Bless Them.

The group released a new video for their song Space For A Heart, which had many audience members in tears. The video, done in collaboration with Nadia Huggins, Oliver Milne and Maya Cozier, told the story of an old man who built a makeshift boat to go back to the spot where the love of his life drowned when they were young. Muwakil revealed that the video was dedicated to a Trinbagonian poet named Eric Roach who died by drowning. He said the band was able to feel Roach’s spirit with them while they were recording the track, which was a moving experience for everyone involved.

Many patrons brought their children with them, and one child even requested that the band perform Born Soldier.

Muwakil said he was proud to see this, as the group felt that their music was for everyone.

Opening acts Rheon Elbourne and Deneka Thomas set the tone for the rest of the show, inspiring the audience to participate with their music and poetry.

Elbourne’s song Pam Pam was a hit, while Thomas performed her Trini dialect poem as well as the poem which won her the 2018 First Citizens National Poetry Slam championship, The Closet.

At the end of the main performance, the crowd was so hyped that they called for an encore, and the band obliged by singing Mama Africa and Love Transition. Many patrons expressed satisfaction with the concert and said they were going to buy the album immediately.

Longtime fans noted that the group’s sound had evolved well over time and expressed hope that they would continue to grow.


Freetown Collective’s album Born in Darkness is available on Amazon, iTunes, Spotify and Apple Music. For more information, find Freetown Collective on Facebook and go to www.wearefreetown.love

Categories: Entertainment News

What’s your sign, girl?

Lifestyle - Wed, 07/11/2018 - 02:00

People are always asking what are the signs of mental illness; I am forever trying to answer that with first teaching what are the signs of mental wellness.

“Good mental health isn’t just the absence of mental health problems,” says helpguide.org. “Being mentally or emotionally healthy is much more than being free of depression, anxiety, or other psychological issues. Rather than the absence of mental illness, mental health refers to the presence of positive characteristics.”

No one has all the signs of good mental wellbeing all the time, but we can and should strive to attain as many as possible.

According to the US the National Mental Health Association these are ten characteristics of people who are mentally healthy:

1. They feel good about themselves.
2. They do not become overwhelmed by emotions, such as fear, anger, love, jealousy, guilt, or anxiety.
3. They have lasting and satisfying personal relationships.
4. They feel comfortable with other people.
5. They can laugh at themselves and with others.
6. They have respect for themselves and for others even if there are differences.
7. They are able to accept life’s disappointments.
8. They can meet life’s demands and handle their problems when they arise.
9. They make their own decisions.
10. They shape their environment whenever possible and adjust to it when necessary.

The site Psychology Today says: “When reflecting on how you are faring on the journey toward mental health, check in with yourself to see if your life is trending toward these seven core capacities:

1. Commitment to truth—a fundamental orientation to what is real rather than ideal;
2. Tolerance—the capacity to embrace conflicting aspects of oneself and others;
3. Patience—the capacity to remain present to difficult experiences and work them through slowly over time;
4. Vitality—the experience of being more alive, more engaged, and more free of inhibition;
5. Self-control—the capacity to own and take responsibility for oneself;
6. Love—rooted in gratitude and the effort to make repair for damage done to loved ones; and
7. Internal peace and harmony—rooted in a sense of deeper security with oneself and with others, experienced as the feeling of being more whole.

“As we trend toward living out these seven core capacities, we find that we feel better and do better in life. And this extra bit—the being better bit—allows us to feel more satisfied, content, and grounded along the way” (Copyright 2015 by Jennifer Kunst, PhD).

To respond to the question: “What are the signs of mental illness?” here is an excerpt from the Mayo Clinic.

“Signs and symptoms of mental illness can vary, depending on the disorder, circumstances and other factors. Mental illness symptoms can affect emotions, thoughts and behaviours.”

Here are some examples of signs and symptoms, but bear in mind that it is a combination of symptoms over a period of time that constitute or suggest mental ill health or bad mental wellbeing:

• Feeling sad or down
• Confused thinking or reduced ability to concentrate
• Excessive fears or worries, or extreme feelings of guilt
• Extreme mood changes of highs and lows
• Withdrawal from friends and activities
• Significant tiredness, low energy or problems sleeping
• Detachment from reality (delusions), paranoia or hallucinations
• Inability to cope with daily problems or stress
• Trouble understanding and relating to situations and to people
• Alcohol or drug abuse
• Major changes in eating habits
• Sex drive changes
• Excessive anger, hostility or violence
• Suicidal thinking

“Sometimes symptoms of a mental health disorder appear as physical problems, such as stomach pain, back pain, headache, or other unexplained aches and pains” (mayoclinic.com).

It’s okay to ask for help

It is important to get help when our mental wellbeing is threatened. Talking to someone you trust is always my first recommendation for getting an intervention. The problem is that most people with whom I relate would readily speak of the fact that the worst fear is that of being judged by those to whom we turn for help.

Stigma and prejudice are the most common factors preventing people from accessing mental health services. People are reluctant because according to healthylife.com: “Society has a tendency to view mental (ill health or mental distress) differently from medical ones. When someone breaks a leg, has chest pains, or needs to get a prescription, they’ll see a doctor.

“However, when they experience depression, excessive fears, or a problem with alcohol, they may be embarrassed to seek help.”

“Many people view these conditions as ‘weaknesses’ they should handle themselves” but “to recognise an emotional problem and receive help is not at all a sign of weakness. Rather, these positive actions are characteristics of strong individuals” (healthylife.com).

CAROLINE C RAVELLO is a strategic communications and media professional and a public health practitioner. She holds an MA with Merit in Mass Communications (University of Leicester) and is a Master of Public Health With Distinction (UWI). Write to: [email protected]

Categories: Entertainment News

Good calypsoes found in Siparia

Lifestyle - Wed, 07/11/2018 - 01:59

On Saturday night, after walking a mile and a half, Kenny’s Big Yard Community Tent was eventually located on Coora Road, in Siparia, and what a night it was.

With a full house in attendance, Lystra Nurse, singing under the moniker of Lady Lystra, took on a field of 11 other quality acts to capture the 2018 Community Tents Calypso Monarch competition held on Saturday, at the Kenny’s Big yard, Coora Road, Siparia.

Singing in position 11, Lady Lystra performed Hurricanes Irma and Maria. She wooed the audience and the judges with a unique and riveting presentation which called on Caribbean people to assist our neighbours in need.

Second place went to Francisca “Sweet Merle” Lewis Francois who performed a nation-building ditty entitled Can We Rise. Third place went to veteran TTPS calypso campaigner Terry “Di Masso” Marcelle singing Feed The World, a plea to the developed nations to use their resources for the good of all mankind.

McMorris Edwards performed his calypso Dying which copped fourth place, followed by Melissa Rodriques.

Notable performances came from another veteran Errol “Bingo” Rowe, Reneisha Alexander and Anthony “De Juba” Charles.

Trinbago Unified Calypsonians Organisation (Tuco) South Central Zone and Tuco PRO Steve “Ras Kommanda” Pascal was in attendance, brining greetings for the calypsonians umbrella body.

Pascal hailed the community tents model, adding that they provided opportunities for many more artistes.

Saturday’s production was enhanced by performances by a few of calypsoes better known calypsonians including former National Monarch Luta, Kenny J, Impulse and Young Rose.

[email protected]

Categories: Entertainment News

Rampersad short story wins at Swiss Global contest

Lifestyle - Tue, 07/10/2018 - 01:18

Munnie’s Multicultural Musical Masquerade, a children’s short story by heritage educator Dr Kris Rampersad has been adjudged a winner “for its wit and musical undertones” in the international Bubo Short Story Contest, Your World, Our Music.

The story was written for and is one of the favourite stories of her nephew, ace achiever in the national Secondary School Entrance Assessments (SEA), Saiesh Rampersad since an infant, Dr Rampersad said.

She explained that Saiesh has been an avid story lover and reader from his earliest years and demanded she write stories for him. Saiesh tabled a perfect score of 100 per cent in the SEA which results were announced last week.

Apart from literary and cultural advocacy, Dr Rampersad has been writing stories for Saiesh since he was a toddler, and is engaged in writings and other interactive stimulating actions aimed at enhancing the knowledge sector, revising approaches to formal education including the SEA system, enticing children and youth into reading and creative activity as well as elderly appreciation, understanding culture and heritage.

She received notice of her win in the Bubo Short Story Contest: Your World, Our Music, last month, from Bubo Technologies, a Swiss-based organisation of reading enthusiasts who “believe in the power of music to tell stories, with first-of-its-kind technology to bring e-books and music together to make reading a more immersive and personal experience.”

The congratulatory note to Dr Rampersad stated: “At Bubo Technologies, we are glad to inform you that ‘Munnie’s Multicultural Musical Masquerade’ is one of the winners of our short story contest. We loved the wit and musical undertones of your text and we cannot wait to start working on its publication.

“We received hundreds of entries from all over the world that we needed to analyse from both a literary and musical perspective while working on our technology...and we are happy to have read some amazing stories like yours.”

Said Dr Rampersad: “The Munnie story is part of several substantive fiction and nonfiction works—yet unpublished because of resource limitations— that have been shelved with my many undertakings, including tirelessly trying to expand global access to literary and cultural spaces over the years.

“I am now hoping to release these and am reaching out for partnerships for the volume of material that include solid and insightful research, writings and multimedia videos aimed at engaging interests in culturallysound and relevant material with which both children and adults can identify ranging in global to local interests.

“I saw the Bubo contest and felt, as with LiTTscapes, it would fit my goals to adapt traditional story forms to make them more accessible through new technologies and into modern interactive formats with other creative expressions.

“But we are guarded that the IP and its added values are maximised for the local sector.

“Like, Saiesh on hearing about his SEA perfect scores, I was ‘elated’ to hear of winning the Bubo contest. This also coincides with my vision to make literature more attractive and accessible along with our ongoing interactive activities as LiTTours and LiTTributes that are customised to any occasion or celebration of families, groups and corporations by request.

“I believe this is important to redirect the negative energies of our crime-ridden society to one that reaches for more lofty achievements, like Saiesh’s.”

Saiesh identified Munnie, about a Carnival Butterfly written by “Auntie Krissy Wissy” as one of his favourite stories when he introduced Dr Rampersad at the launch of LiTTscapes—Landscapes of Fiction that took place at White Hall as part of the national jubilee anniversary of Independence. Then only five years old, Saiesh read three pages of rib-tickling anecdotes entitled My Aunty Krissy.

He cheekily told of how his aunty took him for his first library card, and of how he could not find good local story books, teasing the audience about his reading prowess.

“Auntie took me to the library in Port-of-Spain for the first time,” said Saiesh as a younger child in 2012. “I was only three years old and could not read then. Auntie promised to write stories for me that will make sense. Now she writes stories for me about Munnie, a Carnival butterfly. She writes about the birds of Phagwa, and the flags of Hosay. I am now a big boy, five years old, and I could read, ent?

“I told my auntie she should make a book with the stories to share with my friends.

“She is writing some special stories for me about all the places she visits to share with my friends…One day I will write stories too. One day I will write a book, like my auntie, and she will be here telling you all about how she helped me learn to read and write,” Saiesh said at the launch of LiTTscapes.

Fast forward to 2018, Dr Rampersad said on the weekend: “Saiesh is, of course, very happy.

In addition to having a Math brain, he has always been very good in creative writing. He is really an allrounder and wants to be a doctor.

“Saiesh was naturally born with talent. Through the years, I have always tried to develop these gifts. My brother, Ramchand, and his wife Radha always read to him from a very early age.

“At the moment, because he has always been a shy child, he is familiarising himself with being thrust into the spotlight.

“Saiesh also plays the piano and tabla, did karate until he suffered an injury to his shoulder and is spiritually grounded as he is also very active in the temple.

He really is well rounded.”

n For more visit Kris Rampersad and find LiTTscapes on social media or email [email protected]. com and ask about LiTTours and LiTTRbiutes customised to the needs of your interests, organisations or industry.

—Reporting by PETER RAY BLOOD [email protected]

Categories: Entertainment News

Princes Town celebrates new Rotary president, honours community leaders

Lifestyle - Sun, 07/08/2018 - 23:03

The Rotary Club of Princes Town held its 25th Presidential Handover Ceremony on June 29 at the San Fernando District Scout Headquarters, on Lady Hailes Avenue. Outgoing President, Bashir Mohammed reviewed “a fantastic year,” focusing on the work of Rotary including assisting flood victims in the Williamsville, Barrackpore areas, providing medical outreach programmes, a peace rally to mark the observance of world peace day, planting over 150 trees at the Yolande Pompey Ground in commemoration of world environment day and awarding 12 scholarships to financially challenged tertiary students.

The ceremony was well attended by the Club’s Rotarians, partners in service, children of Rotary and fellow Rotarians from the Maraval, Port of Spain, San Juan, Penal, Pointe-a-Pierre and San Fernando South clubs who all shared in the continued celebrations of the Club’s silver anniversary.

Mohammed recognised individuals who made meaningful contributions during his year of presidency to the Club’s many successful DEANEendeavours and outreach programmes in the local community.

Recognition was given to Councillor Vashti Sookhoo for coordinating the Club’s first walking medical, Chairman of Princes Town Regional Corporation Gowrie Roopnarine for his support of the Club’s activities in Princes Town and planting of 150 trees, Shameed Rahim for his assistance with the Union community of Rio Claro, and Amelia Ayoung of St Stephen’s college for her support with the chartering of the Interact Club of St Stephen’s College.

The Club also inducted Rishi Ragoonath, senior photographer at Guardian Media Ltd., as an Honorary Rotarian of the Club, recognising his achievements through photography and his willingness to give back by volunteering his skills to different charitable organisations.

The Paul Harris Fellow award recognises individuals who demonstrate in their life and vocation a commitment to helping individuals in need and contribute, or who have contributions made in their name of USD$1,000 to The Rotary Foundation. This year awards were presented to Rishi Ramlogan, Andy Deonarine and Narisha Mohammed at the ceremony and Atlantic in absentia.

The mantle of leadership was passed to new President Crystal Ann Harper, a young and vibrant Attorney-at-Law of the law firm Hobsons, who holds both a Doctor of Jurisprudence and Legal Education Certificate. In her inspiring acceptance speech Incoming President Crystal Ann Harper focused on her plans to continue with the Club’s signature projects which are in tandem with Rotary International’s theme for 2018/2019 “Be The Inspiration.”

This rotary year, the Club aims to focus on membership development and public image with emphasis on increased social media coverage.

The celebration featured live entertainment by singer Chloe Bishop and violinist Nigel Marcano and was chaired by one of the Club’s chartered members, Jamir Ousman.

Rotary International has 1.2 million members worldwide and the Rotary Foundation has donated over 300 billion (US) dollars worldwide in its 100 years of existence to efforts in improving the lives of deserving persons in their local community.

Categories: Entertainment News

Tabaquite Presbyterian students told to ‘never quit’

Lifestyle - Sun, 07/08/2018 - 22:59

Elation was clearly etched on the faces of 24 students of the Tabaquite Presbyterian School who graduated on June 28. Giving the feature address at the primary school’s ceremony was inspirational speaker, inspirational speaker and author Don La Foucade who captured the full attention of the students, parents and teachers.

In keeping with the theme ‘Define Yourself’, La Foucade told the students that they “never get a second chance to make a first impression.” He gave them a dose of reality as he talked to them about what to expect when they get to secondary school but he reminded them to never give up. He said, “Just as in the word ‘Tabaquite’ there is the word ‘quit’, there is also an ‘e’ which means ‘everything awaits you’ so never quit.”

While La Foucade noted that not enough fathers attended the graduation ceremony, he congratulated the parents who were present reminding them that they should continue to tell their children how much they love and believe in them. He advised the proud parents that “no child present (at the function) should be on social media.”

La Foucade concluded by letting the students know that although they may not be attending their “first choice” school in September, be reminded that it is “God’s choice” for them.

Categories: Entertainment News

Ministry makes music students dream Big Dreams

Lifestyle - Sun, 07/08/2018 - 22:57

The Ministry of Community Development Culture and the Arts’ Music Schools in the Community programme kicks off tomorrow, Tuesday, and runs for five weeks. This initiative, which provides formal musical training to students across Trinidad, is open to individuals of all ages with intermediate knowledge level of music and takes place at five locations in Trinidad.

In the north, the programme will be at Desperadoes Youth Orchestra, Port-of-Spain in steelpan; SWAHA Hindu College Sangre Grande in the tabla and harmonium; and Pan Jammers, Upper Santa Cruz in steelpan, woodwind and brass instruments. And, in the south, Siparia Deltones, will focus on steelpan, while at Golden Hands, San Fernando, the programme includes steelpan, woodwind and brass instruments.

The music schools in the community programme, first titled Music Schools in the Panyard, was launched in June 2012 in five panyards. However in 2013, the programme was re-branded Music Schools in the Community and extended to other community spaces. Since its launch, over 1,700 students have participated in the programme which has as its focus on music literacy and instrument performance. Students are also given the opportunity to participate in the Royal School of Music Theory examinations. In 2017, of the 24 students sponsored to write the Grade 1 Examination, 23 passed, with 19 obtaining Distinctions.

In 2017, to culminate the programme and to demonstrate the extraordinary talent of these students the Dream Big concert was held at the National Academy for the Performing Arts (Napa). Dream Big brought together all the students, from as young four to those who have retired and always wanted to learn an instrument; they all fulfilled their dreams on the prestigious Napa stage. Each school showcased individual pieces and with the final performance of the night as a joint orchestra under the direction of Akua Leith, musical director of the National Steel Symphony Orchestra (NSSO). Dream Big 2017 was an outstanding success.

In 2018, the programme, focuses on students 12 to 18 years and has been re-designed to include a scholarship programme which gives students an opportunity to further develop their skills in a community based music school, an internship programme with the NSSO and the National Philharmonic Orchestra (NPO) and a capacity-building programme aimed at developing the management capability of cultural and artistic community organizations and individuals.

Music Schools in the Community is focused on teaching, developing and enhancing instrument performance skills, theoretical knowledge and character development training while providing opportunities for participants to increase their personal, socially-useful and even commercially viable talent. The goal is to discover and develop the nascent talent that exists in communities and provide opportunities to make their talents sustainable.

For further information on the camps please visit cdca.gov.tt, Facebook or call 225-4024 ext.4004

Categories: Entertainment News

‘Big Red Trini’ says own up

Lifestyle - Sun, 07/08/2018 - 00:58

So many things happen to disrupt emotional health and create sadness, anxiety, and stress. One of the most powerful coping mechanisms is gratitude, focusing even at the worst of times on those things that you can still be thankful for. “When we are appreciative, we are filled with a sense of well-being and swept up with a feeling of joy.” MJ Ryan.

“Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation of all abundance.” Eckhard Tolle.

Well-being encompasses all of our parts, not just the physical body. It is important to create balance by actively nurturing the whole person, body, mind, and spirit. Practice forgiveness, learn to love yourself but remain humble. Remember that your mind is the most powerful tool you have available to create the greatest version of your life and your highest level of health.

Roger Brumant, featured today, recognized the tremendous power of the mind for change and change took him to incredible weight loss and wellness. He is indeed proof that nothing is impossible.

“The difference between the impossible and the possible lies in a person’s determination.” Tommy Lesarda.

“The only thing greater than the power of the mind is the courage of the heart.” John Nash. Judy Alcantara BA English Honours/Spanish CIAR Cert [Cooper’s institute of Aerobic Research] Email: [email protected] Facebook: www.facebbok.com/ TheFitnessRevolutionTT

My name is Roger Brumant and I am one of the unit managers at Guardian Life of the Caribbean Limited located at 1 Woodbrook Place, St James. As long as I can remember, I have always been overweight. Coming from a humble beginning, we never had much, and I had to eat what was available, mostly bread and carbs. My mother and grandmother were never far from the kitchen, and I often heard them use the old phrase “better a man belly buss than good food go to waste,” so, whatever was placed on the table, I ate.

Although I was heavy, my mind played tricks on me when I looked in the mirror. It always told me that I wasn’t a big guy, so, I should enjoy eating. I ultimately moved up from size large to extra-large, then quickly up to five extra-large. I then had to import even larger sizes from outside of our country. When I looked in the mirror, I was still a ‘hottie.’ I nicknamed myself ‘Big Red Trini’ and in my eyes I had it going on. In my mind when I looked in the mirror I was not in too bad a shape, I was good to go.

However, one day, while looking in the mirror I caught sight of what I call “the ring of death.” It is a layer of fat under the neck of obese people. I thought to myself, “Lord Father!

I have the ring of death.” I still did not take stock of myself. Even when I broke a plastic chair that I sat on, in my eyes, I was still the “Big Red Trini”… a hottie…still in the game. “You have it,” I told myself, although I weighed 438 pounds. The mind is a powerful tool, it can make you believe things that may not actually exist, I continued in denial, a little exercise here and there, but made no serious attempt to change my lifestyle.

My turning point came when I went to Orlando, Florida, with my son. We were at Universal Studios going to ride the Hulk, a thrill roller coaster ride. My first issue was getting into the seat. It was a challenge at first, but I conquered it; then I had to buckle my seatbelt. I tried and tried, and no matter what I did, I could not buckle my belt. I looked at my son and what I saw in his face brought a stark reality home to me, he was disappointed. Sadness and disappointment on my son’s face was not something that I was prepared for and I had caused it. I was devastated! This was it. I had enough. How much more did my family miss out on because of my weight. At that moment, I quietly prayed to God, telling him what he already knew, I was not doing the right thing and needed a second chance to be a better example to my family. I needed to live a different lifestyle. Never give up Thus, on August of 2014 my journey began. I decided to let mind and body work together to achieve my goal of being physically and mentally healthy. As a logical man I asked myself, “How did I get here?”

I recognized the power of my mind.

The body responds to what the mind tells it to do. I began to gradually eat less, and enjoyed a final Christmas of indulgence.

On February 10,2015, my journey to weight loss and wellness began. I  did some research to try to understand what was ahead of me and the challenges that I would face. I looked at am countless number of videos and television programmes on weight loss, what caused it and how to overcome the issues that caused the weight gain. The road has not been easy. There were many times where I stopped then started again. I shed many tears along the way as sometimes, frustration got the better of me.

However, I still had my goal and I was determined to achieve it. My mantra became, ‘it is not how you start, but where and how you finish.’ The major thing was to NEVER GIVE UP ON MYSELF and to remember that a journey begins with the first step. Taking the first step can assist in determining if you will succeed or fail at your goal.

Obesity is a disease and accepting that I suffered with this condition, was my first step in my weight loss journey. I followed a few steps in my weight loss journey.

STEP 1. I diagnosed my problem, I was overweight and made a plan of recovery.

STEP 2. I admitted to myself that I had to give up certain types of foods that I enjoyed and sought the help of my family in making this possible.

STEP 3. I created a support group—family, staff, friends. I had reached the emotional saturation point, my body was my prison and it was time to get out.

Take ownership of your problem As my journey to weight loss started, I realized that I needed divine intervention to get this done. Extraordinary things require extraordinary power, therefore I asked God for strength, wisdom, and determination.

At the start, the old bad eating habits tempted me, as I passed the familiar and beloved roti and doubles stops and had to dig deep to keep walking or driving and to not look back. It was not easy as those were my favourite foods.

The struggle was real, however, I persevered on my journey.

Today I weigh 215 pounds.

I train every day, I ride, do spin, aerobics, and take part in 5ks. I am currently learning the art of swimming.

I have been taking lessons and have been ably coached by Karen Araujo at the Flying Fish Swimming Club and getting tips from my son who is now a parttime instructor at the Eastern School of Life Saving.

These two people, along with XO MultiSport Club, and Peter Griffith, my personal trainer, have worked with me. This help has allowed me to successfully complete the recently concluded Rainbow Cup in Tobago in June this year.

When you take ownership of your problem, when you stop making excuses, then, and only then can change begin.

My journey continues and I want to share with those who want to follow my path, what I call the DOME Formula: D-Do accept that you have a problem.

O-Set your Objective. You need to be specific if it is to be healthy, continuous and long term. It must be a lifestyle change, not just about weight loss. M- Method. What exactly are you going to do? Work with a personal trainer or dietician for example?

E- Evaluate. Constantly take stock. Did I eat as I should have? Did I exercise? This will help you to be accountable.

Because I know that eating is often emotional, I define choice as the continuous overriding of the intuition to choose based on emotion.

Today I want to thank God for giving me a second chance along with Peter Griffith of Climarc Fitness and Nutrition Centre, my personal trainer who stuck with me throughout and is still here. I want to thank my wife and children, Judith, Isaiah, and Jodelle, whose support is invaluable. My team at Guardian Life and in particular Jeffrey Ward and Nicole Blake, who held on for me when I had to focus on losing the weight.

Thanks also to my WhatsApp support group, who always had an encouraging word for me.

To those who were not part of my core group but still gave support, thank you.

Categories: Entertainment News

Temple in the Sea... A wonder of the world

Lifestyle - Sat, 07/07/2018 - 00:50

This is the fourth installment on architectural delights, captured by photographer Edison Boodoosingh.

A living testament to the religious belief and perseverance of one man, the Temple in the Sea, located at Waterloo in Carapichaima, was first built in 1947 by indentured labourer Sewdass Sadhu. It was destroyed five years later as it was constructed at MacMillan Park, on private land owned by Tate and Lyle Ltd, a leading sugar cane company.

When the corporate entity became aware that the land was being used in 1952, they demanded that Sadhu remove the structure. When he refused, it was demolished by court order and Sadhu was fined $500 and imprisoned for 14 days for trespassing. This did not stop him from rebuilding the temple that same year, this time 500 feet into the sea in the Gulf of Paria on reclaimed land.

For the next 25 years, Sadhu dedicated himself to completing the temple. On his bicycle and in a leather bag, he carried stone by stone, assembling the base of the temple.

The temple stood for many years, enjoyed by many before Sadhu’s death in 1970. It sadly became neglected after his death and was reclaimed by the sea after years of erosion, which upset both Hindus and non-Hindus alike.

In 1994, local businessmen rallied together to have the temple built for a third time and, in conjunction with the government, the temple that still stands today began construction in 1994.

Upon completion in 1995 it was consecrated as the Sewdass Sadhu Shiv Mandir with a new pier allowing persons to have access during high tide and a statue of Sewdass Sadhu, proudly standing on the shore. (buzztt.com)

Categories: Entertainment News

Arts in Action offers two vacation camps

Lifestyle - Sat, 07/07/2018 - 00:48

Theatre group Arts in Action’s (AiA) 2018 vacation programme features two camps for participants from ages five to 18 and 18 years and over. The first, AiA’s 27th annual Discovery Camp, features a Children’s Theatre Production entitled, Jumbie Birds at the end of the July cycle, while the other is the group’s Technical Theatre Arts programme entitled, Discovery by Design 2018.

Artistic director Patrice Briggs said this is the first year that the end of cycle dramatic production has been opened to the public, rather than just family and friends. “The tradition of Arts-in-Action’s Children’s Discovery Camp has always been one where the engagement in the arts disciplines is what the children are exposed to while working towards some sort of presentation or artistic product/display of their process over the time period that we journey/discover with them.

“Reflecting on and witnessing how, over the years, this end product is growing each year in terms of theatrical design, quality and impact, we felt the work is ready to move to the next level.

This means to share the children’s creativity with the wider community, as the engagement with the wider community is the real forum that the work needs to reach.”

She said since the Discovery Camp is an arts-based camp, the children will be engaged in activities such as dance, drama, music and art. “They will also be part of a theatre production process as they work with the tutors in building the children’s theatre. Discovery Camp is also the place where children get to learn about themselves while interacting, playing and learning with other young people while engaging in the various art forms. So the skills are diverse as they are developmental, artistic and educational all at the same time.”

Briggs said the Technical Theatre Arts programme is open to theatre arts students, drama, church and Best Village groups, consisting of adults between the ages of 18 to 65 years, who want to learn the fundamentals of lighting, sound, set design and arts business essentials. “The Discovery by Design participants also work towards becoming the technical team for the Children’s Theatre Production. The tutors are comprised of some of the leading professionals in the Theatre Arts industry. Spaces are limited.”

Briggs said while the name of the final production is Jumbie Birds, how the production takes shape will be explored during the camp. “We start with an idea, theme, frame or title and then we discover through a process working with the children how we can put meaning to what we want to create. The term Jumbie Birds is associated with some sort of folklore-like creature that attempts to scare others. But, we are in the process of working how it relates to the issue of Violence against Women and Gender Based Violence, which is the theme/issue that this camp seeks to address.”

Briggs added that AiA is an Advocate against Violence against Women and Gender Based Violence with UN Women and it is for this reason that the group, “continues to look for opportunities through our work to address this issue which seems to be highly prevalent within our society today.”

She added: “We continue to witness the high level of violent crimes against women in Trinidad and how this vicious cycle is negatively impacting upon our young girls and boys. So it’s only fitting that we decided to deal with such as an issue in our Discovery Camp 2018. AiA recognises the indispensable role that the arts has to play in the development, empowerment, social, organisational and attitudinal change.

“Therefore in order to fulfill this philosophy we seek to address this social issue through this children’s theatre production. Through our local adaptation of stories, use of traditional forms such as Kalinda, traditional folklore and Caribbean folks songs we will explore how our young boys and girls can be empowered in dealing with violence against women.”

The Technical Theatre Arts programme runs from July 9 to August 4 from 5.30 to 8.30 pm and may include some Saturdays as well. The July cycle runs from July 9 to 27 and show dates for Jumbie Birds are July 28 and 29. The August cycle runs from August 6 to 18. For more information contact 289-4242 or 384-9565/9561 or [email protected].

Categories: Entertainment News

Mariama to host garden party, showcase for African fashion

Lifestyle - Sat, 07/07/2018 - 00:45

Mariama Children’s Museum & Teen Turf (MCMTT): The Counselling and Activity Centre for Children and Adolescents, will be hosting a fund-raiser on July 21, at the Trinidad Theatre Workshop from 2 pm – 7 pm.

This fund-raiser will be a Garden Party and Showcase for African Fashions.

MCMTT has always seen itself as working at providing solutions for the well-being of children, young people and families in T&T; therefore, the fund-raiser is seeking to provide a number of solutions.

On the weekend, Mariama founder/chairman Anna Maria Mora said: “Many of our nation’s adolescents find themselves making choices which do not help them to live a successful life. Many need psychological and psycho-educational assessments, which will provide their schools and parents with recommendations to assist them to move toward with making choices for their good.

“Historically and presently, the government’s Student Support Service continues to be overwhelmed and young people must wait for as much as six months to one year for an assessment.

Doing these assessments privately is very costly and those who need them, cannot afford the private services.

“Mariama’s mission is to become an agency through which parents can access (in a timely manner) financial assistance for this urgent need and we will assist them to access the services privately.”

Continued Mora: “One of Mariama’s after school care participants, who is now an adult, is due to leave for London to begin a course of study in neuropsychology. This is proving to be very costly. Part proceeds of this fund-raiser will be donated to her fund.”

The July 21 event will also be celebrating Emancipation 2018, and Mariama’s theme, as it joins the national celebration Empowerment to Overcome Today’s Challenges: Fortitude and Readiness. This event will also commemorate 28 years of MCMTT.

For any further information and/or clarification, call 363-7948, 752-7554 or 642-4231.

Categories: Entertainment News


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