Entertainment News

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A world of learning opens at Black Deer camp

Lifestyle - Mon, 08/13/2018 - 07:24

A whole wide world of learning is being opened up to dozens of students from Mayaro and environs attending the Black Deer Vacation Camp sponsored by energy company bpTT.

The words of eight-year-old, Kaylan Kate Brereton, who attends the Mayaro-Guayaguayare Community School, conveyed the campers’ excitement, “I love this vacation camp so much because we do a lot of fun activities every day. I get to play and learn with my friends and I also made lots of new friends. There were some topics that I had problems with and the tutors are really helping me to understand better. My parents are also glad because this is a safe and fun environment and I get picked up and dropped home and we even get a delicious lunch every day.”

Now in its eighth year, the six-week camp is hosted at the Guayaguayare RC Primary School which has many of the necessary amenities including a playing field and even SMART boards that were installed by bpTT. Ten experienced and qualified tutors engage with and impart knowledge to more than 100 campers between the ages of four and 13.

Underscoring bpTT’s support for the initiative, Ronda Francis, corporate responsibility manager, said: “This camp is unique in that it utilises highly interactive teaching techniques to reinforce fundamental learning skills such as literacy, numeracy and critical thinking. The real difference, however, is the fact that a nurturing and fun environment is created where the children feel comfortable to move at their own pace.

“They have excellent and dedicated tutors and the kids assist each other to succeed. From the feedback we have received year after year, the Black Deer campers go back to school in September much more capable and confident of attaining their full potential.”

The benefits of the annual Black Deer camp are so enduring that some people, originally from Mayaro who have moved to other parts of Trinidad, and even further afield like the United States, plan their vacations around the camp so their children can attend.

For Jaliyah Glodon, an eight-year-old resident of Chicago, the Black Deer vacation camp experience is unbelievable.

She said: “I am learning so much every single day and when I go back to school, I am going to share what I learnt with my friends in America. My family is originally from New Lands Village in Guayaguayare and my parents heard so many great things about this camp that they made sure we came for vacation while the camp is going on. I made a lot of friends and the tutors are so friendly and they really help us to learn by having fun. I’m so thankful that I got to attend this camp and I wish that every child in the world could come here.”

The camp utilises a mix of conventional and non-traditional techniques to reinforce the various skills students demonstrate at different education levels.

Academic learning is delivered through elements of arts and craft, music, dance, gardening and instructional field trips. Campers also engage in interactive exercises to strengthen them in areas such as phonics, vocabulary, sentence structure, reading and writing.

On hand to teach the students the unique art of balloon twisting was Mayaro Government Primary School teacher and guest tutor, Keith Richardson, and he said: “As an educator with over 35 years’ experience, I can say with confidence that this camp brings great benefit to the students. Education transcends books and learning by rote, and these kids are shown that creativity, individuality and freedom of expression are also great learning and developmental tools.

“Over the years, the children come back and tell us that the creative aspects of this camp are what make the biggest impact on their attitudes to learning.”

With the camp closing off on Friday, the campers have a packed last week including educational field trips to the Mayaro Fire Station, Devil’s Woodyard in Hindustan and the Pitch Lake in La Brea.

President and founder of the Black Deer Foundation, Arvolon Wilson-Smith, praised bpTT for its overwhelming support of the camp and said: “When our campers go back to school, we always get positive feedback from their teachers and parents. We offer the students the freedom to explore and engage in activities that encourage them to absorb things at a comfortable pace.

“We are really grateful for this investment in our children being made by bpTT because the rewards are very tangible and long-lasting and benefit the entire community.”

Categories: Entertainment News

No ‘Simmy-dimi’ for Rhea-Simone

Lifestyle - Mon, 08/13/2018 - 07:22

Stand-up comedy is a growing field in T&T, being built by comics one performance at a time. One such comedian is Rhea-Simone Auguste, also known as Simmy de Trini, whose shows have been growing in popularity while providing a platform for other comedians.

Auguste said she began watching stand-up comedy as a teenager and used humour to help her make friends in school. “I was very socially awkward,” said Auguste, “but I realised it was easier to get someone to talk to me if I could make them smile or laugh. I didn’t pursue it when I was younger because we didn’t have anything here to encourage stand-up.”

She said comedy became her saving grace when she began going through the roughest period of her life. She revealed: “In one fell swoop, my mom died, I lost my job and I lost my home. I turned to comedy for self-preservation and it helped me retain my optimism and positive outlook. With support from friends and the Woman’s Forum on Facebook, I started doing my own shows and from there I got booked to host weddings, MC shows and do corporate comedy shows.”

Auguste has forged a career out of the field, having at least one show a month. She initially performed at Randy Glasgow’s Alternative Comedy Festival and realised that she needed a platform in order to improve her material.

“There were no open mics dedicated to unfiltered stand-up comedy at the time” said Auguste.

“We have a lot of mixed mics but sometimes content can be lost on a crowd that is uncomfortable with certain topics or includes minors. So, I invested the money I earned from ACF in a challenge called Haul Yuh Mic where comedians can test material at the open mic or challenge each other, with the audience selecting the winner of a cash prize. From there, I conceptualised Kix-See to showcase longer comedy sets, introduce improvisation, videos and other comedic elements to continue nudging the visibility and viability of comedy in T&T. I also started doing clean comedy sets for corporate events, including a Mother’s Day special for Central Bank and an upcoming storytelling/comedy set for a children’s camp at Pt Lisas Nitrogen.”

Auguste said even though the field is currently a male-dominated one, she has received nothing but support from her fellow male stand-up comedians, including people like Keevo, Kwame Weekes, Kevin Soyer, Jr Lee, Carlon George, Errol Fabien, Randy Glasgow, Carl Jacobs and other experienced professionals. She said she thought women would naturally start doing stand-up once they saw it as a viable means of earning income and more opportunities surface.

“It’s not a stable industry yet,” said Auguste.

“Personally, I would love to see more women trying it as I know a few women who are hilarious and could probably be successful if they tried it. For young comedians wanting to try stand-up, I’d say stop procrastinating and just try it. If you bomb or ‘buss’, that’s part of the process. Keep at it, keep showing up and trying your material. If you’re funny, people will let you know when you’re hitting the spot.”

Auguste said the main difficulty she faces is getting people to see the value in supporting local comedic talent year-round. She said people find it easier to spend recreational cash on forms of entertainment which they are sure to enjoy, rather than “coming out and risk hearing people telling stale jokes or “’bussin’” for two hours. That’s why I’m committed to ensuring the shows surface monthly and the support base keeps growing as people enjoy them and come back bringing friends to join the experience. I think time and persistence is going to be critical for my shows to gain momentum, and maybe some extra corporate support.”

The next episode of Kix-See debuts at Woodford Cafe, in Price Plaza, Chaguanas, on Thursday, featuring comedian Carlon George. Auguste said: “Carlon won a Haul Yuh Mic Challenge and has been developing material at open mics. Kix-See is meant to be a clean comedy experience and his brand is family friendly. It’s my first time producing shows outside of my own showcases for other comedians to gain more momentum so I am excited to see this platform materialise.”

Tickets for Kix-See cost $100 and showtime is at 8 pm. For more information, find Simmy De Trini on Facebook.

Categories: Entertainment News

T&T Film Festival premieres tomorrow

Lifestyle - Fri, 08/10/2018 - 23:53

The T&T Film Festival’s (ttff) new initiative, the Family Matinee Series, aims to offer families a new free source of entertainment during the August vacation period. It runs from August 12 to 26 at venues across T&T.

ttff Community Development Director Melvina Hazard said the series presents four films featuring children and young people from around the world overcoming various forms of social, political and familial adversity.

“We wanted to find inspiring films that had not had a lot of exposure. Each of the films is about the child coming of age or going through some adversity, and each film is from a different part of the world, including Cuba, West Africa, Ethiopia and Spain. So we wanted to show children from different parts of the world facing adversity and challenges, and how they overcome them.”

The four films are Esteban, a Spanish drama from Cuba, Landfill Harmonic, a Spanish documentary, Adama, a French animated drama set in West Africa, and Lamb, an Ethiopian drama. Each film will be screened in a community venue. Estaban will be screened on August 12 at the Arima Town Hall; Landfill Harmonic on August 18 at the Department of Creative and Festival Arts, UWI, St Augustine; Adama on August 19 at San Fernando City Hall; and Lamb on August 26 at Buccoo Community Centre in Tobago. Guests are free to bring their own snacks. Hazard said the community screenings were developed to “bring in new audiences who might not normally have access to go to the MovieTowne and who wouldn’t have access to these types of non-Hollywood films.”

All the film screenings begin promptly at 4 pm, and Hazard said this was done so that “parents can take their kids to an evening show as opposed to a night show, which is when most of our programming events happen. We wanted to do something that was more specifically family-focused because it’s the school holidays.”

Republic Bank Ltd is sponsoring the new series, which is an extension of the ttff’s community cinema, an essential part of ttff’s mission and objectives to use film as an agent of perception change, social transformation, education, entrainment and inspiration. Hazard said the series was a perfect fit for the sponsor, as they are very family-focused.

Hazard said the response to the Festival has been growing over the years due to their consistency and direct programming efforts. “In the last three years or so the Festival itself has opened with a local film, we have been getting a lot of support and the local filmmakers have been doing a lot of work to get audiences out. Also, because we’ve been consistent over the past eight to nine years we’ve been able to build good audiences. We’ve also done a lot of research, we take people’s information, communicate directly with them and we try to program to suit what we think their interests would be. This series is expanding the ttff brand and the Community Cinema brand, doing a little something more specific for families.”

For more on the initiative and the films, visit ttfilmfestival.com

Categories: Entertainment News

Innovators programme a success

Lifestyle - Fri, 08/10/2018 - 23:51

Twelve fiercely motivated Trinbagonian female entrepreneurs decided that this was the year to rev up their businesses to top speed. That’s just what they did by participating in and graduating from the recently completed Women Innovators in the Caribbean (WINC) Acceleration Programme (AP) 2017-2018.

The programme which was partially funded by the Canadian Government and the World Bank, was facilitated by infoDev-certified AP Facilitators Glenda Joseph- Dennis, managing director of Carific Coaching and Consulting Ltd and Georgina Terry, managing director of Business and People Development Associates Ltd (BPD). The businesswomen were able to benefit from expert services in personal and business development, technical workshops, one-onone mentoring and motivational sessions over eight-months.

This was the second cohort of women to benefit from WINC’s uniquely designed transformative methodology in holistic business acceleration.

High Commissioner for Canada to T&T Carla Hogan Rufelds, in her feature address to the graduates, spoke about her personal experiences and the Canadian Government’s $600 million development programme for the Caribbean (of which $20 million was devoted to the World Bank’s Entrepreneurship Programme for Innovation in the Caribbean (EPIC)) and its applicability to the general goals and objectives of the infoDev/ WINC programme in the Caribbean.

Hogan Rufelds provided statistics that reflected the gains of women entrepreneurs in the Caribbean and Latin America and the gaps that still exist. She reconfirmed with passion her own commitment as well as that of her Government “to build a world in which women’s economic empowerment and the leadership of women are brought to fruition every day.” She exhorted all the women to be “bold, proactive and persistent.”

The programme’s final motivational session was facilitated by Catherine Kumar, ex-CEO T&T Chamber of Industry and Commerce. Her approach was interactive and was appropriate for both graduating participants and guests. She shared her experiences from working in the banking sector and she focused on taking risks, stepping in and out of comfort zones, embracing innovative ideas, delayed gratification and networking as these related to women becoming winners.

Kumar’s authentic sharing of her personal journey and accomplishments motivated many to review the key ingredients of their growth recipes and to be brave in adding new ones.

The 12 women who successfully completed and graduated from the WincapTT 2018 programme include: Aileen Bruce (President’s Inn Ltd); Ain Earle (The Fashion Arch); Alicia Small (game Changer Concepts); Carolyn Chu Fook (Monster Media Group Ltd); Eshe Bruce (Yummazing Creamery); Germaine Williams-Beckles (Rayogee Limited); Jo-Ann Murrell (Carisoul Architecture Co Ltd); Kaisha Lee A Ping Alfred Soundroom Productions Limited & Trendy Trade Show); Nikita Legall Tropical Hives Ltd; Stacy- Ann Williams (Edu-Star Limited); and, Venus Honore-Gopie (Honoré Floral Designs).

According to Stacy Ann Williams of Edu-Star Limited: “The programme transformed me by helping me clarify my vision, focus and ultimately my decision making…at the beginning of the programme I was a franchisee and at the of the programme I am in the process of being a franchisor.”

Carolyn Chu Fook of Monster Media Group Ltd asserts: “Being part of the programme taught me valuable lessons, how to implement new strategies, helped to improve the internal culture of my company, increased my confidence in networking and presenting skills, which lead to delivering presentations to large organisations and also reviewing and improving our business processes. All the participants grew during the programme in their own unique way.”

The programme was supported by ten skilful local and international mentors including: Maxine Attong, Kaylan Bartholomew, Rawle Rollocks, Marcus Sunkow, Inshan Meahjohn, Michelle Low Chew Tung, Dr Nsombi Jaja, Kaffi Williams, Nicole Green and Indira Couch.

Special guests in attendance included Managing Director of Enterprise Hub Ashley Mitchell and Melissa Birbal who represented The Caribbean Industrial Research Institute (Cariri), the latter of which sponsored the venue for the launch of WincapTT 2018.

Categories: Entertainment News

Chef Joe Brown delights at Jaffa

Lifestyle - Fri, 08/10/2018 - 01:40

Last Saturday, Angostura hosted its third instalment of its Rum Appetit Series at Jaffa at the Oval Restaurant.

The event allowed guests to experience a four-course dinner prepared by Chef Joe Brown, with rum education from Head Mixologist Raymond Edwards.

Upon arrival, guests were welcomed with the iconic Queen’s Park Swizzle cocktail, first concocted at the Queen’s Park Hotel in the 1920s, and which, thanks to Angostura’s mixologists, is being revived.

Chef Brown wasted no time in highlighting Angostura’s premium rum line as he offered Angostura 1919 infused lobster ragout with chive foam as his first passed canape.

Robust flavours were promised and were delivered in each of the four courses. The first course of shrimp and scallop panna cotta, served with Angostura’s seven-year-old rum, encouraged conversation as most patrons were used to a sweet panna cotta and not savoury as Chef Brown had prepared.

Angostura 1787 was then paired with a tomato soup, followed by a main course of slow smoked beef tenderloin with molasses rum sauce, which was accompanied by Angostura 1824.

For the final course, Chef Brown once again pulled from his bag of tricks, yet another surprise—frozen Angostura 1919, served ice cold.

Guests expressed pleasant surprise when Angostura gave them Solera gift cards in appreciation of an evening well spent and appreciated.

Categories: Entertainment News

A Naughty Night of Dinner Theatre

Lifestyle - Fri, 08/10/2018 - 01:39

Theatre has been in spotlight of the local entertainment mix these past few months with productions by Fareid Carvalho, Raymond Choo Kong and RS/RR Theatre Company. Last Saturday, Trinidad Theatre Workshop (TTW) continued its dinner theatre series at its 6 Newbold Street headquarters in St Clair and it turned out to be a delightful evening for all in attendance.

TTW staged A Naughty Night of Dinner Theatre—Oral Report, a 15-minute short play written by playwright Jack Neary of Boston Playwrights Theatre. The local version, directed by Tyker Phillip, starred Lauri Byer, Reena Christian and Cindy F Daniel.

This comedic play, based in part on the Monica Lewinsky / Bill Clinton 1990’s sex scandal, follows a conversation over tea among three elderly friends—Marjorie, Alma and Gertrude—who on their porch discuss the incident.

The hilarious conversation, somewhat, is a sex education class which answered questions such as, “What is sex?” “Who should and shouldn’t have sex?” and “Different types of sex becoming more common norms, eg oral sex, etc” among other related topics.

As a prelude to the main course on stage, TTW treated patrons to dinner, with a performance by guitarist Gregory Pantin and vocalist Lee Merrique, an independent artiste versed in the genres of Neo-Soul, Pop, Caribbean Dance Music, Jazz, R&B, Soul and Hip-Hop.

Rated PG 18+, the show was attended by guests such as veteran actress Eunice Alleyne, TTW outreach co-ordinator Louris Lee-Sing, Sally’s Way film producer Cynthia Sifontis and Elise Aché and her mother Gina.

• For more information about the Trinidad Theatre Workshop, its schedule of play performances re-enactments and events, contact 622-4125/ 235-3756, [email protected] Instagram: @TRINIDAD_THEATRE

Categories: Entertainment News

Central Bank Auditorium to come alive with sweet music

Lifestyle - Thu, 08/09/2018 - 06:37

Come Saturday, the Central Bank Auditorium, lower St Vincent Street, Port-of-Spain, will come alive with the sights and sounds of La Casa De Fusion starring headliner First Lady of Parang Alicia Jaggasar.

Special guests for the evening include Operatic tenor John Thomas, Sweet Soca Man Baron, Malick Folk Performing Company and The Karline Brathwaite Dance Company. This third instalment of La Casa de Fusión is an Anglo Latin (La) treatment to Calypso and Soca (CaSa). This fusion is the brainchild of reigning 11- time Parang Queen Jaggasar of Los Alumnos de San Juan.

Jaggasar has managed to carve a niche for herself in the parang world not just as a lead vocalist, but as a prolific lyricist and composer of parang and Latin music.

Her original compositions have been showcased at the South by South west Music Festival in Austin, Texas, USA and at WOMEX (World Music Expo) in Budapest, Hungary to critical success and encore requests from the international audience.

To establish herself as annAnglo Latin singer, she embarkedb on a series of mini concerts, started in April in Port-of-Spain and Arima, to rave reviews and will now embark on her largest undertaking ever.

Show producer John Thomas told GML: “T&T’s proximity with Venezuela has long seen us opening our doors to our Latino and Latina neighbours when they came here as peasants to work in the cocoa plantations at the turn of the 20th century.

It is these peons who brought with them the traditions of Parranda, pronounced as parang to the Anglophonic Trinidadian, which allowed persons like Alicia to embrace this tradition.

“Due to the economic and political fallout in Venezuela over the past 20 years, we have seen an influx of new Venezuelan migrants who are contributing to our music landscape and thus opening a market and local appreciation and taste for Latin music and dance in T&T.

“Because of this, Alicia then furthered her study of the Spanish language through the Venezuelan Embassy and continued this quest for learning by also studying the many Latin music genres which is evident in her original compositions; from salsa, meringue, bachata to bolero, cumbia and, of course, parranda (parang).

For more information call 338-4452 or visit Simon’s Musical Supplies, on Borde Street, or Cleve’s One Stop Record Shop, on Frederick Street, Port-of-Spain.

Patrons attending the show are advised to be seated by 7:45 pm. There will be no intermission as the show runs for 90 minutes.

Categories: Entertainment News

Music at a higher level in Aria

Lifestyle - Thu, 08/09/2018 - 06:34

Operatic tenor John Thomas’ latest production, Aria, will feature a cast of mostly male singers displaying international standards in pageantry, artistry, talent and showmanship.

The show takes place on August 12 at the Central Bank Auditorium, Port-of-Spain.

Thomas said, in addition to himself, the production will feature well-known personalities such as singers Kyle Richardson and Kevon Carter Dobrey, actor Conrad Parris, pannist Johann Chuckaree and violinist David Frank.

He said the show will also introduce the phenomenal voice of Kevin Humphrey, who has starred in Khona, Rent, Cinderella and many other local musicals.

“All the stars are from my Believe concert series,” said Thomas.

“Kevin (Humphrey) is an under- advertised talent we have right here in T&T. I like to advertise the soloists in my shows, whereas other houses push the brand of the show.”

Audiences are also promised a trip down memory lane as the production will pay tribute to local legends Lord Kitchener, The Mighty Sparrow and Andre Tanker.

The cast will perform a skilfully-blended balance between, opera, jazz, pop and calypso, accompanied by the La Karline Brathwaite Dance Company for animation.

Thomas added: “I am sometimes accused of not having local or presenting local material, I intend to bring it good in my typical style. This suite of local music will have our audiences asking for more.”

Although the show is billed as having an all-male cast, it will feature vocalists L A Rose and young soprano prodigy Clarice Beeput of St Joseph Convent, in collaborations with the male artistes.

Johan Chuckaree will also be accompanying some of the evening entertainment. Thomas said audiences can look forward to the continuation of the high standards and production values which come with the Thomas/ Believe Brand, “consistently bringing to the stage a plethora of phenomenal talent and presenting it in a way that is always unique and interesting.

“They know they will get the standard pop opera fusion that they have all come to know and love the cast
for.”

More info

Early Bird tickets cost $200, General tickets cost $250 and Special Reserved tickets cost $300. For tickets or more information call 498-9057 and find Aria on Facebook and Instagram. Tickets can be purchased at Craft creators Trincity Mall and Kitchen Korner West Mall and Long Circular Mall.

Categories: Entertainment News

What does literacy mean to you?

Lifestyle - Thu, 08/09/2018 - 06:29

In just about one month, registration for Alta’s 2018/2019 academic year begins. In preparation for this year’s registration and in honour of Alta’s 25th anniversary being celebrated this year, this week’s article takes a look at the importance of literacy. What exactly does literacy mean and why does the work of Alta continue to be of growing importance?

The meaning of the word literate has long been debated but has come to refer to the ability to read, understand and use information and while many persons may take these skills for granted, they are just that- skills. Without proper teaching and practice, these skills can become underdeveloped and this often results in struggling readers or non-readers.

The Adult Literacy Tutors Association was formed in 1992 to address issues in adult literacy in Trinidad and Tobago at a time when many were not aware that a literacy problem existed. The literacy survey completed by ALTA in 1994 found that 23 per cent of the population struggled with everyday reading and writing.

This percentage accounts for approximately 300,000 persons in T&T. Over the course of 25 years ALTA has trained over 300 volunteer tutors and helped over 2,000 students ages 16 and over, reach their literacy goals. ALTA provides classes of different levels and evaluates potential students and places them in classes dependent on their skill level.

Through its work, ALTA also tries to combat the attitudes towards non-readers by others. There is a stigma and a stereotype attached to persons who have difficulties with reading and writing. Often times persons assume that there is a link between literacy and intelligence but the two are not synonymous and many people assume that a person who struggles with literacy is not intelligent which is certainly not the case.

ALTA tries to combat that negative stereotype and encourage non-readers to work beyond their fears and seek assistance to greater improve their quality of life.

Literacy lies at the heart of education and serves as the gateway to social and economic mobility and builds a foundation upon which persons can forge a life away from poverty and crime.

More info

On Tuesday, September 4 and Wednesday, September 5, from 9 am to 6 pm, ALTA holds registration for the new academic year at the following libraries: Arima, Couva, Chaguanas, Mayaro, POS, San Juan, Siparia, Tunapuna, Point Fortin, Princes Town, San Fernando and Sangre Grande. Other registration venues include the Warrenville Regional Complex, Shiva Boys’ Hindu College, Brighton AC School La Brea, 18 Cedar Hill Road Claxton Bay and ALTA San Fernando Office.

ALTA continues to change the lives of its students and continues to work towards its goal of empowering adults through literacy.

Volunteer, Donate or Sponsor-a-student. Call 621-5708 or email [email protected] for more info. Keep up to date with ALTA on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram: ALTA

Categories: Entertainment News

Minister stresses importance of discipline at workshop

Lifestyle - Thu, 08/09/2018 - 06:27

“Discipline must be the underpinning of punishment.” This was the sentiment expressed by Minister of Community Development, Culture and the Arts Dr Nyan Gadsby-Dolly as she addressed the formal opening of the Mediation Services Division’s Parental Group Workshop at the National Academy for the Performing Arts, (Napa) on Wednesday, July 25. In her passionate address to the audience, which included approximately 180 parents and grandparents, Minister Gadsby-Dolly noted that discipline starts in the home and schools with the children, parents and teachers.

The theme for this year’s Parental Group Workshop series was Yours, Mine and Ours—Parenting in the best interest of the child, and the topic for the first workshop was Co-Parenting. Minister Gadsby-Dolly called for the groups to work towards attracting younger mothers as they would benefit from the guidance and support and believes that the ministry, through these parental group workshops can assist parents in resolving conflicts at home, preventing it from spreading to schools, communities and the country. She reminded them that through their continued participation, “they can help reduce the conflict that escalates into crime.”

Earlier, Deputy Permanent Secretary Susan Shurland welcomed all of the Parental Support Groups and facilitators in attendance, thanking them for their commitment to the development of families and by extension, communities across the country. Such commitment, she believes, will redound to the benefit of the ministry, to enable it to deliver on its mandate of “building resilient communities.”

Executive director of the Mediation Services Division Beverly Harry-Emmanuel, who served as chairperson for the workshop, also highlighted the challenges of parenting today, in light of the existence of social media and other influences which children are exposed to on a daily basis. She urged parents to carefully monitor their children’s activities.

Psychologist Dr Krishna Maharaj delivered a vibrant presentation on human development in children, which was followed by sessions led by social work specialist Vanessa Gibbs and consultant Quasi Cudjoe who tackled the issue of raising children amidst divorce and separation. The day’s proceedings continued with a presentation by counselling therapist consultant Akilah Riley-Richardson on co-parenting in high conflict families.

These real issues facing parents provided high levels of engagement and discussion, given the relevance and facilitated a very energetic feedback and evaluation session facilitated by the Mediation Division’s research specialist, Taresa Best Downes.

A second Parental Support Group Workshop was held at the same venue yesterday and its focus was on the issue of Blended Families (including marriage between two persons, who each have children from previous relationships).

ABOUT THE PARENTAL SUPPORT GROUP WORKSHOPS"

The Community Mediation Services Division has developed and successfully executed a wide range of preventative programmes, including the Parental Support Group programme.
Its objectives are:

· To equip parents with information and skills to improve their confidence and competence in child-rearing.

· To provide support, coping skills and mechanisms to parents in a non-threatening and supportive environment.

· To enhance the quality of family life in communities.

There are currently seven Parental Support Groups and one Mens’ Support Group. Through a total of seven monthly meetings this year, members of these groups have all reported a positive change in their homes, specifically the relationships with their children

 

Categories: Entertainment News

Anointed Hands Designs grooming the nation’s youth

Lifestyle - Thu, 08/09/2018 - 06:23

Anointed Hand Designs presented its seventh fashion show— Simplement Divin’—at Creative Arts Centre, San Fernando, last Sunday. Displaying a variety of her beautiful designs and colours, designer Arlene Hodge-Murray also made sure patrons were kept entertained during the show.

The fashions were categorised into different sections and themes; the sections including Moonlight & Coloured Fine China, My Journey Through Japan, Children of Uganda, Children of Botswana, Colour Explosion, Loving It and Breezy.

Between the modelling presentations, patrons enjoyed somewhat of a mini concert with dance, pan, mime performances, as well as a bit of humour.

The newly-installed lighting system at the centre also helped to enhance the presentation.

The show, which lasted for just over two hours, was well received by the patrons who were also treated to dinner.

The models, comprising children and adults, were all trained by Hodge-Murray who also operates a dance, etiquette and modelling school. Dubbing the show a success, Hodge-Murray said the purpose of the show was to showcase her models’ talent, especially the children and her work.

A fashion designer for 20 years, Hodge-Murray said she takes pleasure in helping and grooming young people.

Categories: Entertainment News

Sexual abuse—know the signs

Lifestyle - Wed, 08/08/2018 - 00:25

Very often during peer counselling, I come across sexual abuse survivors. In fact, it has been a common occurrence of my suspicions being almost always proven correct among those presenting with mental illnesses.

The insidiousness of mental illness was the subject of a feature here before because it remains that “shame and secrecy are the dreadful hallmarks of sexual abuse.

Worst yet, because of our attitude toward sexual crimes, victims are cowed into enabling silence since the lack of openness creates a fertile field for the criminals who perpetrate such evils on the vulnerable.”

Shame and secrecy continue to impact the underreporting of this criminal activity because too many victims never find their voice or courage to unmask the perpetrators.

Very often these children—usually girls, but boys are not exempt—grow up feeling guilty. Processing such a violation at an early age means that many feel complicit even though everyone tries to reinforce it was not their fault.

The principal long-term effect of childhood sexual abuse for many people is not in sexual adjustment but on their self-esteem.

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 (The UWI). Write to: [email protected]

Sexual abuse warning signs

“Children often show us rather than tell us that something is upsetting them. There may be many reasons for changes in their behaviour, but if we notice a combination of worrying signs it may be time to call for help or advice” (www.parentsprotect.co.uk/). The following is an excerpt from Parents Protect on signs of sexual abuse.
What to watch out for in children:
• Acting out in an inappropriate sexual way with toys or objects
• Nightmares, sleeping problems
• Becoming withdrawn or very clingy
• Becoming unusually secretive
• Sudden unexplained personality changes, mood swings and seeming insecure
• Regressing to younger behaviours, eg bedwetting
• Unaccountable fear of particular places or people
• Outburst of anger
• Changes in eating habits
• New adult words for body parts and no obvious source
• Talk of a new, older friend and unexplained money or gifts
• Self-harm (cutting, burning or other harmful activities)
• Physical signs, such as, unexplained soreness or bruises around genitals or mouth, sexually transmitted diseases, pregnancy
• Running away
• Not wanting to be alone with a particular child or young person
Any one sign doesn’t mean that a child was or is being sexually abused, but the presence of several warning signs suggests that you should begin to ask questions and consider seeking help. Keep in mind that some of these signs can emerge at other times of stress such as:
• During a divorce
• Death of a family member or pet
• Problems at school or with friends
• Other anxiety-inducing or traumatic events
Physical warning signs
Physical signs of sexual abuse are rare; however, if you see these signs, take your child to a doctor. Your doctor can help you understand what may be happening and test for sexually transmitted diseases.
• Pain, discoloration, bleeding or discharges in genitals, anus or mouth
• Persistent or recurring pain during urination and bowel movements
• Wetting and soiling accidents unrelated to toilet training
Signs that an adult may be
using their relationship with
a child for sexual reasons
The signs that an adult may be using their relationship with a child for sexual reasons may not be obvious. We may feel uncomfortable about the way they play with the child, or seem always to be favouring them and creating reasons for them to be alone. There may be cause for concern about the behaviour of an adult or young person if they:
• Refuse to allow a child sufficient privacy or to make their own decisions on personal matters.
• Insist on physical affection such as kissing, hugging or wrestling even when the child clearly does not want it.
• Are overly interested in the sexual development of a child or teenager.
• Insist on time alone with a child with no interruptions.
• Spend most of their spare time with children and have little interest in spending time with people their own age.
• Regularly offer to baby-sit children for free or take children on overnight outings alone.
• Buy children expensive gifts or give them money for no apparent reason.
• Frequently walk in on children/teenagers in the bathroom.
• Treat a particular child as a favourite, making them feel ‘special’ compared with others in the family.
• Pick on a particular child.
(www.parentsprotect.co.uk/)

Categories: Entertainment News

13 young engineers graduate from Atlantic Graduate Trainee Programme

Lifestyle - Mon, 08/06/2018 - 01:03

With parting words of wisdom from some of the senior executives of LNG production company Atlantic, 13 young professionals with engineering degrees recently completed another cycle of the Atlantic Graduate Trainee Programme.

This was the first time in the 11-year history of the programme that all participants had engineering degrees. The participants joined the programme in 2016 and underwent two years of specialised on-the-job training, working in several areas of Atlantic’s plant operations, including Health, Safety, Security and Environment (HSSE), Engineering, Production Operations and Maintenance, Production Optimisation and Technical Assurance.

At a special recognition function, held recently for the graduate trainees, Atlantic CEO Dr Philip Mshelbila encouraged them to build on the knowledge, experience and most importantly the values gained during their Atlantic tenure.

“The Atlantic Graduate Trainee programme is designed to foster an environment of learning and development; you trainees have excelled here,” Mshelbila said. “You were here to learn as well as to add value.

We see that value in the impressive projects you worked on while you were here. Many of you helped to inject new ideas and creativity into our existing work processes.”

Chairman of Atlantic, Gordon Deane urged the trainees to continue being willing to learn. “You are the future leaders and part of your job is to allow the leaders of today to guide you properly,” Deane said.

Sharlene Birmingham, graduate trainee in HSSE, said the programme helped to catapult her development as a professional. “These two years have been challenging and rewarding—the opportunity has allowed me to work alongside and learn from a great group of persons,” Birmingham said.

“The programme provided both professional and personal growth. I learnt about myself and my capabilities and I gained so much exposure in the HSSE field and many of its intricacies.”

Randy Ramkhelawan, graduate trainee in Process Engineering said the opportunity to be mentored by experienced professionals was invaluable. “We gained practical experience and enhanced our technical and analytical skills,” Ramkhelawan said.

“Knowing Atlantic to be a philanthropic company, we seized the opportunity to develop our softer skills and become socially responsible citizens.”

In addition to exposing the graduate trainees to internal training courses relevant to the LNG and Energy sector, the programme also gave them the opportunity to work on high-profile projects, including during maintenance outages when sections of Atlantic’s plant are taken offline for routine servicing of equipment. The trainees were also tasked with leading volunteerism initiatives such as Atlantic’s participation in the United Way Day of Caring.

Created in 2007 as part of Atlantic’s commitment to help develop young local talent by creating opportunities for growth, the Graduate Trainee Programme has trained 139 university graduates from several disciplines. The next intake is scheduled for August 2019.

Categories: Entertainment News

Ecomomics key factor in exploitation

Lifestyle - Mon, 08/06/2018 - 01:00

Economics was the main driving force behind slavery and remains as a key factor in the exploitation of people in contemporary times. This point was underscored by Dr Glenn Ramadharsingh, chairman of the Siparia Regional Corporation (SRC), when the SRC hosted Emancipation Day celebrations last Thursday, at the Siparia Market Complex.

Reminding the gathering that slavery started in 1783 and slaves were brought in to labour on the sugar estates in the Caribbean, Ramadharsingh said after Emancipation the slaves wanted nothing to do with the estates because of the harsh and cruel treatment they had on the plantations prior to relocation. He said, again because of economics, the Indians were brought in as Indentured labourers and toiled under similar conditions. Ramadharsingh said it is important to look at the ways economics created cruelty, punishment and slavery.

Ramadharsingh opined that economic exploitation nurtures the suffering inflicted on migrants fleeing countries globally to escape the harsh realities of existence their homelands. Citing the case of Venezuelans migrating in T&T as an example, he said many of them have faced exploitation at the hands of unscrupulous nationals. “We owe a duty of care to the good people of Venezuela,” said Ramadharsingh, “to ensure they are treated with respect, are paid fair wages, and are protected in T&T because they too are economic migrants.

Therefore, if we speak about our own struggles, we must ensure that we do not impose hardships on others in the very same way. We have to reflect on what economics is forcing us to do and to create situations of imprisonment, punishment and slavery in a very new way.”

Ramadharsingh said it was important that people emancipate themselves from mental slavery, adding that mental enslavement needs one to go into a state of deep reflection in order to escape its clutches. “Are we enslaving ourselves mentally by our hatred, by our bitterness, by our history,” said Ramadharsingh. “Are we judging people by our circumstances? That is mental slavery.”

Ramadharsingh said slavery continued well into the 20th century in places as Saudi Arabia and Angola. He said the Africa people survived slavery because of revolt, revolution and strength that today has led them to become captains of industry.

Categories: Entertainment News

Local content and cultural confidence dominate policy talk

Lifestyle - Mon, 08/06/2018 - 00:58

Education as a crucial part of ‘creating cultural confidence’ and embedding Visual and Performing Arts, memory and legacy more strongly in the school curriculum from primary school level as well as the need for increased local content featured high in the Conversations on the Draft National Policy on Culture and the Arts.

This long awaited and much anticipated policy has been developed against the backdrop of an absence of a culture policy in Trinidad and Tobago since 1981, notwithstanding several attempts over the years.

Spearheaded by the Ministry of Community Development, Culture and the Arts, this Draft Policy was approved by Cabinet in May 2018, as a working document for consultations with the sector. This policy is central to not only transforming how the sector is viewed but how it moves forward hence the need to further dialogue through Conversations.

The Draft National Policy on Culture and the Arts is a policy framework that envisions culture at the centre of national development. It acknowledges the need to strengthen our cultural confidence, sense of national identity and create an enabling environment for the growth and development of the sector, including artists and cultural entrepreneurs. This framework approach proposes an overall direction for the sector and further allows for collaboration in expanding specific pathways for the three pillars of culture and the arts broadly classified as the visual and performing arts (VAPA); heritage, memory and legacy and cultural industries.

To date, the Ministry has hosted three Conversations with key stakeholders. On Monday, July 16, the Ministry launched the series of Conversations at the South Academy for Performing Arts, San Fernando, and in the following week, on Tuesday, July 24, the Ministry’s team partnered with the Division of Tourism, Culture and Transportation of the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) to engage stakeholders at Shaw Park Tobago.

The third session on July 30, which focused on the Visual and Performing Arts (VAPA) took a different format and allowed the mix of academics, practitioners, educators and policymakers to engage in round table discussions. All sessions were very well attended indicating the interest among stakeholders and their commitment to an effective and finalised Policy and despite the challenges of a late start in Tobago, the Ministry and the THA were particularly heartened by the excellent turnout of stakeholders and the quality of contributions on the sister isle.

Conversations has generated very healthy and animated debates and as a working document and framework, the policy has received rich feedback with both broad and specific recommendations for the future development of the culture and arts sector. Very important among these were desires to have the context for the policy specified in more detail, a greater linkage between culture and education, the important issue of local content quotas linked to strengthening our cultural confidence and a more visible role for Tobago.

Stakeholders also raised the need for more data on the cultural sector to allow for better measurement and planning as well as the need for available technologies to support mass production within the industry.

Comments have also been received online and during our Conversations livestream on CultureCommTV, with one contributor calling for the need to make clear provisions for young people as well as the need to make community centres more central to driving artistic production all year.

As the Ministry continues with these final three Conversations, it remains committed to frank and open dialogue, recognising this as the only way to meaningful transformation and positive development of the sector. It encourages participants to review the Draft National Policy on Culture and the Arts which is available at http://www.cdca.gov.tt/policies-publications/culture-policy/ and come to the sessions prepared to comment on what is favourable or what needs improvement as we collaborate to finalise a rich and functional policy document that fully benefits the sector.

All stakeholders and interested persons are welcome. For further information kindly contact the Policy Unit at 625-6088 (exts. 5122-5126).

More info

Conversations continue in August on:
• Monday, August 6, from 9.30 am to noon; at the City Hall, San Fernando, with a focus on Heritage, Legacy and Memory
• Monday, August 13, from 5 pm to 7.30 pm; at the National Academy for the Performing Arts Hotel, Chancery Lane, Port-of-Spain, with discussions on Cultural Industries
• Thursday, August 23, from 9.30 am to 5 pm; in Tobago. The visual and performing arts (VAPA), heritage, memory and legacy and cultural industries will be the topic of discussion.

Categories: Entertainment News

Johan’s journey of courage

Lifestyle - Sun, 08/05/2018 - 00:01

We are all literally born to move.

Movement is life. Developing a body that moves well brings confidence, capability and freedom. Today, movement of all kinds is being heralded for its health and healing benefits. There is mounting evidence on the powerful results of the simplest forms of exercise like dancing and walking.

Renowned movement expert Katy Bowman writes: “We are mostly under-moved and not at all too old.”

After working with thousands of clients spanning athletes and pregnant mothers, she has gained an intimate understanding of the body’s mechanics and has seen first-hand the astonishing gains in dexterity, flexibility and core strength, especially among older adults.

Movement leads to a cascading series of benefits. Overall health improves, fear of falling lessens and social circles widen, contributing to overall health.

The simple activity of walking has many health benefits. Done correctly, it can be the key to weight loss, lowering blood pressure, cholesterol and reducing the risk for diabetes and heart disease. Research suggests that walking can have a bigger impact on disease risk than just about any other remedy that is easily available.

It can help your mood by increasing mood-elevating endorphins, it is free and it has no negative side effects.

Cardiovascular exercise of any kind has a variety of health benefits. The first is an improved condition of the heart. Getting the heart pumping at a faster rate on a regular basis will keep this vital muscle strong.

It increases your metabolism, enabling easier weight management. In addition, it changes your hormonal profile. The “feel good” hormones ease symptoms of fatigue and depression and decrease the appetite.

Adding weight training to your workout plan is one of the best ways to control bone loss as you age. It increases physical work capacity, improving your ability to perform activities of daily living. It also increases the strength of muscular tendons and connective tissue leading to decreased injury risk and improved motor performance.

It not only makes you strong but helps in managing your weight and in gaining body confidence. When you become strong you feel strong and it shows.

Movement is essential to life. Without movement muscles atrophy and bodies become frail. In the words of Carol Welch, “Movement is a medicine for creating change in a person’s physical, emotional and mental states.”

Today, I am excited to share the fitness journey of a very young man, a student of Fatima College. His story of courage and fearlessness far exceeds his age. Fighting through pain and impaired movement, Johan Biput’s story will inspire people of all ages to be strong in the face of adversity. His message of hope is an inspiration to people of every age. Nothing is beyond our achievement.

With hard work, focus and faith we can accomplish virtually anything. Keep training and keep shining! “Physical fitness can neither be achieved by wishful thinking or outright purchase.” —Joseph Pilates

Judy Alcantara 

My name is Johan Biput. I am 16 years old and a student at Fatima College.

When I was about six years old I started having pains in my body.

It was gradual at first but I soon realised that something was wrong.

After a number of tests, I was diagnosed with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. I was in and out of the hospital and on medication. Whenever the problem would flare up I had to be taken out of school.

It was difficult as I had to miss a lot of class time as well as sports, which I loved. I have always played football and hockey and loved swimming and taekwondo.

I had to stop that though as it became too difficult for me with the pains that I was experiencing.

No matter what I was going through, I always tried to keep up with my sports and exercises and pushed myself with my academic work, and was accepted to Fatima College, which was always my dream. I got involved with all sports, especially football. I was in Form One when I had a major setback.

The doctors discovered that my immune system had become depressed due to my medication. I was put in the hospital for two weeks. I have always been told about my smile. It comes naturally to me as I always try to be happy and to see the positive side of everything. I tried to remain cheerful through it all no matter what I was going through.

Between Forms One and Three the rheumatoid arthritis really took hold of my body and one hip started to hurt terribly. I had to use a stick for comfort. Not long afterwards the other hip became painful and I had to walk with crutches.

It was a rough time for me but I kept focused and positive. The doctors decided that I should do hip replacement but was still too young and would have to wait until my body was able to handle it. I was still walking on crutches to enable myself to get around.

I really hit a wall.

I had to sit in class and watch my friends playing football and I was sad and depressed. I tried to remain positive though and my school principal, Father Gregory, was there for me, allowing me to use the elevator and to sit in a special chair and use pillows to ease the pain.

Finally, when I got to Form Four my body was ready for the surgery. I had to begin therapy before to prepare and in April of 2017, I had my first operation.

I was in hospital for a few days and then had to beaway from school for three months while my body healed. I missed both my lessons and my sports but I kept focused.

In July 2017 I had my second and final operation just in time for my Form Five year. After the recuperation period I was in a much better place. I just sat the CSEC exams and think I managed well.

My medication has decreased and I feel much improved. Because of my arthritis, I never got to do the school annual 5k, so it was a thrill for me when I was able to complete my first 5k for Fatima, walking it in one hour and nine minutes, not only gaining a personal accomplishment but points towards my ‘house’.

I was happy and proud when the school spoke of me as an inspiration and a motivation.

My dad, John Biput, says that many adults tell him that my courage as a young boy gives them strength and a positive outlook with their own physical problems. I believe that it is important to focus on being positive. Sometimes it is easier to be negative but I believe you have to find your way out of that and focus on the positive.

When I was recuperating from my surgery I was sometimes irritable and emotional. It was a difficult time for me and for my parents.

My mom and dad always say that parents must pay attention to their children and be aware of any problems that they might be experiencing.

Sometimes even the best parents get confused.

So my parents suggest that all parents should build strong relationships with their children and spend time getting to know them.

I am so thankful that I can now continue with my sports and academics as I am feeling stronger and fitter. I want to thank Star Renewal Serpentine, Devin Santos, Dr Peter Poon-King and Dr Leonardo Akan and my orthopaedic surgeon Dr Derrick Lousaing. My special thanks also to Father Gregory, Mr De Gale, the teachers at Fatima College and especially to my classmates in Form 5-1. I am equally thankful for my “Jesus Save Our Youth” ( JSOY) Ministry, of Nativity Church, for surrounding me with positivity and love. We all have so much to be thankful for. Let’s all stay positive and live our best life.

Categories: Entertainment News

T&T’s radio and television trailblazers

Lifestyle - Sat, 08/04/2018 - 23:09

Sponsored by First Citizens, this series profiles some of our heroes, pioneers and trailblazers in various fields such as agriculture, business, community social work and volunteerism, culture and the arts, economics, education, engineering and architecture, environment, fashion and beauty pageants, law, medicine, oil, politics, public service, radio and television, religion, science, sports, trade unionism and writing/journalism. Profiles on approximately 370 of T&T’s heroes, pioneers and trailblazers can be obtained from the free e-book at http://www.safaripublications.com /firstcitizenstt/heroesprofilestt /courtesy First Citizens, or hard copies at [email protected].

In this instalment, we note some of our trailblazers in the field of radio and television, names, faces and voices that have paved the way for those today to follow.

Radio had its start in Trinidad and Tobago at Radio Trinidad on the 730AM band in 1947, while television had its start at Trinidad and Tobago Television (TTT) in 1962.

There were many voices and faces the nation came to know and recognise on the airwaves, among them Desmond Bourne, Freddie Wharwood, June Gonsalves, Barbara Assoon, Glen Antoine, Ed Fung, Frank Hughes, Leo de Leon, Trevor McDonald, Horace James, Sam Ghany, Bob Gittens, Errol Chevalier, Pat Mathura, Clyde Alleyne, Carl Redhead, Aunty Kay, Don Proudfoot, Moean Mohammed, Hazel Ward, Holly Betaudier, Raphie Knowles, Brenda de Silva, Ken Laughlin, Frank Pardo, Jimmy Wong, Ashton Chambers, Hans Hanoomansingh, Mervyn Telfer, Jones P. Madeira, Ann Austin, Ian Ali and Farouk Muhammad.

About some of these trailblazers:

Ian Ali (1937-2007). Before Sesame Street there was Rikki Tikki, hosted by “Uncle Tavi” (Jose Ramon-Fortune) and later by “Uncle Ian” Ali on TTT.

Salisha Ali (1951-1987). Ali was one of the leading television presenters of the 1970’s and early 80’s, known for confident and clear reading of the news. What was special about her was that she was confined to a wheelchair, having lost both her legs in a train accident while still at primary school.

Holly Betaudier (1925-2016). Betaudier’s name is associated with the television series “Scouting for Talent,” which ran for many years on TTT and where many of our top artistes got their first break. During his stint at Radio Trinidad, he launched the Christmas programme “Parang with Holly,” which later became a television series.

Hansley ‘Hans’ Hanoomansingh (1942-). Hanoomansingh was a producer, editor, news analyst and anchor of TTT’s “Panorama” in the early days.

Allyson Hezekiah (1948-2011). Hezekiah was a great supporter of our culture and sports. She has been described as the Oprah Winfrey of T&T, such was her local popularity for many years as one of our most loved television presenters.

Ralph ‘Raphie’ Knowles (1915-1975). Knowles was a familiar voice both on radio and television as a sports commentator and sports news presenter for many years. His amazing memory for details enabled him to work without the benefit of a script or teleprompter, on the wide variety of sports and sporting personalities.

Surujpat ‘Pat’ Mathura (1923-2007). Mathura started at Radio Trinidad where he had to purchase time and sell commercials to cover the cost of his programme, which focused on Indian culture on the subcontinent and around Trinidad. He stayed at Radio Trinidad for 47 years as an announcer, as well as producing radio programmes, with special emphasis on Indian art, culture, and religion.

Sham Mohammed (1936-1994). Mohammed is recognised especially for his starting the television talent series, Mastana Bahar, which he established in 1970, eight years after the arrival of television in this country in 1962.

Hazel Ward (1933-2014). Ward’s first job was as the first weather reporter at TTT in 1962. Before that, she was at Radio Trinidad. She hosted Teen Talent and Twelve and Under. These two shows were the starting point for many of T&T’s talented artistes. She also presented other programmes such as Mainly for Women but her main area was in her work with bringing the talent of children to the forefront.

Kathleen ‘Aunty Kay’ Warner (1904-1996). Popularly known as “Aunty Kay,” Warner was best known as the host of the popular radio programme Auntie Kay’s Children’s Hour, which was aired for 43 years, from 1942 to 1985. Many of Trinidad and Tobago’s performers made their debut on her show.

NASSER KHAN
 

Categories: Entertainment News

Coronation night tomorrow for Miss World T&T

Lifestyle - Sat, 08/04/2018 - 06:07

Ten of T&T’s most beautiful and accomplished young women will take the stage of the National Academy of Performing Arts (Napa) tomorrow to compete for the title of Miss World T&T 2018, at 6.30 pm.

The chosen delegate will represent T&T at the Miss World competition to be held in Sanya China on December 8. Apart from the title, the lucky young lady who will wear the Miss T&T crown will receive almost $500,000 worth of prizes.

The competitors are a diverse group of strong and determined young women, including open scholarship winners, a national track and field athlete, an award winning film maker, two attorneys, an accomplished pannist, two teachers, a budding psychologist and a candidate whose last name is a legacy.

Tomorrow night, the young women will compete in four rounds of competition which will culminate in the crowning of the new Miss World T&T 2018.

The evening will feature a mixed cast of recognised local talent and will commence with a Red Carpet cocktail reception.

Last Sunday, Fitness Centre Ltd hosted the delegates for the Fitness Challenge, held at South Park Mall in San Fernando. The girls were judged by former national football captain Kenwyn Jones, Fitness Centre, South Park operations manager Rana Ibrahim and Fitness Centre certified fitness instructor Andrew Daniel.

The three delegates to emerge as finalists, a winner to be decided tomorrow night: were Jessica James, Marisa Mahadeo and Maya Cozier.

A limited number of tickets for the show are still available at Wonderful World outlets nationwide, Peter Elias stores, Kootis clothing and Napa box office so the public still has the opportunity to witness what many are calling, one of the strongest group of candidates to ever compete for the prestigious title.

For more information, visit the Miss Word Trinidad and Tobago Facebook and Instagram pages, www.ttmissworld.com or call 685-8541

Categories: Entertainment News

Anansi and the Sky God comes to Napa

Lifestyle - Sat, 08/04/2018 - 06:05

The play Anansi and the Sky God is a widely known folk tale about how the popular African/Caribbean trickster spider got the Sky God Nyame to rename all the stories of the world after him.

The play, written by multiple award winning playwright Zeno Obi Constance, will be staged by the Fyzabad Connection Theatre Company on Monday at the National Academy for the Performing Arts (Napa), Port-of-Spain.

Constance said, “The play contains a twist whereby Anansi does not have to perform three tasks, but instead has to try to get his name and character into three stories, all owned by Nyame.

Along the way, Anansi has to trick everyone from his enemy Compere Dog to his friend Compere Agouti.”

The playwright said the play reprises an early work he wrote in 1987 for the Secondary Schools Drama Festival, which in its updated version takes a new spin to “include folk music and dances in keeping with the grand tradition of Caribbean story telling. The original cast of five is now 30.”

He added, “The Anansi character and story are important to rekindle historical ties and story telling values, especially for a generation who has grown up on Bugs Bunny, which is an Anansi plagiarism, and Harry Potter type movies. We need to reclaim our roots.”

Constance said the audience can look forward to a great performance from the Theatre Company, which is, “The alumni grouping of the very successful Fyzabad Secondary School drama aggregation.”

He disclosed, “The cast is led by eight-time acting award winner Kalifa Cross-des Etages as Anansi and multiple times acting award winner Joseph Lopez as Nyame, the Sky God. The three other main players, Compere Agouti played by Chennel Cupid, Compere Dog (Akeem Mannings) and Compere Crow (Stephanie Smith), also have Outstanding Awards from the festival in their resume. The production is directed by Geneva Drepaulsingh with choreography by Sharon Pierre.”

Constance said this is the third time the company has put the show on for the year, and the audience response and appreciation has grown each time. “One particular performance for the SEA primary school students in St Patrick turned into a beautiful interactive session with the children participating in the movement, songs and verbal exchanges with the actors,” said the playwright.

Constance said it is especially important for the play to be staged during this season. He said, “It’s Emancipation time and Anansi is a folk hero for all African and Caribbean peoples. Anansi was the trickster figure used by our African forebears on the plantation to symbolise the fight against oppression.

“A small spider can outsmart much larger animals and a seemingly helpless slave can outwit the might of the colonial powers, as Toussaint did in Haiti, and a thousand other fighters in countless other battles during chattel slavery. It’s an authentic African history lesson especially for the children.”

Admission is free and the show begins at 6 pm. For more information, find Anansi and the Sky God on Facebook.

Categories: Entertainment News

Thank you for the music

Lifestyle - Sat, 08/04/2018 - 06:03

In grand style, the T&T Steel and Brass Symphonic Orchestra (TTSBSO) delivered a musical vote of thanks to late co-founder, Leslie Clement, at Daaga Hall, UWI on July 28 and 29. Clement died suddenly in March.

On stage were the orchestra’s junior and senior bands. In the packed audience were raised pores, applause and the occasional tear as the two sections of the youthful orchestra delivered a 20-piece set that opened with a popular symphonic passage from Carl Orff’s early 20th century Carmina Burana cantata and closed with a shoe-tapping 1980s Miami Sound Machine medley.

In between, the senior band established its strong musical bona fides under the batons of Isaiah Clement, Josef Ward, Stephen Villafana, Kenny Stephens and Shea Alexander.

Glenn Miller in Concert, comprising a swinging selection of the American big-band arranger’s 1940s hits, was, arguably, the highlight of the evening, challenging the players in all sections of the band. It followed a solemn vocal rendition of Ed Sheeran’s Perfect by Kern Summerville who accompanied himself on the pan.

Memories

Song selection proved important to afford a musical roller-coaster of an evening. The dramatic Paul Murtha arrangement of The Chronicles of Narnia set the stage for that particular feature of the programme and contrasted with Justin Phillip’s soulful delivery of the Mighty Sparrow’s Memories which he used as pointed tribute to Clement.

Singer/flautist and longstanding TTSBSO family member and music instructor, Martina Chow, provided vocals on Jesus Is Love, I See You and To Sir With Love – the latter a poignant reference to Clement’s mentorship of a generation of musicians.

During that final segment of the programme, the always effervescent Aiesha Clement danced and pranced and belted out Voice’s Year for Love before taking her place quietly, clarinet in hand, for the closing flourish of the Miami Sound Machine.

Earlier in the programme young Rinecia Zephyrine, accompanied by the junior band, sang The Prayer.

Another striking feature of the evening’s programme was the fact that several selections highlighted the superb soloing skills of an accomplished group of players including Adrian Kong, Jasiel Williams, Kezia Charles and Milano Lewis on the alto sax and Joshua Ramsey and Daniel Ryan on the tenor sax.

Isaiah Clement led the way on the baritone sax alongside Joshua Pasqual and Leon Ince on trombone. TTSBSO regular, Randell Adams, together with John Wayne Thomas rendered solo services from the trumpet line. Some of these musicians who cut their musical teeth in the orchestra, are now full-fledged professionals teaching and performing.

Clement is missed

Leslie Clement’s passing a little over four months prior to the event meant that the orchestra was required to pull off the programme in under three months. This included the TTSBSO annual music camp which introduces youngsters and newcomers to the range of instruments on stage that evening. In this instance, there were players in the junior band who had learnt their instruments and accompanying music in the space of three weeks.

“When it happened it felt as it was the end of the world,” TTSBSO co-founder Judith Clement said of her husband’s sudden passing. “God has really taken us through.”

“It wasn’t easy doing this concert, but it was one that was necessary because we are a big family and it was important as well not just for me and my children but for all our other kids,” she told the audience.

In the process, she explained, hosting the concert as scheduled contributed to the band’s “sense of closure.”

To many of the young musicians, however, the TTSBSO experience has opened new doors.

A packed Daaga Hall (that included a contingent from the Marionettes Chorale) together with a 60-strong complement of musicians, joined in thanking Leslie Clement for more than just the music, but also the joy, happiness and fraternity it brings

Categories: Entertainment News

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