Entertainment News

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Farewell to Florence and Mavis

Lifestyle - Mon, 07/02/2018 - 01:37

Last weekend, two dedicated women to the national cultural tapestry were laid to rest. Families and friends said farewell to Florence Watson (nee Lue Qui) and Mavis Lee Wah on Friday and Saturday, respectively.

A businesswoman, Watson was closely affiliated to Hadco Phase II Pan Groove, Desperadoes and Laventille Serenaders steel orchestra, while Lee Wah was an actress, director, schoolteacher, and the wife of National Drama Association of T&T (NDATT) founder James Lee Wah.

Last week, a musical tribute was held in Watson’s memory at the Wrightson Road compound of Cleveland and Allima Garcia in Portof- Spain, attended by approximately 200 of her family, friends and steelband folk.

Watson was always eager to assist Phase II arranger Len “Boogsie” Sharpe, the band’s management and musicians in the procurement of uniforms, flags and banners for the Panorama competition. She also assisted in the recruiting of flag women and banner-bearers. Speaking on behalf of the popular Woodbrook steelband, Lenny “Stretch” Tyson spoke glowingly of Watson.

Also speaking of Watson and her charitable nature were Pan Trinbago president Keith Diaz, Laventille Serenaders leader Anthony “Ben; Up” Kinsale, Odelia Garcia, Shasteen Najjar-Clarke and Allima Garcia.

Diaz revealed hos instrumental Watson was in assisting Pan Trinbago in shipping pan instruments abroad, to places like the US and Nigeria.

A very emotional Najjar-Clarke brought tears to the eyes of many as she itemised Watson’s influence on many in attendance.

Kinsale likened Watson to a mother to Serenaders, recalling how she always ensured that its pannists were impeccably attired for Panorama competitions,most times without the aid of sponsorship, or external funding.

Also seen at Watson’s tribute were producer/musician Carl “Beaver” Henderson, renowned La Danse Caraibe Artistic Director/Principal Heather Henderson-Gordon, Phase II Pan Groove manager Kerron Valentine and former Pan Trinbago executive member Keith St Cyr.

Cleveland Garcia, a former Portof- Spain Corporation councillor and Woodbrook/St James Community Association member, disclosed that Pan on D Avenue VII will be dedicated to the memory of Florence Watson.

In memory of Mavis

NDATT’s executive and membership extended condolences to the Lee Wah and Arscott families, Mavis being Jamaican-born and of the Arscott family.

NDATT Vice President Triston Wallace for the news of Lee Wah’s passing on his way to visit her at home with NDATT member Simeon Moodoo. He said: “I have been speaking with Mrs Lee Wah over the telephone for a few days now, with our last conversation being just two days ago [at the time of her passing on June 24]. Her voice was energised, seemed to be in high spirits and we were really looking forward to meeting each other. News of her death comes as a great shock.”

Other NDATT Members expressed their condolences and tributes. Said NDATT Trustee Nigel Scott: “I knew Mavis quite well. She did a show with us in Jamaica and when [Trinidad] Theatre Workshop used to tour in the 70’s. She was a lovely person.”

Playwright Zeno Constance added: “A true pioneer... and a giant in the field of theatre… Actress. Director. Administrator.”

Veteran thespian Michael Cherrie said: “[A] pioneer of theatre in Trinidad & Tobago together with her husband James Lee Wah...she was a tireless warrior...make new and wonderful vibrations in that new realm, Ma’am...Godspeed.”

Foreign-based actress Rhoma Spencer said: “Ohhh a theatre icon gone on to glory. May she rest in perfect sleep. I could see her now [in] The Importance of being Ernest. Quite a beautiful actor. Sad.”

Wallace, who met with the Lee Wah family last Tuesday to extend condolences on behalf of the NDATT, said: “It is unfortunate that we couldn’t have met under better circumstances. However, as the family responsible for us [NDATT] being here today, we are duty bound to assist the Lee Wah’s in whatever way we can in their time of need.

“The NDATT is grateful for Mavis Lee Wah’s contribution to theatre in Trinidad and Tobago and the region. We hope her legacy will continue and inspire others to follow in her footsteps.”

Categories: Entertainment News

Announcing the Reel Human Rights winners

Lifestyle - Thu, 06/28/2018 - 00:29

The trinidad+tobago film festival, in partnership with the Canadian High Commission, has announce the winners of the The Reel Human Rights on Film training programme. Filmmakers Siobhan Millette, Andrei Pierre and Francesca Hawkins will receive $5,000 CDN each. The three short completed films will be shown at ttff/18 in September.

In March 2017, the trinidad+tobago film festival partnered with the Canadian High Commission to present a script writing programme for 15 emerging filmmakers. The workshop was facilitated by Canadian film professional Annmarie Morais who continued to mentor the filmmakers throughout the year.

In March of this year, the same 15 filmmakers attended a two-day workshop on From Script to Pproduction. This was conducted by Film Board of Canada producer Selwyn Jacob, and also included presentations from specialists in human rights issues in order to assist the writers develop an approach to their topic. These filmmakers were then tasked to produce a script for a five minute short narrative or documentary film, on a human rights issue in T&T, or the wider Caribbean.

At the cheque presentation ceremony at the Canadian High Commission, High Commissioner Carla Hogan Rufelds, reiterated that Canada regards human rights as universal, indivisible, interdependent and interrelated. She emphasised that human rights cinema plays an important role in the struggle for justice and dignity, speaking out against censorship and repression. She remarked that “this extremely powerful medium can touch and inspire audiences, challenging individuals to expand their knowledge and perspectives. It can also stimulate healthy dialogue, and ultimately, change.”

An important part of the ttff’s annual programme has been a strong lineup of films that focus on issues of gender inequality, children’s rights, issues impacting the LGBTQI community and other human rights and social and economic inequalities.

According to Annabelle Alcazar, programme director of the ttff: “This programme marries our interest in developing the skills of local filmmakers and writers, with advancing the conversations on human rights in Trinidad and Tobago. We were very excited about this project and we are pleased to see how the filmmakers rose to the challenge of using their artistic knowledge and skill to bring these important issues alive.”

The three successful filmmakers were jubilant about being able to realise their projects. According to Siobhan Millette: “I’m grateful that the Canadian High Commission has afforded me the opportunity to bring attention to one aspect of how these prejudices affect one of the many marginalised communities here in Trinidad and Tobago.

“Often late to the table, it is high time that all citizens are afforded equality and protection from discrimination, violence, unfair treatment and biases under the laws of our land.”

Andrei Pierre remarked on the advantages to his professional development: “This programme has given me robust legs to stand on as a filmmaker. I’ve been able to not just hone my craft, but now have an opportunity to prove it.

“I’m a grateful for the privilege to hold a lens to underrepresented communities and under-addressed issues in our culture, and help tell their stories responsibly and with due empathy.”

Francesca Hawkins complimented the partnership and initiative, saying: “Our names were removed from the submissions to ensure transparency in the judging process. This collaboration between ttff and the CHC has been extremely supportive of film development while also raising awareness on a variety of Human Rights issues in Trinidad and Tobago.”

The trinidad+tobago film festival celebrates films from and about the Caribbean and its diaspora, as well as from world cinema, through an annual festival and year-round screenings. In addition, the ttff seeks to facilitate the growth of Caribbean cinema by offering a wide-ranging industry programme and networking opportunities.

The ttff is given leading sponsorship by BP Trinidad and the Ministry of Community Development, Culture and the Arts, supporting sponsorship by The National Gas Company of T&T and Republic Bank Limited and contributing sponsorship by FimTT.

Categories: Entertainment News

Alta student stories

Lifestyle - Thu, 06/28/2018 - 00:27

In celebration of Alta’s 25th anniversary, Alta students around the country were asked to write about the impact the organisation has had on their lives. Since 1992, Alta has provided classes around the country for thousands of Trinidadians who struggle with reading and writing.

Alta students enroll in the programme at many different levels of literacy and leave when they have accomplished their literacy goals.

While it is difficult to manage work and family life alongside Alta classes, students continue to persevere and in all cases see changes in their lives after attending Alta classes. In the coming weeks, Alta will share their pieces through this column. This week, three students from the Belmont venue share how Alta has impacted their lives.

Student name: Elicia

“I always wanted to have my own business but I do not have enough confidence to spell words properly. So Alta is a big step up in my life. I feel better coming to Alta to improve my reading, writing and speaking skills. Now I feel empowered to take part in any organisation and to speak in front of an audience.

I said this is my last chance. I was a bit ashamed but I have overcome it because I felt it was never too late to learn. It is a pity I did not get the help before but nothing happens before its time. I am not the only one struggling.

There are other students in the class trying to better themselves also. We can now take advantage of opportunities that might come our way in the future.”

Student name: Rondell

“I heard about Alta over and over on a radio in a car, while dropping off my son for his first day of preschool. It ran across my mind knowing that I can’t read or spell well. Studying how I played the fool in school and not taking interest in my work, I started to feel bad about myself.

I did nothing good with my life. I now have my king AKA my son and I am hoping that he does better in school. I did not have anyone to show interest in my school work, I intend to show that interest in my son’s school work.

I came to Alta to improve on my reading and spelling skills to help him.

I will love to do CXC English and UWI courses. You are never too old to improve yourself.”

Student name: Brian

“I didn’t finish school. During my attempt to read books or newspapers I had problems with words.

I wanted to improve my reading. When I heard about Alta classes that’s when I said to myself this is my chance. I signed up and since then I am able to sound and break up words.

This makes reading easier and fun. Now I can pick up those same books and read and understand. I feel better within myself and look PICTURE ALTA forward to completing Alta and signing up for CXC subjects.”

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

Hadco Phase II performs on Sunday evening on the Avenue

Lifestyle - Thu, 06/28/2018 - 00:21

As phase one of the pilot of the Live Music District (LMD) draws to an end, the T&T Music Company Limited (MusicTT) and the Ministry of Trade and Industry, in collaboration with the Port-of-Spain City Corporation, will host its third Live on the Avenue event. Live on the Avenue III will take place on Sunday, July 1, at Adam Smith Square, Ariapita Avenue, Woodbrook, from 4:30 pm.

Live on the Avenue III will close off phase one of the Live Music District with performances by Hadco Phase II Pan Groove and Nex Chapta.

The Live Music District, which launched in March 2018, has since provided local artistes with the opportunities to showcase their talent at various events and locations throughout the chosen phase one district, the City of Port-of-Spain. Registered artistes have performed in venues such as Radisson Hotel, Hilton Hotel, Smokey and Bunty, Kaiso Blues Café, Xperience Event Centre and the Avenue Pub House to name a few.

“The LMD Brand continues to grow in popularity as people recognise the possibilities that come with such an initiative,” says John Arnold, Chairman of MusicTT.

“Live music is a fundamental pillar of the music industry. The designation of creative, cultural and entertainment districts attracts visitors and therefore creates opportunities for jobs and revenue generation. The creation of a Live Music District is a key strategy which MusicTT undertook, through CreativeTT and the Ministry of Trade and Industry, in order to build and develop the local music industry and the country as a whole.”

The LMD brand has been associated with other local initiatives. The Ministry of Community Development, Culture and the Arts has collaborated with the Live Music District to bring music to the public via the Live at Lunch series in Woodford Square and The Port-of-Spain City Corporation has also incorporated the Live Music District into its City Month celebrations via events such as Live at the Promenade, Live at the Gardens and Live at the Square.

The Live on the Avenue series is one of the most anticipated events under the Live Music District. The series incorporates live music performances by registered LMD artists and popular local steelpan bands; it not only showcases the talent of our home-grown artistes but, also, the national instrument.

Live on the Avenue premiered on Sunday, April 22, with performances by LMD artistes Sherisse Collymore, Chenko and Xone, and featured the 2018 National Panorama winner bpTT Renegades.

Live on the Avenue II followed on Sunday, June 10 and featured Desperadoes, CAL Skiffle and LMD artistes Full 100, Neisha Guy and Ms Renuka.

LMD’s phase two is scheduled to begin soon and will now include instrumentalists on the artist roster. Instrumentalists are encouraged to sign up online to be a part of the Live Music District.

To learn more about the Live Music District, or to sign up to the artiste roster, visit www.musictt.co.tt/LMD or follow MusicTT’s social media page: Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @MusicofTT (Reporting by Peter Ray Blood)

Categories: Entertainment News

Project Charlo 3...a fund-raising success

Lifestyle - Wed, 06/27/2018 - 00:14

There was another shaking of the earth shook last Friday when Charlton “Charlo” Alfonso, recipient of a scholarship to Northern Illinois University, NIU, to pursuit a M.Mus. (Masters of Music degree), performed with friends during a fund-raising event entitled Project Charlo 3. The event was held at Nutrien Silver Stars Pan Theatre, in aid of offsetting Alfonso’s expenses and facilitating his transition and re-settling.

Alfonso would be studying under renowned Trinidadian native, steel pan artistry musician and NIU Presidential Research, Artistry, and Scholarship Professor Professor Liam Teague as he starts mid-August 2018 for the university’s Fall semester.

According to University of Wisconsin Oshkosh’s Titan Steel musical director Elizabeth DeLamater, “Professor Liam Teague is one of the finest steel pan players in the world. A true virtuoso,” and he can be credited for starting the first collegiate steel pan programme in the United States, at NIU.

Project Charlo fund-raising event engaged patrons with acts by Trap-Soca duo Yung Rudd and Marcus Braveboy who opened the show performing few of their popular singles, like Sunday Lunch and Pumpin. Next up was reggae sensation Nex Chapta performing One Day as well as other songs from its mixed repertoire.

Alfonso, after introducing his band Jaiso, delivered a ground-shaking, theatrical performance which had patrons fully entertained by this youthful aggregation.

Jaiso, as Alfonso explained in his introduction, is a unique group of talented young musicians, who like both jazz and kaiso. The band consists of Ruel Williams (keyboards); , Nick Thomas (drums); Dinelson Gulston (percussion); Lemuel Patterson (bass); Nathan Maxwell (trumpet); Johann Andrews (trombone); Irwyn Roach (alto saxophone); and, Anthony O’Connor (tenor saxophone).

Silver Stars also delivered its typical exceptional performance, while Oluseyi Bowen and his brother Osazé, aspiring dancehall/soca artistes, closed the show singing a few of his original tracks, as they, Alfonso and friends danced the night away.

The event was also attended by retired army Brigadier General Carl Alfonso, former Port-of-Spain Mayor and TTFA president Raymond Tim Kee as well as young budding artistes such as APA Vocal & Jazz Studio’s Samuel Thomas Jnr and Tehilla Jones’ family, friends and well wishers.

Categories: Entertainment News

Celebration of the Latin American guitar

Lifestyle - Wed, 06/27/2018 - 00:12

As the chosen instrument for old calypsos sung in French patois; for roving parranderos, as they serenaded house-to-house; and for church services in remote rural communities, the guitar has been indispensable to T&T, occupying some of the most influential spaces that shaped our cultural identity.

On Sunday, July 1, at 5 pm, Caribbean Culture Box (CCB) will host Prelude – the Cuban Guitar, a recital with Cuban concert guitarist, maestro Ricardo Mateo Torres. More than just a recital for guitar, Maestro Mateo will take listeners on a musical journey from Europe to South America and the Caribbean, settling in his homeland, Cuba, as described in sound by famed guitar composers such as Eduardo Martin and Leo Brouwer. This event will be held at the new Trinidad Theatre Workshop, 6 Newbold Street, St Clair.

Mateo Torres will share the stage with two luminaries from the local music soundscape: award-winning calypso-jazz trumpeter Rellon Brown and star violinist Keisha Martinez. Torres graduated with high honours from the Instituto Superior de Arte, Cuba, where he performed solo concerts ranging from traditional classical music to the more syncopated melodies from South America, with an emphasis on Cuban guitar. He has been described as an expressive performer whose innate musicality complements his virtuosity and an exceptional guitarist who “really makes the guitar speak,” and “whose expressiveness touches the soul.”

In a release to the media, CCB founder, Alan Cooper, shared that Trinidad was such an important venue for the guitar that in 1930, the famed Paraguayan guitarist, Agustin Pio Barrios “Mangoré” (1885-1944) gave a recital in Port-of-Spain on part of his tour through Venezuela, Colombia, Martinique, Costa Rica, El Salvador and Mexico. Cooper explained that, “Prelude both looks back to this glorious time in Trinidad’s musical history but also looks forward by presenting some modern and highly original works for the guitar. The recital is called Prelude because it is the inaugural event of CCB, a new company that will focus on small, high-quality performances.”

According to Mateo Torres, “For the recital we wanted an intimate venue that accommodates a small audience that can really appreciate the subtlety of acoustic guitar.”

Prelude – The Cuban Guitar has a repeat performance on Sunday, July 8, at the same venue, with the same 5 pm showtime.

General Admission is $150, but for UTT Students, members of the T&T Music Festival Association and members of TTARP will be offered tickets at a discounted price of $125. Seating is limited.

To reserve tickets and for more information, call 297 3820, email [email protected] or go to https://www.facebook.com/CultureBoxCarib/

Categories: Entertainment News

Life is a series of fluctuations

Lifestyle - Wed, 06/27/2018 - 00:10

“We teach competitiveness at every level of life. Never cooperation. Never getting along.

Cradle to grave is dog-eat-dog.

Win or lose. Mines not yours. I better than you. I deserve, you don’t. I get, is you to ketch. Sow the wind. Reap the whirlwind.”

That was author Barbara Jenkins, just over a week ago, responding to a post about another mother who was murdered. It felt like such a great summary of my frustrations with how callous we continue to be and become in T&T. It capsuled all the emotions I felt/ feel and highlighted most of the underlying elements I have entertained about how and why we are so judgmental and increasingly wicked as a people.

It took me hours to remember to which posts Jenkins was responding so I could quote her. About 1.30 am Monday, long after busting my deadline, I finally remembered that the way to find anything on Facebook to which you have reacted is to use the Activity Log feature.

That exercise in itself made the point about the point I’m here to make: Life is a series of fluctuations. There was a time I was so “sharp,” I could not imagine such an obstacle to my schedule. Now, I tire easier, forget more, and have delayed synapses in many situations, all which came much easier before, but now demand that I work harder to remain focused.

When, or if we realise and accept how circular and cyclical life is, and how someone else’s today’s circumstance can be ours tomorrow, I wonder, would we temper our desire to be judgmental?

Someone said to me I was being a bit harsh when I described us in T&T as Cretans.

I came upon the reference in the Bible decades ago, where the Apostle Paul, in instructing Titus on the administration of the First century church, and the particular issue of the Cretans’ character, wrote: “Cretans are always liars, brutes and lazy gluttons.”

Paul had quoted Epimenides of Gnossus, a seventh-century BC poet; a Cretan himself who characterised his people this way. There were others who made the same observations about the people on the island of Crete.

And so, for about a decade of T&T’s decadence, debauchery and large-scale derision, I have been harbouring that reference.

Then I voiced it in response to my bewilderment about how callous, murderous, and desensitised we are becoming as a population.

And, of course, it is the minority of us in some of these negatively characterising behaviour, but consider that when another country puts out a warning to citizens about T&T they never take time to speak of how beautiful most of us are. We are characterised by the prevalent or perceived prevalent behaviour.

Some of this current conduct work to promote long-standing prejudices. And in the case of myths and misunderstandings about mental wellbeing, given the abundance of access to so many fora for discussion, and so little educating, there is a feeling that the ignorance is being compounded.

Our desire to be better than the other, as Jenkins stated, is to me one of the most brutish behaviour. It is not that we are really attempting to be better, at times, but wholly trying to ensure we ill speak, debase, and ridicule others to the place where, in our clouded judgment, we appear better.

To my mind, that manner we seem to be adopting, which rushes to waylaying anything we feel free to deride, suggests we easily forget life is a fluctuation; that today’s fortune could be tomorrow’s sorrow; that today’s wellbeing can be tomorrow’s ill health; that the rain falls on the good and evil; that what eh meet you eh pass you; that “one day one day congotay” is an everybody adage.

We need to unlearn the belief that there is a “fine line” between sanity and insanity.

Life itself is the fine line on which exists various stages of sanity and on which anyone can find themself at any point.

Mental wellbeing, similar to the ups and downs of life, is a fluid state. Today’s circumstance of good wellbeing can easily be erased by a moment of grief, hurt, or any kind of trauma internal or external. And we can recover and again be derailed by another of life’s fluctuations.

When or if our wellbeing is better than another person, that is never a reason to gloat over the other’s misfortune. Reflecting on the opening of this piece though, I despair for the change that is necessary.

I feel our humanity slipping away without sufficient efforts at the individual and national levels to take the bite out of our judgmental attitude, as we “sow the wind and reap the whirlwind” where we need to sow love, peace, empathy, and sympathy and reap positive benefits.

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

By striving you shall conquer

Lifestyle - Mon, 06/25/2018 - 01:02

Fatima College Decade Two Past Pupils Group (1955-1964) in a historic, but very simple and informal function, recently paid tribute to one of its peers, Integrity Commission (IC) chairman Melville Baird.

Held at the secondary school they all once attended decades ago, the ceremony began with Holy Mass celebrated by school principal Fr Gregory Augustine and a reading by Felix Rivers in the Chapel followed by a small reception at the College Hall in Mucurapo.

Mass began with a short welcome speech by current President of the Fatima Old Boys Association (FOBA) Ruthven Thompson who thanked the Decade Two boys (men now) for the opportunity to be a part of such a revolutionary innovation. Master of ceremonies Winston “Brando” Thomas gave a synopsis of Baird’s college life, punctuated with wily humour.

It was the turn of childhood friend Alec Clarke to give an abbreviated version of Baird’s many life accomplishments—from lawyer to magistrate, Senior Magistrate, Chief Magistrate, High Court Judge and the crown of his accomplishments, Judge of the International Criminal Court in The Hague, in the Netherlands.

“When we thought Melville was done, he was appointed Chairman of the IC,” said Clarke.

Tributes by Baird’s former class mates came from Curtis Williams and former banker Kenny Joseph. The highlight of the afternoon saw veteran journalist Vernon Khelawan present Baird with a small award—a narrow crystal award emblazoned with the College logo and the Latin slogan of the college “nintendo vinces” meaning “by striving you shall conquer.”

In response, Baird, using his high but customary lexicon said: “To be the recipient of encomiums, laudations and recognition from you, my college friends, my classmates, my peers, for my judicial career and my present appointment… is an experience that is at once humbling and exhilarating.”

He thanked the men for their devotion, their loyalty and love.

The vote of thanks was given by Dr Alvin Ashton and then the entire group, led by Carl Carmino, stood for the singing of the Fatima College song.

There was one exception; the song was non-existent in the era of Decade Two, so there were many silent voices. Then the bacchanal started—drinks and food “fuh so,” prepared by another Fatima old boy Carl Randoo. To use the cliched phrase, “A good time was had by all.”

VERNON KHELAWAN
 

Categories: Entertainment News

BIG rock concert comes to Trinidad

Lifestyle - Mon, 06/25/2018 - 00:59

Local rock fans are gearing up for the arrival of two of the biggest rock bands ever to perform in T&T, 311 and Daughtry! The bands will be co-headlining one of T&T’s biggest ever modern rock concerts on July 30 at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Port-of Spain.

The event, which also features guest artists jointpop and Skid Nevely, is being produced by Paramita International Distribution Limited (PIDL).

Managing Director Vishesh RamSingh said this is the first time the two bands will be coheadlining an event together.

“That in itself was one of the factors in both bands agreeing to this big show in Trinidad,” said Ramsingh, “because it is such an opportunity for them to play together where chances are they would never have been billed together on tour. While both bands fall under the modern rock banner, they have two different styles, they’re both well-respected and they’re at the top of their games right now.”

He said PIDL is trying to appeal to a broader market by bringing in both bands. “We’re seeing a lot of men on our Facebook page very pumped about 311 but certainly any woman of any background that I’ve interacted with is dying to see Chris Daughtry.

“We will get Daughtry fans and 311 fans independently and of course there will be a cross-section of both in the middle that will appreciate both. So hopefully everyone leaves having a good time and maybe have earned a little bit of respect for the other band at the same time.”

Ramsingh said the local guest bands, jointpop and Skid Nevely, were for him the obvious choices to be booked for the concert. “If had to pick a band to really be the voice or the leader if you will of the local rock scene, I think it would be jointpop hands down.

I don’t think they’ve been given the right opportunities over the years to have their music showcased and it was a no-brainer to pick them because they just released their new album about a month ago. 

“Skid Nevely maybe would represent another generation, maybe half a generation under jointpop, but they’ve had radio success and what I like about them for this show in particular is that they offer another different form of rock and roll.”

RamSingh said this is the beginning of an aggressive campaign on the part of PIDL, a familyowned company which has been responsible for bringing acts like Amita Bachan, Julio and Enrique Iglesias and many others to T&T since the 80’s.

“We started shifting into the marketing and distribution sector over the years as a result of what we see is a crying need for international talent coming to our shores.

“We felt that now was the right time to have the marketing department of TIDL use our experience in the promotion sector to start bringing international bands back to Trinidad shores.

“We want to stick to authentic bands, not the tribute bands which we’ve been seeing in Trinidad over the years, I think Trinidad deserves a lot more than that. This is the first of many shows we have planned over the next three years.”

Ramsingh said he believes there’s enough of a market in Trinidad to make the show successful, as the company is looking at building towards a Festival-level event during the summer, “where we can incorporate a lot more of our local talent to play alongside this international talent and you never know what could happen.

“Suppose one of our local acts gets recognised and it catches the ear of some of the international acts that we bring? That could always help to encourage arts in Trinidad.

Musicianship is always a great thing that we’ve always supported and youth need music, youth need art.”

Ramsingh said he also feels that Trinidad needs an event like this at this time to remind people that “we can’t let what’s happening in Trinidad make us feel like we have to lock up in our homes. Sometimes you have to go out and enjoy yourself.”

He said although all the bands fall under the modern rock banner, the audience will get a taste of different styles all the way through. “Skid Nevely, who will be opening the show, incorporates steel pan into their Rock music, so you’ll have a sort of a Caribbean style rock mixed with punk influences. jointpop crosses all barriers in terms of style, then we have Daughtry which is more of a streamlined modern rock sound and then we have 311 which is like a roots rock reggae kind of sound, so we get all bases of rock covered that night. It should be a good show for everyone.”

Categories: Entertainment News

More rules for Point Fortin J’Ouvert

Lifestyle - Fri, 06/22/2018 - 23:27

Stricter rules for Point Fortin J’Ouvert bands will be in force for 2019. Bandleaders will be expected to display creativity without the use of oil, paint, grease or powder, according to John Springle, chairman of Point Fortin’s Dock of The Bay Sports and Cultural Club, organisers of the J’Ouvert parade for the annual Point Fortin Borough Celebrations.

Speaking at the prize-giving ceremony for bands, at the Borough Town Hall on Sunday June 10, Springle said his organisation wants to maintain the goodwill of the people of the southern borough. There were several complaints about buildings and vehicles being sprayed with paint. The organisers want to ensure vehicles and buildings are left untouched, and that on-lookers can enjoy the parade without getting soiled.

Springle added that the Borough Corporation has started requesting a contribution to help with post J’Ouvert cleaning up.

Springle also said the organisers were thinking about establishing a second judging point to lengthen the parade route. At present, the only judging point is located at the Atlantic Building on Adventure Road. This year 38 bands participated in the parade and 29 crossed the judging point.

Prizes were distributed to the top five bands. In first place was Mango Season by the band Country Bookie, and in second place was Puncheon Boys’ presentation of More Fire. Third place went to Wild Wild West by Good Girls, Bad Boys; fourth place was filled Just Illusion’s Showtime; and, in fifth place was Madi Gras by Radical Promotions.

The Ole Mas competition was won by John Paul for the presentation To Hell and Back.

Categories: Entertainment News

People with intellectual disabilities benefit from Digicel workshop

Lifestyle - Fri, 06/22/2018 - 23:26

One hundred educators and caregivers are closer to understanding the dynamics of Behaviour and Occupational Therapy for people with disabilities, after participating in a two-day workshop hosted by the Digicel Foundation Trinidad and Tobago, in partnership with the A&C Foundation out of Ireland, last month, at Signature Hall, Chaguanas.

The two-day workshop was designed to wrap up the three-year intervention in 15 schools and organisations that cater to persons with intellectual disabilities, examine the successes, findings and opportunities for peer learning and discuss public sector involvement with an aim to making the initiative more sustainable.

While the audience anxiously awaited training in effective classroom management, behavioural assessment, token economies, self-management, sensory processing disorders and handwriting strategies, many commented on the innovation of including two panel discussions which allowed parents to get a “seat at the table” to mull over public sector processes and opportunities.

The two panel discussions, themed Connecting Your Needs and An Intervention That Works, allowed participants to take a deep dive into issues surrounding accessing public services and support, while discovering initiatives that can lead to holistic development.

On day two, the room came alive as Occupational Therapist Mohan Gopaul and Behaviour Analyst Shannon Eidman facilitated interactive sessions, sharing information on techniques and strategies to advance the quality of life for children with disabilities. One parent expressed, “This was a great session, I learned a lot and I am encouraged to see what was presented to me, thank you Digicel Foundation—keep making this investment in special education.”

The foundation invested US $17,000 in the two-day workshop.

In fact, the Trinidad foundation has spent the past six years supporting projects that advance the lives of persons with special needs. Programmes with a focus on sport for development, inclusion, sex and sexuality and disaster preparedness, are just a few of the areas the foundation has made an impact over the years.

The therapy–based education programme was conceptualised in 2014, after feedback from teachers and caregivers showed that a significant intervention was needed in the area of special education with a focus on therapy. The programme took a multifaceted approach to education for persons with intellectual disabilities, and after an investment by the foundation of US$264,000 over the past three years, 15 schools, 884 students, and 158 teachers have benefited.

The first-of-a-kind programme was done in three phases and included the development of therapy rooms, procurement of therapy equipment and ICT to assist with the sustainability of the intervention.

Penny Gomez, CEO Digicel Foundation T&T said of the event, “The workshop is the culmination of three years of investing in a cross section of the population that needs special attention if we are to create a world where no one is left behind.

“The foundation, through this intervention continues to answer the call from stakeholders to connect them to experts in the field to acquire knowledge, receive practical training and through the supply of specialised equipment, to aptly teach the ones in their care in turn.”

Categories: Entertainment News

Tobago students shoot ahead with ARROW

Lifestyle - Fri, 06/22/2018 - 23:24

Parents of students attending the L’Anse Fourmi Methodist School, Tobago, are full of praise for energy company BP Trinidad and Tobago for implementing the highly-successful ARROW remedial learning programme at the school. At a meeting held at the school last Monday, parents were provided with a full understanding of how the programme works as well as how they can play a greater role in the development of their children.

According to Stasha Kerr- King, whose daughters, Alyssa and Alisha, are Second Year and Standard Two pupils, the session was very informative and beneficial. “We all agree that the ARROW programme is very impressive. We’re really grateful that our kids are getting this opportunity and the tips and advice given to us in terms of enhancing the learning environment at home were welcome. With the hustle and bustle of everyday life, we can sometimes lose focus on the importance of how critical our role is in our children’s education.

“We have been empowered by this session and this investment made by BPTT will impact on ever single child in our community. We are truly grateful for this enhanced educational tool,” Kerr-King said.

Hundreds of students across Tobago have benefitted from bpTT’s implementation of the ARROW remedial learning programme over the years, including those at some of the more remote schools such as Charlotteville Methodist and Speyside Anglican.

Explaining the company’s intervention was bpTT’s Corporate Responsibility Manager, Ronda Francis who said: “From pre-primary to post-graduate level, we have been providing opportunities to support education, which is one of the main pillars of our many social investment initiatives. Because of the multisensory technological approach incorporated by ARROW, these students are excited and encouraged to learn.

“We have seen incredible results with students, not only in terms of their academics, but also the marked improvement in terms of their overall attitudes and self-esteem.”

Francis added: “It was a pleasure interacting with the students, parents and staff of the school. Getting their feedback and participation can only help to strengthen the focus on the students. It must be said that while we are incorporating cutting-edge technology in learning, we also need to hold on to traditional values such as the reality that it still takes a village to raise a child. That is why we are here today and it was a resounding success.”

The students of the school have been given a tremendous advantage though the implementation of the computerbased ARROW programme sponsored by bpTT. The first intake of students has already improved their academic standings and overall attitudes toward learning.

In the words of Standard Four student, Destiny George, “The ARROW computer programme really helps me to learn and I am reading and spelling better which is helping me to improve in all subjects, even maths. I want to be a lawyer and I know that I have to work really hard and do well. ARROW is really helping me to do better in school and the support of my teachers, parents and bpTT will help me achieve my dream.”

In addition to working with the students, bpTT’s support also includes ARROW tutor-training for selected teachers in each of the participating primary schools as well as licensing for use of the software. This will allow the teachers to become accredited ARROW tutors, thereby ensuring that any student who needs additional help can have ready access to a trained facilitator and the learning programme.

Giving positive feedback to the initiative was principal, Prisca Jack, who said: “This programme is extremely beneficial and it caters to the learning needs of each individual student. As an educator, I want a variety of teaching styles available to my students and ARROW’s use of technology really engages them and enhances the process.

“Because of our location, we are often left out of corporate initiatives, but bpTT came to us and we feel blessed to have been selected. We truly appreciate that bpTT and ARROW representatives came and interacted directly with our students, teachers and parents and we are thrilled that our students are getting this added advantage.”

Christopher Bonterre, director of the local ARROW Foundation, spoke to the parents about how the programme works and offered advice on the holistic development of their children such as proper nutrition, open communication and participative activities, including reading as a family.

Bonterre said: “When parents get involved in the education of their children, improvements increase significantly. The response from these parents has been outstanding and we know that they are on the pathway to success.

“ARROW is the United Kingdom’s leading literacy programme developed to improve reading, spelling, concentration, confidence and much more through brain-based learning. With the support of bpTT, we have been able to bring these substantial benefits to schools across Tobago and Trinidad. We need more companies to follow their example and get on board to ensure that our students get every advantage.”

ABOUT ARROW

Developed more than 40 years ago in the United Kingdom, ARROW stands for Aural - Read - Respond - Oral - Write. It focuses on remedial work in reading, spelling, dictation, speech and listening skills and assists students who experience academic challenges by transforming their entire approach to learning. The computer-based learning applies use of the self-voice – a recording of the learner’s own voice while reading – which forms the basis of the multi-sensory learning approach.

Categories: Entertainment News

Black gold from La Brea to Little Carib Theatre

Lifestyle - Fri, 06/22/2018 - 00:13

Chanteuse Vaughnette Bigford’s inaugural performance in Port-of-Spain played to a packed house of fans from all over the island. The event took place at the Little Carib Theatre, Woodbrook a fortnight ago and was breathtaking in its splendour.

Bigford had the audience in awe from the moment she began to sing, beguiling them with her smoky, husky voice and warm manner. The Little Carib Theatre lent itself to an air of intimacy, fostered by the way she addressed the audience as if each person was a personal friend of hers.

Welcoming her audience, the La Brea diva said the Little Carib Theatre was a wonderful space to be in. “I get to see everyone’s face and I’m grateful you chose to spend the evening with me.”

Her supporters had come from as far as La Brea and were in full voice following each of her performances. Bigford’s vivacious personality shone through as she bantered with her band, vocalists and the audience throughout the two and a half hour concert.

The song genres ranged from Broadway classics to classic pop to calypso to folk to African songs and rhythms. Bigford’s expansive repertoire included Old Devil Moon, Dindi, Tell Me About It, Carnavaleando, where she was accompanied by Rhona Rogers on maracas, Don’t Dream It’s Over, River Of Tears, Moon Valley, In Times by Black Stalin, Won’t Have to Say Goodbye, To Love Somebody, Let’s Go Dancing,

Evening Time, Esperança, Putting Up A Resistance, Just Another Melody, Home/Nah Leaving, Luv Up, Reason, Lady, Lady Marmalade, Born To Shine and Miriam Makeba’s Pata Pata.

The simple stage set with five band members and four backup singers ensured that nothing distracted from the beauty of the music. The musicians themselves were of the highest quality and included Michael “Ming” Low Chew Tung (keyboards); Rodney Alexander (bass); Theron Shaw (guitar); Anthony Woodroffe Jnr (flute and sax); and, Shaquille Noel (drums).

Each band member played several solos during the concert and had the audience applauding their artistry each time. Guest appearances included Rhona Rogers on maracas accompanying Bigford on Carnavaleando, Mikhail Salcedo’s powerful tenor pan accompaniment on Black Stalin’s In Times and John John Francis’ solo cover of Like It Like This by Kes & Patrice Roberts. Francis had the audience sweating, despite the in-house AC being at max, and wining in their seats with his smooth sultry vocals and dance moves.

Highlights included a powerful acappella arrangement of Carl Jacobs and Ancil ‘Perez’ Forde’s Luv Up by Low Chew Tung performed by Bigford and her backup vocalists (Genisa St Hillaire, Afiya Athill, Sade Sealey and Aneesa Paul); Fela Kuti’s Lady, which she dedicated to Hugh Masekela; Beres Hammond’s Putting Up a Resistance, which Bigford infused with conviction; Born to Shine, the title song of her debut albun, which many audience members said spoke to them; and, Khalen Drummerboi Alexander’s Reason, written especially for Bigford and which she dedicated to all her friends and fans. Her closing number, Miriam Makeba’s Pata Pata, had the entire balcony and most of the lower house on their feet, dancing and singing along.

Bigford thanked the patrons for accepting her, acknowledging that she could be complicated at times. Audience members were immediately heard asking when the next concert was going to be and those who were seeing Bigford for the first time, confessed to being awestruck. The production was an unqualified success and it is to be hoped that the songstress continues to grace all of T&T with her talent.

A memorable footnote of the event was the wonderful introduction of Bigford at the show’s start by popular radio personality Adrian Don Mora, using the singer’s intitials VB, to succinctly describe her.

Categories: Entertainment News

Operafest features the Elixir of Love

Lifestyle - Fri, 06/22/2018 - 00:11

The fourth annual T&T Operafest, staged by the Picoplat Classical Music Development Foundation, features the romantic opera Elixir of Love by Gaetano Donizetti. The festival runs from June 29 to July 8 at the Little Carib Theatre, Woodbrook, and also features a mini-concert, East Meets West on June 24, and masterclasses between June 26 and 28.

East Meets West features Chinese soprano Mei Zhong and Trinidadian soprano Maegan Pollonais performing Chinese, Korean and Trinidadian songs, accompanied on piano by Hyery Hwang. Zhong and Hwang, faculty members at Ball State University, where Pollonais is one of two Trinidadian doctoral students.

The foundation’s creative director Natalia Dopwell said: “As a part of her doctoral thesis research, Meagan arranged for two faculty members, Hyery Hwang and Mei Zhong, to come to Trinidad and with her, perform Chinese, Korean and Trinidad songs in recital, and give masterclasses to advanced local singers.

“The masterclasses are free to participants and the public and run from June 26-28, from 5 to 8 pm at Napa. Advanced singers from UTT, USC, UWI and the Marionettes and the Lydians have been invited based in teacher recommendations. Anyone may attend to learn with them from the advice of the professors.”

Donizetti’s romantic comedy plays out in 1940’s Trinidad, as Nemorino (Edward Cumberbatch) spends his last 50 cents to buy a magic potion from the snake oil salesman Dulcamara (Krisson Joseph), to win the fickle heart of Adina (Natalia Dopwell) before she marries the dashing army sergeant Belcore (Paul Cort).

Dopwell said the Foundation wanted to produce Donizetti’s opera for some time but the voices needed to fill the roles were not available. “The plot is universally likeable, the characters are so engaging and the melodies are gorgeous,” said Dopwell. “Because it is romantic opera, voices that have matured are necessary, and you need two strong baritones and a wonderful tenor. This year we happened to have the singers we wanted for the principal roles all available to do it.

“We were lucky that tenor Edward Cumberbatch finished his PhD thesis this year, and that baritone Paul Cort, who is a vocal professor at USC said yes. Baritone Krisson Joseph has been singing with us for a few years. Once they said yes, this project was a go. In previous years we brought in foreign professional singers and pianists to bolster the local cast, but we’re very proud that everyone working on the opera this year is locally based, because it shows me that the strength of our organisation is growing.”

The foundation uses several initiatives to expose more people to opera. This year they will again be hosting a free school show on July 3. Dopwell said she thinks it’s important to push the limits of what artistic expressions young people are exposed to. Added Dopwell: “Without ever hearing anything more than the Orange singing the Habanera on Sesame Street, many adults will loudly proclaim that they do not like opera.

“We want individual audience members to open their minds to new musical experiences, to theatre, different cultural expressions and the arts in general—not because I expect them to all go on to become musical professionals, but because I believe they will go onto the rest of their lives with less prejudice towards the unfamiliar.”

Another initiative which will be offered again this year is the Opera Lime option, where patrons who buy four tickets at the box office get a fifth one free. She said this encourages opera lovers to bring their friends to the who might not necessarily head to the theatre to see this type of show.

Dopwell said she hopes audiences will laugh a lot. She added: “They should also leave very impressed with the voices on display, and see just how much more is possible on a local stage.”

Performances of Elixir of Love take place on June 29, and July 1, 6 and 8, at the Little Carib Theatre. There are no Saturday performances as the singers do not use microphones so need to rest their voices.

Tickets cost $200 for both Elixir of Love and East Meets West. Tickets are available at the Little Carib Box Office. For show times and more information, go to www.ttoperafest.com and find T&T Opera Festival 2018 on Facebook.

Categories: Entertainment News

Annual food fest at St Mary’s College on Saturday

Lifestyle - Thu, 06/21/2018 - 01:36

Come Saturday, lovers of fine food and drink will head to St Mary’s College, uptown Port-of-Spain (entrance on Pembroke Street) for the annual food fest that has been staged for the past 19 years by the St Mary’s College Past Students Union.

 

This event, labelled Dining With The Saints, is the most popular of its type in T&T and features approximately 100 chefs, most of them past students of the college who come out to help raise funds for development projects at their alma mater.

In recent years, the Past Student’s Union has financed some major projects at the school, including the refurbishment and air-conditioning of the 155 years old Centenary Hall, establishment of a Foreign Language lab and the installation of a transformer to augment the supply of electricity to the school.

Within the next few days, a project to refurbish the aging Chemistry lab at the College will commence, using funds raised by the Past Students’ Union from previous fund-raising events, in particular, the All-Inclusive Fete With The Saints held each year during the Carnival season.

Apart from the regular chefs, some of whom sit on either side of our Parliament Chamber, some new faces will be in the line-up this year. Central Bank Governor, Dr Alvin Hilaire is expected to show a number of experienced chefs from Republic Bank (Nigel Baptiste, Derwin Howell et al) that he is the boss in more ways than one, although he is new to the event. Other debutants are Robin Cumberbatch, Hayden and Brent Sankar and Sanjeev Lalla. A guest appearance is being made by Joe Brown, the head chef at Jaffa Restaurant who is keeping the name of his dish under cover until Saturday.

The fare served up by these chefs includes sea-food, beef, pork, lamb, goat, duck and chicken, all done in a variety of styles that are sure to appeal to the palates of all.

Main sponsors of the event, among them, Grace Foods, Unilever, Hadco, Massy Stores, TGU, Prestige Holdings, Brydens, Carib, Blue Waters, Angostura, Rent-a-Amp and AMCO, will make their presence felt, with some of their products being on display or even available for sampling.

As usual, Dining With The Saints provides a complimentary premium bar, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic, for the duration of the event. There will also be a wide variety of exquisite desserts, something for which this event is famous.

Top drawer entertainment will be provided by Raymond Ramnarine, of Dil-e-Nadan, National Panorama powerhouse, Hadco Phase II Steel Orchestra and ‘Resonate’, a recently-formed entity comprising crackshot pan players Johann Chuckaree and Dane Gulston, and joint 2018 Chutney Soca Monarch Neval Chatelal.

Secured parking and a shuttle service are available free of charge, at COPOS carpark on Pembroke Street between Duke and Park Streets; Scotiabank, corner Park and Pembroke Streets; Atlantic LNG carpark on Upper Pembroke Street; TSTT carpark corner New and St Vincent Streets; and, JD Sellier carpark on Upper Abercromby Street.

Tickets cost $375 per person and are available from the Past Students office, telephone 624-8468, and all members of the Management Committee.

Categories: Entertainment News

Jahremiah’s Love with dancehall, soca

Lifestyle - Thu, 06/21/2018 - 01:34

Dancehall/ soca artiste Jahremiah Love hopes to make an impact on the local and international music scene as the only Indo-Trinidadian dancehall artiste.

Born Jeremy Curtis Mahapat, the 27 year old said his stage name Jahremiah came about when he fused his spiritual beliefs and his love of “Jahovah” with the name Jerimiah.

Love said his musical style was heavily influenced by the ghetto community of Suzanna Trace, Montserrat, South Trinidad, where he grew up and still resides. He said: “I grew up listening to reggae music as it was played a lot by neighbours and relatives and I became very fond of it.”

Love said soca and dancehall allow him to be creative and do original work unlike other local genres as chutney soca that relies heavily on sampling Bollywood tracks for rhythms.

Love revealed that he began getting involved in music at the age of 14, a formative period in his life that allowed him to fine-tune his work, to bring it to what he hopes is “an international standard.”

Using social media to publicise his work, Love said he has received tremendous feedback from members of the public. He added that while his work is distributed freely online, he hopes this marketing strategy would allow him opportunities to perform at shows where he can earn income to further expand his work.

Love acknowledges that there are challenges to becoming successful in genres dominated by artistes of African ancestry. Saying that this only encourages him to work harder, Love said: “As an Indo-Trinidadian a lot of people would not accept me as a dancehall and soca artiste, but that doesn’t stop me; that gives me more motivation to make it. Thefollowing that I have been having around the world and in T&T is remarkable.”

Love has released four tracks, including soca items From the Dust and Get on Bad; and, My Life and Taking Wuk, two dancehall compositions.

They can all be viewed on YouTube.

Love said he plans on reentering the International Soca Monarch competition in 2019, having competed in 2017 with the single From the Dust. Love said he did not make it into the quarter-finals but was happy to participate.

Love ended by saying that he plans on doing collaborations with “big artistes” in the near future.

Categories: Entertainment News

Alta tutor stories

Lifestyle - Thu, 06/21/2018 - 01:30

In celebration of Alta’s 25th anniversary, Alta tutors around the country were asked to write about the impact the organisation has had on their lives. Since 1992, Alta has provided classes around the country for thousands of Trinidadians who struggle with reading and writing. Every year Alta trains almost 100 new tutors who provide literacy instructions to students at venues around Trinidad. In order to become a certified adult literacy tutor, trainees must teach at Alta venues for one academic year. While some leave after the mandatory year, most stay on with Alta, teaching different levels at various venues and even going on to co-ordinate and volunteer in other capacities.

This week, Alta tutor Christine Parris-Debique, who has been teaching for the past two years at the Harvard Club venue, shares how Alta has changed her life.

“Being a tutor at Alta is something I had been interested in for several years. However, because of the constraints of work commitments, I was unable to attend the necessary tutor training. At last I reached retirement age and being still of sound mind and body I attended the tutor training in Arima, although I had originally signed to train in Belmont. Alta administration asked if I would kindly consent to do training during the week instead of Saturdays since they preferred to use those for the working applicants.

“Even going to Arima was an experience as I have been a ‘North and West girl’ for all of my life. The old saying that town people do not know any place east of the lighthouse is slightly true.”

Parris-Debique continues: “Training was intense and I must say that it reminded me of a ballroom dancing class I once enrolled in—you think you can dance (until) you reach the dance class. Similarly, you only appreciate your knowledge of English after attending training. Having been weaned in ‘A for apple, B for bay’ and Nelson West Indian Readers, learning about phonics took a bit of getting used to and was certainly an eye-opener.

“The tutors were very experienced and having the founder of Alta and her immediate assistants also being part of the training exercises showed the level of commitment to the association. I elected to teach at the Harvard Club and I’ve been fortunate to work under the guidance of one of the longest serving tutors, Janet Joseph and her second in command Claire Mitchell. The students are an interesting mix and I have been impressed with the significant number of men who attend classes.”

Said Parris-Debique: “Being a tutor at Alta has also opened my eyes to the fact that there are so many people around you every day who need assistance with their reading and writing skills. The course content is also very impressive as the founder ensured that the lessons are topical and relative to the students’ lives.

“Teaching this course has given me patience, increased my ability to be encouraging and to become a better listener. At Harvard, all the tutors are part of a team and work well together all the time ensuring that the exercises are completed within the two hour time frame. I enjoy being part of the Harvard Alta team.”

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

Archbishop launches ministry for migrants, refugees today

Lifestyle - Tue, 06/19/2018 - 23:16

Today the world will observe World Refugee Day, a day when “we commemorate the strength, courage and perseverance of millions of refugees” (UN).

Archbishop Jason Gordon has launched an Archdiocese’s Ministry for Migrants and Refugees (AMMR). AMMR calls on the nation to use this opportunity today to commit to stand in solidarity with migrants and refugees and to promote their human rights. Let’s pray and act to ensure that there is a place at the table of life for all.

In Pope Francis’ message for World Day of Migrants and Refugees in January 2018 titled, Migrants and Refugees: men and women in search of peace, he asks us to develop a strategy combining four actions to support migrants and refugees—welcoming, protecting, promoting and integrating.

“The Earth,” says Pope Francis, “is our common home and we are a universal family. Together, we are called to build the common good, that is, to create conditions in which each person can realise his or her potential.” He says that providing aid to migrants and refugees is a “great responsibility, which the church intends to share with all believers and men and women of good will, who are called to respond to the many challenges of contemporary migration with generosity, promptness, wisdom and foresight, each according to their own abilities…I would like to ask you all to see a ray of hope as well in the eyes and hearts of refugees and for those who have been forcibly displaced.”

We cannot turn our eyes away from the 65.3 million persons in our world who have been displaced from their homes and the 22.5m refugees who, as Pope Francis says, seek peace. He reminds us that migrants and refugees are not pawns on the chessboard of humanity, and urges us to have respect for their lives and dignity.

In T&T there are migrants and refugees from over 20 countries, including Cuba, Venezuela, Syria, Bangladesh, Jamaica, Colombia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Congo, Mali, Sudan and Uganda. There are many children among the men and women seeking refuge here from these and other countries.

If we are to build the common good in our country, we must take action to enact legislation that will enable the recommendations in the Cabinet adopted 2014 policy relating to the Status of Refugees to be implemented.

We therefore call on our Government to take decisive action and pass/enact national legislation on refugee issues. This is essential if T&T is to meet its international obligations, having acceded in November 2000 to the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and its 1967 Protocol. These are the foundations of international refugee law. We call on the Government also to develop an efficient and secure asylum system.

While we must do what is right to meet the needs of our own citizens; we must also show compassion and hospitality and ensure that refugees in need of protection and support are treated according to international standards.

On World Refugee Day, “let us all try to stand in the shoes of refugees, and stand up for their rights and our shared future,” Antonio Guterres, UN Secretary General said.

For further information, contact Leela Ramdeen, chair, CCSJ, and chair, AMMR on 299 8945 (courtesy Catholic Media Services Ltd).

Categories: Entertainment News

We need to embrace love and respect for others

Lifestyle - Tue, 06/19/2018 - 23:13

Being able to exercise judgment is a desired quality in order to become a good decision maker. It is a great asset in assessing people and selecting personalities for relationships. Every parent, manager and leader in every sphere will do well to have competence in the reasoning demanded for exercising good judgment.

Being judgmental, however, is the problematic because it is the attitude of being overly critical, negative, deriding, and being destructive. But when it comes to people, especially those in distress or on whom misfortune has fallen it amazes me the level of incivility people rush to in brutal judgment of others.

And, in terms of issues of mental health and mental illnesses, the pervasive ignorance by the majority makes judgment and judging take on a special cruelty as we “pass our ignorant mouths” on people we somehow think are less then us. We really behave as though those who live with or experience mental illnesses deserve nothing but “St Ann’s” or some place away from “normal” people.

We very quickly forget (or maybe we have not as yet learned) that all humans are created equal. And that regardless of the circumstances in which people find themselves, we should all have and show respect for their humanity.

Those of us who benefitted from upbringing that instilled humility are better off in appreciating the worth of another person. But, even among us are those who either thumb their noses at others deemed to be in a lesser position or just use every opportunity to be judgmental of others.

That behaviour, to me, constitutes poor mental well-being worse than someone who may have a mental health diagnosis. To my mind, gossip is a deeper sickness than most other conditions of ill health. And “cutting people down” is akin to an incurable, seeping sore - it is a special brand of evil and ugly.

Helping those in need

I recently witnessed a maxi taxi driver chase a man of his vehicle.

“Get out mih bus. Yuh smelling stink. Go and bathe. Get off! Get off! Take the next maxi.”

Before I could recover from that brutality, I saw a social media campaign that has kept me feeling deep hurt, with a disconnectedness with this part of T&T culture. There was the most hideous comments with thousands of hits and shares and everyone with a judgment of an individual who, clearly, to me was exhibiting behaviour that needed intervention and compassion.

In the midst of that, a friend asked me about an appropriate response to someone presenting with what looks like a mental health crisis. I was happy to find him among the friends that wanted to help and not harm the young physician who was the subject of major ridicule.

As a registered first-response trainer here was my advice from the tip of my finger in the social media exchange-: “When it comes to mental/ psychiatric ill health or bad well-being, the “first responder” is the first person with the opportunity to respond first to someone in crisis. That should be everyone of us. We know how to fix a cut, we should know how to respond to grief or trauma, as examples.

“And while there may not be a single response that would work for every situation there are some key things we can do to treat with those in distress.

“We begin by accepting that mental ill health is the most common illness globally at this time ergo, It can happen to me! Therefore:-

1. We can educate ourselves with the issues to become more comfortable to reach out but also to know what the signs are so we know when to reach out. WebMD and PsychologyToday are recommended sites for self education/learning.

Learn what to ask. Learn what not to say. Learn, learn, learn.

2. Education can help reduce the stigma that cripples our response. If we understand the myths and misinformation we are more likely to look past the prejudices and taboo and reach out.

3. We need to know/believe/understand that mental ill health whether an issue, a disorder, a problem or an illness/ disease does not discriminate. Anyone can present with symptoms. This may be a short-term illness or a long-term one.

But key to recovery is early attention and intervention to the illness, not hiding until we are critical or acute.

4. We each need to practice suspending judgment. That is a major deterrent to giving help and for others asking for help. When we judge before we have the information to understand circumstances or after we have the information, we are less likely to help the other person.

5. Return to some value: either civics and be neighbourly, biblical and be loving, or humanitarian. Love would not only “cover a multitude of sins” but a host of illnesses and required privacies.”

No one goes through this life without trauma. While everyone responds differently, we need to get to a place of respect and return to a love that makes us supportive of each other rather than negative and critical.

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:

Categories: Entertainment News

Positive rhythms at Yoruba Drum Fest

Lifestyle - Tue, 06/19/2018 - 01:39

The Emancipation Support Committee of T&T staged the 10th annual Yoruba Village Drum Festival on Saturday, at Yoruba Village Square, Piccadilly Street, Port-of-Spain. The event was a huge success, attended by Laventille West parliamentary representative Fitzgerald Hinds, South African Ambassador Thami Xoliswa Nomatamsanqa Ngwevela, Port-of-Spain Deputy Mayor Hilan Morean and ESC chairman Khafra Kambon.

Aside from drummers from across the nation and Africa participating, and performances by chanters and other artistes, acclaimed rapso artist/cultural activist Sister Ava (Ruth Ava Sam Shallow) was presented with the ESC’s Keeper of the Tradition Award by Minister Hind

Categories: Entertainment News

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