JAMAICA NAMED TOP THREE ISLAND IN THE WORLD BY TRIPADVISOR
The island nation is ranked #1 among Caribbean islands
NEW YORK, NY – April 21, 2016 – Jamaica is celebrating its #3 ranking on the TripAdvisor® Travelers’ Choice™ awards’ “World’s Best Islands” list. TripAdvisor, the travel planning and booking website, highlighted the world’s top islands based on the quantity and quality of reviews and ratings for hotels, restaurants and attractions. The data was gathered over a 12-month period from destinations worldwide.
“Jamaica is both thrilled and honored to be named the number three island in the world, not to mention the number one island in the Caribbean,” said Jamaica’s Director of Tourism, Paul Pennicook. “I have no doubt that this is based on the joy that travelers feel during their trips to Jamaica. Our accommodations, culture, attractions, culinary offerings and especially our warm-hearted people, make each vacation unforgettable. Congratulations to everyone who was able to make it happen, and thank you to our visitors, who we are ready to welcome back again and again.”
Jamaica has a large variety of accommodations for travelers looking for a memorable vacation, including boutique hotels, all-inclusive resorts and expansive villas. Some of Jamaica’s top accommodation offerings on TripAdvisor include Geejam, The SPA Retreat Boutique Hotel, The Resort at Wilks Bay, The Caves and Jamaica Inn. Jamaica’s attractions suit vacationers who want to relax as well as those who want to explore. The island has everything from natural wonders such as Dunn’s River Falls and Seven Mile Beach, to thrill-worthy rides like Mystic Mountain’s bobsledding and zip lining experiences.
Jamaica is increasing its culinary options throughout the island. Families, couples, solo travelers and friends can enjoy top notch meals. Some of the top restaurants on TripAdvisor include Murphy’s West End Restaurant, Devon House I-Scream and Scotchie’s, all local favorites.
“With common traits like breathtaking beaches, exciting activities and popular hotels and restaurants, the Travelers’ Choice Islands are favorites of the TripAdvisor community,” said Barbara Messing, chief marketing officer for TripAdvisor. “While most of these islands have year-round appeal, TripAdvisor booking data shows that bargain-hunters can save on their hotels when staying at the top islands during the shoulder season rather than the peak.”
REGGAE Sumfest’s live performances will be scaled down from three nights to two, according to Josef Bagdonovich — new chairman of Summerfest Promotions — organisers of the event.
“This will help to re-engerise the event,” he told the Jamaica Observer earlier this week..
“Sumfest is a great Jamaican brand promoting dancehall and reggae. I have a lot of respect for it, but we don’t have an international brand. What we have is a concert that brings international acts,” he said.
Reggae Sumfest is scheduled for Catherine Hall in Montego Bay, from July 17-23.
The American businessman is hoping to achieve his objective with the use of technology.
“It’s about bringing international eyeballs to your island. We’re gonna bring reggae and dancehall into the international arena, while giving it a sense of vibrancy and authenticity by going viral… streaming in interactive 360 Virtual Reality. Fifty million people will be seeing it on their cellphones, laptop, television or any device for free,” he said.
He said Reggae Sumfest will be positioned to compete with major international festivals such as Reggae Geel in Belgium and Summerjam in Germany. Both festivals pull crowds of 25,000 to 30,000 people and the biggest reggae acts.
“It’s gonna take me a few years to be on that level, but we’re gonna bring acts that people want to see. We’re gonna reach out to the Caribbean, America and Europe. We have a marketing plan that will bring tourists here. And remember, this the homeland of reggae music,” he said.
Bogdanovich, head of dancehall label Downsound Records, acquired Reggae Sumfest a month ago. The official announcement was, however, made last week.
Asked what was his stake in Summerfest Promotions, he responded: “My life.”
He said despite his dancehall connections, Reggae Sumfest will retain its diverse cast.
“It’s not Sting… or just a dancehall vibes. It’s a show of international quality and we have to abide by international standards. I’m looking into reggae acts from all over the world. I want the international market to know reggae is big… and I don’t want people to just be stuck on international acts as the the only reason to enjoy themselves,” he said.
Sting is reference to the annual Boxing Day concert held in Portmore, St Catherine. It caters to hardcore dancehall fans and has lyrical clashes as part of its format.
In 2014, Bogdanovich partnered with promoter Isaiah Laing to stream Sting to more than 170 countries.
He is also majority shareholder in the Kingston Live Entertainment Group, which owns Usain Bolt’s Tracks and Records in Kingston and Famous Nightclub in Portmore.
First held in 1993, Reggae Sumfest has rostered dancehall’s elite including Beenie Man, Buju Banton, Lady Saw and Capleton. High-profile pop acts, including rappers TI, Common, Usher, Chris Brown, Snoop Dogg, R Kelly, Ne-Yo, Mary J Blige, and Alicia Keys have also performed at the festival.
Three Jamaican musicians who helped fashion the rocksteady sound of the 1960s, will be honoured at the May 1 Guyana International Artistic Music Awards.
Guitarist Lynford ‘Hux’ Brown, bass player Brian Atkinson and drummer Joe Isaacs, are among five Jamaicans to be honoured at the event, scheduled for the National Cultural Centre in Georgetown, the Guyana capital.
Singers Ken Boothe and Marcia Griffiths, who emerged during the 1966-68 rocksteady era, are also honourees.
Guyanese-born singer/songwriter/producer Eddy Grant is recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award.
Calypsonian Lord Canary, reggae singer Natural Black, and Lord Nelson — a Trinidadian calypsonian — will also be honoured.
It is a rare award for Atkinson, who has lived in Ontario, Canada, for over 40 years.
“It’s hard to believe. I’m a bit perplexed, owing to the fact that it is coming from another country and not Jamaica,” he told the Jamaica Observer.
Atkinson played on some of rocksteady’s biggest hits including Boothe’s Puppet On A String and Train Is Coming; Dancing Mood by Delroy Wilson; 007 (Shantytown) by Desmond Dekker and Bob Andy’s I’ve Got To Go Back Home.
Isaacs made his name at producer Clement ‘Coxsone’ Dodd’s Studio One, starting as a 15-year-old in 1966.
Like Atkinson, he migrated to Canada in the early 1970s. He is also pleased with the overdue recognition.
“This means everything to me. All my time in Jamaica I’ve never got anything and these guys from Guyana are aware that we made this great music,” he said.
The Train Is Coming, Johnny Nash’s Hold Me Tight, Feel Like Jumping by Griffiths and Toots and The Maytals’ 54-46 are among the many classic songs Isaacs played.
Brown was a top session musician during the mid and late 1960s. He played on a number of Toots and The Maytals hit songs including Pressure Drop, 54-46and Funky Kingston.
The Guyana International Artistic Music Awards follows the Guyana Music Fest which is down for the National Stadium in Georgetown, on April 30. The latter features a number of top Guyanese artistes celebrating their country’s 50th year of independence from Great Britain.
Asafa Powell blew away the field to win the 200m during the Michael Johnson Invitational at Clyde Hart Track and Field stadium in Texas, last Saturday night. The Olympic gold medalist clocked 20.51 seconds to secure the win after launching his outdoor campaign with victory in a 400m run last month.
The Jamaican sprinter, preparing for the Olympics in Brazil this summer, beat Diondre Batson, who was second in 20.55
World Indoor 60m champion Trayvon Bromell of the USA took top spot in the men’s 100m, clocking 10.04 seconds after opting out of the 200m. Nigeria’s Blessing Okagbare won the women’s 200m in 22.87 seconds.
Trinidad and Tobago’s Michelle-Lee Ahye, captured the 100m in 11.31 seconds, while Jamaica’s three-time Olympic gold medallist, Kerron Stewart took third spot in 11.32.
The International Cricket Council (ICC) has criticized the actions and comments of several West Indies players following their World Twenty20 final win over England in Kolkata earlier this month.
There had been reports prior to the tournament that the team were on the verge of withdrawing from the event as part of a long-running pay and contract dispute with the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB).
Prior to lifting the trophy, West Indies captain Darren Sammy gave an emotional interview on the Eden Gardens outfield where he thanked Keith Mitchell, the Prime Minister of Grenada and a key member of the Caricom heads of government umbrella body, but accused the WICB of “disrespecting” the team.
“He (Mitchell) sent a very inspiring message for the team this morning and I’m yet to hear from our own cricket board,” said Sammy. “That’s very disappointing.”
The ICC, in a statement issued yesterday after a board meeting at its Dubai headquarters congratulated the WICB on an “unprecedented treble” that saw the West Indies also win the Women’s World Twenty20 final and the boys Under-19 World Cup in Bangladesh in February.
But the ICC said it had given “very serious consideration” to bringing Code of Conduct charges against several West Indies players for “inappropriate” and “disrespectful” comments that “brought the event into disrepute”.
“The board acknowledged an apology by the WICB but was disappointed to note that such behaviour had detracted from the success of what was otherwise a magnificent tournament and final,” the ICC statement read.
ICC chairman Shasjank Manohar also appeared to single out Marlon Samuels for criticism.
It appeared that, in a continuation of an already-established feud, Samuels — who was at the non-striker’s end — taunted Ben Stokes after the England all-rounder was hit for four successive sixes by Carlos Brathwaite that saw the West Indies to a stunning win in the last over of the match.
“The sport of cricket is proud of its unique spirit and this involves being gracious in victory as well as defeat and respectful at all times to the game, one’s opponents, the sponsors and the fans,” said Indian administrator Manohar.
Meanwhile, the ICC announced leading non-Test nations Afghanistan and Ireland were to receive $500,000 each from the ICC as part of a “short-term” one-day international fund.
The ICC said the cash boost was designed to help the two countries schedule more bilateral series and so support their respective bids to gain direct entry to the 2019 50-over World Cup in England.
SECRETARY General of the Commonwealth Baroness Patricia Scotland of Asthal says removing the Queen as head of State is for the people of Jamaica to decide, and that it is up to the country to determine which route it will take in making that decision.
Speaking with the Jamaica Observer at her New Kingston hotel suite, Scotland, who arrived in the island on Monday, on an official country visit, while maintaining a non-committal stance on the subject, stated that: “There are so many countries in the Commonwealth which decided a long time ago that they didn’t want to continue to have the Queen as head of State.
There are other countries who want to keep her, and want to keep her forever. It’s not for us to decide which one is right, which one is wrong. I will look forward with interest to what the people of Jamaica decide. Some countries go to referendum, some countries amend their constitution. Every country has had a different arrangement. What’s great about having a democracy is that it is a democracy.”
Scotland had earlier yesterday met with Prime Minister Andrew Holness, who in his Administration’s outline of legislative priorities during this parliamentary year, has made clear the Government’s intention to take a constitutional amendment bill to Parliament to have the Queen of England replaced with a non-executive president as head of State.
While this would make Jamaica a republic, a non-executive president’s role would be similar to the governor general’s – symbolic, with no powers to make policy.
The Bermuda government says seven incarcerated Caribbean nationals have been deported to their home countries after their jail time was cut short and a deal struck with the Royal Bermuda Regiment.
Home Affairs Minister Michael Fahy said their early release was a boost for the Bermuda taxpayer.
The inmates, from Jamaica, Grenada, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Barbados and St Maarten, were flown home on Sunday through a collaboration between the Department of Immigration, the Department of Corrections, the regiment and their local immigration authorities.
The inmates, who were not named, were all scheduled to be released from prison between 2016 and 2020 and had been approved for early release by the Governor, George Fergusson.
“Over the past year, the Department of Immigration has been faced with many challenges regarding the deportation of foreign nationals who have been incarcerated in Bermuda for a range of offences,” Fahy said in a statement.
“As a result of recent restrictions imposed by Bermuda’s gateway countries, United States, Canada and the United Kingdom, the deportation process has been extremely difficult thereby making it virtually impossible to secure passage through any of the aforementioned countries.
“As a consequence of the information above, the Department of Immigration feverishly explored several options to deport the foreign nationals including, but not limited to, chartering a corporate aircraft for each deportation which had the potential of being extremely costly for the Bermuda government.
“Upon learning that the Royal Bermuda Regiment was planning to hold their annual overseas camp in Kingston, Jamaica, the Department of Immigration capitalized on this opportunity by arranging a deportation exercise led by the Department of Immigration’s Compliance Section,” he said.
Of the inmates, three had previously been approved for early release, while the early release of the other four was approved last week.
“Between Wednesday and Sunday, the Department of Immigration, in collaboration with Government House, the Attorney-General’s Chambers, the Department of Corrections, and the Ministry of National Security worked tirelessly to ensure that the necessary processes and protocols were followed, thereby making it possible to deport a total of seven foreign nationals out of Bermuda,” Fahy said.
“This is good news for the (Bermuda) taxpayer as it means that we will no long be paying the incarceration fees and associated costs for these individuals.
“This exercise would not have been possible had it not been for the countless hours of hard work, dedication and collaboration between all agencies involved,” he said in the statement.