unnamed19This article focuses on Caribbean-American candidates contesting seats in various races throughout South Florida, who are preparing for the Primary Election on August 26. These include Alexandra Davis [shown above], Francis “Dave” Ragoo, Dr. Smith Joseph, Councilman Jean Marcellus, and Commissioner Jean Monestime. See excerpts here:

Leading the pack is popular Miramar Commissioner Alexandra Davis, a British born Jamaican who is seeking a seat on the Broward County Commission, District 8.  Also making a strong run is Realtor and Community Activist, Francis “Dave” Ragoo of Trinidad & Tobago, who has boldly tossed his hat in the political ring and is seeking election to the City of Miami Gardens Council, Seat 6. Alexandra Davis has made her name as a hard worker representing the interest of the people she serves since November 2010, when she was first elected as commissioner in Miramar.  Davis has the support of several respected community leaders including Congressman Alcee Hastings, Commissioner Dale Holness and Broward County Property Appraiser Lori Parish among others. She is a champion of public safety, economic development and cultural diversity. Davis is a strong leader with a reputation of honesty, integrity and impeccable ethical values. She is contesting the seat in District 8, currently held by Barbara Sharief, who has been in the news because of several questionable and unethical accusations.

Francis “Dave” Ragoo has strengthened his quest for office by securing the endorsement of South Florida AFL-CIO. Mr. Ragoo is committed to being the first Caribbean Leader to be elected to political office in a City with one of the largest Caribbean American Communities in South Florida. Mr. Ragoo is a member of one of the oldest community groups in South Florida Unrepresented People Positive Action Council (UPPAC) where he serves as one of the moderators at the weekly meetings at Greater New Bethel Baptist Church in Miami Gardens. Mr Ragoo believes that there needs to be a vision forecasted for the City that will help transform Miami Gardens from the negative connotations, to one in which not only the perception of paradise can exist, but the reality of it should be lived. He believes that there needs to be a collective multifaceted holistic approach towards laying the foundation for a better future, a short term plan and a long-term goal that leads to sustainable economic development.

In the City of North Miami, Dr. Smith Joseph and Councilman Jean Marcellus – both Haitian Americans are running for Mayor while Commissioner Jean Monestime is running for re-election in District 2 in Miami-Dade County.

Attorney Jahra McLawrence, Jamaican, is making a second bid for a seat as Broward County Judge and is getting favorable support this time around. Judge Ian Richards, a Miami native of Jamaican parents, is seeking re-election as county court judge in the Florida’s 17th Judicial Circuit. Judge Richards was the first African-American judge to be elected countywide in Broward County, Florida in 2009. [. . .]

For full article, see http://caribbeantoday.com/other/facts/politics/item/18926-caribbean-americans-running-for-several-seats-in-south-floridas-upcoming-election.html

cephas

Artists, musicians, hipsters, hippies and holistic eaters alike all know about Cephas’ Hot Shop, the Caribbean cuisine hotspot a few blocks off of Ybor City’s 7th Ave. sprawl, Scott Harrell reports for Tampa’s Creative Loafing.

Owner Cephas Gilbert has been an Ybor staple for more than 30 years, and the man himself is famous not only as a breathing encyclopedia of rare & healthy eats, but also an altruist who’s fed more than one guest who couldn’t afford a meal.

Gilbert has been forced to shut down for operating without a food-service license. He admits it’s true; the license reportedly lapsed five years ago, he needs to make approximately $15K in repairs and upgrades to his kitchen — which was nearly gutted in a fire eight years ago — before he can renew it.

In true local-scene tradition, Ybor club owners and promoters have rallied a killer slate of bands in record time for the Cephas’ Hot Shop Benefit Concert, to be held Thurs., Sept. 11 at Crowbar. Click through for the lineup, and if you can’t make the gig, you can always donate here.

CEPHAS’ HOT SHOP BENEFIT CONCERT

Thurs., Sept. 11 @ Crowbar, Ybor City – 8 p.m.

The lineup:

Johnny Cakes & The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypso

Dubb Tenn

Der feat. Acho Brother

Bangarang

The Growers

DJ Fader

For the original report go to http://cltampa.com/earbuds/archives/2014/08/18/local-musicians-to-hold-benefit-for-ybor-institution-cephas-hot-shop#.U_LCWlamZe4

Posted by: lisaparavisini | August 18, 2014

Meñique: An interview with the Director

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After six and a half years of uninterrupted work, Cuban animation director Ernesto Padrón’s major work, Meñique, the first animated feature made with 3D technique in the largest of the Antilles, premiered in Cuba, Maya Quiroga reports in this interview for CubaNow.net. [Our thanks to Peter Jordens for beinging this item to our attention.]

Ernesto Padrón (Cárdenas, Matanzas, 1948) spent a lifetime preparing to undertake his major work: Meñique, first animated feature made with 3D technique in the largest of the Antilles.

Since childhood, Ernesto was fanatical about superheroes and comics. In his first years of adolescence he began to delve into audiovisual production as an amateur, with his brother Juan Padrón and his cousin Jorge Pucheux. That passion would chase him like a sort of obsession until one day he succeeding in crowning the dream of becoming an animated film producer at the Animation Studios of the Cuban Film Institute (ICAIC).

How did this fact mark your becoming an animated film producer?

My brother, my cousin and I were fans of U.S. comics and also cartoon fanatics. We even made cartoons with an 8 mm Kodak camera and we made paper animations. We animated toys in a sort of stop motion, trick films, and filmed black and white and color movies with plots which many times we didn’t respect at the end. We even finished a feature by putting together four or five Kodak rolls.

The themes of our pictures were war, science fiction, detectives. It’s a pity they’ve been lost because my cousin Jorge Pucheux, who worked in trick photography at ICAIC, took them away to clean them because they’d gotten moldy and they couldn’t be recovered.

Later, life took my brother to the film section of the Armed Forces Ministry and I joined the Armed Forces political division, where they did graphic design. There I learned graphic design with Eduardo Boch, a famous Cuban designer. I always dreamed of making cartoons, but life leads you to unsuspected places.

Later I started working at the design workshop of the Communist Party of Cuba; from there I went to communications for the Young Communists’ Association and became director of the magazine Zunzún. In 1998, I started at ICAIC’s Animation Studios. In search of my dream.

What did you first do at the ICAIC Studios?

I continued with producing films for a famous animation series entitled La enciclopedia de los por qué that already appeared as a section of the magazine Zunzún, where children sent questions and we answered in the form of comics. That was the first series made with computer techniques in Cuba. I co-directed it with Jorge Oliver. Later I headed an energy-saving campaign. And after that the series Para curiosos.

Meñique is your first feature. Could we say then that all your previous works served as a base for undertaking your major work?

Yes, I’d worked as assistant director of Más vampiros en La Habana. I think a work like Meñique requires a degree of maturity in the creator. I had the idea since I entered ICAIC’s Animation Studios, but first I wanted to gain more experience, learn more about animation, about 3D animation. Since Para curiosos and Los ¿por qué?, we had ventured into short films with 3D technique.

Juan Padrón has conceptualized the Cuban School of Animation as characterized by humor, authentic and original stories, vertiginous mounting, colorfulness, use of a cheerful soundtrack. How many of these characteristics do you think are present in Meñique?

I think Meñique is a continuation of that whole concept born with my brother, the maestro, who totally changed the way of making, because Cuban animation does not resemble either the U.S. or European. It’s very much a Cuban product, although it has that entire previous heritage, of ways of seeing, expressive resources, but which the public receives differently today because they see themselves reflected in that work.

The basic idea of the story is very pretty and has all those expressive resources, such as the humorous situations, local customs and manners. This forms part of the product offered to the viewer as something completely new.

According to my point of view, Meñique also bears the imprint of Tulio Raggi (creator of El negrito cimarrón). What’s your opinion in this regard?

The film had the characteristic that I invited several painters to design the scenography. Two of them, Reinerio Tamayo and Tulio Raggi (Havana, 1938-2013) did the majority of the scenery. Of course, Tulio left his unmistakable style on the film.

Tulio’s and Tamayo’s contributions were so incredibly beautiful and new that it was a challenge for the young specialists to create those scenographies. There was great interrelation between the artists and the model makers. Each one wanted to excel the other, and that was very positive.

Although Meñique has been classified as a film for children, it has many references to Cuban and universal culture such as quotations, intertextualities. Can the feature be enjoyed by the entire family at different levels of reading?

That’s something interesting, that both children and parents can enjoy it. It’s a film that captures you from the very history of the tale, with a plot we could say is novel and at the same time with all those levels of reading, different tones, for all kinds of public.

During the premiere, one of the producers said she was going to remain outside the hall to see how many small children – three or four years old – came out because they couldn’t understand Meñique. Only a girl who had been frightened by the witch came out to the lobby, and later returned inside.

In Meñique one can also find gender approaches, because the princess is not the traditional girl who waits for a prince to rescue her and propose marriage, but is a sort of heroine who breaks the paradigms.

I created a character named Yeyín. I’ve always liked to highlight the feminine characters, because there are so few heroines, blacks, mixed race characters, in our culture, there are great lacks. In the case of the princess, the characterization was in the first place conceptual because in the original story she’s the final prize for Meñique. The dramatic premise is “knowledge is more powerful than strength,” but the dramatic question is “will Meñique marry the princess?” I wanted this prize to be on the same level as Meñique.

She’s a woman who, in the first place, considers social justice as her objective. Physically she has brown eyes, like most people; her body has abundant curves, like some Cuban women. She is brave. Her actions have an incidence on the story. The fact that Meñique succeeds in winning a woman who is worthwhile magnifies the hero himself. She’s poisoned with a mamey instead of an apple. This also gives a touch of difference to the character.

Merchandising is a something unusual in Cuba. How can this contribute to distributing the film?

We’ve been dreaming about the creation of promotional products since I directed the magazine Zunzún. When I did my first cartoons we made several attempts with the Ministry of Basic Industry, even with Elpidio Valdés we created products, but not in the quantity and variety we were seeking.

I’m very happy now in the case of Meñique with this initiative of the Cuban Fund of Cultural Goods (FCBC), Trimagen, ICAIC and CIMEX to accompany the film with these promotional products, not only because of the number of products but also because of their variety and quality. The FCBC craftsmen answered with incredible speed, almost in fifteen days. It’s very nice the children who go to see the film take home a personal memento.

Tell me about the challenge of directing around 200 technicians for almost six years. How did the teams from Spain, ICAIC’s animation Studios and the animators from the University of Computer Sciences (UCI) integrate?

It was an odyssey, a school from the point of view of production design, because, first, we didn’t have all the conditions. When we started we didn’t have specialists for all the processes, which were very complex, and we had to search and woo the experts that existed to organize training courses for the rest of the team. In this, UCI helped us a lot, putting their labs and computers at our disposal.

During the whole pre-production stage the specialists worked at home. We saw each other once a week to check the work, looking for the artistic style. Already in production stage, when we had the necessary technology to work, we continued with the training, because a feature confronts you with many problems. It teaches you to work, but at the same time, can delay production, because when you make a mistake you pay by returning to the starting point. They are chained processes.

Selecting the personnel was very important. We had to look for persons with talent, technical quality and at the same time human quality, because film is a collective art and you can’t add talent if that person doesn’t know how to work in a team or enjoy that creative moment.

Working at a distance with the Spanish team was also very difficult. It was the first time something was being done like this. The Spaniards were those who most suffered because of the Internet conditions in Cuba. They sent lighted and composed scenes through email, that we had to revise and adjust, receive them and keep control of the processes, both those from Cuba and from Spain. At the same time it was difficult, it was great fun. I enjoy challenges very much.

We wanted to make virtual hair, as in films from the great studios, but it was almost impossible. Then we said: let’s make modeled hair with quality. We tried to find a solution to each problem that could improve the film’s visualness.

It’s been spread by the media that Meñique is the first Cuban feature in 3D, and some people expected to see a stereoscopic projection. What was the film’s production process?

The word 3D animation was never used, and of course, since 3D projection is now in fashion, people thought it was the first Cuban movie they were going to see with glasses. In fact, 3D animation is a tool that emerged to make animated drawings as if they were a fiction film.

Since the characters are modeled in three dimensions, the set designs have width, height and depth, and this enables you to use a virtual camera as expressive resource. In 2D you have to simulate the spatial depth. In the virtual world the depth is real; you can move in a point with three dimensions. You can also create light sets. Other expressive resources are the changes in framings, special effects both in 3D and in 2D. It’s a fascinating world from the point of view of cinematographic language.

It’s not very complex to turn a 3D animated film into one that may be seen through stereoscopic projection. The program used to make the film allows you to distinguish the two fields, make the conversion and, yet in cinematic projection, with the glasses unite the two fields again and create the illusion of depth, that is, that the objects come out of the screen.

How did you do the voice casting?

Casting was done from a selection of actors and actresses who had never worked in animated films. A top ranking cast was selected because of what Meñique meant, being an ICAIC super-production.

We only did one casting, almost blindfolded, to find the leading characters: Meñique and the princess. For this we chose seven actresses and seven actors, made an animation with two dialogues and they dubbed the dialogues on top of the animation. One was more neutral and the other in an irritated tone. Then we numbered each participant. We made the selection listening to the voices that fulfilled the parameters we wanted, considering each character’s distinctive aspects.

What are the new roads Meñique will follow?

Up to now, Meñique has been sold in ten countries, among them the U.S., France, Germany, in the Middle East. An art book is being done by Ediciones ICAIC containing all the film’s artistic development processes. I have the intention of making short and medium-length films with situations that don’t appear in the film and others we had to leave out when editing the feature.

It will also be projected during the International Festival of New Latin American Film and surely in other international festivals. A version was made in English and one in Galician and another in Castilian for the exhibition in Spain, where a bit of the Cuban customs and manners in the film are missing and, in my opinion, part of the magic of the Cuban version is lost.

I’m quite satisfied with all the team’s work, particularly with the producers, animators and 3D specialists, whom I wish to thank for all the patience they had during six and a half years. I’m also very thankful to the cast of actors and actresses, who did an excellent job.

I particularly wish to thank the Spanish musician Manuel Ribeiro, who did exceptional work with the incidental music, Edesio Alejandro, the National Symphony Orchestra, Silvio Rodríguez, the Exaudi Chamber Choir, Pancho Amat and singers Anabel López, Ernesto Yoel and Miriam Ramos.

What new projects are you immersed in?

I want to reach one hundred chapters of the series Para curiosos, which already has sixty. This year I hope to make ten or twenty.

Thus concluded the director. He feels very happy with the reception his first animated feature has had on the Island.

For the original report go to http://www.cubanow.net/articles/meñique-cuban-odyssey

Posted by: lisaparavisini | August 18, 2014

New Media lineup announced for trinidad+tobago film festival/14

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The trinidad+tobago film festival (ttff) today announced its ttff/14 New Media programme of experimental films, video art and interactive works.

New Media is a collection of works by artists from the Caribbean and its diaspora that explore a range of themes and issues, while pushing and blurring the boundary between film and art.

The programme, which is presented in collaboration with ARC Magazine, will take place from 19–30 September. The ttff/14 takes place from 16–30 September.

Medulla Art Gallery in Woodbrook will be the main venue for New Media, which opens on 19 September at 7.00pm at Medulla with Good Stock on the Dimensional Floor: An Opera, a re-imagining of the traditional opera. Created by the HowDoYouSayYaminAfrican artists’ collective, Good Stock… contains a spoken, chanted, sung and screamed libretto exploring the consequences of centuries of global racial strife thrust upon those of African descent. Dawn Lundy Martin, a member of the Yams Collective, will be present for the launch.

The regular programme will run daily at Medulla, 20–30 September, 12.00pm–6.00pm.

In the evenings there will be a number of special New Media events. On Saturday 20 September from 5.00pm at Little Carib Theatre in Woodbrook there will be a package of short films, Black Radical Imagination, out of the USA. Erin Christovale and Amir George, the curators of this collection of short films that deal with Afro-futurism, will be present for a Q+A.

This will be followed on Tuesday 23 September at 7.00pm by Interactive Yard, a showcase of interactive and experiential works by the Martiniquan artist David Gumbs, at Alice Yard, also in Woodbrook.

The following day, Wednesday 24 September, there will be a New Media artists’ talk at Medulla from 3.00pm. Then on Thursday 25 September the University of the West Indies at St Augustine will host New Media, and present its main programme, along with Otherness, a multiple-screen video installation by Jamaica’s Olivia McGilchrist.

All New Media events at Medulla, Alice Yard and UWI are free of charge and open to the public.

Additionally, for the second year running, there will be a New Media prize of TT$5,000, which will be awarded to the best work in the programme, as decided by a jury. Technical support for New Media is provided by North Eleven, an official partner of the ttff/14.

For the full lineup of New Media works, as well as the full schedule, go to www.ttfilmfestival.com/new-media.

About the trinidad+tobago film festival

Founded in 2006, the ttff is an annual celebration of films from and about Trinidad and Tobago, the Caribbean and its diaspora. The Festival also screens films curated from contemporary world cinema. In addition, the ttff seeks to facilitate the growth of the Caribbean film industry by hosting workshops, panel discussions and networking opportunities. The Festival is presented by Flow, and given leading sponsorship by bpTT and TTFC. For further information visit www.ttfilmfestival.com.

Photo caption: A still from Otherness (Olivia McGilchrist, Jamaica, 2014)

Posted by: ivetteromero | August 18, 2014

Dominican Republic Commits to Defending Whales

Whale-Watching-Samana

A Greenpeace delegation is now in the Dominican Republic asking the country to join the campaign to ban the slaughter of whales. Although the Environment Ministry states that it is truly committed to defending the humpback whales, it admits that it still owes the membership in the International Whaling Commission.

The Environment Ministry warned Friday that Dominican Republic will defend in any arena the humpback whales that migrate every year to Navidad and La Plata banks, near Puerto Plata and Samana, to halt their continued hunt, although minister Bautista Rojas admitted that the country owes the world regulatory agency.

A Greenpeace delegation is currently in the country and asks Dominicans to join the campaign to ban the slaughter of whales and rebuke those nations that still do so, citing, Greenland and Denmark. “We sympathize with Greenpeace’s efforts and foresee that as Government we will do everything within our reach to halt the killing of whales,” Environment said in a statement.

It said the International Whaling Commission is an excellent setting which Dominican Republic can use to defend and preserve humpbacks.

Rojas admitted however that he’s still awaiting funds from the Government to pay the US$40,000 quota to update Dominican Republic’s membership in the International Whaling Commission.

Greenpeace said it’s visiting numerous countries to lodge the same request and will state a strong position before the International Whaling Commission.

For full article, see http://www.dominicantoday.com/dr/tourism/2014/8/15/52469/The-government-defends-whales-but-doesnt-pay-world-quota

Photo from http://caribbeandreamto.com/tours/humpback-whale-watching.html

Posted by: ivetteromero | August 17, 2014

Ching Pow: A (Jamaican) Kicking Comedy

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Tanya Batson-Savage reviews Ching Pow, a martial arts comedy directed and produced by Jamaican filmmaker Bruce Hart, which features comedy DJ’s Twin of Twins. The film is currently being screened at Theatre Place, Kingston, Jamaica, through September 7, 2014. Batson-Savage says, “Ching Pow is hilarious from start to finish, though, if you can’t handle too much misogyny, or expletives just because, this isn’t the film for you.” Here are excerpts: 

[. . .] Like the lone gunslinger of the Western, the kung fu warrior became a part of how Jamaican heterosexual masculinity was defined. So, when producer and director Bruce Hart (Rocket Jamaica) matched comedy DJ’s Twin of Twins with a reworked version of Ninja Death I, II and II, it was a match made in dancehall heaven.

The result is a wonderful, ridiculous, absolutely hilarious film. Dubbed Ching Pow: Far East Yardies, the flick doesn’t take itself seriously and spends as much time mocking itself and the genre as  it does the characters with a few side swipes at LA Lewis. Ching Pow takes footage from Ninja Death and reworks it with dialogue by Twin of Twins and Hart, to usually hilarious effect.

Additionally, Ching Pow benefits from excellent dubbing, which is a little ironic as an almost staple element of watching a kung fu flick was the out of sync dub between the original dialogue and the English.

[. . .] As much as I am usually unable to consume too much Twin of Twins in one go, as is the case with Ching Pow, I usually have to doff my hat to their comedic genius, and those occasional moments of brilliant satiric insight into Jamaican society. The opening of the film is one such. It fully indicts current spate of violence and corruption as the reason for the destruction of Jamaican society which send these ‘yardies’ to the Far East in a quest for the greener pastures of ‘farrin’.

Based on a film in which the protagonist is a bouncer in a whorehouse, Ninja Death made perfect fodder for the Twin of Twins foul-mouthed sketches. Ching Pow reworks the story of Ninja Death which follows the classic hero’s journey of a ‘karachi’ film. For those who are unfamiliar with that plot line, it is the roughly same one you find in The Matrix. [. . .]

For full article, see http://www.susumba.com/film-tv/reviews/ching-pow-kicking-comedy

Also see http://www.largeup.com/2014/08/07/preview-watch-the-twin-of-twins-far-east-yardies-movie/

Posted by: ivetteromero | August 17, 2014

Brent Holder: The Steel Pan Saved My Life

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As Notting Hill Carnival celebrates the 50th anniversary of the steel pan, The Voice highlights the trajectory of pan artist Brent Holder. Considered as one of the brightest stars of steel pan music, he speaks about how this special instrument impacted his life and why this important tradition needs to be protected.

Rooted in African traditions such as the Tamboo Bamboo bands, the music of the dented metal drums is said to have begun in Laventille, a poor suburb just outside Trinidad’s capital Port of Spain, where UK pan artist Brent Holder, MBE grew up. “I didn’t like pan,” the multiple award-winning pan man admits. “I did not choose to play pan, but my grandmother made me do it. I was seven and I didn’t want to be stuck in a pan yard all day, I wanted to be out playing with my friends, but I was going down the wrong road and granny thought it would keep me out of trouble. So it was either pan or ‘licks’.”

The turning point, he adds, was when he was asked to perform at a primary school event. “The crowd and everybody was really welcoming and they really loved what I was doing so I decided to start to give it my all,” he recalls. It was then that Holder says his passion for the pan started. “If it wasn’t for pan I wouldn’t be alive today,” he declares. “I had eight brothers and I lost two to drugs and crime. They were both shot, hence the reason why my granny wanted me to focus on pan and keep positive.”

By the time he was 15, the world-champion soloist was teaching in Colombia. He has since gone on to perform and teach worldwide, in countries as far afield as Japan, Holland, UAE, Switzerland, Germany, Denmark, France, Morocco and Seychelles.

The 36-year-old moved to the UK after he was invited to play for a band in 1998. Here, he met fellow pan artist Crystal. The pair got married and decided to start Caribbean Steel International (CSI) steel band in 2002.

“My wife was the main inspiration behind the creation of CSI, ‘cause I was like, ‘nah, it is too much work’, but she was like, ‘we are going to do this’. She was my right hand,” the father-of-five says with pride.

TRAGEDY

But tragedy struck three years ago when Crystal passed away at the age of 32 after a battle with cancer. Holder recalls: “It was hard, but you need to cope and be strong. What keeps me going is just faith and the fact that I believe in what I am doing.”

In addition to composing and performing at high-profile events such as the 2012 Olympics and the Mayor of London’s Thames Festival 2012, which saw 16 UK steel bands come together in a single performance, Holder has also been teaching young people and those with special needs for the past 12 years.

“Pan is like therapy and because the language of music is universal, it has the ability to break through barriers, to unite and to get young people to focus,” the popular pan artist says. [. . .]

For full article, see http://www.voice-online.co.uk/article/steel-pan-saved-my-life

Posted by: ivetteromero | August 17, 2014

Two sides of the Caribbean’s buggery law debate

downloadMaurice Tomlinson will challenge the constitutionality of Jamaica’s buggery law before the country’s Supreme Court in November. He has also been granted leave by the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) to sue the governments of Trinidad & Tobago and Belize for the expression of their own anti-gay laws within their Immigration Acts, on the basis that these laws contravene free movement rights of CARICOM nationals within the Caribbean Single Market and Economy.

The former University of Technology lecturer fled Jamaica in 2012 when news of his marriage to a Canadian man hit local press, resulting in several death threats both from within the campus and among his fellow Jamaicans. And while he’s now openly gay, and today is one of the Caribbean’s leading gay rights activists, few are aware that he once sought out a Christian group in an attempt to cure his homosexuality.

Fewer know that he was actually married to a woman – doing “everything possible” to suppress his urges – before admitting that he was unable to ‘cure’ himself after four years of trying to live as a straight man. For Tomlinson, his experience has convinced him that it is impossible for a gay man to be anything but attracted to the same sex. And it is from this standpoint that he is now fighting anti-gay laws in his native Jamaica, Trinidad and Belize in the name of human rights.

But Tomlinson is up for a fight. A renewed Christian lobby has roared in the Caribbean – buoyed by the case of Professor Brendan Bain, who was fired in May as Director of the Caribbean HIV/AIDS Regional Training Network, for comments deemed supportive of anti-gay laws in Belize.

In a campaign staged across several islands, the Christian Jamaica Coalition for a Healthy Society (JCHS) stormed the media with ad spots declaring “Speaking Truth is Not Homophobia”, which centred on the main assertion that HIV disproportionately impacts gay men, and therefore, that the rejection of homosexual behaviour was “common-sense.” [. . .]

For full article, see http://www.antillean.org/caribbean-buggery-law-profile/

Posted by: lisaparavisini | August 17, 2014

Flourishing Jamaican literature

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At the recent 37th Annual Convention of the National Association of Jamaican and Supportive Organisations (NAJASO), Jamaica’s Ambassador to the United States of America Stephen Vasciannie offered the following comments on developments in Jamaican literature in his keynote address, reproduced in Jamaica’s Observer:

… As part of our 52nd Independence activities, the Jamaican Embassy will be hosting the distinguished poet, Professor Emeritus Mervyn Morris OM, for a literary evening on Monday, August 4, 2014.

Professor Morris was recently named Poet Laureate of Jamaica, and it will be our honour to have him offer reflections on the life of the Hon Louise Bennett-Coverly OM, based on his 2014 publication, Miss Lou: Louise Bennett and Jamaican Culture.

Miss Lou and Prof Morris

Mervyn Morris, in the manner of Louise Bennett-Coverly, reminds us of the flourishing of Jamaican literary efforts in post-Independence Jamaica. Morris’ own long list of anthologies includes: The Pond, Shadowboxing, Examination Centre, On Holy Week, and I Been There, Sort Of. It also includes edited works, such as Louise Bennett: Selected Poems and The Faber Book of Contemporary Caribbean Short Stories, as well as collections of literary essays: Is English We Speaking and Making West Indian Literature, among others.

With respect to Miss Lou, some of us from the Ring Ding generation, and others with LTM Pantomime experience in mind, will associate our national icon primarily with the performing arts.

… I encourage you, however, to obtain a copy of Jamaica Labrish or Louise Bennett: Selected Poems and, generally, to read some of Miss Lou’s exquisite Jamaican poetry — Colonisation in Reverse for example. The first stanza captures a significant historical trend that Jamaicans in the diaspora all recognise:

“Wat a joyful news, Miss Mattie

I feel like me heart gwine burs

Jamaica people colonising

Englan in reverse”

And the fourth stanza stirs patriotism inherent in the emerging Jamaican nation:

“What an island! What a people!

Man an woman, old an young

Jus a pack dem bag an baggage

And tun history upside down!”

In all likelihood, you will find in Miss Lou’s work, poems that touch your heartstrings, or open new ways of viewing our Jamaican heritage — an experience you will also have if you read the sensitive, succinct poems of Professor Morris, our first Poet Laureate since Independence.

…I have suggested that there has been a flourishing in literature and the arts, through reference to Miss Lou and Professor Morris; but I can also mention others who more than substantiate the view that our literature has made significant progress.

International Reach

Some of our leading, long-standing writers, including Lorna Goodison, Edward Baugh, Linton Kwesi Johnson and Anthony Winkler are well known internationally. Some of our leading writers have adopted the USA or the UK as home, and I would include in this group, Curdella Forbes (A Permanent Freedom, Songs of Silence, Flying with Icarus and other Stories, and Ghosts, among others), based in the Washington, DC area; Frances Coke (The Balm of Dusk Lilies, Intersections), based in Florida; Debra Ehrhardt (Jamaica Farewell), based in California; and Beverly East (Reaper of Souls, Bat Mitzvah Girl) of multinational inclinations.

Others, including Erna Brodber, Rachel Manley, Margaret Cezair-Thompson, Jean DaCosta, Colin Channer, Diana McCauley and Kei Miller, writing from home and abroad, build on traditions of excellence and subtlety that we have long associated with pathfinders such as Claude McKay, Roger Mais, Vic Reid, John Hearne, Andrew Salkey, and the unforgettable Trevor Rhone.

When I list these writers, I am referring mainly to their fictional contributions to literature. Were I to incorporate non-fictional contributions to the Jamaican panoply we would be here all night. I should, however, note that in this country, professors Noel Erskine, H Orlando Patterson and former Consul General Basil Bryan have given outstanding offerings that remind us of the multinational nature of the Jamaican experience.

And at home, professors Nettleford, Chevannes, Edwin Jones, Trevor Munroe, Rupert Lewis and several others have helped us to understand our socio-political realities from uniquely Caribbean standpoints.

In addition, we should note that the post-Independence flourishing now encompasses new writers coming to the fore in the United States. In this regard, at a recent exposition of Jamaican talent under the heading, ‘Jamaica Time’, the Jamaican Embassy in Washington, DC hosted at the Organisation of American States two new writers — Dionne Peart (Somerset Place) and Joseph McLaren (Good-Bye Uncle Benjy, Hello Uncle Sam).

These two writers, based in the Washington, DC area, embrace, with lyrical styles, the migrant experience for Jamaicans coming to the metropole. They are part of an emerging genre of writing by Jamaicans in this society.

For the original report go to http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Flourishing-Jamaican-literature_17355338

Posted by: ivetteromero | August 17, 2014

Caribbean Airlines Guyana Crash Landing Legal Cases Continue

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Caribbean Airlines Limited has tried to prevent people from suing for personal injuries arising from the crash landing of Caribbean Airlines Flight BW 523 in Guyana three years ago, but was recently denied by a US district court judge in Brooklyn, New York, and three more plaintiffs are suing.

In a multi-district litigation, numerous plaintiffs brought suit against defendant Caribbean Airlines Limited for personal injuries arising from the crash landing of Caribbean Airlines Flight BW 523 in Guyana on July 30, 2011. Plaintiffs were traveling from Florida to Georgetown, and while landing in Georgetown, Flight BW 523 overshot the runway, and plaintiffs sustained personal injuries.

Caribbean Airlines brought a motion “to dismiss” in several of the cases, asserting that the Warsaw Convention governed those plaintiffs’ claims and that the treaty’s forum provision deprived the court of subject matter jurisdiction. On May 16, 2014, the court issued an “Opinion and Order” holding that the Warsaw Convention does not govern these claims because Guyana is not a party to the Convention. Accordingly, the court denied Caribbean Airline’s motion to dismiss, and granted plaintiffs leave to amend their complaints.

The caption of the opinion and order stated that it applied to the claims of plaintiffs Rajendra Persaud, 64, and Prampatie Persaud, 64, from Florida; and Shanti Persaud, 34, and her two children, ages 10 and 7, from Guyana. Both plaintiffs Rajendra and Prampatie Persaud have since settled their claims against Caribbean Airlines. The claims of Shanti Persaud and her two children, however, remain active.

Caribbean Airlines had requested that the opinion and order be amended to apply as well to three similarly situated plaintiffs Abdool Latif, Maylene Persaud and Ernest Scott, whose claims remain active.

At a conference before Magistrate Judge Joan M Azrack on September 24, 2013, attorneys for the remaining three plaintiffs (Latif, Maylene Persaud and Scott) consented to inclusion in the then-pending motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. They were inadvertently omitted from the caption in the May 16 opinion and order, and the opinion and order was then amended to apply to them.

For full article, see http://www.caribnewsdesk.com/news/8476-three-more-in-guyana-crash-landing-to-sue-caribbean-airlines

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