Entertainment News

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St Julien Presbyterian Past pupils give back

Lifestyle - Tue, 05/08/2018 - 01:40

Emotions of gratitude and inspiration etched on the faces of scores of pupils of the Basdeo Panday Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) Centre and St Julien Presbyterian School who received educational gifts last Thursday was testament to the fact that investing in young people and giving back makes a significant difference.|

The pupils of the schools, which are both located in St Julien Village, Princes Town, benefitted from the generosity of the Kowlessar family, which has seen three generations attend the schools so far.

Speaking on behalf of her family was Anne Kowlessar who indicated that they wanted to make a contribution to the institutions which had created the educational foundation for their family.

“We all have so many wonderful memories of attending both schools and those experiences shaped who we are today, especially in terms of our love for learning, our strong connection to home and our values.

We felt that it was our duty to give back to the schools that have given us so very much. The feedback of love and appreciation that we have received has filled our hearts with joy.

“I would encourage every person to give back to their past schools because every little contribution makes a big difference, especially when it comes to educating our children. Just as much as the government and the denominational boards, we each can each play an important role in education.”

Each pupil was presented with a book bag filled with items such as pens, pencils, erasers, sharpeners, markers, a stapler, notebooks and an array of other stationary supplies, in addition to a dictionary.

The wide-eyed looks of wonder mirrored the heartfelt appreciation of the pupils, which was reflected in the words of Shane Harricharan, a standard four student of St Julien Presbyterian, “This is a tremendous gift to us and we are very thankful that the Kowlessar family wanted to contribute to our education. I have always been motivated to study hard to succeed and now I have another reason to achieve my best.

“I want to follow their example and give back to this school one day so that those students will also know that they are supported and appreciated. This was a wonderful thing that they did and we are thankful for everything.”

St Julien Presbyterian School boasts many successful past students, including former Prime Minister Basdeo Panday who resided in the village and in whose honour the ECCE Centre was named.

Other outstanding members of the St Julien alumni include UWI lecturer Dr Indira Rampersad; former Petrotrin vice-president Mado Bachan; media, cultural and literary consultant and educator Dr Kris Rampersad; past principal and school supervisor Wilfred Adimoolah; and engineer Roy Gunness.

Also expressing gratitude for the generous gesture was St Julien Presbyterian Principal Hannays Ramsingh: “In the hustle and bustle of everyday life, we sometimes forget that we have so very much to be thankful for. When a contribution like this is made, it makes us pause and reflect on the fact that we each have a responsibility to inspire and motivate young people, especially to learn and grow. These children have been energised to learn by this act of kindness and this is one of those moments that will stay with them for a lifetime.

“We are truly grateful, not only for the generosity of the Kowlessars, but also for the valuable lesson that they has taught us as adults—that we all need to give back and keep the cycle of benefit going.”

Categories: Entertainment News

Fans pack Under the Trees for Rudder 6.5

Entertainment - Tue, 05/08/2018 - 01:38

Five years ago, at Rudder 6.0, staged at the Grand Stand in the Queen’s Park Savannah, Portof- Spain, David Rudder offered a number of hit songs from the past from artistes such as The Beatles, Marvin Gaye, Bob Marley, The Rolling Stones, and a host of others, which he credited as having had an influence on his chosen career as an entertainer and recording artiste.

“That concert was an historical look at the music that influenced me, tonight’s concert will take another look at the music I have created for the people over the 56 years of my career,” he said, prior to taking the stage Under The Trees at The Normandie Hotel in St Ann’s last Saturday night (May 5) for Rudder 6.5, a celebratory concert in recognition of his 65th birthday.

The venue was jam-packed with loyal patrons of the work produced by the iconic entertainer, prompting Fire Service officers on duty to restrict admission, after a while, to ensure their safety.

Rudder has always ensured that lead guitarist Wayne Bruno and the Rapid Response band are the professional musicians who accompany him at his gigs, where possible. The music they provided on the occasion—sharp horn lines, fancy guitar work, and throbbing percussion— along with the competent harmonies of the back-up singers, allowed patrons to enjoy, to the max, Rudder 6.5.

In addition to Bruno, other accomplished musicians included Kenneth Baptiste, Albert Bushe, Barry Howard, Jeremy Ledbetter, Ryan Romany, Vernon Headley, Hadyn Robin, Kayode Charles, Allan Nelson, Kensa James, Michelle Marfan-Urquhart, Cherise, Browne, Michelle Assing, and Tamba Gwindi.

It was an anniversary for the veteran percussionist Gwindi, as well. “This event is also like an anniversary of sorts for me because it marks 28 years of working with David on stage, in the calypso tents, at his concerts locally, along with Charlie’s Roots and Wayne Bruno and the Rapid Response Bands, throughout the Caribbean, and in the recording studios. I salute David for his commitment to keeping live percussion in the mix over the years and his contribution to keeping our people thinking in the midst of the music,” he said. In the audience, and also celebrating a birthday with Rudder on the occasion, was businessman Satish Pariagh of 2001 Carpet House in Chaguanas.

“I rescheduled a travel arrangement to be here tonight,” he said. “I have been a Rudder fan for many, many years, and never miss an opportunity to see him perform.”

Rudder offered about 50 selections from his extensive repertoire, venturing down memory lane with acclaimed hits such as Bahia Girl, Calypso Music, Song for a Lonely Soul, Mad Man Rant, Jump Up, Madness, Calabash, Permission to Mash Up de Place, Trini to the Bone, Hammer, Long Time Band, and High Mas.

In remembrance of the late calypso aficionado Diane Marshall-Holdip, he offered The Power of the Song, a selection that pays tribute to the late Grandmaster Kitchener.

Accompanied by Michael “Ming” Low Chew Tung on keyboards and Jeremy Ledbetter on Melodica (a free-reed instrument similar to the pump organ and harmonica) he skilfully executed the littleknown songs Tuesday Night Lover, It’s Only Natural, and Fire Queen.

A poignant moment was his touching rendition of I Will Always Be There For you, a musical, metaphor-laden pledge of loyalty to T&T sung by Melanie Hudson in the 1990s. Rudder’s performance also invoked a variety of emotions. At times, he induced quiet reflection, at other times gaiety, and on occasions, a sense of national pride.

Rudder has the distinction of being the only person to take all available titles in a single year, having won the National Calypso Monarch, Young Kings and Road March competitions in 1986. His Hammer was also the Tune of Choice that year for the National Panorama winner, Trinidad All Stars.

Rudder has since eschewed all calypso contests, but continues to supply works of an integrity equal to most and superior to many of his peers; examining in his lyrics and music a number of revolutionary concepts.

Rudder 6.5 goes to Toronto, Canada, next month, for staging at the Sony Centre for the Performing Arts, on June 9.

Categories: Entertainment News

Sarah Knights unveils first solo exhibit

Lifestyle - Mon, 05/07/2018 - 01:07

Come Thursday, May 10, artist Sarah Knights will unveil her first solo exhibition — ONE THOUSAND MEs — at Medulla Art Gallery, located at 37 Fitt Street, Woodbrook, at 7 pm.

Knights’ ONE THOUSAND MEs is a series of self-portraits that speaks about intersectionality.

These paintings invite the viewer to look closer in order to understand the inner essence of the pieces. The past and present based on popular culture, provides a wealth of knowledge and insight into her creations.

Knights’ paintings borrow the stiff classical poses from women in the 1900s which is layered with images of women from the present day. She uses mediums such as collage, embroidery, acrylic and found objects to convey her message.


Sarah Knights was born in Sangre Grande on March 15, 1983. In 2008, she graduated with an associate degree in Visual Communications from the John S Donaldson Technical Institute. With her new appreciation for art and design she later pursued a Bachelor’s Degree in Visual Arts at the University of the West Indies. Her formal training at the UWI helped her to use art as a means of selfexpression and healing.

After graduating she began working on a body of mixed media paintings, using herself as the main subject to discuss issues of identity with women in modern societies. Her paintings reflect both the present and the past and look at racism, feminism, beauty and religion, influenced by western media and popular culture.

Knights’ works have been exhibited in various group exhibitions including: Connecting Cultures: Contemporary Art From Trinidad and Tobago,—US Chief of Mission Residence, US Embassy and Medulla Art Gallery; Growth, The Caribbean Center for the Arts, St Croix; Thru Contemporary Arts Collection, Art Society of T&T; Mixed Bag, Boxout, Rivoli, France; Movement, Boxout, Frankfurt, Germany; A City in Positive Transition, Medulla Art Gallery and Port-of-Spain Corporation; and, From Likeness to Fiction; The Portrait Inside Out, UWI and Brock University.


For more information, contact: 680 1041, 622 1196 or [email protected] ONE THOUSAND MEs continues until Tuesday, May 29, and Medulla gallery hours are Monday-Friday (10 am-6 pm); Saturday (11 am-2 pm).

Categories: Entertainment News

National Poetry Slam winner stunned

Lifestyle - Sat, 05/05/2018 - 01:51

“I’ll be damned if I continue letting closets be a place where people hide.” That was the powerful ending line in Deneka Thomas’ winning poem at the First Citizens National Poetry Slam 2018. The poem, which spoke from the point of view of the proverbial closet which many LGBTQI people hide in until they come out, or sometimes kill themselves in, packed a powerful punch as Thomas built from the invention of the closet to her powerful closing line. Her performance elicited a roar of approval from the sold-out crowd at the National Academy for the Performing Arts (Napa), Port-of-Spain.

She said this has been the hardest poem she has ever written. “No poem has ever taken so much out of me that I contemplated quitting every time a line came out on the page that reflected my whole soul,” said Thomas. “Prior to writing there were real tears shed and plenty nights of my partner staying up till late trying to convince me that I was enough and this poem was worth it every time I got scared and started to doubt myself.”

Thomas was visibly stunned when she was named the winner, to the extent that she ran off the stage and had to be coaxed back by her fellow competitors, who were visibly happy for her. She said: “I cannot remember my performance, only how it felt to say every word, and the out of body experience I felt when my name was announced as the winner. This narrative was so important. Telling this story is all that matters. I wanted to give people a glimpse into a part of the queer experience that is often never seen or considered.

“This accomplishment means I get to continue that conversation in a huge way and this is the greatest reward at this point in time. The reason why I committed to this artform, to spoken word poetry, to advocacy and youth work, to this competition for the last four to five years is because of its magical ability to open spaces.”

Thomas’ poem was one of four which referenced the subject of LGBTQI rights, whether wholly or partially, continuing the event’s trend of poets building poems around the hot topics of the day.
Second place winner Kyle Hernandez took the stance, both figuratively and literally, of Jesus on the cross, taking his followers to task for the hatred some of them show towards LGBTQI people in his name. “Not much has changed since I last died. It is not finished,” were his final powerful words.

Brendon O’Brien’s poem also asked Christians who were against the LGBTQI community why they were going against their God “I know God is love, so who the ass you praying to?” Deja Lewis also mentioned the community in her poem, among many other topical references.

Another popular topic was that of domestic violence, with third place winner Idrees Saleem delivering a stunning piece centred around the ideas of consent and the things that people have done when rejected romantically. “This juxtaposition between gods and monsters who walk amongst us; No means No!”

Poets also based their poems on other social issues, including the prevailing thought that “Trinidad is not a real place.”

Other popular topics were domestic violence, violence in general, politics, the police, corruption, legalisation of marijuana, the environment, the loss of traditional values and the use of culture for empowerment.

A couple of poets spoke about the difficulty of composing a poem that would fit into the new three-minute limit and also win $50,000.

Other participants included Shenique Saunders, Alexandra Stewart, Davon Musgrave, Jillian Smith, Marcus Abraham, Marcus Millette, Carlon George, Dellon Mathison, Akile Wallace, Ahmad Muhammed and defending champion Camryn Bruno.

The show, which was the final event of the Bocas Literary Festival, flowed smoothly, with the newly instituted three-minute rule per performance keeping the poets on their toes. An opening presentation from UWI Afrikan Society, I-ACT - I Am Christian Theatre and Derron Sandy, as well as performances during the intermission by I-ACT and the Modsec Group Exhibition Slam kept the audience entertained throughout.

The judges were chief judge Paul Keens-Douglas, Jessie-May Ventour, Sharda Patasar, Mervyn Taylor, Anthony Joseph and Raymond Antrobus.

Keens-Douglas said the judges had a difficult time picking a winner because of the high quality and standards of the poems. “The real winner tonight was spoken word and poetry. There were many high moments and wonderful use of dramatic imagery. We’re very proud of the fact that the poets showed care for the society.”

Categories: Entertainment News

All that is We in Best Village Trophy Competition 2018

Lifestyle - Sat, 05/05/2018 - 01:43

The young and not so young flocked to the Princes Town West Secondary School on Saturday, April 28 and North Eastern College, Sangre Grande, the following day, to vie for a spot in the finals of the 2018 Prime Minister’s Best Village Trophy Competition.

The competition in these first two preliminaries was tight, as many community, school, church, Police and NGO based groups participated in Folk Presentation Categories of Music, Dance, Drumming, Literature, Best Dish and the La Reine Rive competition.

Competitors, from as young as seven to as old as 70+, embraced the opportunity to demonstrate their passion and skill in dance, drummology, poetry and singing, fusing music genres as they captivated and entertained an appreciative audience.

For 2018, the Preliminaries competition also forms part of Community Festivals celebrating All that is We – We Craft, We Food, We Drama, We Dance, We Music and features all the elements of T&T culture inclusive of food, craft and farmers’ market and other family friendly fun filled activities.

This weekend, the competition and All that is We Community Festival go to the St Madeline Regional Complex and Arima West Secondary School, respectively.

These Folk Presentation Preliminaries continue every weekend in May simultaneously with the Folk Theatre Preliminaries from today to May 27 in communities across Trinidad. There is lots to see and do as the Ministry executes its mandate to build culturally rich communities, providing a development stage for knowledge transfer, protection of our cultural heritage and preservation of All that is We.

The finals of the Prime Minister’s Best Village Trophy Competition will take place in July/August at both the Southern Academy of Performing Arts (Sapa), San Fernando and the National Academy of Performing Arts (Napa), Port-of-Spain.

All events are free and the full schedule of event dates and locations is available on the Ministry’s facebook page, the CultureTT app and at www.cdca.gov.tt

Categories: Entertainment News

Elegant fashion struts at Radisson

Lifestyle - Fri, 05/04/2018 - 03:17

Guests attending an Evening of Tea, Fashion and Entertainment hosted by The Ladies of the District Grand Lodge of T&T and Grenada were treated to a display of fashion by top names in the industry, including The House of Jaipur and designer Heather Jones.

The event was hosted on April 28 at the Radisson Hotel, Wrightson Road, Port-of-Spain.

Models turned the aisles of the hotel’s ballroom into their catwalk as guests were given the opportunity to view the pieces up close.

Categories: Entertainment News

Tea and fashion for the needy

Lifestyle - Fri, 05/04/2018 - 03:15

The Ladies of the District Grand Lodge of T&T and Grenada hosted an Evening of Tea, Fashion and Entertainment on April 29.

The event was held at the ballroom of the Radisson Hotel, Wrightson Road, Port-of-Spain.

Guests were treated to tasty hors d’oeuvres, tea and a fashion show by top names in the industry, including the House of Jaipur and designer Heather Jones.

There were also performances by vocalists Maria and Graeme Gillezeau, dancer Shreya Maraj and pannists Jessie Gajadhar and Sabrina Motie.

The event was hosted to raise funds for a few children’s homes which included the Couva Children’s Home and Crisis Centre, Izekiel Home in Preysal and Goodwill Industries of the West Indies.

Proceeds from the evening will also be donated to some deserving families in need.


Categories: Entertainment News

A bit of this, a bit of that

Entertainment - Fri, 05/04/2018 - 03:13

Mark John, known in the calypso arena as Contender, celebrated his 67th birthday in fine style on April 26 with a concert staged at the Murchison Brown Auditorium of Port-of- Spain City Hall.

The show, hosted by Trinbago Unified Calypsonians Organisation (Tuco) official Shirlaine Hendrickson, featured a mix of artistes and genres and was attended by a number of well known calypso aficionados.

The stage was also beautifully designed by calypsonian/artist William “Dr Will B” Bannister.

Seen at Let It Happen @ 67 were NLCB official Michael Jogie, former Culture Minister Joan Yuille Williams, Tuco president Lutalo “Bro Resistance” Masimba, Tuco South Region head Steve “Ras Kommanda” Pascall and Brig Gen (ret) Carl Alfonso.

Contender was honoured by Tuco with a birthday plaque for his continued contribution to the calypso genre.

The show began promptly at its advertised 8 pm start with the singing of the national anthem and a prayer by Hendrickson.

Performing in the first half were rapso artiste Benny J, Dr Will B, Comrade Deen, Twiggy, Funny, Kaiso Mac, Gypsy, Lady Wonder, Hendrickson, All Rounder and birthday boy Contender.

Kaiso Mac offered a Tribute to Black Stalin, a serious piece remembering the icon while Funny’s Dey Shakin It kept the crowd belly full of laughter while addressing the serious issue that is public urination.

All Rounder, backed by his daughters (Shirlane and Diane “Lady Wonder” Hendrickson), delivered the crowd’s engaging piece, Garlic Sauce, having fun all the while reminding the crowd why “All Rounder is a boss.

Spread it.”

Contender, not to be out done by friends, made it happen when he also performed a few of his pieces including Quiz and Young & Restless.

He also took a moment to give thanks to the Most High as an incident on Easter Sunday— which he didn’t elaborate much on—but stated events surrounding it could of almost made him not reach 67.

Following a brief intermission during which patrons availed themselves to goodies on sale, inclusive of cow heel souse, BBQ and fried chicken, geera pork and other delights, Pie Man resumed proceedings.

What began as a five-way extempo clash between Gypsy, Myron B, Black Sage and Contender quickly dissolved to a seemingly re-battle between newly appointed National Carnival Commission (NCC) chairman and current reigning Extempo Monarch Myron B. The show culminated with performances by Cro Cro who’s Hello kept the crowd engaged singing the chorus and Crazy with his classic Nani Wine, which had patrons wining out of City Hall just after midnight.

Enhancing Laventille steelband parade Expect a few changes to the 2018 edition of the Laventille Emancipation Steelband Parade, now in its 20th year and staged by the Laventille Steelband Festival Foundation (LSFF), headed by Michael Cooper.

One of the changes in this year’s event is the moving of the Emancipation ceremony and formal opening, originally outside The House of Angostura, to the corner of the start of the parade at the corner of Mc Allister Street and Eastern Main Road.

With the build-up to the event will in progress, the committee is currently processing requests from ten steelbands outside the catchment area who wish to participate.

Also expected to parade along the route are best of the regions, based on this year’s National Panorama final results. So, in addition to national champion bpTT Renegades, expect to see runners-up CAL Skiffle (South/ Central) and Republic Bank Exodus (East).

In its 20-year staging of the steelband parade, the LSFF has attracted tens of thousands to the event, including the President of the Republic, prime ministers, government ministers, members of the diplomatic corps and other dignitaries. In stark contrast to the negative reputation attached to Laventille as “a hot spot” for crime, the Laventille Emancipation Steelband Parade has been one of the safest outdoor events in the nation for 19 years.

Aside from the August steelband parade, the LSFF has a number of initiatives on its drawing board to implement this year, in spite of being short on funds. However, its committee remains upbeat that its parliamentary representatives Fitzgerald Hinds and Adrian Leonce, as well as the Community Development, Culture and the Arts, and corporate entities in the community will step up to the plate and assist.

Among these initiatives are a Youth Pan Camp during the August school vacation; a Forum (The Way Forward), formatted to stimulate empowerment and participation by the steelbands of the catchment area, scheduled for Saturday, July 28 at the Laventille Community Complex; and, a Camboulay flambeaux procession through Laventille (Call of the Drums), scheduled for the evening of Friday, August 3. As usual, the Laventille Emancipation Steelband Parade will be held along the Eastern Main Road, corner of Mc Allister Street to Leon Street, in Success Village.

Past students helping school

One of the most active and progressive past students organisations—the members of St James Secondary Alumni (SJSA) are on a fund-raising drive. One fun event this year is its Annual Get-Together/Reunion, on Saturday, May 19, as a Cooler Fete at the school’s premises, on Panka Street, St James, from 6 pm. The SJSA hopes to realise between approximately $50,000 for the projects this year, including the Scholarship Fund (Bertram Arlette and Van Stewart Awards); restoration of the storeroom in the home economic lab; completion of electrical work in the home economic room; lending a hand towards the work to be done in the computer lab/music rooms. Members were unable to work on any project last year because of a shortage of funds, therefore, a clarion call has been sent out to all past students to step up to the plate and participate in this year’s celebration.

“We are determined to improve the facilities needed by our present and future students in an environment that is worthy of producing excellence,” said SJSA member Salma Hosein-Constance this week. “Our theme continues to be ‘Building on a Strong Foundation’, which drives our efforts to maintain our school’s motto ‘Set Standards High’.”

This year’s fund-raiser is being held in memory of alumnae Earl Crosby and music will be provided by popular band Brass 2 D’World and a disc jockey. Tickets for the May 19 event are available at Crosby’s, Western Main Road, St James; Singh’s Liquor Mart, Bournes Road, St James; How’zat Sports Bar, Tragarete Road, Woodbrook; St James Secondary School; and committee members. Members of the committee include, Salma Hosein :Constance (374-2485); Carol Brown (724 - 5714); Nicholas Howard (686-6252); Robert Wiltshire (313-1443); Abigail Small (390-0580); Peter Riley (290-7847); Angelee Barkarr (683-3434); Marlon Murray (744-8883); and, Andy Cummings (750-2273)

European Film Festival premieres on May 10

Following close on the heels of the just concluded Bocas Lit Fest, the 22nd annual European Film Festival (EFF) opened with a cocktail reception on Tuesday hosted by the EU Member States with diplomatic missions in T&T and the Delegation of the European Union.

The opening, held at the National Academy for the Performing Arts (Napa), Port-of-Spain, was held under the patronage of the German Embassy Ambassador Holger Wilfried Michael.

Directly after the cocktail reception/launch a special screening of the German film Who Am I? was held.

This year, The European Film Festival will feature 29 films of various genres from the 14 EU member countries.

The full slate of movies will begin on May 10.

Deadline approaching for Caribbean films

The deadline for filmmakers wishing to submit a film for screening at the 13th edition of the trinidad+tobago film festival (ttff )—to be held from 18-30 September, is fast approaching. Those wishing to submit a film must do so by the May 14. A rough cut will be considered.

The Festival accepts submissions from Caribbean filmmakers, Caribbean filmmakers in the diaspora, and international filmmakers with films from or about the Caribbean or its diaspora. Submissions must have been produced after January 1, 2016.

All submissions must be made online, via the ttff Visitor Page at https://filmfreeway.com/ trinidadtobagofilmfestival There is no submission fee.

For queries, contact us directly at [email protected] ttfilmfestival.com, or visit the FAQ page on our website at http://ttfilmfestival.com/call-forsubmissions The trinidad+tobago film festival (ttff ) 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 bpTT.

Categories: Entertainment News

Student writers feature in theatre workshop series

Lifestyle - Wed, 05/02/2018 - 04:06

This evening, Wednesday, May 2, the Playwrights Workshop Trinbago’s Monthly Readers Theatre Series 2018 will feature excerpts from the work of student playwrights enrolled in the Department of Creative and Festival Arts at the UWI. This will be the Playwrights Workshop’s offering for the month of May in its on-going Readers Theatre Series, which occurs on the first Wednesday of every month.

These students, in a course guided by Tony Hall, have been engaged for the semester, in studying different approaches to play writing and play construction mainly for the stage. Their course of study, which embraces the writing of short play scripts, is aimed at entry level even though some have more experience in the craft than others. A small but exciting selection of their work has been chosen for these readings.

Come out to support the student playwrights in our midst. There will be discussions with all the playwrights right after the readings.

The Playwrights Workshop Trinbago, in partnership with the T&T Performing Arts Network, is inviting actors, playwrights, directors, producers and the general public to the reading to provide the playwrights with feedback, to further develop their scripts. The event will be held today at 7 pm, at the Trinidad Theatre Workshop, 6 Newbold Street, St Clair. Admission is free but space is limited. RSVP is required.

For further information email [email protected] or call (868) 351-6293. You can also find the event at https://pwtreaderstheatre2018.eventbrite.com or find them on Facebook and Instagram @playwrightsworkshoptt

Categories: Entertainment News

Food galore at Lions

Lifestyle - Wed, 05/02/2018 - 04:04

For yet another year, the Port-of-Spain Central Lions staged a successful all-inclusive gourmet event.

Held on Sunday at Lions Cultural Centre in Woodbrook, the cookout, billed as Karibbean Kravings Plus, was attended by a smaller than usual crowd, perhaps because the annual event was held on Sunday rather than on its traditional Saturday in May.

Nonetheless, the chefs—including nine from the Lions fold—were out in their numbers and they all treated guests to some delectable dishes.

Not to be left out were the dessert specialists and some of the cooks who came up with some unique names like Fish Hijacked in Venezuelan Waters, Vanessa Mendez’s Wine Fuh You Lover and Conrad Chin Fatt’s Shots for Curry Oink Oink.

The evening was graced by the presence of South Africa High Commissioner Thami XN Ngwevela and her staff.

Also in attendance were Port-of-Spain Central Lions Club president Dave Gibson; past International Director Terence Boswell Inniss and Father Harold Imamshah.

The High Commission also continued the tradition of having two of its indigenous dishes—Dumplings and Chakalaka, and Tangine Lamb Stew—on offer.

Also preparing dishes were alumni from Queen’s Royal, Fatima and St Mary’s Colleges, and Belmont Intermediate (Belex).

Judges for the evening included Angela Pidduck, Myrna Hosford, Irma Hannays and Peter Ray Blood.

Live entertainment was also provided by multitalented musician Arthur Marcial and St James Tripolians, plus DJ Wayne Rochard.

Categories: Entertainment News

Police and the mentally ill: Are they or aren’t they trained?

Lifestyle - Wed, 05/02/2018 - 04:02

Minister Dillon: Yes, they are

In April 2017, following the death of Raymond Joseph who was shot three times by municipal officers inside the Point Fortin Area Hospital, Fyzabad MP Lackram Bodoe had put forward an urgent question to National Security Minister Edmund Dillon about police training to treat with the mentally ill.

Dillon reportedly said officers do receive training in the matter. He was reported as saying, “Police go through different types of training at the police barracks including how to treat a mentally ill patient.”

Joseph, a 51-year-old ex-soldier from Mahaica Road, Point Fortin, was said to be well-respected within the community and relatives said he was being treated for a mental illness when a confrontation with police ended in his death.

Jennings-Smith: No, they aren’t

On May 17, 2017, the T&T Guardian carried a story by Geisha Kowlessar headlined, Cops not trained to deal with mental patients, in which Kowlessar referred to a comment from Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of National Security Glenda Jennings-Smith.

The story read as follows, “Faced with perennial criticism for using excessive force in handling the mentally ill, MP for Toco/Sangre Grande, Glenda Jennings-Smith, said the police however, are not properly trained to deal with mental patients and called on the various health bodies to stop neglecting their responsibility.

“This,” the story said, “as the family of a 24-year-old man, who was fatally shot by an off-duty police officer during an altercation near a Moruga bar… has called for an investigation.”

TTPS: We do not have mechanisms

On June 7, 2017, police shot and killed another mentally-ill man.

Inspector Lester Kerr was speaking at the TTPS weekly news conference following the police shooting of Damien Paul in Ste Madeleine when he reportedly announced that “the Police Service does not have the mechanisms in place to train police officers on how persons who are suffering from mental health problems in T&T, ought to be handled.”

This was less than a month after MP Glenda Jennings-Smith publicly said, “Police are not properly trained to deal with mental patients.”

Inspector Kerr was responding to media reports that told of how Paul was throwing stones at the police when he was shot and killed.

Kerr admitted that “law enforcement officers did not have the requisite skill set to treat with such cases.”

He was quoted as saying: “Well, we don’t have people trained to deal with mentally ill persons, what we would do is to contact the relevant authority if it becomes necessary but if a police officer is on any scene and they feel that their life or any other person’s life is in danger then they would act accordingly. But we are indeed saddened by any loss of life because it is not one that we really look forward to.”

Minister Moses: Police trained for all confrontations

On June 8, 2017, Power 102FM reported acting National Security Minister Dennis Moses as “assuring citizens that police officers are trained to treat with confrontation by all categories of persons including the mental ill.”

Moses, while acting as National Security Minister, responded to a question in the Senate and said, “The police are trained to treat with all categories of persons including confrontation by mentally ill persons.

Minister Moses explained that “the Police Service Academy Induction Training Programme offers training to recruits with respect to treating with mentally ill persons.”

PCA to acting CoP: Are they trained?

The PCA, in April 2018, described the killing of Colin Roopchand, 26, at his home in La Romaine, as “unfortunate” and indicated they were currently investigating the matter. Police shot and killed the man who lived with bipolar disorder and who “was acting violent and abusive towards his mother” and according to police, “he attacked them.”

The PCA called on acting Commissioner of Police Stephen Williams to provide the public with information as it relates to the level of training provided to its members in this regard. It further called on him to give an account of the failure, if any, to provide training on treating with those who are mentally ill and who pose a threat to the public.

‘Call Tyrone’?

Following Roopchand’s killing, when contacted for comment, acting Commissioner of Police Stephen Williams reportedly said “he did not want to speak freely on the matter. He suggested that all questions be sent to his office’s communications department.

Thereafter, he promised to respond by providing full details “as it relates to training and all other matters raised so that total clarity would be brought on the matter” (Newsday, April 7, 2018).

More to follow

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

Categories: Entertainment News

MCDCA serves up tasty jazz treats in PoS

Entertainment - Wed, 05/02/2018 - 03:57

For those who could not go to Tobago for the Jazz performances, the Ministry of Community Development, Culture and the Arts (MCDCA) gave them a day of Jazz with [email protected]-Simply Jazz and Fusion the Jazz Experience on April 26 in Port-of-Spain during the lunch and evening times.

Fusion-the Jazz Experience saw the elements all aligned to create the perfect evening outdoor concert on the steps of the National Academy for the Performing Arts (Napa).

The cool evening breeze and the effortless beauty of Napa’s architecture and lights complimented the medley of performances by the National Steel Symphony Orchestra and guest artistes Vaughnette Bigford, Michael “Ming” Low Chew Tung, the UTT Jazz Ensemble, and Shiva Manick.

As expected, it was yet another outstanding performance from the National Steel Symphony Orchestra (NSSO) as they delivered to the audience’s delight. Artistic Director of the NSSO Akua Leith signaled the orchestra’s intention to continuously raise the bar for steelpan performances as he led his team through a varied repertoire from Mungal Patasar’s Dreadlocks featuring Shiva Manick on the tabla, to Guantanamera and Sunday Morning Funk to name a few.

The powerful voice of Vaughnette Bigford, the smooth music of the UTT Jazz Ensemble, notably saxophonist and group leader Anthony Woodroffe, and Michael “Ming” Low Chew Tung on the keyboard had the crowd of more than 400 music lovers drifting and clapping throughout the night. They brought out the best of Jazz music in T&T, and the NSSO’s experience with fusion performances was evident as they blended the steelpan and jazz rhythms.

The MCDCA also capitalised on this event by facilitating a Craft Market in NAPA’s Foyer, featuring jewelry, local wines, handbags, homemade delicacies and much more.

The end result of this event: the crowd was left wanting more, which seems to be the usual aftermath of each cultural event hosted by the MCDCA.

The success of the nighttime event was paralleled by the second edition of the MCDCA’s [email protected] Concert at Woodford Square, titled Simply Jazz.

The first [email protected] installation, City Blessings, celebrated gospel music on March 29, an appropriate selection to conclude the Lenten Season.

The Jazz theme was next, and the midday heat on April 26 was somehow moderated by the groovy music of artistes Moricia Cagan, LeAndra, the Adan Hagely Project, Candice Caton and Shannon Francois.

Show host Jamie Thomas kept the Woodford Square crowd upbeat as he navigated the lunchtime session. Curious downtown shoppers and students making their way from the Bocas Lit Fest at the National Library were amidst the crowd of over 300 people choosing to fill their lunch hour with music under the trees of Woodford Square, switching off the typical Port-of-Spain lunchtime pace.

The upcoming [email protected] edition will feature an east-indian themed event to celebrate Indian Arrival Day in May, followed by a vintage and steelpan concert respectively.

Staying on the topic of varied music genres, the MCDCA successfully hosted a two-day concert event at the Southern Academy for the Performing Arts (Sapa) on April 21 and 22, billed as Seasons—a time of Remembrance.

Hundreds of patrons filled the Sundar Popo Auditorium to witness the National Philharmonic Orchestra (NPO) perform in a ‘classical meets local’ setting. Conductor of the NPO Dr Roger Henry reiterated to the audience that the orchestra intends to showcase the music and energy of T&T through the medium of classical orchestra performance.

Notable soloists Natalia Dopwell and Hermina Charles, along with the Academy for the Performing Arts’ Choir complimented the symphony orchestra, resulting in two evenings of world-class entertainment.

The National Theatre Arts Company was not to be omitted, with a solo dancer gracing the stage with gentility in her movements and expression. Satisfied audience members conveyed to the MCDCA team that the calibre of these young musicians and artistes is certainly on par with their international counterparts.

These concerts are part of a wider initiative to bring audiences closer to the range of music genres of T&T, whilst creating opportunities for the veterans, up and coming musicians, and cultural stakeholders to network, thereby expanding this country’s cultural community.

Categories: Entertainment News

LeShae is Caribbean’s Next Top Model

Lifestyle - Tue, 05/01/2018 - 05:01

Flow Trinidad, hosted a commercial-free viewing of the season finale of Caribbean’s Next Top Model Season 4 on Wednesday, April 25. The event which was held at the Savannah Terrace, Hilton Trinidad revealed the winner of the competition to specially invited guests.

LeShae Riley, a stunning 21-year-old, 5’11” Trinidadian contestant, strutted off with this year’s coveted Caribbean’s Next Top Model (CNTM) title as Season 4 came to a nail-biting finish. The statuesque LeShae edged out 15 other contestants including Suriname’s Daphne Veldkamp in the keenly contested finals.

Flow’s director of marketing Cindy-Ann Gatt, in her address, expressed joy over the following which the show generated across the region. She was also enthusiastic about highlighting CNTM’s contribution to celebrating Caribbean women. Gatt remarked, “Flow’s interest in Caribbean’s Next Top Model was an example of how a made-for-TV-series could reflect key aspects of who we are as Caribbean women while maintaining a connection to popular culture. With unique style and flair, the show celebrates the fact that Caribbean women know how to strike a pose, show attitude and exude confidence that no other part of the world can capture.”

Caribbean’s Next Top Model is produced by Starfish Media Ltd, based on the Next Top Model format licensed by CBS Studios International. Executive producers are Dionyse Fitzwilliam, Wendy Fitzwilliam and Kiran Maharaj.

Categories: Entertainment News

Tobago Fashion Coda 6 premieres

Lifestyle - Tue, 05/01/2018 - 04:52

Tobago Fashion Coda 6 got off to a fashionable start at the Magdelena Grand Resort on Thursday, April 26. Patrons got a taste of fashion from designers as Ecliff Elie, Dale Angus, Elizabeth Arthur and European diesigner Liselore Frowijn.

The evening, attended by fashion experts and guests from around the globe, was also filled with entertainment such as former Chutney Soca Monarch KI. Tobago’s own Buccooneers Steel Orchestra welcomed guests as well with the sweet strains of the steel.

Categories: Entertainment News

Gypsy to the rescue at NCC

Lifestyle - Mon, 04/30/2018 - 01:21

For it is described, a gypsy is a “free-spirited” person and so, Mayaro-born, irrefutable Extempore King of the World, calypsonian, former Government Minister of Arts and Multiculturism and, Community

Development, former board member of the National Carnival Committee (NCC) and businessman, Winston “Gypsy” Peters, took another leap, and took-up the mantle on April 23, to serve as chairman of the National Carnival Commission (NCC).

Given the decades of deafening news of inefficiencies surrounding aspects of the NCC, it is hoped that chairman Gypsy’s rescue mission will see a net thrown-out salvaging what good is left in the sea and reel-in healthier catch.

To consider the post of chairman, came by way of “a call from the Prime Minister,” but “before making the decision, I consulted with my wife and other people,” stated Gypsy on the CNMG’s early-morning talk show on April 24 – a principled act that is testament…integrity, respect and teamwork lie within the chairman’s fold.

Faced with a few slightly intricate politically-mischievous, non-NCC-related questions layered-on by presenter, Rishi Harrynanan—if he’s “still a member of the UNC,” if he “feels demoted having been a Minister and now Chairman of NCC,” and how does he “feel, having served as a minister for the UNC and to be now serving under this government”—the chairman assiduously responded, while too, emphatically beseeched, “to stop politicising everything.”

He continued, “I gave-up my USA citizenship to serve T&T. “Not because one was a government minister…if you are needed as a garbage collector, then do the job.

“It’s not a demotion, it’s serving the people.

“The salary is the only thing that can be considered demoted.”

Citing his self as a “bland” person, Gypsy apprised, “I tend to my garden daily. I do not ascribe to or feed-off titles and positions, but instead, off the ability to get a job done.”

Always assertive, pressing-forward and confident, recovering well from being demeaned proves one of his strengths, as the nation should recall despite the burst and streams of toilet-paper hurled and waved at Gypsy during his rendition of Angry Land at last year’s Calypso Fiesta, he maintained composure, continued delivering with distinction, and advanced to the finals.
Reports claimed that it’s the first time a calypsonian had accomplished such a feat.

To the concerns of what he plans to do as new NCC chair, eventually made its way on the interview ladder very close to the end of the segment.

“Observing what was done, what is being done and what’s on the table to be done, is my initial focus,” says Gypsy, “then I will determine what needs to be done.

“Putting systems in place to ensure operations run smoothly like a good-working car is also priority.”

Apart from sport, the world relies heavily upon arts, entertainment and culture as a means to boost tourism and the economy, create employment, and to jell and give recognition and credence to the uniqueness of a people.

As such, the nation should be looking forward to an enriched NCC, ultimately lending well to an equally enriched and improved culture to help heal this angry land.

This is an angry land, with angry men and women.

And even little children, adding to….

You looking at angry souls, totally out of control.

Taking a dangerous toll….

With the exorbitant spike in lawlessness, it will be foolhardy of NCC to not work wisely and productively, and of adults, to not direct our young ones into healthy performance, to help steady the ship, calm the seas, and show-up worthy enough to give the NCC the impetus to tap-into the “unexplored potential of Carnival,” towards a better T&T.

Categories: Entertainment News

Use My Body on television

Lifestyle - Mon, 04/30/2018 - 01:18

Legendary singer Mavis John keeps on winning kudos for T&T through her music. Her latest triumph is the use of her song, Use My Body, in the US TV series The Looming Tower. The song was written for John by Tony Wilson and released in 1980 on the Kalinda label.

John said she’s elated, grateful and shocked that her song has been chosen. “I accept this blessing with God’s grace. I am also very happy for the writer Tony Wilson because of all the songs I had done I never thought this one would do it. It has also taught me that you never know what people like and what their tastes are.”

The Looming Tower is an American web television series which premiered on February 28, 2018 on streaming service Hulu. It’s based on the Pulitzer-Prize winning book of the same name by Lawrence Wright. The series traces the rising threat of Osama Bin Laden and Al-Qaeda in the late 1990s and how the rivalry between the FBI and CIA during that time may have inadvertently set the path for the tragedy of 9/11.

The series follows members of the I-49 Squad in New York and Alec Station in Washington, DC, the counter-terrorism divisions of the FBI and CIA, respectively, as they travel the world fighting for ownership of information while seemingly working toward the same goal of trying to prevent an imminent attack on US soil.

The series consists of ten episodes which aired between February 28 and April 18. The series is available on Hulu.

Use My Body is a funky dance number proclaims “we don’t have to get down just to get it on, you know how to use my body.” Also labeled as house and electronic music, the song is played in many countries worldwide and is now number 10 on the charts in Amsterdam.

John said the selection and use of her song is good for T&T. “It’s also good for the music of the country, because I’ve always had faith in what the writers have produced and the kind of music that we’ve produced.

I’m very cool and calm about it but in its own way it is a blessing. I’ll wait to see what happens with it, because like everything else it comes and it goes and you don’t know what’s going to come out of it.”

Categories: Entertainment News

Maria Nunes launches debut book: In a World of Their Own

Lifestyle - Mon, 04/30/2018 - 01:10

In an event that was equal parts performance art presentation and formal book launch, documentary photographer, Maria Nunes celebrated the debut of her first book, In a World of Their Own: Carnival Dreamers and Makers, on Tuesday, April 24, at Big Black Box, Woodbrook.

The event mirrored the book’s veneration of traditional mas with dramatic presentations of traditional Carnival characters, including Blue Devils, a Fancy Sailor, Indian Mas and Moko Jumbies. Guests were also treated to a live performance from 3 Canal, who were accompanied by Nunes on the guitar, in a beautiful rendition of Andre Tanker’s classic tune, Smokey Joe. Smokey Joe is one of Nunes’ favourite Tanker tunes and served as inspiration for the title of her book.

In a World of Their Own features stunning photographs captured over Nunes’ decade-long career as a documentary photographer. The images offer a glimpse into the creation and performance of traditional mas from the perspective of the photographer and are complemented by the inclusion of quotes from the dreamers and makers of Carnival themselves.

Nunes, who is widely respected as a pillar of the local art community, describes the book as, “a journey through the time and place of Carnival,” and explained that the biggest reason behind her desire to publish the book was “to honour the people I have been photographing for the past ten years.”

It would seem that Nunes has succeeded in this goal. In delivering remarks at the launch, Republic Bank’s executive director, Derwin Howell, praised Nunes’ work as a record of both the formative aspects of our cultural heritage and of the immense talent of the person behind the lens.

He added that the bank’s Power to Make A Difference Programme, was “made for projects like this and for leaders like Maria who possess that ability to form powerful connections within communities with the aim of ensuring the sustainable success of our society.”

Categories: Entertainment News

Queen Elizabeth II birthday celebrated in T&T

Lifestyle - Mon, 04/30/2018 - 00:55

British High Commissioner Tim Stew, hosted a reception to celebrate the 92nd birthday of Queen Elizabeth II on April 24 at his residence, Hillside 15 Beaumont Road, Maraval.

Her Majesty, who recently hosted the largest Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), has entered into her seventh decade as head of the Commonwealth, championing it and its peoples.

Representatives of government, the diplomatic corps and other specially-invited guests gathered on the evening to celebrate the occasion with the British High Commission.

In his address, the High Commissioner delivered warm greetings from the Queen to President Paula-Mae Weekes, the government and people of T&T.

Categories: Entertainment News

Participants show off tiling works at ‘Comm Dev’ classes

Lifestyle - Sun, 04/29/2018 - 02:46

Ministry of Community Development, Culture and the Arts recently launched its 2018 Community Education (Skills Training) and Handicraft Programmes throughout the country.

In an effort to promote and encourage continuing learning opportunities for the disadvantaged, the programme provides training in a variety of marketable skills which leads to home-based production of goods and services and employment generation, helps to reduce household expenditures and allow for the more effective use of scarce financial resources.

This programme provides education and training for the generation of sustainable employment opportunities to alleviate poverty, improve standards of living, promote equity and harmony in the society.

“The programme provides training in a variety of marketable skills which provide unemployed and under-employed people with equal opportunities to prepare themselves to compete for jobs or to develop the skills to create a sustainable self-employment initiative,” according to the ministry.

The Skills Training programme from its inception in the 1960s has targeted householders, low-income families, rural and urban poor, dropouts in the school system, the vulnerable and “at risk” in our society.

The programme is accessible to all regardless of age, gender, race, educational background, social or economic status, religion, or political persuasion.

All courses are sponsored by Community Development and are free.

Categories: Entertainment News

8 phone etiquette rules

Lifestyle - Sun, 04/29/2018 - 02:44

Administrative Professionals Day was on April 25, but Administrative Professionals Week was observed from April 23 through April 27. One of the issues that require constant reinforcing at seminars for administrative professionals is telephone etiquette.

Too many times I have called organisations and if the receptionist did not answer the phone, a member of staff will take the call and answer with just a “hello.” Or sometimes in an open office environment, you can get distracted by someone yelling into their phone and the whole office has to listen to the conversation while trying to get work done. It is also unprofessional for a receptionist to be constantly on her phone at the front desk or taking a personal cellphone call after putting a company call on hold.

Below are eight modern phone etiquette rules that should be observed:1. Announce your name when answering a phone call. A good example is: “This is Joan Smith speaking.”

2. Speak in a quiet tone of voice. Sometimes you may unconsciously be speaking too loudly. Most importantly, you never know who may be eavesdropping on your call.

3. Be respectful when having a meeting or a meal. Answering a call tells the person you are meeting with that the person who called you is more important. Most phone software allow you to send a text message indicating that you can call them back later or that you are in a meeting. If you have to take the call, then excuse yourself.

4. Place your phone face down when in a meeting so that you are not distracted by incoming phone calls. It is a lack of respect when you have a member of staff waiting on you to finish a call. Another person’s time is just important as yours therefore, don’t waste their time.
5. In seminars and conferences, participants are asked to turn off their phones so as not to disturb the speaker or everyone in the audience. The best way to deal with this is to put one’s phone on silent. Vibrating phones can be a distraction especially if you are in the front of the podium.

6. It is only respectful to let the caller know that you are putting them on speaker phone as you would like the person in the room to join the conversation. It can be embarrassing if the caller talks about confidential information that a third party is not supposed to know.

7. Many times people don’t play their voice messages. If you are going to leave a message make it short and sweet or leave a callback number. When leaving a phone number, say it slowly and twice. It can be annoying to have to keep replaying a message just to get the information.

Be professional when recording voicemail announcements. Recommended announcements are as follows: “You have reached Jane Smith, I am unavailable to take your call, please leave your name, phone number and brief message, and I will respond as soon as I can.”

If you don’t want to give your name: “You have reached 999-9999, I am unavailable to take your call, please leave your name, phone number and brief message, and I will respond as soon as I can.” If you don’t have a professional voice, then have a friend do it for you.

8. Respect organisations’ policy on cellphone use. A lot of organisations have incorporated a cellphone policy into policy documents. The use of cellphones have been abused by some staff and they need to take heed of telephone etiquette. Practising telephone etiquette will make a difference as to how a caller is going to view you and whether they are going to do business with you. Opportunities lost, all because of a lack of telephone etiquette

Categories: Entertainment News


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