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Updated: 51 min 13 sec ago

Motivating Mayaro students to succeed

Wed, 07/18/2018 - 01:03

Primary and secondary school students from across Mayaro have been stimulated to succeed in life as part of an ongoing series of motivational and support lectures sponsored by bpTT

Targeting all seven schools in the Mayaro district, the programme entitled Achieving Success in Life is facilitated by motivational speaker Dexter Simon. Simon is an architect and is well known in his capacity as an international bodybuilder, having won among other accolades, a gold medal in the Men’s Physique Masters Division of the Arnold Classic in Barcelona Spain in 2017.

As Simon explained: “I want to be an agent who brings a difference in the lives of young people. Through this motivational series, I am equipping them with tools to become better overall individuals. I am also inspiring them to dream big dreams and then work hard to make them become reality. The response from the students is overwhelming and I really have to thank bpTT for believing in and supporting my vision.”

Using the closing weeks of the last school term as an introduction to students and staff of various schools, Simon will have frequent meetings with students following the opening of the new academic year in September. He will also liaise with teachers toward helping students who are facing challenges such as discipline or academics.

Explaining the vision behind this initiative was bpTT, corporate responsibility manager Ronda Francis said: “We have invested in a number of youth and education initiatives in Mayaro spanning pre-school to post-graduate studies. However, with the social and associated problems such as discipline we are seeing today, we felt that motivating students to succeed is a critical factor in their overall development.

“We are using motivation to energise, direct and sustain positive behaviour and also encourage students to set goals and achieve them through persistence and focused activity.

“At bpTT, we fell that investing in young people to enhance them as students and citizens is laying the foundations for the future of our nation.”

The motivational sessions will focus on key objectives such as managing a more productive and purposeful day and life, setting goals, being positive through hard work, sacrifice and self-belief, valuing and respecting themselves and others and instilling a general sense of empowerment and ability to accomplish any task or goal.

Following the introductory session at Ortoire RC Primary School, eight-year old Dylon Mohammed was already inspired to achieve.

He said: “Mr Simon is really fun and interesting. He worked hard to achieve so many things in his life and if we do the same we can succeed with our dreams as well.

“He showed us how discipline can make our lives better and the way he believes in us makes me feel very special. I got three medals in zonal sports and I feel that if I work hard and have discipline, I can be the number one runner in the world and inspire young people like me.”

While at Ortoire RC, Simon also facilitated a session with the graduating Standard Five students, giving them advice at this juncture of transition from primary to secondary level.

Categories: Entertainment News

Celebrating success at Charford Court

Wed, 07/18/2018 - 01:01

In recognition of the achievement of 2018 SEA students, come Saturday, July 28, Charford Court Community Association is hosting an awards ceremony to assist eight successful children with back to school supplies.

The function begins at 3 pm at Charford Court, Charlotte Street but it will not be just about rewarding young academics as its programme also includes live performances by some popular performers.

Billed to perform are calypsonians All Rounder, Bro Mudada and Bunny Bynoe, Massy Trinidad All Stars young pannist Daniel Gulston, Single Pan steelbands Sapophonics and Gonzales Sheikers, Marlcol Boisie, Rance Johnson and the Gonzales Community Council Dance Group.

Keeping the fun evening stitched together is number one Belmont disc jockey DJ Cutting Crew.

More info

Landon Smith—
Trinity College
Gibril Graves—
Fatima College
Avionne Dalisia-Moore and
Nathania Peters—
Bishop Anstey High School
Tahlia Crawford—
South East Port-of-Spain
Haleema Cupid, Mark Carrabayo,
and Jadon Collis—
Morvant and Tranquillity
Secondary Schools and St Mary’s
College, respectively.

Categories: Entertainment News

Suicide—one death every 40 seconds

Wed, 07/18/2018 - 00:56

Suicide always grabs our attention. And when it is a celebrity who has suicided, the outpouring is unusually intimate as many people express condolences to and about these stars as though they grew up in the same village.

Yet, when people closer to us, of less significant ilk have suicided we barely pay attention to them or their families. One would think that the depth of expressions on the celebrity incident could move a person in T&T to find the home of relatives of one who has died by suicide here and offer support.

Rather, unless it is a disreputable situation, there is hardly a social media share or a repost. And, when we speak, we are mostly judgmental and prejudiced. Often we take to bashing people who have died by suicide, subjecting their friends and family to all kinds of uninformed and archaic thoughts and opinions.

Once again, the appeal is for us to become more educated, more compassionate and empathetic and to practise suspending judgment. The following paragraphs are an edited excerpt from a previously published column (2013) on suiciding, which I believe could be invaluable to our response to those who die by suicide and to the community impacted by such deaths.

According to the World Health Organisation statistics, every year, almost one million people die from suicide, a global mortality rate of 16 per 100,000, or one death every 40 seconds.

In the last 45 years, suicide rates have increased by 60 per cent worldwide. Suicide is among the three leading causes of death among those aged 15-44 in some countries, and the second leading cause of death in the 10-24 years age group. These figures do not include suicide attempts, which are up to 20 times more frequent than completed suicide. (

The site also says, “Although traditionally suicide rates have been highest among the male elderly, rates among young people have been increasing to such an extent that they are now the group at highest risk in a third of countries, in both developed and developing countries.”

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

[email protected]

Categories: Entertainment News

Women’s global rise to power

Wed, 07/18/2018 - 00:55

G ender-equal governments, which include the same number of men and women as ministry heads and in other cabinet posts, used to be the purview of woman-friendly Nordic countries and highly progressive societies like Canada and Costa Rica.

No longer.

Mexico’s president-elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who takes office in December, has announced that women will hold eight posts in his 16-member cabinet, including the powerful secretary of the interior position.

And Spain’s new prime minister, Pedro Sánchez, recently became the first world leader to appoint women to almost two-thirds of cabinet positions. No country in the world has a higher proportion of female-led ministries. Thirty years ago, Spain had no female cabinet members.

Women hold just 20 per cent of cabinet positions in the United States and 28 per cent in the United Kingdom. Worldwide, the average is 18.3 per cent.

As political scientists who study women’s inclusion in cabinets, we believe the quick, steady rise of women to power in Spain embodies a trend we have observed worldwide: Once more women get into the highest levels of government, their numbers tend only to rise.

We call this the “concrete floor” for women’s political representation. For a democratic government to have legitimacy these days, that is, for the general public to have faith in its decisions, it must include women.

Gains beget gains

Women’s representation doesn’t necessarily go up with each new administration.

But in studying the composition of initial governing cabinets—those formed right after an election—in Spain, France, Australia, the United States, Canada, Chile and the United Kingdom from 1929 to 2016, we found that women’s presence did rise cumulatively, over time and across party lines, in these countries.

After a 40-year dictatorship led by General Francisco Franco, democracy returned to Spain in 1977. But it would take more than a decade for women to be included in Spain’s newly democratic government.

Socialist Prime Minister Felipe Gonzalez didn’t appoint women to an initial cabinet until his third electoral win in 1989, when he appointed two female ministers.

The next administration, led by conservative prime minister José María Aznar, raised the total with four female ministers in his 14-member cabinet.

Spain’s historic breakthrough came in 2004, when Socialist Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, a selfdescribed feminist, named the country’s first gender-equal cabinet: eight women and eight men.

Now 11 of Spain’s 17 ministers are women, including—for the first time in Spain’s history—the position of finance minister.

France’s recent history looks similar.

President Nicolas Sarkozy appointed seven women to his 15-member cabinet in 2007. His successor, Socialist François Hollande, had 17 women in his 34-member cabinet.

Cabinet size in most countries varies from administration to administration.

On the campaign trail in 2016, President Emmanuel Macron promised to have equal representation. Today, his cabinet contains 11 women and 11 men.

Voters like gender-inclusive governments

Our research shows that when leaders use their powers of appointment to increase the number of women in cabinet, they are never punished electorally and are often applauded globally for doing so.

Just a few years ago Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was celebrated around the world for assembling a gender-equal cabinet. His reasoning? “Because it’s 2015,” he told reporters.

Leaders who appoint significantly fewer women than their predecessors, on the other hand, risk heavy criticism from the media and political opponents. That can weaken their support among voters.

When Australian prime minister Tony Abbott appointed just one woman to his cabinet in 2013, he had to justify his “embarrassing” decision to voters, the opposition party and the press. His predecessor’s government had included three female cabinet members.

Malcolm Turnbull replaced Abbott two years later and quickly appointed five women to his governing team.

Each gender-equal cabinet appears to create expectations of similar or greater women’s inclusion in the next.

The ‘concrete floor’

We did find several instances where leaders appointed fewer women than their predecessors. However, the decline is generally minimal.

In Chile’s first post-dictatorship government, elected in 1990, President Patricio Aylwin appointed women to just five per cent of cabinet posts.

Chile’s first female president, Socialist Michelle Bachelet, had a gender-equal government in 2006. Four years later, her conservative successor, Sebastián Piñera, appointed seven women to his 23-member cabinet. While his government was not gender-equal, women were significantly better represented than they had been before Bachelet’s administration.

We call this phenomenon the “concrete floor.” It is the minimal threshold of women’s inclusion for people to see a leader’s cabinet as democratically legitimate.

And unlike the “glass ceiling,” that subtle, invisible barrier that has kept women out of powerful positions, the concrete floor ensuring their inclusion in government is visible to—and recognised by—all the leaders we studied.

Gender diversity is the only guarantee

A similar standard applies to certain other kinds of political representation in the some, but not all, of the countries we studied.

In Canada, Germany and Spain, for example, cabinets must be geographically representative. Like those countries, the United States also has a federal system of government, but American presidents are not expected to ensure that cabinet posts go to people from different states or regions.

In Canada and the United States, all-white cabinets are now virtually unthinkable. President Lyndon Johnson appointed United States’ first African-American cabinet member – Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Robert C Weaver—in 1966. Lincoln McCauley Alexander became Canada’s first-ever black minister in 1979.

Meanwhile, cabinets in Germany and Spain—both increasingly diverse countries—remain entirely white. The lone black parliamentarian in Spain, Rita Bosaho, wasn’t elected until 2015. No racial minority has ever held a Spanish cabinet position.

Gender was the only required representational criterion that appeared across all seven countries we studied, where all-male cabinets have been universally extinct for a quarter-century.

Women make up half the world’s population. Now, increasingly and evidently irreversibly, democratic governments are starting to show it. (AP)

Categories: Entertainment News

Holistic Music School celebrates its sweet 16

Mon, 07/16/2018 - 22:40

Holistic Music School (founded in 2002) celebrated its sweet 16th anniversary with the Rhythms of Love—Reading In Key Concert Series at the Trinidad Country Club, Maraval, on July 7-8.

Patrons enjoyed a relaxing weekend of live jazz and various musical twists from a star studded cast of international and local musicians, preschool to professional.

On the weekend’s cast were well known acclaimed stars of music as well as aspiring Holistic students.

In the mix were La Brea diva Vaughnette Bigford, Rapso griot/ chantwell Brother Resistance, instrumentalist Rellon Brown, Omari Ashby, master drummer Everald “Redman” Watson, Rahel Moore, Yevgeny Dokshansky, Noelle Archer, The Flick, Jaizo, Lujoe & the Gifted. They were joined by Holistic vocalists, choirs, steel, Music Festival champions and the Holistic X Big Band, all delivering cutting edge entertainment during this first edition of Rhythms of Love 2018.

In a world of negative news, Holistic Music and Primary School remains committed to the holistic development of students with emphasis on literacy, growth and enjoyment of visual and performing arts in T&T.

The students won 20 awards at the 2018 edition of the T&T Music Festival with the Holistic Big Band claiming championship trophies both in the Junior (19 years and under) and Open (Adult) Classes.

The Holistic Big Band (Holistic X) has held national championship status from 2008 to 2018 and now includes scholarship musicians from First Citizens Asset Management & Caribbean Networks Arts & Education Foundation.

Celebrations will continue with the upcoming Holistic Market Atelier (Arts Workshop) August 6-17, designed to explore Secondary Entrance Assessment’s 2019-2023 Mathematics and English Language Arts Curriculum through fashion, film, stilt walking, agricultural science and market development.

(Reporting by Peter Ray Blood — [email protected]. 


Categories: Entertainment News

Highlights from 2018 Best Village Competition

Mon, 07/16/2018 - 22:35

Eliminations in the 2018 Prime Minister’s Best Village Trophy Competition continued last weekend at the National Academy for the Performing Arts (Napa), Port-of-Spain.

Hundreds of performers graced the stage of the Lord Kitchener Auditorium from Thursday, July 12 to Sunday night.

Thursday night saw the adjudication of East Indian Dance, followed by Folk Music on Friday, Folk Dance & Drumology on Saturday, and two rounds of judging of Folk Dance & Music on Sunday. 

T&T Guardian photographer EDISON BOODOOSINGH has been covering this year’s Prime Minister’s Best Village Trophy Competition and captured these moments at the East Indian Dance competition.

Categories: Entertainment News

A night of classical Indian music on the bansuri

Mon, 07/16/2018 - 22:34

Chinmaya Mission T&T (CMTT), in collaboration with the Sadhana School of Music, Chicago, is staging what promises to be a spectacular stage production on Friday, July 27. Headlining the event is Pandit Ronu Majumdar, one of India’s classical music, internationally acclaimed flute maestros.

Majumdar, also referred to as RonuJi, is a master of the bansuri (flute) instrument, with the clearly discernable ability to adapt his presentations to absorb the techniques and patterns across all the musical genres of the flute. He will perform alongside Pandit Gouri Shankar, an equally renowned percussionist, popular for his musical magic on the Tabla and versatility on the Ghatam (clay pot percussions).

The concert will be held at the Chinmaya Ashram, located at Calcutta No 1, Mc Bean, Couva, at 7 pm.

This show promises to be an exquisite evening of Indian Classical Music, taking patrons across different eras, time zones and genres, underlined by the confluence of spirituality with music.

Contribution is only $50, with all profits from this event going to the construction of Chinmaya Mission’s Vidyalaya New School Campus.

About the star act

Majumdar, known in the Bollywood and Hollywood music circuit as India’s flute wizard, is also an acclaimed music composer and lyricist. The flautist maestro is best known for his work in the Hindustani classical space for more than 30 years and more recently, spearheading work as a Indo – world fusion music pioneer.

One of the most unusual circumstances is how he describes his introduction to the venu (flute), a situation where he says he just surrendered to destiny, realising that he did not choose the flute but the flute chose him.

Majumdar began playing at age six, under the guidance of his father, Dr Bhanu Majumdar, but not as an obedient child. In his early lessons, he would break several of the flutes, and punishment by his father was mandatory seven-eight-hour practice sessions. He describes this is when he fell in love with the instrument.

Following these early years of training with his father, Majumdar continued under the guidance of some of India’s greatest Indian musicians of that era, among them Pandit Panna Lal Ghosh, Pandit Vijay Raghav Rao, who groomed him into a concert flautist and, his later years, he was trained by and performed with the world renowned Grammy Winner Pandit Ravi Shankar.

Subsequent to his years of training, one of Majumdar’s first major wins—the All India Radio Competition 1981, was the platform from which he catapulted from concert performances into the Bollywood musical arena, collaborating with one of Bollywood’s grandest maestros RD Burman, very early is his career. Since the early 90s, his music has been a near constant in Bollywood soundtracks, with one if his most popular pieces, featured on 1942 —A Love Story.

Being open minded about collaborations has allowed Majumdar to work alongside esteemed artistes in the Bollywood and Hollywood music industry, composing, producing and directing pieces for esteemed vocal legends names such as: Lata Mangeshkar, Asha Bhosle, former Beatle George Harrison, Bela Fleck, Ry Cooder, Jon Hassel and is ubiquitously known for his accompaniment alongside Jagjit Singh for almost 15 years of his career.

The maestro who practices and performs to show people the miracles and magic that the flute can create, Majumdar holds to his name, a speciality instrument, and the “shank bansuri,” conceptualised and created by himself.

Also, to his credit, among his many awards and accolades, are India’s prestigious President’s Gold Medal Award of India in 1981 to a Grammy Award nomination, to Guinness World Record.

Most recently, in 2017, Majumdar was honoured by the Films Division of India by having a full length documentary film produced on his life and his work. Aptly titiled, Bansuriwala (Carrier of the Flute), it captures his work, the exploration of and journey with the flute and also includes opinions of great Indian musical legends.

This concert is an opportunity to experience Majumdar’s exquisite music, alongside Pt Gouri Shankar on Tabla and Ghatam (clay pot percussion), a tabla maestro with more than 30 years’ experience. The show promises to be a great night of Indo classical music with India’s modern day Mozart.

For more information on the July 27 concert, contact the Chinmaya Ashram (679 – 3652) or email [email protected]


Awards won by Pandit Ronu Majumdar:
1996 – Grammy Award Nomination for collaboration on album Raga Aberi – with Sri Ravi Shankar and Ustad Zakkair Hussain.
2014 – Sangeet Natak Academi Award for contribution to Hindustan Instrumental Music
2015 – Guinness Book of World Records – Historic Symphony Flautist concert – 5378 flute players at Venu Naad – hosted by the Art of Living Organization.
Composed music for India’s first IMAX film – Mystic India
Ongoing as a mentor on the popular music talent series – Sa Re Ga Ma Pa.
Over 50 albums released under Eastern and Western music labels.

Categories: Entertainment News

Musical family brings urban swagger

Sun, 07/15/2018 - 23:30

It was a family affair at Kaiso Blues Cafe in Newtown on June 8 as Easy Listening Promotions presented Ménagerie—Si, Oui Music, or, in local parlance “See We Music,” a play on French, Spanish and English influences in the musical arts.

The band Ménagerie features the musical talents of the Gabriel family comprising of vocalists Asha, Thará, Ayanna Gabriel, and Asha Gabriel-LewisSamuel Peter (guitar), Mark Peter (keyboard), violinist Saná Gabriel, drummer Lenville Gabriel and, bassist Kent Gabriel.

The family band performed to a full venue of patrons of varying ages who followed the band on their musical journey through 1970’s contemporary styled music like Sting’s Summertime to present day gems such as Mark Anthony’s Vivir Mi Vida and No te pido by Fanny Lu. But, it was when they turned on the “Urban Swagger” persona during the performance of their original piece Video, the uniqueness defines each member individual style stood out while simultaneously displaying how refined and natural their sounds coalesce and harmonise.

As they stated during an interlude, “One Bob Marley isn’t enough,” so a medley comprising of hits from the renowned Jamaican reggae icon’s Nine Mile album such as No Woman No Cry, Could You Be Loved and I Wanna Love You amongst others, were delivered.

During a 15-minute break, Lenville engaged patrons in a fun trivia game where he explained historical moments in musical history of the development of instruments, sound patterns/arrangements that defines a genre, and places of origin.

Special tributes and recognition were also given to locals artistes as well. Andre Tanker’s Sayamanda was performed in his honour, a tune Lenville Gabriel assisted in producing. Calypso icons David Rudder and Carl Jacobs were also recognised and mentioned as well, acknowledging Lenville Gabriel’s contribution to their respective productions.

The young blended voices backed by the expertise of the band’s instrumentalists made the evening quite a truly remarkable and enjoyable experience.

• For bookings of the Gabriel family, contact Easy Listening Promotions at [email protected].

Categories: Entertainment News

Major Lazer’s Walshy fires up music students at UTT

Sun, 07/15/2018 - 23:28

Students of the University of T&T (UTT) benefited from a three-hour interactive discussion with Leighton “Walshy Fire” Walsh. Walsh, a member of the popular award-winning group Major Lazer, was in Trinidad over the holiday weekend to stage the first instalment of his popular event Rum & Bass.

The event, promoted by 432 Live, featured several distinguished and talented MCs and Sound Systems including Travis World Music, Taurus Movement, Viking Sounds, featuring Bunji Garlin, Ding Dong and Jaiga.

Also joining him was fellow member of Major Lazer and Trinidad-born Chris “Jillionaire” Leacock who joined Walsh at the turntables to keep the crowd highly entertained.

Walsh spoke to the students at the National Academy for the Performing Arts (Napa) on topics related to his journey in the entertainment industry. The students of UTT are all enrolled in the Certificate in Music technology programme and welcomed the insight from the record winning producer. He encouraged his captive audience to stay true to their journey even though challenges may arise, “Give yourself ten years of failing with a smile on your face. If after ten years, you still have the passion, you’re heading to success!”

Referencing several of his personal experiences to strengthen his points, he urged the students to not be swayed or dismayed by the efforts of those who may not like them or their contributions to the industry.

Walshy noted, “A hater is actually an employee to your progress.”

Walshy has worked with international and regional recording artistes and produced hits such as Lean On and Light It Up and is always on the lookout for new talent.

He has also expressed his desire to return annually with the Rum & Bass event to Trinidad around the Labour Day holiday period.

Walshy Fire is working on his latest album which promises a fusion of Afrobeats and Caribbean sounds set to be released in the near future.

Categories: Entertainment News

Empowering new writers with prizes

Sun, 07/15/2018 - 02:01

Literary prizes are proven investments with guaranteed returns, says a release from the Bocas Lit Fest. And a geographically small yet complex place like the Caribbean requires continuous investment to help draw out emerging literary talent.

One such venture, according to the Bocas release, was the Hollick Arvon Caribbean Writers Prize, which ran over the period 2013- 2015.

“Three years later, we have Thicker than Water—a new anthology of Caribbean writing showcasing new work by prize finalists, including Trinidadian winners Barbara Jenkins (fiction, 2013) and Danielle Boodoo Fortuné (poetry, 2015).”

Both writers also launched their books that resulted from the Hollick  Arvon Prize at the 2018 NGC Bocas Lit Fest.

“A publication of Peekash Press (Bocas’ very own publishing company), the anthology features the best of a new generation of Caribbean writers from seven countries, and celebrates the unique legacy of the first award for emerging Caribbean authors with truly regional scope.

“Following its Caribbean and international launch at the 2018 NGC Bocas Lit Fest, the anthology’s UK launch, hosted by Arvon (prize co-administrator and UK literary foundation), will take place on Thursday at the Free Word Centre in London. Five distinguished British-Caribbean writers: Colin Grant, Anthony Joseph, Karen McCarthy Woolf, Courttia Newland and Kerry Young will bring to life the work of Richard Georges, Barbara Jenkins, Diana McCaulay, Shivanee N Ramlochan and Hazel Simmons McDonald.”

The event will be livestreamed via the Bocas Lit Fest facebook page from 6:30pm (UK time).

There is also a new prize dedicated to nurturing new Caribbean voices, The Johnson and Amoy Achong Caribbean Writers Prize, now open for submissions.

Managed by The Bocas Lit Fest and Arvon, this Prize replaces the Hollick Arvon Caribbean Writers Prize. It is an annual award, which allows an emerging Caribbean writer living and working in the Anglophone Caribbean to devote time to advancing or finishing a literary work, with support from an established writer as mentor. The prize is offered across three literary genres - fiction in 2019, non-fiction in 2020 and poetry in 2021.

The prize is named after Johnson and Amoy Achong and commemorates their lives as loyal and hard-working citizens of this country whose children have continued to contribute to the building of T&T.

Bocas Lit Fest founder and director Marina Salandy-Brown says “We must not underestimate the value of these prizes in honing talent and in growing the pool of Caribbean writers. We can safely say the returns on literary arts investments are evident as they are enduring. And we’re excited to see what this new prize yields for Caribbean writing over the next few years.”

The first winner of the Johnson and Amoy Achong Caribbean Writers Prize will be announced in 2019. Submissions close September 30, 2018. For more information and prize guidelines, see

More info

About Thicker than Water

Difficult parents and lost children, unfaithful spouses and spectral lovers, mysterious ancestors and fierce bloodlines—the stories, poems, and memoirs in this new anthology tackle everything that’s most complicated and thrilling about family and history in the Caribbean.

Collecting new writing by finalists for the Hollick Arvon Caribbean Writers Prize, a groundbreaking award administered by the Bocas Lit Fest, Thicker Than Water shows us how a new generation of Caribbean authors address perennial questions of love, betrayal, and memory in small places where personal and collective histories are often troublingly intertwined.

About the Johson and Amoy

Achong Caribbean Writers Prize The Prize consists of a cash award of $20,000 (TT) (or the equivalent in USD), a year’s mentoring by an established writer, travel to the United Kingdom to attend a oneweek intensive Arvon creative writing course at one of Arvon’s internationally renowned writing houses, and three days in London to network with editors and publishers, hosted by Arvon, in association with the Free Word Centre and a leading London literary agency

Categories: Entertainment News

Friend or foe?

Sun, 07/15/2018 - 01:45

This series of articles will cover inter-dog aggression. Readers must understand that these articles are for guidance only. Aggression between dogs is a complex psychological condition requiring a professional dog behaviourist to evaluate and treat each case individually. In this second (and then third) articles of the series we will assess how and when inter-dog aggression develops.

Inter-dog aggression is fighting between dogs living in the same household. In human society, it is often said that “we can choose our friends but not our family.” While dogs are social and live in groups, in a free-ranging environment a dog would be able to choose which group to live in and to leave those groups where he is not welcome. This applies to humans as well—most of us would not be able to live peacefully with a group of individuals that someone else picks for us. Most of us cannot even live harmoniously with our own families! However, we expect our dogs to do just that—live with friends that we pick for them, but some dogs will simply never be friends.

The natural dog pack consists of strong individuals and weaker members. The strong protect and guide the rest. Size is not necessarily an indication of strength in some cases—many dog owners are familiar with the tiny yappy fluffy dog who “rules over” the massive docile St Bernard! However, there is generally a parental figure (sometimes two—a male and a female) who takes charge and who the rest follow. At this stage, we must address the “alpha” concept. Sadly, many dog breeders, trainers, and owners still buy into the “alpha” myth. This outdated idea that there is a dominant male and/or female who aggressively keeps the rest of the pack in submission has little scientific data to support it. People who breed and train dogs often tolerate and perhaps even encourage aggressive behaviour between dogs because they think it normal when it is not. Rank is never absolute, and it is never taken—it is conferred by others. We will come back to this in a later article to this series and show you how you, as a dog owner, may be contributing to your dogs’ fighting.

Dogs have two developmental stages of maturity. The first is sexual maturity and this is when a dog becomes physically capable of reproduction—the testicles in the male descend and the female goes into her first heat. On average this happens at around six months of age. The second is social maturity which is when a dog becomes an adult, which occurs between 18 to 24 months of age. The period between sexual and social maturity is when a dog tries to challenge his owners and other dogs, similar to a teenager testing the boundaries set by his parents. It is during this period that an owner may first notice signs of aggression between the dogs.

Copyright © Kristel-Marie Ramnath 2018

Categories: Entertainment News

Quincy’s song of redemption

Sun, 07/15/2018 - 01:33

The Sunday Guardian will begin its series today on rehabilitation and reintegration—stories of the lives of inmates and ex-prisoners.

Today we speak with former inmate Quincy Roberts about his passion for music and where he wants to go in life.

The need to feel loved, wanted, important, and recognised for his gift often makes ex-prisoner Quincy Roberts awkwardly desire to be back behind bars.

“Don’t get me wrong, ‘eh’ miss,” he quickly chimes in. “I ‘doh’ mean go back there for doing something wrong. But when I was in prison I was a star. Everything was Quincy Roberts this, Quincy Roberts that.”

The father of two, who describes music as his lifeline, gained popularity in the throes of Port-of-Spain Remand Prison from  this very love of music, quickly leading him to becoming an integral part of the various prison music bands.

Within six months of his incarceration, the then 25 year old became literate in music theory and versed on several instruments including the guitar, bass, drum, and keyboard. It did not come as a surprise to the former Beetham Gardens resident when he received a distinction in music through the prison’s music programme and soon after found himself as teacher of the art to other inmates. But that joy and sense of pride once felt by Roberts has died since the first-time offender, who spent nearly five years behind bars, was released on bail last year.

“Let me tell you something, eh. I love music so bad I’ll die for it. And when I was in prison, people…all them big musician who used to pass through, used to tell me ‘oh gosh, you could real play music, you could real sing.

When ‘yuh’ come out I want to help you do this and do that.’ And when ‘yuh’ come out of prison ‘yuh’ get to realise is just games people was playing with ‘yuh.’

He explained that without support it’s difficult for an exprisoner to have a fruitful life after incarceration as they are not taken seriously and most times people are unwilling to give them a chance.

“Is a nasty stigma ‘yuh’ does get.

Everybody does think when ‘yuh’ come out of prison ‘yuh’ come out to do the same thing again. People don’t even know what you were in jail for. Some people went to jail innocently. But once they hear you ‘was’ in jail, they think ‘yuh’ is a criminal and a no good.” Roberts has been looking for work since his release but has been turned down each time he spoke the truth.

“Miss, I don’t want to lie or anything, so I does tell them the truth because with a record how you producing a certificate of character when they ask for it? So I does tell them the truth and that does be the end of the interview right ‘dey’.”

A hustle since returning to freedom During the Sunday Guardian’s coverage on the Charlotte Street vending issue back in April, we ran into the former Morvant- Laventille student who was selling produce at the corner of Queen and Charlotte streets. He tells us that has been his “hustle” since returning to “freedom.” But there is no real joy in doing this, he reiterates, as music is Roberts’s first and only love.

He talks about his father beating drums for Trinidad All Stars Steel Orchestra back in the day and briefly reminisces on his childhood days when he would accompany his father to the pan yard for rehearsals.

“As long as I could remember, music was always in my head. I was always writing or chanting… the melodies and the rhythms does just keep flowing,” Roberts, who has filled two large notebooks with his own compositions, says.

Prior to our Charlotte Street “bounce up,” we first became acquainted with Roberts in February 2016 when he performed at the T&T Prison Service grand Carnival calypso fiesta concert, where each monarch from the various prison sections were brought out to perform for the public at Woodford Square.

Roberts, who placed second at the Port-of-Spain Remand Prison, was a crowd pleaser from the moment he took the microphone to deliver his self-composed social commentary titled Still in Slavery, which was inspired by the book, Mandela’s Way. With perfect diction and strong stage presence, he commanded the crowd that cheered him on as he sang his offering, which spoke to modernised slavery. Often times you could hear people shouting: “Kaiso! Kaiso!”

Back then, he told the T&T Guardian, he fashioned his style of performance after multiple Calypso Monarch titleholder Roderick “Chucky” Gordon, saying the calypsonian gives him goose bumps whenever he performs.

“His commentary on social ills does really speak to me,” he says. ‘Give us a chance’ Speaking of social ills, coming from a marginalised community, we asked Roberts who was raised in a single parent home, if he believed the environment in which he grew fosters or dictates an inevitable life of crime. Without hesitation and despite his older brother being murdered in these “rough paths,” he dispels this.

“Let me tell you something, ‘eh’ miss, we know that people say circumstances make you who you become. But I telling ‘yuh,’ no environment or community could make anybody do something wrong. It is a decision everybody does make to do something, so I will never blame the community or the area I’m from. Everybody have to know what ‘dey’ doing.”

With his burning desire and passion for music, now 27, Roberts wants to enter the Calypso Monarch competition in 2019. “I don’t know how that will work out or if I would even be allowed to do it, because my case still ‘upstairs.’ But God knows if I get that opportunity, I would be so grateful. I don’t even care about the money part. I just want to sing—I’m happiest and the most free when I do,” he says.

In the meantime, he said his hands won’t remain idle and he has no intentions of returning to prison. But he sends this message to the public and powers that be:

“Before you condemn us to death, give us a chance. Not everybody in prison supposed to be in prison. Stop judging us because of where we’ve been and support us in where we’re going. We need ‘allyuh’ support when we return to society. I understand is not everybody would want to make a positive change, but for those of us who do, please don’t make us keep paying for a debt that has already been paid.”


Categories: Entertainment News

Look Twice, It’s Your Wife on stage

Fri, 07/13/2018 - 23:27

The Renaissance Theatre Company will be performing the original comedy Look Twice It’s Your Wife at the Naparima Bowl, San Fernando, on July 14 and 15. The play, written and directed by veteran actor and director Marvin Ishmael, had its first successful run at UTT Campus at NAPA as part of the Academy for Performing Arts’ Performing Arts Festival in June.

The play tells the story of Mootilal Singh, played by Narad Mahabir, who finds himself in a sticky situation when his complicated schedule for managing his relationships with his two wives, Nasha (Bridget Rampersad) and Sandra Singh (Renee King) is thrown into disarray following a car accident. With the help of his friend Bloods (Michael Cherrie), he attempts to keep his wives from finding about each other with

a complicated mix of lies and smooth talking. His cause is not helped by two police detectives who trespass into each others’ jurisdiction and arouse the wives’ suspicions.
Ishmael said for him the play shows the amazing wit of a Trinidadian when it comes to telling stories and how quickly an idea can spread, not only in the person telling the story but those who try to assist with the coverup. “For me it shows that although he might appear shiftless in one part of his life, he has the capacity to be an artist in other sections of his life especially when it has to do with the female and the offerings that we make here in Trinidad because of a very rich cosmopolitan background. It seems as if one person is never enough to fill the void for art, I call it art, for me the human body or the female is very art oriented. Now I love art but it doesn’t mean I take home all the art that I see but I can appreciate all the art around me and so I think the Trinidadian male is caught in that bind between wanting to just appreciate the art around him or sometimes to take pieces of art home that he hopes doesn’t stay there but he can take it back to the museum. Of course sometimes that is impossible, once you purchase the art it is yours and how do you keep one piece of art from getting jealous of the other piece of art that you have somewhere else? That leads the Trinidadian male to this ability to tell stories and cover his tracks and to me that shows the tenacity of the Trinidadian male.”

The Renaissance Theatre Company was established by Ishmael in 2018 as the next step for university graduates of theatre and the performing arts, to provide an opportunity for artists to continue honing their craft, and create work with an identifiable Trinbagonian Carnival aesthetic, which would be shared both regionally and internationally. Ishmael said for him the best part of the process has been working with the current and former UTT students, even though they haven’t done much comedy while in school. “For them it was a learning experience in terms of Comedy, what that demanded, trying to get into the head of the character very quickly or even quicker than they normally do because they don’t have that time because for me the tempo and the timing of the piece is important and therefore I have to get that and so all their searching needs to have happened pre-rehearsal and we brought that into the process so that we can block it, not only physically but vocally.”

Ishmael, who is originally from South Trinidad, said staging the play at Naparima Bowl is his way of going back home. “The Bowl has always been for me the Mecca of theatre in south Trinidad. I know they’ve been doing some renovations as well. Going back there is also a way for us to start rebuilding an audience base not just in Port-of- Spain but in South as well, in terms of the work of UTT and of future students and artists. Audiences in South often complain that they are left out in comparison to the offerings in North. I love the Bowl, I love the South and I thought a play like this would be able to attract some people from the South to come and see it.”

Tickets are $150 and can be purchased at Valini’s Drug Mart 657-6444/1053 and Hair by Jowelle 653-2160. For more information, go to, email [email protected] and call 294 – 3490.

Categories: Entertainment News

Ministry, Nalis focus on health, Spanish collection

Fri, 07/13/2018 - 23:25

Two projects, hosted by the Ministry of Public Administration and the National Library and Information System Authority (Nalis), have not been just successful initiatives, but have also begun yielding fruit.

Your Health is Your Wealth! This truism was reiterated at a joint Health and Wellness Fair, hosted by the Ministry and Nalis last month at the Old Fire Station Building, Hart and Abercromby Streets, Port-of-Spain.

The June 22 health fair commenced with the North West Regional Health Authority (NWRHA) facilitating blood pressure, cholesterol, glucose, body mass index (BMI), HIV and prostate tests.

Optometrists Today conducted vision screening sessions and a representative of the T&T Police Sports Club facilitated a zumba/burnout session.

Other activities on the day included the presentation of some 30 hampers as door prizes sponsored by Chief Brand Products, National Flour Mills Ltd, Langston Roach Industries and John Dickinson & Company West Indies Ltd.

Product samples were supplied by Nestle and one-on-one consultations were provided by Pan American Insurance and Risk Management Services; Bacon Woodrow and de Souza, RBC Trust, Guardian Life Insurance, Family Services Division of the Ministry of Social Development and Family Services, Tecu Credit Union, Petrotrin EAP Services, Happy Girls Happy Curls, OMO Best Start, Evergreene Virgin Coconut Oils, Textel Credit Union, Unit Trust Corporation and Down Under.

The joint health and wellness fair was attended by approximately 300 people which included Catherine Romain, Nalis’ executive director, and other members of the management team of Nalis as well as the Joan Mendez, permanent secretary of the Ministry of Public Administration, and Claudelle Mc Keller, deputy permanent secretary of the Ministry of Public Administration.

The main objectives of the health and wellness fair were to promote healthy lifestyles among staff, encourage staff to know their numbers (blood pressure, cholesterol and glucose) and reinforce that health and wellness include the fitness of body, mind and the freedom from disease or ailment.

Other health and wellness fairs will be held in September and December for Nalis staff working in central and south T&T personnel, respectively.

Spanish collection established at

PoS Adult Library

A collection, consisting of only Spanish language texts for adults, young adults and small children has been established by Nalis at its Port-of-Spain Adult Library, located at the first floor of the National Library of T&T in Port-of-Spain.

Situated on the northern wing of the floor, the collection includes books donated by the embassies of Argentina, Cuba, Guatemala, Peru, Spain, Venezuela and the now defunct Hispanic Women’s Club.

In addition to children’s storybooks, among the collection can be found such titles as: Historia de la Republica del Peru (1822 –1933) written by Jorge Basadre Grohmann (18 volumes); Clarivigilia Primavera and Poetia: Sien de Alondra, both written by Miguel Angel Asturias of Guatemala.

Also, visitors can delve into the works of classical and modern authors from Spain. The titles include: Pasión de la Tierra by V. Aleixandre; La ruta de Don Quijote by Azorín; Cartas Marruecas. Noches Lúgubres by J Cadalso; La Renta I and II by L. Clarín; Meditaciones del Quijote by Ortega and Gasset; and Campos de Castilla by A Machado, to name a few.

In addition to making Spanish literature available, the collection presents cultural manifestations of the Spanish-speaking community. The mix of authors and genres highlight how Spanish has evolved throughout the years.

Nalis also hosts Spanish language classes for students at its libraries; facilitates the Spanish conservation club, Club de Español, and last month held, over a five-day period, its second edition of Latin Nights —a celebration of Latin culture, folklore, arts and cuisine.

Categories: Entertainment News

Mekelia is Miss Fabulous Plus T&T 2018

Fri, 07/13/2018 - 23:23

The 2018 edition of the Miss Fabulous Plus T&T Pageant was held at the Cascadia Hotel’s Banquet & Conference Centre, St Ann’s, on Saturday evening. From a field of ten delegates, Miss Arima Mekelia Miller was crowned winner.

The ten young women, rigorously trained by Lyndon Ross, showcased not only beauty but also their talents and knowledge of T&T’s culture, social and political spheres. The contestants spanned a wide pool of professions, inclusive of hair stylists, make up artists, fashion designers and modeling directors. They were judged by a panel of five highly-esteemed judges: Nicole Dyer-Griffith, Vashti Persaud, Sharon Imbert, Neuban Clarke and Richard Young.

Delegates, and the districts, they represented were Dannah Danclar (Santa Cruz); Josanne Paul (Belmont); Janine Peters (Morvant/Laventille); Tricia-Ann Cuffie (Couva); Jeannine Clarke-Jackson (Cascade); Nicole Reyes (Tacarigua); Joanne O’Garro (Chaguanas); Tamara D’Abreu (Cocorite); Mekelia Miller (Arima); and, Dalia Smith (Tunapuna).

The evening’s programme included segments and judging categories in Swim Wear, Evening Gown, and a Personality Interview.

Guest artiste vocalist Samuel Stewart wowed the audience with his beautiful voice. But, it when current Mr Impressive 2018 Ricardo Roberts serenaded the contestants that the all ladies present, on stage and in the audience, were at full attention, loudly cheering, gasping, and excited as he gave each and every contestant a red rose.

As proceedings progressed, and before the announcement of Queen Mekelia, past queens were acknowledged, a short vote of thanks given and former Miss Fabulous Plus T&T Cara Samlalsingh took her final walk.

Categories: Entertainment News

Naps girl shines at JA awards

Fri, 07/13/2018 - 23:21

Shivala Rampersad, a Form Four student of Naparima Girls High School, walked away with double honours at the 48th Annual Future Unlimited Banquet and Awards Ceremony of Junior Achievement T&T last Saturday, taking the award of President of the Year and leading her company, Colibri, to the Company of the Year accolade.

Following presentation of the overall trophy, Rampersad was joined on stage by her ecstatic company colleagues who celebrated their victory for several minutes.

Earlier, Rampersad was presented with the President of the Year award by Gerard Jackson, head, government and stakeholder relations, bpTT longstanding sponsor of the JA movement.

The signature JA event, held at the Cascadia Hotel’s Banquet & Conference Centre, St Ann’s, saw Ashley Wharwood, a member of Finessecompany and student of St Joseph’s Convent (San Fernando), cop the prestigious award of Achiever of the Year.

Both Rampersad and Wharwood expressed delight on being selected for the top awards.

“This is a great achievement but I owe a lot to the other stakeholders of Colibri who all pulled their weight,” said Rampersad.

“I also have to thank my colleagues since we all worked as a team. The whole experience has been wonderful and I was able to make new friends along the journey,” said Wharwood.

Some 700 students, representing 33 companies, participated in the 2018 edition of JA’s company programme. Open to Form Four students, the project lasted 21 weeks where participants learned the fundamentals of entrepreneurship by owning and operating a business under the guidance of Junior Achievement. Feature speaker David Dulal- Whiteway, chief executive officer, Arthur Lok Jack Global School of Business, thanked Junior Achievement T&T for its determination in encouraging young people to be active, innovative, creative and socially innovative, creative and socially responsible citizens.

By the year 2030, he told the students, technology and internet advances and the growth of robotics and artificial intelligence would bring a new range of occupations where they would need to be bi-lingual and multi-skilled.

Dulal-Whiteway advanced five principles or values for success: Passion, Purpose, Plan, Persistence and Patience.

He elaborated: “When you are passionate in what you do, people will buy your products and services. To be successful, know your purpose. You must have a business plan. Be persistent in what you want; it can mean the difference between success and failure. Be patient; sometimes in life you have to be patient and see things through.”

JA executive director, J Errol Lewis, said total estimated income for the 33 companies for 2018 was in excess of $200,000, with the Annual Trade Fair, held in April at Woodford Square, Port-of-Spain, accounting for $100,000.

He disclosed that each company contributed a portion of monies earned and/or their time toward a charity of their choice and provided more than 130 hampers to families in need.

“Use your energies positively as you pursue your careers and your life goals. As our banner declares, your future is unlimited. Think big; think far,” Lewis urged the achievers.

Lewis disclosed that, for the first time, officers of the various companies in the JA programme were trained by a highly reputable learning institution in the principles of establishing and running a successful business, through a partnership with the Arthur Lok Jack Global School of Business.

Among the major JA partners are energy company bpTT, Arthur Lok Jack Global School of Business, Scotiabank T&T and the division of co-operatives of the Ministry of Labour & Small and Micro Enterprise Development.


Winners of major awards at Junior Achievement T&T Future Unlimited
Banquet & Awards Ceremony 2018:
Achiever of the Year:
Ashley Wharwood (Finesse)
Company of the Year:
President of the Year:
Shivala Rampersad (Colibri)
Adviser of the Year:
Kerriesse Williams
Salesperson of the Year:
Kharishma Mootoo (Euphoria)
Most Innovative Product:
New Wave
Best Trade Fair Booth:
Best Business Plan:
Dawn Richards Customer
Care Challenge Trophy:
Youth Eclectic
Best Stockholder/Annual Report:
Luna Productions

Categories: Entertainment News

Awards for young achievers in academics

Fri, 07/13/2018 - 00:37

The youth of Belmont were celebrated last week when Belmont Is We (BIW) held its inaugural Halls of Academia Awards at St Margaret’s Parish Hall, located on Belmont Circular Road. The event was to congratulate the community’s top scoring SEA students.

The seven students honoured, representing seven schools, were Menelek Ferreira (Belmont Boys’ RC); Cherelle Hazelwood (Belmont Girls’ RC); Kelis Boucaud (Belmont Government Primary); Ayaisha Gibbs (Melville Memorial Girls); Nathan Pierre (Port-of-Spain SDA); Josimar Belgrave (St Margaret’s Boys); and, Taniya Hinds (St Therese Preparatory).

Arriving guests were greeted to pan music by St Margaret’s Youth Orchestra, an aggregation that has won the Junior National Panorama Competition on five consecutive occasions. Serving as the evening’s hostess was Arveon Prout and attendees were welcomed by BIW vice-chairman John Harper. Opening prayers were said by St Margaret’s Anglican priest Canon Ronald Branche.

This awards function was a milestone moment for the entire Belmont community, one rich with national heroes and exemplars in all fields of endeavour.

Among the prominent “Belmontonians” in attendance were Justice Charmaine Pemberton, Industrial Court Judge Gregory Rousseau, John Harper, Dr Godfrey St Bernard, former national footballer Marlon Morris and BIW chairman Gerald De Leon.

Also present was US-based Donna George, whose mother Mavis Lewis George, has a scholarship award named after. Finalists for the Mavis Lewis George Memorial Scholarship were Calista Alleyne and Amanda Julien, both of St Francois Girls’ College. Julien was the eventual recipient of the scholarship.

Candidates for Monday’s local elections, Liana Babb-Gonzales (UNC) and Felicia Holder (PEP), also took time off their campaigning to attend. Absent was PNM candidate Nicole Young.

Former H2O Phlo vocalist Jason “Fridge” Seecharan, also a son of Belmont, rendered two songs during the programme and St Bernard delivered the evening’s keynote speech.


Belmont Is We began as an online social media page comprising Belmont expatriates, reminiscing about the old times and old experience in Belmont. The group became a certified NGO in September 2017, with mission statement to create programmes to facilitate growth in the community. The group is particularly focussed on motivating and inspiring the youth, and assisting single mothers.


Gerald De Leon (chairman)
John Harper (vice-chairman)
Carissa Rampersad (treasurer)
Mario Montano (financial director)
Erlyn Branche-Nelson (secretary)
Amryl Lovelace (marketing)
Lindy-Ann George (marketing, USA)
Donna George (marketing, USA

Categories: Entertainment News

2018 Pan African Festival TT commemorating Emancipation gets underway

Fri, 07/13/2018 - 00:33

July is a significant month for the Emancipation Support Committee of T&T (ESCTT), as it rolls out its flag-ship events of the Pan African Festival TT, the activities at the Lidj Yasu Omowale Village, the Trade and Investment Symposium and the Kambule on Emancipation Day August 1.

This year, activities at the Village will take place for five days during the last week of July, starting from the morning of July 28. But the events cannot begin without the Blessing of the Ground at 6 pm on Sunday evening July 22. The Blessing of the Grounds of the Lidj Yasu Omowale Emancipation Village, takes place at the Queen’s Park Savannah, Port-of-Spain, and is a necessary part of the Festival as it focuses on bringing positive energies to the venue which will be the centre for all cultural events during the period.

The Lidj Yasu Omowale Emancipation Village will be formally opened on July 28 at 10 am. The Village was named after the early co-chair of the Emancipation Support Committee, which was formed 26 years ago, to strengthen activities focused on the celebration of freedom from chattel slavery. The Emancipation Village will host a series of events that aims not only at celebration of this victory but at guiding our people to chart the way forward.

The morning opening allows visitors to have a head-start on shopping, as entrepreneurs from the African continent, the Caribbean and the best of T&T will have a wide variety of products on sale – authentic African and Caribbean clothing, shoes, fabric, pottery, handbags, accessories, and a host of natural products and a variety of tasty foods and drinks. From just after lunch, Rhythm and Voices of Africa will take over the Village and the Youth Concert, highlighting the talented young bloods, will be staged from 8 pm.

On July 29, it is Family Day at the village. The population are encouraged to “turn down your pot” and enjoy authentic African and Caribbean dishes. Sounds of the Youth Steel Explosion fill the Village from 2 pm featuring popular youth steel orchestras. From 6 pm, Jazz at Sunset and Pan Night will highlight local talented artists in the jazz genre and feature some of the country’s leading steel orchestras.

July 30 has been designated Youth Day, between 9 am and 3 pm. Organised by youth for youth, the day is meant for children from youth camps, communities and families to participate in creative and learning workshops. Attendance is free, but interested groups are advised to book early by calling the ESCTT office. Later in the evening, at 7.30 pm, Shikamoo – Ancestral Rhythms pays tribute to calypsonian Composer for his contribution to the artform. Leading bards will lift their voices in praise to his years of song.

The Pan African concert on July 31, brings to a climax the celebration of African culture with the presentation of the Kalabante, Guinea’s world renowned acrobatic dancers. Comprising young and talented acrobats and dancers from the West African State of Guinea, the group has received rave reviews across Canada and North America.

This will be group’s first visit to the Caribbean and T&T.

The finale of the celebrations is on August 1, starting with the Drum Call at 4 am at Trinidad All Stars Pan Yard which signals the start of this glorious day. The Kambule – the street procession which makes its way through the streets of Port of Spain - assembles in front of the Treasury Building on Independence Square, the historic site where the Emancipation Proclamation was read 180years ago.

Cultural performances will greet those families who mark the day at the Village and at 7 pm, the traditional flambeaux procession winds its way from the Queens Park Savannah back to the All Stars Pan Yard.

Categories: Entertainment News

What’s your sign, girl?

Wed, 07/11/2018 - 02:00

People are always asking what are the signs of mental illness; I am forever trying to answer that with first teaching what are the signs of mental wellness.

“Good mental health isn’t just the absence of mental health problems,” says “Being mentally or emotionally healthy is much more than being free of depression, anxiety, or other psychological issues. Rather than the absence of mental illness, mental health refers to the presence of positive characteristics.”

No one has all the signs of good mental wellbeing all the time, but we can and should strive to attain as many as possible.

According to the US the National Mental Health Association these are ten characteristics of people who are mentally healthy:

1. They feel good about themselves.
2. They do not become overwhelmed by emotions, such as fear, anger, love, jealousy, guilt, or anxiety.
3. They have lasting and satisfying personal relationships.
4. They feel comfortable with other people.
5. They can laugh at themselves and with others.
6. They have respect for themselves and for others even if there are differences.
7. They are able to accept life’s disappointments.
8. They can meet life’s demands and handle their problems when they arise.
9. They make their own decisions.
10. They shape their environment whenever possible and adjust to it when necessary.

The site Psychology Today says: “When reflecting on how you are faring on the journey toward mental health, check in with yourself to see if your life is trending toward these seven core capacities:

1. Commitment to truth—a fundamental orientation to what is real rather than ideal;
2. Tolerance—the capacity to embrace conflicting aspects of oneself and others;
3. Patience—the capacity to remain present to difficult experiences and work them through slowly over time;
4. Vitality—the experience of being more alive, more engaged, and more free of inhibition;
5. Self-control—the capacity to own and take responsibility for oneself;
6. Love—rooted in gratitude and the effort to make repair for damage done to loved ones; and
7. Internal peace and harmony—rooted in a sense of deeper security with oneself and with others, experienced as the feeling of being more whole.

“As we trend toward living out these seven core capacities, we find that we feel better and do better in life. And this extra bit—the being better bit—allows us to feel more satisfied, content, and grounded along the way” (Copyright 2015 by Jennifer Kunst, PhD).

To respond to the question: “What are the signs of mental illness?” here is an excerpt from the Mayo Clinic.

“Signs and symptoms of mental illness can vary, depending on the disorder, circumstances and other factors. Mental illness symptoms can affect emotions, thoughts and behaviours.”

Here are some examples of signs and symptoms, but bear in mind that it is a combination of symptoms over a period of time that constitute or suggest mental ill health or bad mental wellbeing:

• Feeling sad or down
• Confused thinking or reduced ability to concentrate
• Excessive fears or worries, or extreme feelings of guilt
• Extreme mood changes of highs and lows
• Withdrawal from friends and activities
• Significant tiredness, low energy or problems sleeping
• Detachment from reality (delusions), paranoia or hallucinations
• Inability to cope with daily problems or stress
• Trouble understanding and relating to situations and to people
• Alcohol or drug abuse
• Major changes in eating habits
• Sex drive changes
• Excessive anger, hostility or violence
• Suicidal thinking

“Sometimes symptoms of a mental health disorder appear as physical problems, such as stomach pain, back pain, headache, or other unexplained aches and pains” (

It’s okay to ask for help

It is important to get help when our mental wellbeing is threatened. Talking to someone you trust is always my first recommendation for getting an intervention. The problem is that most people with whom I relate would readily speak of the fact that the worst fear is that of being judged by those to whom we turn for help.

Stigma and prejudice are the most common factors preventing people from accessing mental health services. People are reluctant because according to “Society has a tendency to view mental (ill health or mental distress) differently from medical ones. When someone breaks a leg, has chest pains, or needs to get a prescription, they’ll see a doctor.

“However, when they experience depression, excessive fears, or a problem with alcohol, they may be embarrassed to seek help.”

“Many people view these conditions as ‘weaknesses’ they should handle themselves” but “to recognise an emotional problem and receive help is not at all a sign of weakness. Rather, these positive actions are characteristics of strong individuals” (

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

Categories: Entertainment News

Good calypsoes found in Siparia

Wed, 07/11/2018 - 01:59

On Saturday night, after walking a mile and a half, Kenny’s Big Yard Community Tent was eventually located on Coora Road, in Siparia, and what a night it was.

With a full house in attendance, Lystra Nurse, singing under the moniker of Lady Lystra, took on a field of 11 other quality acts to capture the 2018 Community Tents Calypso Monarch competition held on Saturday, at the Kenny’s Big yard, Coora Road, Siparia.

Singing in position 11, Lady Lystra performed Hurricanes Irma and Maria. She wooed the audience and the judges with a unique and riveting presentation which called on Caribbean people to assist our neighbours in need.

Second place went to Francisca “Sweet Merle” Lewis Francois who performed a nation-building ditty entitled Can We Rise. Third place went to veteran TTPS calypso campaigner Terry “Di Masso” Marcelle singing Feed The World, a plea to the developed nations to use their resources for the good of all mankind.

McMorris Edwards performed his calypso Dying which copped fourth place, followed by Melissa Rodriques.

Notable performances came from another veteran Errol “Bingo” Rowe, Reneisha Alexander and Anthony “De Juba” Charles.

Trinbago Unified Calypsonians Organisation (Tuco) South Central Zone and Tuco PRO Steve “Ras Kommanda” Pascal was in attendance, brining greetings for the calypsonians umbrella body.

Pascal hailed the community tents model, adding that they provided opportunities for many more artistes.

Saturday’s production was enhanced by performances by a few of calypsoes better known calypsonians including former National Monarch Luta, Kenny J, Impulse and Young Rose.

[email protected]

Categories: Entertainment News


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