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Movie Producer John Andrews looks to Jamaica to produce 2 films

September 16, 2016
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Writer producer John A. Andrews of ALI Pictures LLC based in New York, and his team, recently made the trek to Jamaica to meet with Film Commissioner Renee Robinson about shooting movies in Jamaica.

Andrews is now singing her praises as he said she is “total professionalism”.

“It was a great relationship. They (JAMPRO) brought us in. I was shocked, I couldn’t believe the kind of treatment we were offered,” he told The Gleaner.

During the three days he was in the island, Andrews visited several locations in Portland, Ocho Rios, Montego Bay, Kingston, among other places, for ideal spots to film his two upcoming movies – Who Shot The Sheriff and Rude Buay: The Unstoppable.


“I made a commitment to JAMPRO to produce one movie for the next five years in Jamaica, as well as other incentives,” said Andrews.

Still singing Robinson’s praises, he described Jamaica Promotions (JAMPRO) as a “first-class operation”, recommending that the rest of the government function the way they do. “That would be great, I was really impressed,” he said.

Andrews who is at present finishing up the rewrite for, Who Shot The Sheriff, said he is almost done, after which he will be getting ready to talk with directors, and when that is in place, the next step will be seeking the cast for the projects.

The producer also shared some impressive plans he has for the island and includes the possibility of constructing a film studio in Jamaica.

“We are looking at a 100- acre land so that we can make that happen. The intention would be to make Jamaica a mighty draw. Right now, there is strong competition from the Dominican Republic. Jamaica has no studio and no tax incentives. That is one of the strong things Jamaica don’t have going,” he said.

Summer 2017 Shooting

Regarding the films, Andrews shared that he is looking at a spring or summer 2017 shoot, and already he is in negotiations with a top hotelier to host the film crew in exchange for promotional consideration.

The cast is still a work in progress, but the producer says he has a wish list and has engaged the services of one of top agencies to source them.

“As soon as we are ready to go, they are ready to package.

They have most of the talent that we had on our wish list,” he said adding that the two films Who Shot The Sheriff and Rude Buay: The Unstoppable will be shot back to back.

“Where we wrap the first one, we will be starting the second,” he quipped.

Andrews pointed out that additional funding is still being sought to complete the two projects but he is anticipating that everything should be in place before the end of the year.

Steven Istock, CEO of California Pictures, will be co-producing with Andrews. California Pictures has also produced and distributed A Warrior’s Heart andScavengers plus distributed, and sold many motion pictures worldwide, including, The Harder They Come.

SOURCE: http://jamaica-gleaner.com/


Event promoter sues Dominica Government for deporting Tommy lee in 2014

July 5, 2016
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ROSEAU, Dominica , Jul 04 2016 – The government is facing legal action for the deportation of controversial Jamaican artiste Tommy Lee Sparta and his entourage in 2014.

The son of former Prime Minister Rosie Douglas says he is preparing to sue the government for what he describes as the illegal arrest, detention, and deportation of the Leroy Russell, who is also known as Tommy Lee Sparta.

According to Cabral Douglas, who organized the concert, Tommy Lee was scheduled to perform at a concert in February 2014 based on the relevant free movement provisions outlined in the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas and the action taken by the government in deporting the artiste, was in breach of the Treaty signed by Caribbean Community (CARICOM) member states.

“Just because Dominica is one of the smaller countries in CARICOM does not excuse the small mindedness demonstrated by the leadership of that country…if anyone can be accused to practicing evil, it’s certainly not Tommy Lee but rather the leadership of Dominica as evidenced by the barbaric, vindictive and inhumane treatment of innocent skilled CARICOM nationals contracted to work in Dominica,” Douglas said.

He stated that the cancellation of the event led  him claiming monetary damages ,  this is in addition to the damages claims made on behalf of the Jamaican claimants, which have been channeled through the office of the Attorney General in Jamaica for various breaches under the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas .

“How can Dominica hypocritically advocate for free movement in its capacity as chair of CARICOM on the one hand, whilst arbitrarily detaining, deporting and humiliating skilled CARICOM nationals contracted to work in Dominica on the other?” Douglas questioned, as Prime Minister, Roosevelt Skerrit takes on the chair of the regional bloc effective July 1. “This is an affront to the spirit of regional integration.”

In 2015,  the Government of Dominica announced a desire for an “amicable” negotiated settlement in the matter.

However, subsequent to this announcement, Douglas’ legal team led by Jamaican attorney Bert Samuels was invited to submit proof of claims as required by the negotiation process, which has been ongoing.

Douglas stated that after spending significant time preparing, substantiating and submitting these claims, it now appears that the Government of Dominica has unilaterally reneged on their commitment to have the matter settled out of court.

He added that a letter from the Chambers of the Attorney General here, dated May 18, 2016, said the government does not accept any liability or responsibility for any of the claims.

“I think the refusal of the Skerrit administration to honour its Treaty obligations as it pertains to the free movement of skilled community nationals not only poses a grave danger to the economic interests Dominican individuals and corporate entities seeking to contract with skilled CARICOM nationals but it also undermines the credibility of CARICOM itself, and Dominica’s position as Chair responsible for the implementation of free movement within its quasi-cabinet,” Douglas argued.

“I suspect that Roosevelt Skerrit, a man that has already declared to Dominicans locally that no law/no constitution can stop him is now promoting the same lawlessness within CARICOM. If his objective is to isolate Dominica as a backward police state with no regards for human rights, free movement and free enterprise then he should be man enough withdraw from CARICOM, suspend the constitution and declare martial law in Dominica,” he said.

Douglas has since  appointed a Trinidad-based Senior Counsel to lead the litigation phase of matter.

“As long as the rule of law still exists within CARICOM, I will be seeking special leave to appear before the CCJ to enforce my rights and the rights of CARICOM nationals under relevant provisions of the (Treaty of Chaguaramas) as I remain committed to the principles of regional integration, human rights and free enterprise which are the foundations of economic development in Dominica and the Caribbean region, as intended by the framers of the treat.”

In February 2014, Tommy Lee, was scheduled to perform at a concert however, organizations, such as the Dominica Association of Evangelical Churches denounced the artiste’s appearance saying his music glorifies Satan and promotes lawlessness and violence.

On his arrival in Dominica, Tommy Lee, 26, and his entourage was denied entry, detained and deported the following day.

The government of Dominica said its action was based in the interest of public safety.

SOURCE: Caribbean News Service (CNS)


Everton Blender represented Jamaica at Caribbean Music Festival in Beijing China

June 30, 2016
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Veteran roots singer Everton Blender was the sole representative from Jamaica at the recently held Caribbean Music Festival in Beijing, China.

Blender performed alongside artistes from Caribbean territories including the Bahamas, Grenada, Trinidad & Tobago, Guyana and Barbados. He delivered a creditable performance riddled with many of his hits.

“It was a really good experience, especially being my first time performing in China I received a warm welcome from the locals, and there were even Jamaicans in the crowd as well.

There was an interpreter on the stage so I even sang some of my lyrics in Chinese, much to the delight of my Beijing fans,” said Blender.

The event, featured musicians and bands from Caribbean countries with embassies in Beijing, providing a forum for the embassies in Beijing to work together to showcase the Caribbean.

Organised by the Ministry of Culture of China, presented by China Arts and Entertainment Group, in collaboration with the embassies of the Bahamas, Barbados, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago, the music festival is also part of the China-Latin America and Caribbean Year of Culture Exchange.

According to Brad Hemmings of Caribbean Entertainment, the artiste-booking agency which provided the performers for the festival, the first staging was quite encouraging.

“The successful first staging will, undoubtedly, mean continuity and expansion of this cultural-exchange activity, going forward. It not only provided opportunities for cultural exchange but a stage for our Caribbean artistes to showcase their amazing talent to a virtually untapped Asian market,” Hemmings added.

Other Caribbean performers at the four-day festival included Rupee, Tizzy, Mr Killa, Mitchell Brunnings, David L and Lil Bitts.

Source: Jamaica Star


Machel Montano takes the Leading Role In Soca Musical

June 24, 2016
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TRINIDAD – Soca as a musical genre has extended itself beyond its native shores of Trinidad and Tobago and will now look to take things a step further with the upcoming release of the film, Bazodee.

The film was first screened at the Trinidad and Tobago Film Festival in September 2015.

Set against the backdrop of the Trinidad Carnival season, the film promises to be colourful, vibrant and musical – typical of Bollywood-style film-making. However, the director of the film, six-time Emmy nominee, Todd Kessler, would rather the film be called Triniwood, in recognition of the unique and seasonal musical genre, and its accuracy in capturing the Carnival atmosphere.

‘Bazodee’ is a slang for the dizzying feeling of infatuation or being in love, according to Machel Montano in an interview with largeup.com. The soca musical keeps with this theme, presenting a forbidden love story encased in the cultural duality of the two dominant racial groups of the twin islands, African and Indian.

The lead roles are played by British actress of Sri Lankan parentage Natalie Perera as Anita Panchouri, a representative of the immersion of Indian culture on the twin-islands, and soca mega-star Machel Montano, who plays the role of an aspiring singer, Lee de Leon. Also starring in the film is internationally acclaimed Indian television and film actor, Kabir Bedi as Ram Panchouri.

The film will be released in theaters across the United States this August.

Source: Jamaica-Gleaner


Mavado fights against being deported from America

January 17, 2015
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According to Supreme Promotions CEO Isaiah Laing, Sting 30 will serve patrons a mixed bag of goodies. "Throughout the years, Sting has become famous for giving the patrons what they want.

DANCEHALL artiste Mavado has responded to a recent petition to have him deported from the United States.

In an exclusive with the Jamaica Observer, Mavado — whose given name is David Brooks — said a former business associate is behind the scheme.

“Is somebody that used to work with me. Me find out him no real and let him go, so a fi him way dis to get back at me. I don’t know if him create the page or ask someone to do it, but he is the mastermind behind everything,” said Mavado.

The singjay, however, declined to name the former associate.

Created on the White House’s website on Sunday by Maryland resident Trudy A Miller, the petition stated that the dancehall entertainer is a non-residing felon living in the USA. It further stated that it is “grossly unfair that undocumented immigrants with no serious criminal records are deported daily, while a convicted felon, such as Mavado, has carte blanche to live and work here”.

So far, fewer than 10 persons have signed the petition.

Mavado said this is not the first time that his reputation and music career have been attacked by this individual.

“This individual has contacted several media outlets and told them that I had limited amount of days to leave the States, among a bunch of other things; all of which are lies,” he said.

The singjay said he has contracted the services of an immigration attorney, who is handling the matter.

“I have been living here [the United States] for three years. My wife and two of my kids are Americans and I have never committed a crime here. All I am doing is spending time with my family while doing music,” he said.

A member of DJ Khaled’s We the Best Music Group, Mavado said he is busy working on his upcoming 16-track album slated to be released in May.

On Thursday the singjay released I Ain’t Going Back Broke, a collaboration with hip-hop artistes Ace Hood and Future.

A mixtape entitled The Hands of the Gully God will also be released in two weeks. – Jamaican Observer


Minister Connor pays Tribute to D’Shnay

January 5, 2015
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Minister of Tourism & Economic Affairs Claret Connor presents the congratulatory letter to Miss Teen Carnival Queen St. Maarten D’Shnay York.


GREATBAY– Minister of Tourism Claret Connor recently paid tribute to St. Maarten’s reigning Teen Carnival Queen D’Shnay York who won the Haynes Smith Talent Teen Pageant in St. Kitts on December 30. He congratulated her on behalf of his entire Ministry.

The Minister presented D’Shnay with a congratulatory letter from his ministry and hailed her as a true ambassador for St. Maarten. He said the competition was very close between D’Shnay and the first runner-up who hailed from St. Kitts which is evidence that the judges recognized the hard work D’shnay put into the pageant.

“Your success at the competition is a great victory for the people of St. Maarten, not because you emerged victorious, but because you were able to give your best while you proudly represented St. Maarten,” the Minister said.

“We are extremely proud of you and your team and wish you much success during your reign. May your reign be one of continued growth and success. Continue to make St. Maarten proud in all of your endeavors.”



Sean Paul receives death threat from Islamic group

December 27, 2014
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KINGSTON, Jamaica, Dec 27, CMC – Jamaica’s Grammy award winning singer, Sean Paul, is to decide whether or not to perform a New Year Eve show in the Maldives after reportedly receiving a death threat from an Islamic group claiming to have ties in Syria, the Jamaica Observer newspaper reported Saturday.

It said the video message was posted online and that the publicist for the artiste, Carlette DeLeon, said a decision would be taken following a meeting with Sean Paul’s management team and authorities in the Maldives.

“We are aware of the developing situation. We are currently in contact with all related parties concerning the concert to address the matter. No further details are available at this time,” DeLeon told the Jamaica Observer.

Britain’s Independent newspaper reported the video message carries the logo of the Bilad Al Sham Media (BASM) group, an organisation which claims to comprise Maldivian jihadists based in Syria and the Maldives.

“Sean Paul, if you visit the Maldives, the world will see your burned and blood-drenched dead body,” said cards held by a cloaked figure in the video posted on YouTube late on Wednesday night.

“It is for all Muslim to jihad in the name of Allah. Hence disbelievers like Sean Paul, who are like the worst of the devil’s advocates, deserve nothing but death,” according to the video.

But the newspaper quoting a Twitter account allegedly belonging to BASM, said the group denies being behind the threat.

“We would clearly like to announce that our media have nothing to do with the Sean Paul death threatening video.” – The Daily Observer


Heineken Regatta reveals headliners

December 9, 2014
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REGATTA 35-edition

PHILIPSBURG–Kool and the Gang and Tessanne Chin will be headlining the weekend-long party during the 35th Heineken Regatta, March 6-8.

The headliners were announced Monday, on the same day organisers held an opening party for sponsors at the cruise terminal.

“The roster for this anniversary edition is filling up quickly and organisers are excited to announce that this internationally-known band, which has been performing continually for 35 years, will grace the Regatta stage on Sunday, March 8, 2015,” said the organisers.

Grammy-winning artistes Kool and the Gang are best known for their hits, such as “Celebration,” “Get down on it” and “I want to take you higher.” The song “Celebration,” like the Heineken Regatta, is 35 years old.

Jamaica-born Tessanne Chin, who won The Voice of America 2013, will be performing on Saturday, March 7. She also performed at the event in 2012, together with her sister Tami Chin.

Many other bands and artistes will be announced over the coming weeks, and sailors and spectators will be treated to a variety of music over the course of three days and four nights, the organisers promised.

At the opening party, at which DJ Soc was the Master of Ceremonies, some 100 sponsors and guests joined the organisers to celebrate the upcoming regatta. Heineken Director Michele Korteweg joined Soc in addressing the crowd and thanking a long list of sponsors.

A number of promotional videos were shown to whet the crowd’s appetite for the biggest regatta in the Caribbean. John Leone, Commercial Director at International Liqour & Tobacco Trading N.V., reminded the crowd that this would be the Regatta’s 35th anniversary and revealed its new logo.

In the new logo, he explained, the emphasis was less on the word “Heineken” and more on “St. Maarten,” which was shown bigger than before. This was done to reflect the island’s importance, Leone said. He said the Regatta was growing, he wanted the people of St. Maarten to grow with it and the people and the companies in St. Maarten to benefit.

This year, he said, we will reflect on 35 years of the Heineken Regatta, “but we also dream of how big this can be. We want to be the hub of everything marine-related. We want everyone to benefit. Let’s all grow together.”

The formal part of the evening saw all those present, including Minister of Tourism Ted Richardson, raise their glasses for a toast to the popular event. This was followed by an opportunity to socialise, with food and drinks being served, including, of course, copious amounts of Heineken beer, a fitting tribute to the Regatta’s catchphrase “Serious Fun.”

For more information about the Heineken Regatta, visit the Website

www.heinekenregatta.com . – The Daily Herald


Dr Rum reaches semi finals at the voice on Netherlands

December 9, 2014
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dr rum

SXM \ HILVERSUM–Dr. Rum, the artiste name of St. Maarten rapper Jernaldo Thielman, and his partner April made it to the semi finals of the popular talent show The Voice of Holland. Their performance on Friday was a big success and they scored the highest amount of public votes.

Dr. Rum (24) and April (27) had the honour of being the opening act during Friday’s live show of The Voice of Holland on RTL with their two-minute version of the song “Billionaire,” originally of American recording artiste Travie McCoy, featuring Bruno Mars.

April sang the first part after which Dr. Rum made his entry being pushed onto the stage on a green sofa chair by two ladies. Dr. Rum, dressed in a funky US $100 bill suit, did his part dancing along with a set of professional dancers, and at one point even walked into the audience.

The duet got the audience, which included family and friends, crazy. People were clapping and dancing. The team leaders of the show got up from their chairs and swung along. April and Dr. Rum got a standing ovation from the audience. TV viewers at home loved them too because they got the highest number of public votes, cast via the app, sms or telephone.

Dutch rapper Ali B., April and Dr. Rum’s team leader, said in his live comments right after the performance that he was very proud. “This was so great. Really!” He complimented Dr. Rum for having grown over the different shows, since the first blind auditions. “Nobody at the time knew where this was going. But you have shown us that you are good. You bring a lot of happiness, not only here but also at home.”

Team leader Trijntje Oosterhuis said April and Dr. Rum radiated energy and positivism, the performance being natural, without the nervousness that many other talent show candidates displayed. “It instantly got 10 degrees warmer here,” she said.

April and Dr. Rum will go on to the semi finals, along with seven other candidates. During the semi finals this Friday four candidates will be sent home. Four candidates will go on to the finals the week after.

“It felt so amazing. I didn’t expect this. I am so grateful,” Dr. Rum told The Daily Herald on Sunday. “We worked really hard to get here. As I said before, any next performance has to be better than the one before,” he said.

About Friday’s performance, Dr. Rum said: “April was able to shine with her beautiful voice, and I could rap and dance. I was in my comfort zone. This is my thing. I truly enjoyed it, even more so than the previous performances.”

The past weeks have been like a roller coaster for the St. Maarten born rapper who moved to the Netherlands five years ago to study music and producing at the Albeda College in Rotterdam. “It has been crazy, a whole lot of emotions. People recognise me now in the supermarket and train. They want to take photos with me. People stare at you. It took me some time to get accustomed to it,” he said. The Voice of Holland is viewed by some 2.5 million people each week.

Dr. Rum and April, as well as the other candidates, have been training several days a week. “It is getting more intense now. What can I say, it is really a dedication.”And the next show? “I really don’t know. You can’t predict these things, but don’t forget that I won already by coming this far.” – The Daily Herald


Lisandre Niçoise has pulled out of the 24th annual Caraïbes Hibiscus Pageant

December 5, 2014
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Caraibes Hibiscus Pageant

Some of the pageant contestants – Photo The Daily Herald

PHILIPSBURG–St. Martin/St. Maarten delegate for the 24th annual Caraïbes Hibiscus Pageant Lisandre Niçoise (21) has pulled out of the pageant at the eleventh hour on the grounds that sufficient preparations are not being made for her.

Niçoise was set to take the stage to represent both sides of the island at the regional event. The St. James, Marigot, resident, who stands tall at 5 feet 7 inches and weighs 120 pounds, said on Thursday that there had been organisational and preparation issues. She said she had pulled out to take a stand for future delegates and to ensure that proper arrangements are made for their participation.

Niçoise said her goal was not to bash or embarrass the Caraïbes Hibiscus Organisation, but just to take a stand. She wished the delegates participating in the pageant much success in the competition and urged the public to go out and support them.

Niçoise said she had met the contestants and “they are all great girls.” A total of nine girls have arrived in the country already for the pageant, which will be held at Sonesta Maho’s Casino Royale on Saturday, December 6.

Already on the island are delegates from Bonaire, Colombia, Guadeloupe, Jamaica, Haiti, Martinique, Mexico, Suriname and the United States. Contestants began to arrive on the island on December 1 and have started to visit several places in the run-up to the pageant.

They visited the Council of Ministers on Wednesday.

They visited the Dutch-side police station on Thursday, December 4, as well as Sports Gallery, Ultimate Jewelers and Lucky Cosmetics 2 where they were presented with gifts.

They will visit Park Avenue today, Friday, December 5, where they also will be presented with gifts. They will have lunch at Pineapple Pete, practise their choreography at Beach Plaza Hotel and have dinner at Bridge Café.

They will have a general rehearsal at Casino Royale before the pageant on Saturday, December 6.

In addition to the contestants appearing on stage in the various segments, patrons at the event will be entertained by guest performers Zouk Look, Jeremy Huot and Latin Afro Moove.

The winner will receive a US $5,000 prize, gifts from sponsors and a chance to travel to several destinations in the Caribbean, Europe and Latin America. The first runner-up will win a $1,000 cash prize and gifts, and the second runner-up will win a $500 cash prize and gifts from sponsors.

Masters of Ceremonies for the pageant will be Valerie Daijardin and entertainer and restaurateur Leroy “Beau Beau” Brooks.

Tickets cost $25 or 25 euros in advance and $30 or 30 euros at the door, and are available in St. Maarten at Van Dorp in Madame Estate and Simpson Bay, and in French St. Martin at L’Orangerie Boutique, La Maison de La Presse, Change Express and St. Martin’s Week. An after-party will be held at Tantra Nightclub. – The Daily Herald

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