Jamaican athletes warmly welcomed, skills touted, in Brussels visit

Mr. Jacques Nyseem, Mr Wlifrid Meert/ Van Damme Games Representative, Mr Andreas Gerlandt, Mr Nesta Carter, Asafa Powell, Ambassador Vilma McNish and Kemar Bailey-Cole.

Mr. Jacques Nyseem, Senior VP of Commerzbank and Honorary Consul in Belgium; Mr Wlifrid Meert/ Van Damme Games Representative; Mr Andreas Gerlandt, Commerzbank Country Manager for Belgium; Mr Nesta Carter; Jamaica’s Track Star Asafa Powell, Jamaica’s Ambassador to Belgium  Vilma McNish and Kemar Bailey-Cole.

“Our Jamaican athletes continue to blaze a trail of triumph and glory globally,” said Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller in a special video message on the occasion of a reception on September 4, 2014 in honor of the athletes who participated in the recent Memorial Van Damme Games in Brussels.The treasured and talented ambassadors of Brand Jamaica continue to bring distinction to Jamaica, the Prime Minister said.

The event was hosted by the embassy of Jamaica in Brussels and the Commerzbank on the eve of the season’s final IAAF Diamond League meet on September 5, 2014.
The Prime Minister used the opportunity to highlight the fruitful relationship and the strong bonds of friendship between Jamaica and Belgium.


Jamaican track star Asafa Powell shares his thoughts with the gathering.

Referring to the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the city of Brussels after the Second World War, she stressed the power of sport to free the world from prejudices and unite people in the spirit of cooperation, friendship, peace, security and freedom.

In welcoming the athletes, Ambassador Vilma McNish, Jamaica’s ambassador to Belgium and head of mission to the European Union also lauded their outstanding achievements of the athletes during the season, in particular their performance at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in August. Mr. Jacques Nyssen, vice president of the Commerzbank and Honorary Consul, underscored the many years of co-operation between Jamaica and Belgium, particularly in the area oftransportation.

Jamaican athletes

L-R: Mr. Andreas Gerlandt, Commerzbank Country Manager for Belgium,  Jamaica’s Ambassador to Belgium Vilma McNish, Track star Asafa Powell and Mr. Jacques Nyseem, Senior Vice President of Commerzbank and Honorary Consul in Belgium.

The relaxed atmosphere allowed the athletes who had spent the day training for the track meet the following day to meet and greet members of the Jamaican Communityand Belgianwell-wishers. They included Asafa Powell, Kemar Bailey-Cole, Nesta Carter, Andrew Riley, Kaliese Spencer, Christine Day, Stephanie Ann McPherson, Novlene Williams Mills, and Kimberley Williams.

A donation was made by Commerzbank to the Asafa Powell Foundation. In accepting the donation, Mr. Powel affirmed his dedication to sport and in assisting in the development of young track and field athletes in Jamaica through his foundation. He expressed the appreciation of his fellow athletes for the warm reception.-OnPointPress.net.

Medical tourism conference will highlight Caribbean contribution

Dr. Chandy Abraham

Dr. Chandy Abraham, facility director and head of Medical Services, Healthy City Cayman Islands, will participate in the medical tourism conference in Washington, D.C.

Cayman Islands: September 2014 – One of the Caribbean’s newest medical facilities will be introduced to the world as an excellent Caribbean contribution to the rapidly expanding medical tourism landscape at a major global meeting this month.

Health City Cayman Islands will be offered up as a center of excellence for medical tourism and destination healthcare at the World Medical Tourism and Global Healthcare Congress in Washington DC, September 20 to 24. Health City Cayman Islands, a leader and innovator in providing world-class, affordable, high quality health care in a compassionate, caring environment, will send a strong delegation to one of the most comprehensive international healthcare conferences and trade shows in the sector.

Dr. Chandy Abraham, Facility Director and Head of Medical Services, will introduce the special skills and capacities of the Caribbean’s state-of-the-art facility in his presentation to a Caribbean ministerial meeting.


“The networking value of these conferences is exceptional,” said Dr. Abraham, who added Health City Cayman Islands is looking forward to sharing its door-to-door concierge service and tropical atmosphere which promote a relaxing recovery.

Fielding questions and representing Health City at formal meetings will be Patient Care Relations Manager Joan Freedman; Marketing Director Shomari Scott; and Digital Marketing Specialist Aliya Dunstan.

“As the world’s population ages, non-communicable diseases continue to rise in frequency and healthcare costs inflate at an alarming rate. The issue of creating a healthcare destination that provides a high quality service for far less cost has never been more pressing,” said Scott.

The Health City Cayman Islands facility, he added, represented the Caribbean’s determination to step up to the burgeoning global medical tourism and travel market. Envisioned by Narayana Health’s storied Dr. Devi Shetty, a philanthropist and personal physician of the late Mother Teresa, Health City Cayman Islands opened its doors in February 2014. The state-of-the-art medical facility in the western Caribbean is one of 27 facilities operating under Dr. Shetty’s administration across the globe.

Health City Cayman Islands opened its first phase in early 2014, putting the Cayman Islands on the map as a healthcare destination, and offering patients a centre of excellence for cardiac surgery, cardiology, orthopaedics, paediatric endocrinology and pulmonology. Once completed, Health City Cayman Islands will have 2,000 beds, a dedicated medical research university, assisted living centre and become one of the largest healthcare centres of its kind in the world. Health City recently created Caribbean surgical history by installing an artificial heart pump (LVAD – Left Ventricular Assist Device) to give a Caymanian man facing advanced stage heart failure a new lease on life. For more information, visit www.healthcity.ky-OnPointPres.net.


Caribbean group set to honor late dub poet Mikey Smith’s 60th birthday

Dub Poet Michael 'Mikey" Smith was stoned to death 30 years ago.

Dub Poet Michael ‘Mikey” Smith was stoned to death 30 years ago.

On Thursday, September 18 at 7:00 p.m., “Poets & Passion, A Caribbean Literary Lime” kicks off its ninth season reflecting on the work dub poet Michael Mikey Smith and the legacy of Caribbean artists as social activists .Smith was killed by a blow to the head on August 17, 1983, a month short of his 30th birthday.

“Talkin Dub: A Mikey Smith Tribute” takes place at Nicholas Brooklyn, 570 Fulton Street (corner Flatbush Avenue), in the heart of the cultural district of downtown Brooklyn. It  features a program of film, music and performance poetry with some of the most dynamic custodians of the dub poetry tradition: Barbadian, AJA and Jamaicans, jaBEZ, Queen Majeeda and Ras Osagyefo. A project of the Caribbean Cultural Theatre, this program is being presented in association with Big Sis Entertainment and Nicholas Brooklyn, Inc. It is also a Brooklyn Book Festival Bookend event.

the Afro-Caribbean Dance Ensemble is an internationally acclaimed dance company based in Edmonton, Alberta, that is dedicated to educating the public and building an appreciation and understanding of dance, African and Caribbean culture and multiculturalism.

the Afro-Caribbean Dance Ensemble is an internationally acclaimed dance company based in Edmonton, Alberta, that is dedicated to educating the public and building an appreciation and understanding of dance, African and Caribbean culture and multiculturalism.

Smith was one of the most original poetic voices to emerge from the newly independent British Caribbean during the politically volatile 1970. His weapon, Dub Poetry, is an indigenous Caribbean literary form steeped in the traditional orality, social consciousness and personal struggle. Smith’s work raged against a Jamaican political establishment that seemed to fail the majority of its people and decry to social and economic inequities commonplace in black communities throughout the Caribbean diaspora.

According to the Jamaica Daily Gleaner report Smith was “hit on the head by a stone thrown by one of three men who had attacked him” in the aftermath of a political meeting held by the then governing party. Celebrated dub poet and Smith contemporary, Linton Kwesi Johnson, who inaugurated the Poets & Passion series, has been quoted as saying that Smith was “the quintessential performance poet, gifted with an unrivalled talent for mesmerizing his audience.”

Artistic depiction of Caribbean culture.

Artistic depiction of Caribbean culture.

This 60th birthday tribute is presented with support of Nicholas Brooklyn, a cutting-edge business incubator and creative outlet in the heart of Brooklyn’s vibrant downtown cultural district with programs in poetry, music and independent film, and Big Sis Entertainment, headed by Sister Kufunya and producing work in popular music and celebrating the Rastafari culture. This is the third Poets & Passion program with community based organizations highlighting the range of Caribbean letters leading up to the annual Brooklyn Book Festival. Previous programs have featured Robert Antoni (Bahamas), Earl Lovelace (Trinidad & Tobago), Oonya Kempadoo (Guyana) and Montague Kobbé (Venezuela)

The Caribbean Cultural Theatre, which presents the work of Caribbean based and/or influenced writers, filmmakers, folklorists and theatre practitioners, has been artist-in-resident at the Caribbean Research Center – Medgar Evers College for the past three years. The 2014-15 Caribbean Cultural Theatre season of presentations will focus on the role of Caribbean artists being the ‘creative consciousness’ within our community.

For information contact Caribbean Cultural Theatre: 718.783.8345 / caribbeantheatre.org or Nicholas Brooklyn: 718.858.4400.-OnPointPress.net.


Clueless Roger Goodell snubs blacks by creating all-white DV panel

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell responded to critics of the punishment of Ray Rice by making sweeping changes to the NFL personal conduct policy.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has snubbed blacks by creating an all-white panel to address domestic violence and child abuse issues that have been plaguing the league of late.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has done it again!. In an effort to calm the public relations nightmare that has enveloped the league, he appointed four women to address domestic violence issues that have been in the public eye due to incidents involving black families.

Absent from the panel is any black women or men. Where is the black woman who could give credible background and context to the issue of domestic violence and child abuse? Where is the blemish-free retired black NFL player who could shed light on the players’ mindset while assisting to create a meaningful template to elicit appropriate conduct by the players?

But no, Goodell ignored the voices of blacks even though he created the panel due to the outcry created by his mishandling of off the field issues that involved black players and their families.

The women, who all have stellar credentials, are: Lisa Friel 57, former sex crimes leader in New York; Jane Randel, 47, and Rita Smith, 60, both domestic violence prevention champions, and Anna Isaacson, whose NFL title was expanded to include “social responsibility,” whatever that means.

In a league that is more than 70 percent black, Goodell’s actions show that he has no respect for his players, their families or his sponsors. Instead, he shows that he is insecure and will do whatever he believes will sway public view to his side. So he appoints a group of white women with impressive credentials to examine and fix an issue that disproportionately affects black women, black children and black NFL players. In Goodell’s world, this makes perfect sense.-OnPointpPress.net.

QBR’s author reading series promote the theme of renewal

Dirty Laundry

Performers depict “Dirty Laundry” and will bring “From Ashes to Angel’s Dust’ to life in Military Park author readings.

QBR, the Quarterly Black Review, will promote the importance of renewal during its author reading series on September 17 and 24 in Newark, New Jersey for the last two editions of the organization’s Author Reading Series. The 14-week series began on Wednesday, June 25 from 12:00 p.m.-1:30 p.m. and will conclude on Wednesday, September 24.

“We are pleased to be acknowledged for our commitment to developing and serving audiences through books”, said Max Rodriguez, founder of the Harlem Book Fair and publisher of QBR The Black Book Review. “Our weekly author talks will feature selected, well-known and newly-published authors from all genres. We anticipate large crowds, hungry for lunch time entertainment.”

Zoe Flowers

Zoe Flowers

Last fall, the Newark Municipal Council voted unanimously to allow the Military Park Partnership to manage the park’s redevelopment, working in conjunction with Biederman Redevelopment Ventures, which has worked on park projects in several cities in the past decade, including New York City (Bryant Park), Boston, Buffalo, Dallas, and Pittsburgh. Literary programming is a key element of Bryant Park’s success and Military Park will also have an author talk series, created by the organization behind the Harlem Book Fair.

Omali Yeshitela

Omali Yeshitela

“We are excited to bring the Harlem Book Fair back to Newark and we’re proud to introduce more literary events to the city,” said Dan Biederman.

On September 17, Zoe Flowers, Sherri Pullum and Camila Camilo will present a staged reading of “From Ashes to Angel’s Dust,” while Joe Young will present “Diamond Ruff.” On September 24, Omali Yeshitela will present “An Uneasy Equilibrium.”

All events are free.

Joe Young

Joe Young

Founded as the public program of QBR The Black Book Review (www.QBR.com) and now in its 17th year, the Harlem Book Fair, the nations’ largest and most-respected African-American literary festival, is partnered by Columbia University, the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture the New York Public Library, Literacy Partners, Inc., the national literacy organization; and televised nationally by C-Span’s BookTV. Attended by over 20,000 readers and viewed by millions on C-Span, the Harlem Book Fair stands as the nation’s flagship African-American public literary event.

For more information visit www.qbr.com.-OnPointPress.net.


ISIS’ beheadings of journalists seek to stifle independent voices

Decked out in a bullet proof vest, James Foley reads on his downtime.

Decked out in a bullet proof vest, James Foley reads on his downtime. He was beheaded by ISIS operatives.

The role of journalists across the globe is especially important as the need to share the news across various outlets becomes integral, despite the range of social media forms. For some journalists, the job to investigate and disseminate the news comes at risks to their personal safety, but the job must be done.

James Foley, 40, was an American journalist who worked for the website GlobalPost. Foley hailed from the small state of New Hampshire. Dedicated to his craft and his profession, he was captured in November 2012 while covering the Syrian unrest. He was beheaded by ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq and Syria), or ISIL operatives. The video of the gruesome murder was splashed across the airwaves in an attempt to intimidate other journalists and send a message to the U.S President Barack Obama that he needs to stop airstrikes targeting the Islamist extremists.

Steven Sotolof before he was beheaded.

Journalist Steven Sotolof was beheaded despite a plea by his mother, that she directed specifically to his captors, begging for his life to be spared.

Another American journalist, Steven Sotoloff, 31, originally from South Florida was a freelancer for Time and The Christian Science Monitor. The focus of his work was to highlight the plight of Muslims “at the hands of tyrants.” He was beheaded days after his mother aired an appeal directly to his captors. President Obama has stated that his objective is to “degrade and ultimately destroy” ISIS. While British Prime Minister David Cameron threatened to “do everything in our power to hunt down these murderers,” after a British aid worker David Haines, was beheaded.

As the world becomes more dangerous for various reasons such as wars, political strife and socio-economic factors, journalists take even greater risks to perform their jobs. But the dangers do not diminish the vital role that journalists play in society: investigating and disseminating the news. When journalists are tortured, murdered or harassed and arrested without justification, like they were this summer in Ferguson, Missouri, it is important for collective voices to be raised against such actions. Your right to be informed about every facet of society depends on it.–OnPointPress.net.

Jamaica hosted poets, educators, on International Literacy Day

min brown

The Hon. Arnaldo Brown, Minister of State in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, addresses the gathering in the lobby of the ministry during the International Literacy Day event.-Photos courtesy of Emma Lewis.

Jamaica’s State Minister in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Hon. Arnaldo Brown addressed a gathering at the ministry on International Literacy Day, Monday, September 8. An excerpt of his speech appears below:

“I am pleased to address this gathering on this very important occasion, the celebration of International Literacy Day 2014. It was in 1965, 49 years ago, that, September 8th was declared by the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as International Literacy Day.

Prof Eddie Baugh

Professor Edward Baugh delighted with his wry sense of humor as he read poems from his published collection, “Black Sand.”

” The day was first celebrated in 1996, with the aim of highlighting the importance of literacy to individuals, communities and societies. Today, the world at large uses the opportunity to recognize the issue of literacy in human development and to give impetus to the drive to achieve the six (6) United Nations Education for All goals, which are:
• 1: Expand early childhood care and education
• 2: Provide free and compulsory primary education for all
• 3: Promote learning and life skills for young people and adults
• 4: Increase adult literacy
• 5: Achieve gender parity
• 6: Improve the quality of education


Jean Gouldbourne, 2010 JCDC Adult Short Story Gold Awardee and Iowa International Fellow, reads from her work, while Ann-Margaret Lim, poet and Head of the Public Relations and Media Unit at the Ministry, holds the microphone.

“Studies have shown that there is a direct and positive correlation between the lives of mothers and their children: if the mother is literate, then there’s a higher likelihood that the child will be too. This increase in literacy is positively correlated to increases in individual, national and global sustainable development. In light of this, the UNESCO has chosen to celebrate International Literacy Day under the theme of Literacy and Sustainable Development. It is envisioned that increased emphasis will be put on the importance of girls’ and women’s literacy and education for sustainable development, contributing to the new international development goals that will come into effect in 2015.


Poet Laureate and Professor Emeritus Mervyn Morris reads from his latest book, “Miss Lou: Louise Bennett and Jamaica Culture.” He also read audience favorites such as “The Pond.”

“Ladies and gentlemen, literacy is a basic human right and an absolute condition for reaching all of the internationally agreed development goals. However, the recent reports are sobering. Today, the world over, there are a reported 781 Million illiterate adults, two-thirds of which are women. There are over 250 million children unable to read, despite half of them spending at least four years in school and one in four adolescents —175 million— are unable to read a single sentence.


UNESCO announced that Sustainable Development is the focus for this year’s International Literacy Day.

“In the Jamaican context, according to World Bank statistics the adult literacy rate in 2011, was 87.4%, which is higher than the world average of 84.1%. This correlates to an average of 91.7% for adult women and 82.06% for adult men.
Jamaica has managed to eliminate gender disparity in education at the primary level. However, at the secondary level girls outnumber boys and this is even more evident at the tertiary level.


UNESCO chart shows the disparity in various sectors of development due to literacy issues.

“I speak with pride given the achievements of our women and girls, but there is still much work to be done for them and for our men and boys. So let’s redouble our efforts to increase literacy, as this is positively correlated to sustainable development.
There needs to be “All hands on deck” in this global war against illiteracy, and this is why we are very grateful to Poet Laureate and Professor Emeritus Mervyn Morris, Professor Emeritus Edward Baugh and multiple genre writer, academic and journalist Ms. Jean Goulbourne, who volunteered their time to contribute to the celebrations of this Ministry on this auspicious occasion. Ladies and gentlemen, I thank you.”

Special guests at the event included Charge d’Affaires in the Republic of South Africa Philip Riley, Dr. Michael Bucknor who presides over the Department of Literatures in English at the University of the West Indies (UWI), Dr. Velma Pollard, Dr. Jean Small, Adziko Simba and the Foreign Service staff.-OnPointPress.net.

New York City Council passes public advocate’s foster care bill

public ad

New York City Public Advocate Letitia James is flanked by supporters of the foster care bill that was passed by the City Council on Wednesday, September 10, 2014.

On Wednesday, September 10, New York’s City Council passed a bill to protect and track children in the foster care system. The bill was the brainchild of Public Advocate Letitia James. Below is a letter from James:

“In June 2014, I was joined by elected officials and youth advocacy agencies to call for the passage of Intro 104-A, a bill I drafted, that will require increased reporting on youth transitioning out of foster care. This legislation will help ensure that our city can properly obtain data on these young adults to better understand what support and resources they are availing themselves of; address ongoing educational barriers; and prevent problems they might encounter with homelessness or law enforcement. Most importantly, the changes from this bill will create coordination among relevant agencies to ensure this information is more readily available.

The country's foster care system continues to need help.

The country’s foster care system continues to need help, with children facing challenges and uncertainty within the system and when they transition out.

“Throughout my career as a City Council Member, I have fought hard for legislation that ensures the well-being of children and families. However, today marked a first for me as Public Advocate for the City of New York. Today, I celebrated, along with advocates and fellow leaders, as my first piece of legislation in my newly city-wide elected role was passed by members of the New York City Council.

U.s. Department of

U.S Department of Health and Human Services provide the start reality that face children in the foster care system.

“Along with its passage today, I released a policy report -“Improving the Outcomes for Youth Aging Out of Foster Care in New York City”- which provides recommendations to improve data collection, access to housing, and stronger coordination of services.


U.S. Department of Health and Human Services show the vast ages of children in the foster care system.

“I thank my colleagues in the City Council, as well as youth advocates who championed this issue, for helping pass today’s bill. Together, we are ensuring greater communication and partnership between city agencies and youth service agencies that support young people in the foster care system. As we move forward, we can collaboratively best address the needs of this at-risk population, and provide the tools necessary to improve their quality of life and future success.” -OnPointPress.net.

Central Park Five’s $41 million settlement was long overdue

central park five

L-R: Central Park Five Korey Wise, Andron McCray, Kevin Richardson, Raymond Santana and Yusef Salaam will share $41 million settlement.

The decision by federal judge Ronald Ellis on Friday, September 5, to approve a $41 million settlement for the Central Park Five was long overdue, but extremely smart when it was finally made.

As teenagers, five African-American and Latino males, Korey Wise, Antron McCray, Kevin Richardson, Raymond Santana and Yusef Salaam, served years in jail for allegedly raping and beating a white female jogger in Central Park. Eventually, Matias Reyes, the true perpetrator, confessed to the crime and DNA evidence supported his confession. But that was after the convicted five endured years of separation from their families as well as trauma, as their youth were stolen from them.

central park five

L-R Antron McCray, Kevin Richardson, Raymond Santana, Yusef Salaam and Korey Wise, as young teenagers when they were convicted of raping and beating an investment banker in Central Park. They were later cleared of the crime after serving time in jail.

The fact that the boys confessed to the crime initially, then recanted saying they were coerced and bullied by police, inspired activists to take up their cause. The boys’ families complained that they were questioned without their parents or lawyers, deprived of food, sleep and bathroom use, and coached by police officers hell-bent on crafting a story to support a guilty outcome for the impressionable teenagers.

The crime deeply divided the city, and civil rights activists protested for months, insisting that the boys were railroaded by unscrupulous police officers who were desperate to appease a bloodthirsty public convinced that they boys had viciously assaulted the jogger during a night of ‘wilding” or extreme lawlessness in the park..

pbs documentary, ken burns

Ken Burns’ documentary about the Central Park Five aired on PBS to positive feedback.

Developer Donald Trump insisted at the time that the boys were guilty and he argued that their punishment should be severe, although there was no evidence supporting the claim. In the years that have passed, Ken Burns’ documentary about the men’s journey, aired on PBS and life moved on for the men but the scars, anguish and embarrassment remained. Adulthood came early to the Central Park Five and they lost a measure of their youth, innocence and reputations that they can never regain..

The $41 million settlement is long overdue, but comes as a stark reminder that justice for African-American and Latino men is often very slow. The settlement cannot erase the pain that the Central Park Five endured. It cannot restore their lost childhood but it can ease some of the financial burdens that they experienced. As the attacks on African-American men and boys continue, this settlement is a stark reminder that a siege mentality continues to target this segment of society. The fact that this group of men finally saw financial justice means that there is hope for others in the future. But the fact that the city of New York supported the settlement while refusing to admit guilt means there is still a lot of work to be done for real justice to occur.-OnPointPress.net.

Jamaica’s ambassador to Romania presents credentials to country’s leader


Jamaica’s Head of Mission in Berlin Ambassador Margaret Jobson, presented her credentials to Romanian President on September 2, 2014.

Kingston, Jamaica: On September 2, 2014, Ambassador Margaret Jobson, Jamaica’s head of mission in Berlin, presented credentials to President Traian Basescu in Bucharest, Romania.

During the conversation which followed the presentation, the ambassador underscored Jamaica’s commitment to strengthen its bilateral relations with Romania and to work towards developing trade and investment cooperation.

Diplomatic representatives are referred to as designates until they have formally presented their credentials to either the governor general or the prime minister. The presentations of the copies of the original documents occur after they have first been presented to the minister of foreign affairs and foreign trade. -OnPointPress.net