President Obama visits beautiful Jamaica en route to Panama summit

US President Barack Obama tours the Bob Marley Museum led by tour guide Natasha Clark (2nd-L) in Kingston, Jamaica on April 8, 2015. Obama, the first sitting US president to set foot on the island since 1982, is in the country to meet with a regional block of Caribbean nations and possibly offer them an alternative to cheap Venezuelan oil amid a spat with Caracas.  He heads late April 9th to Panama, where he may have a landmark meeting with Cuba's communist President Raul Castro.  AFP PHOTO / MANDEL NGAN

US President Barack Obama tours the Bob Marley Museum led by tour guide Natasha Clark (2nd-L) in Kingston, Jamaica on April 8, 2015 while US National Security Adviser Susan Rice, who has Jamaican roots, walks in the background. Obama, the first sitting US president to set foot on the island since 1982, is in the country to meet with a regional block of Caribbean nations and possibly offer them an alternative to cheap Venezuelan oil amid a spat with Caracas. He heads late April 9th to Panama, where he may have a landmark meeting with Cuba’s communist President Raul Castro. AFP PHOTO / MANDEL NGAN

By Carmen Glover

US President Barack Obama landed in Kingston, Jamaica, on April 8, en route to a Caribbean summit that will be held in Panama on April 9. The summit will include Caribbean nations as they discuss economic issues and alternatives to strengthen Caribbean and US ties.

President Obama was welcomed by Jamaica’s Prime Minister The Hon. Portia Simpson-Miller, US Ambassador to Jamaica Luis Moreno and a contingent of dignitaries.

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Jamaica’s Prime Minister The Hon. Portia Simpson-Miller welcomed US President Barack Obama to the picturesque island nation.

President Obama is the first US President to visit Jamaica since 1982 and his visit was greeted with excitement by Jamaicans, who are world-renowned for their friendly manner, great food and reggae music.

The President visited the Bob Marley Museum and stated that “I still have all his albums” as he referred to the late reggae icon.

Reggae legend Robert Nesta (Bob) Marley

Reggae legend Robert Nesta (Bob) Marley.

Jamaica is located 90 miles from Cuba, a nation with which President Obama recently re-opened a diplomatic relationship. Tourists flock to Jamaica’s beautiful shores each year to climb the picturesque Dunn’s River Falls, explore Green Grotto Caves in Ocho Rios, walk alone the seven-miles of white sand in Negril, enjoy the Blue Lagoon in Portland (where the movie of the same name starring actress Brooke Shields, was filmed) and sample the island’s famous cuisine.

Tourists and residents climb Jamaica's most famous site, Dunn's River Falls.

Tourists and residents climb Jamaica’s most famous site, Dunn’s River Falls.

Jamaica’s relationship with the USA has been mixed due to massive deportations to the island, the burdens of trying to emerge from the economic strictures of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). President Obama’s visit to the island is expected to go a long way in fostering a more cooperative relationship with the island paradise–OnPointPress.net.

Reggae cruise boasts large numbers, great music, satisfied patrons

Damian "Junior Gong" Marley participated on the Welcome to Jamrock Cruise that showcased Jamaica's beauty and culture.

Damian “Junior Gong” Marley participated on the Welcome To Jamrock Cruise that showcased Jamaica’s beauty and culture.

By Tiffany Mea

The first annual Welcome To Jamrock Reggae Cruise broke new ground by captivating nearly 2,400 passengers with an entire week of authentic reggae experiences aboard the Norwegian Pearl ship. The cruise, which set sail from Miami on October 20, with stops in Montego Bay and Ocho Rios, Jamaica, before its October 25 return, sold out within one month after it was announced. People came from all over the world. Even though the ship embarked from the United States, 44 percent of the passengers were international, representing almost 50 different countries.

“There was such a unique blend of people. It meant a lot to see the music bring unity between such a diverse group of people,” said Damian Marley.

Iconic movies such as "The Harder They Come," starring Jimmy Cliff, were among the cruise's offerings.

Iconic movies such as “The Harder They Come,” starring Jimmy Cliff, were among the cruise’s offerings.

Filled with jaw-dropping performances from reggae’s top artists to legendary jam sessions from world-renowned DJs and sound systems, Jamaican music was celebrated on every spectrum. From themed movie selections such as “Dancehall Queen,” “The Harder They Come” and “Third World Cop,” to pick-up soccer games and  poolside jerk chicken, the Welcome To Jamrock Reggae Cruise gave passengers a slice of the island’s culture every day.

Sean Paul was one of the many musical performers on the cruise.

Sean Paul was one of the many musical performers on the cruise.

“Nothing like this has ever been done on this scale in the reggae genre. Never before, have you been able to see legends of this level touch the stage for five straight days in such a contained intimate setting. One minute you are eating breakfast next to Sean Paul, then watching a soccer game with Christopher Ellis and Wayne Marshall. Later in the night, you are witnessing a 2-hour set from Bounty Killer, then an historical session with King Jammy’s, Shinehead and Damian Marley at 4 a.m. This is the only place to create these type of vibes, period,” said cruiser Maya Mitte.

Musical performers included Busy Signal.

Musical performers included Busy Signal.

On the main stage, Damian, Julian and Stephen represented the Marley family, as well as their label Ghetto Youths International, with solo performances from the entire crew including Jo Mersa, Wayne Marshall, Christopher Ellis and Black-Am-I. There were more live sets from legendary bands like the Wailing Souls and Morgan Heritage. Also, international, multi-platinum pop stars like Shaggy and Sean Paul, roots reggae singers like Etana, Jah Cure and Tarrus Riley and dancehall’s biggest names like Busy Signal, Bounty Killer and Cham performed. On the last night, not even the rain could stop the vibes. Stephen “Ragga” Marley continued his set inside the Atrium and brought out all the artists still on the ship for a 3-hour freestyle session, arguably one of the most epic performances in the history of reggae.

Inspiring, conscious band Morgan Heritage, showcased their musical chops on the cruise.

Inspiring, conscious band Morgan Heritage, showcased their musical chops on the cruise.

Whether patrons wanted to hear dub, ’90s dancehall, roots or today’s hits, there was something for everyone from sunrise to sunset at the various clubs and stages on board and even on-land in Jamaica. Hailing from across the globe: London’s David Rodigan, Japan’s Mighty Crown, Los Angeles’ Dub Club, and Jamaica’s own Stone Love, Renaissance and King Jammy’s were some of the renowned sound systems and DJs that took over the decks throughout the night.

Legendary sound system, Stone Love, shared the stage to add another level of merriment to the cruise.

Legendary sound system, Stone Love, shared the stage to add another level of merriment to the cruise.

Those who stayed up after midnight witnessed rare jam sessions with surprise performances from some of the artists on deck. Click the link below to see what transpired on the 5-day voyage:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_bkkvynS8dg.For information on the 2015 Welcome To Jamrock Reggae Cruise, please visit www.welcometojamrockreggaecruise.com -OnPointPress.net.