Jamaicans awarded in Caribbean Life’s “40 Under 40” Awards

There was nothing but sheer ecstasy last Thursday night as Caribbean Life, the nation’s most-widely circulated Caribbean newspaper, honored its “40 Under 40” Caribbean achievers at a gala ceremony at Sirico’s in the Dyker Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn.

The second annual event, held in conjunction with DiasporaDashb‌oard.Com, a New York City-based company headed by former Jamaica New York Consul General Geneive Brown Metzger, who chaired the proceedings, attracted hundreds of patrons.

The honorees — which comprised reporters, college professors, attorneys, actors and business owners, among others, were either born or have roots in a number of Caribbean nations, including Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Grenada, Trinidad and Tobago, St. Lucia, Jamaica, the Dominican Republic, Haiti and Guyana.

They were: Natasha Andrews (Trinidad and Tobago), senior production editor and owner of Mastamind Productions; master chef Shorne Benjamin (St. Lucia); attorney Tamika Bent of Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy; jewelry designer Mateo Bijioux (Jamaica) of Mateo Bijoux Jewelry; television reporter Ruschell Boone (Jamaica) of NY1 news; Gilbert Bramwell (Jamaica), founder/owner of Rapid Rinse Services; Reeshemah Brightley (Jamaica), manager of Zeno (Caribbean) Radio; Donald Brown (Jamaica), managing director of systems operations of the New York Stock Exchange; Cynthia Carrion (Dominican Republic), deputy director of the Northern Manhattan Coalition; actress/dancer Keisha Clarke Gray (Jamaica), cast member of The Lion King on Broadway; and Geoff Cooper, publisher of CG Caribbean Magazine.

The others were: caterer and author Nadege Fleurimond (Haiti), chief executive officer of Chef Fleurimond Catering; A.J. and V.J. Ghannes (Guyana), owners of the H&N Insurance Agency; Rev. Richard Griffiths (Jamaica), Young Adult Pastor at the Bronx Bethany Church; Omar Hawthorne, Director of Franchise Development for Golden Krust Bakery and Grill; Chasen Hollancid (St. Lucia), owner of Suede Restaurant; Kevin Howell of Anchor Strategy Group – Caribbean and Caribbean-American Disapora Consulting Firm; Jeremiah Hyacinth (St. Lucia), founder, president and vice consul of Project Education; Special Education teacher Alexis James of the city’s Department of Education; Katleen Jeanty (Haiti), founder, owner, president and CEO of Madan BelFwi Fruit Mixes; and Professor Anika Keens Hylton of Brooklyn College and York College.

The rest included: Assistant Professor Natasha Lightfoot (Antigua and Barbuda) of Columbia University; fashion designer Glenroy March (Jamaica) founder and president of House of D’Marsh; Paola Mathe (Haiti), fashion designer and founder of the Ansanm Nou Se Ayiti artisti movement; Verdell Nicholson (Jamaica) of JYD Auto Leasing & Sales; real estate professional Trisha Ocona Francis; accountant Medjine Philis-Volcy (Haiti) of Tax Solution Management; Nickay Piper, president and founder of Market Grubb Media; actor Paul Pryce (Trinidad and Tobago) of the Elm Shakesspeare Company; Mekalia Reid (Jamaica) actress and attorney; dancer, educator, certified group fitness instructor Shola Roberts (Grenada); Regine Roumain (Haiti), director of cultural exchange for the Haiti Cultural Exchange; Professor Kerri-Ann M. Smith (Jamaica) of Queens College; Adjunct Professor Curtis Stephen (Trinidad and Tobago) of Long Island University – Brooklyn; Kimeta Straker (Barbados), academic counselor at the University of Connecticut; Monique Waterman of the East Flatbush Village Youth Development Organization; voice-over actor Germane K. Williams (Jamaica); and Karian Wright (Jamaica), program manager at Stonybrook University.

“It’s such an honor to be here. This group of ’40 Under 40’ is impressive,” said Boone, who addressed the sell-out audience on behalf of her co-honorees.

“I hope you all feel as proud as I do, because I am ecstatic tonight,” said Boone, NY1’s Queens Borough reporter.

Dr. Roy A. Hastick, the Grenadian-born founder and president of the Brooklyn-based Caribbean American Chamber of Commerce and Industry offered 10 tips “to guide the young entrepreneurs.”

Hastick, who delivered the keynote address for the second successive year, urged the honorees to do what they love; to stay focused; to exploit online resources; to find a mentor; to take care of oneself; to define a market; to be able to explain your business at a whim; to remember you run a start-up; to keep in mind that there are still rules; to and know when to fold “‘em.”

“Sure, I’ve had success running and selling several different companies, but do you know how many I’ve started and stopped because they weren’t taking off?” Hastick asked. “Tons. Some say nine out of every 10 business fail within the first couple years.

“Don’t let your pride get in the way of closing your company. I learned this the hard way in college when I launched what became my first failure, Utefan,” he added. “I knew that what I was doing wasn’t going to work or make money. I kept putting money into it and spending time on it. Eventually, I had to give up my pride and stop. Know when to let go.

“If you’re not familiar with the classic Kenny Rogers song ‘The Gambler’, then stop what you’re doing and check it out,” he continued. “It offers some of the best advice ever. Why? Just like any great gambler, you have to know when to fold ‘em.

“Instead of continuing to work on a fledgling business, it’s best to walk away and reflect on what went wrong,” the CACCI president said. “It’s not going to be easy, but it’s inevitable. And you’ll take that lesson with you on your next venture.”

The event was sponsored by Zeno Radio, Emigrant Mortgage, MetroPlus Health Plan and the Money Store.

“I’m very excited, honored that we’re part of this event – that we continue to support your entity (Caribbean Life) and the Caribbean community,” Frank Cruz, a mortgage consultant with Emigrant Mortgage, told Caribbean Life.

Neil Dias, a mortgage lender with the Long Island-based The Money Store, said he felt “great” in participating in the event.

Jamaican-born Carline Farrier, of MetroPlus Heath Plan, said it as “an honor” to be part of the ceremony, adding that Caribbean nationals have a significant role to play in the United States.

Chain Gross, director of marketing at the Manhattan-based Zeno Radio, said it was “amazing for what they (honorees) accomplished at a young age.”

Caribbean Youth Summit 2014 – April 25, 2014


PHILADELPHIA, PA – The Caribbean Youth Summit Planning Committee is proud to announce the first ever Caribbean Youth Summit to occur on the evening of April 25 2014 (6-9 P.M) at First District Plaza, Philadelphia PA with the theme Reclaiming Our Caribbean Identity. The Summit is the result of an inclusive partnership approach to the Caribbean Youth Agenda and is spearheaded by prominent youth-led Caribbean organizations, including the Institute of Caribbean Studies, Haiti in Transition, Jamaican Heritage Society with support from Presenting Sponsor RealVibez Group LLC and additional support from ELJ Consulting and IslandMedia Entertainment Group.

Local groups to participate include: Haitian Professionals of Philadelphia, Students Organized for Caribbean Awareness (Temple University), Lambda Theta Alpha Latin Sorority, Inc. (Drexel University), Caribbean American Student Association (University of Pennsylvania), and the African and Caribbean Business Council of Philadelphia.

With the purpose of creating a platform for youth of Caribbean descent to engage on topics related to the Caribbean and its Diaspora, the inaugural Caribbean Youth Summit will launch the dialogues with the fundamental question: Who are we?

The Summit will be structured as an interactive town hall style discussion featuring 4 panelists of diverse background and origin from the Caribbean. They are as follows:

(1) Marielle Barrow the scholar from Trinidad & Tobago. Barrow is a Fulbright Scholar, a Cultural Studies PhD candidate at George Mason University and a visiting scholar at Columbia University. In addition to academia, she is a practicing visual artist and social entrepreneur and serves as President for Caribbean in transit.
2) Genymphas Higgs, the student leader from Bahamas. Higgs, a PhD candidate at Drexel University, focuses his research on improving the performance of orthopedic implants. His past achievements include: presenting for organizations such as the American Society for Testing and Materials, the American Association of Orthopedic Surgeons, and the World Congress on Biomaterials. While attending Drexel University for undergraduate studies, Higgs was involved with Drexel’s West Indian Student Establishment (WISE). He credits this organization for expanding his leadership and networking skills, and allowing him to help advance the various causes of West Indian culture on campus and in the community.
3)Florcy Morisset, the Entrepreneur from Haiti. Morisset is an executive, advocate, and community organizer — working at the intersection of culture and business. In 2007, her Vivant Art Collection debuted on Gallery Row. In 2011, Vivant Consulting was established allowing Morisset to work with academic institutions and art organizations, creating exhibitions and cultural programs which focus on uniting diversity.
4) Javed Jagai Aajri, the Activist from Jamaica. Aajri is a researcher and campaigner for social and economic justice. After high school, he left Jamaica to study abroad, which transformed his life and worldview. His educational background and academic achievements includes: the Lester B. Pearson United World College of the Pacific in Canada, a liberal arts degree from Dartmouth College, and graduating with high honors for his thesis on transgressive gender and sexual identities in contemporary Jamaica. He is currently pursuing a PhD in sociology at Yale University.

The Summit will also feature a performance by Jamaican recording artist, Cezar, spoken word by Sofiya Ballin and a one-on-one with David Mullings, CEO of RealVibez Group, followed by a networking session.

For more information please visit the Summit’s website at www.caribbeanyouthsummit.com ; follow-us on Twitter @YouthCaribbean – #cys14 #reclaimingouridentity #youthsummit14 and like us on Facebook – facebook.com/CaribbeanYouth.

About Caribbean Youth Summits
Caribbean Youth Summits is an independent youth led partnership brought to Caribbean Youth for Caribbean Youth. The Summit is an intended platform for the Caribbean Youth Diaspora to a) Discover and evaluate the status of the Caribbean Youth Diaspora b) Be a Springboard for events with a focus on the Caribbean youth agenda. c) Assess the relationship between this segment of the Caribbean Diaspora and Caribbean government officials and representatives, with the goal of developing the strategies for engaging the latter on the Caribbean Diaspora youth agenda.

About the RealVibez Group
RealVibez Group is a holdings company controlled by David Mullings, Robert Mullings and Donovan Bailey. The group is primarily focused on integrated media and entertainment, including a record label, film company, animation studio, interactive gaming company, a sustainable technology company and an investment arm.

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Jamaica Day in Moscow, Russia…


by the Gayanat Project – Russia
View more here: http://gayanat.blogspot.ru/2014/04/about-jamaican-day.html

On the 21st of March we fulfilled our old dream of organizing events that are related to different countries and cultures. Our inspiration comes from the diverse range of nations of this world, their vibrant cultures and traditions. We have finally taken the plunge and things are up and running. For our first event we decided to choose Jamaica as a way of captivating people’s interest about this warm, vibrant and cheerful country. This event creates a new ethnic air within the bounds of the restricted and multi-cultured Moscow. Our goal apart from introducing our guests to Jamaicans living in Moscow was to bring the Jamaican atmosphere to this event so that our guests could truly become immersed in Jamaican culture and long afterwards remember the atmosphere of the evening.

“I want café” opened its doors for our Jamaican day. The interiors created the air of the green island. We are used to the fact that many interesting, kind and open-minded people visit our events, but this time we managed to do something more significant – we combined in one space great contrasts of nature from different backgrounds and business areas – people became united in their desire to know more about this exotic culture.

The entertainment and informative program consisted of some main parts: Jamaican cooking master class, folk and modern dance workshop, special Jamaican menu, broadcasting of videos about travels to Jamaica. We also had a performance of our special guests – African rappers (in French). At the end of the evening all boundaries between people were blended to such a degree that all multinational representatives from Russia, Jamaica, Africa and India were chatting with each other. And this great process was added by ethno joint dances. It is true to say that culture and art join people!

We would like to name those participants that created the mood of a Jamaican holiday and gifted fantastic memories to our guests:

Jodi-Ann (Port Antonio, Portland, Jamaica), medical student at RUDN. Right from the beginning of the event she adopted the role of the Jamaican culture representative and our guests asked her tricky questions about traditions, customs, lifestyle and culture of her people. Jodi quite often emphasized that Jamaicans are happy and hardworking people and their free soul and need for independence is evident not only in their approach to life but also in a big amount of national holidays related to this point (Emancipation day, Independence Day etc.). Jodi was also in charge of the cuisine master class. During the cooking class our guests were interacting with Jodi and cooking together a very popular Jamaican dish – carrot cake. Afterwards all the participants had a chance to taste the cake at a large communal table. With her guidance and support she managed to inspire people.

O´juan Powell (Kingston, Jamaica) – DJ, chemical faculty student at RUDN. Thanks to his music selection, our guests got introduced to a wide variety of modern Jamaican music. Moreover, he is very positive and sociable person; he was actively involved with our guests. He even made useful professional contacts with other participants.

Loony Warrenk and Stephen-Kaleb Lobe, our guests from Africa that performed French rap, almost acapella. Despite the absence of proper music equipment, these guys managed to turn this situation into a plus: they amazed with their professionalism and great interaction with each other. Most of the guests later noted that this performance was the most special and memorable because of genuine and special performance of this music genre.

4. Tanya-Gaye Wheatle (Clarendon Parish, Jamaica) – President of the Jamaican Students Association at RUDN and a medical student. Tanya was the person that inspired us to arrange this Jamaican event. She helped us with the preparation of the stage and gave us guidance on traditional Jamaican dishes. She was also involved in helping us to set up the interior decorations for the event as well as promoting the event. Tanya has truly become a bridge that united Russia and Jamaica. She also helped to make the evening conclusion very memorable through her participation in the energetic Jamaican dance.

Also we thank other Jamaican guests: Anna-Kaye Petersgill, Michelle-Ann McCatty, Stacy-Ann Golding, and those that (for different reasons) could not come.

Well, there are many other plans and ideas for next ethno-events. Right now we share with you the opinions of our guests about their experience of the joyful and colorful Jamaican Day event.

«Normally on such social events I instinctively choose “odd corners” where I can observe everyone, not separately someone. By the way, screens were also placed conveniently so that it was easy to watch the media-presentation about Jamaican customs from any angle. But it was not really possible to follow the video as the main program was very varied. Story about Jamaican culture told by Jodi really interested me; I enjoyed the chance to listen to English speech with pleasant Jamaican pronunciation. And … Impressive… Thank ’em all for sharing their culture with us!!! 🙂

During cuisine master class I just passed napkin for knife drying. There were many girls willing to participate. I just concentrated on some interesting parts of the cooking process:))

Dances (in terms of participation) are not for me: my energy is kind of in “other register”… But I perfectly “revived” from the show. It was fantastic! 🙂 Adjustment of the song “Don’t Worry, be happy” created air of unity of all people in the restaurant:))

And, of course, rap really touched me. It was somewhere on the same wavelength with me, although normally I am quite critical towards rap as a genre – I try not “to abuse” or at least “to mix”; but this performance was great; it was great as a kind of the final chord when you can relax, recast and enjoy recitative waves, “backing tracks” and specific rhythm that was arising in a unique dialog…

That was 11 PM, but the evening was continuing, although I had to leave: for me Saturday is not weekend… I will keep in mind fresh pictures of this evening. It is useful to switch sometimes on the wave of “Happy, hardworking and polite” [© Jodi] Jamaicans, where all are Friends… I was feeling that energy and I have lots of impressions… Entrance notice “YOU CAN LOOSE YOUR HEAD!” was warning… That was true! But here is nothing to regret about;) Thanks everybody, who participated in organization!».
(Sergey P.)

«It was VERY cool.
It was nice to get into this atmosphere, to try to dance their dances and to get to know that normally Jamaican guys don’t dance at discos, they stand and evaluate dancing girls)).
It’s cool to chat in English with Jamaicans, plus language practice and in general this is interesting process) This mutual search of common ground…There is something very human about it)).
I was amazed by two Africans with French rap%) Considering the fact that it was not possible to arrange all necessary devices and they were performing under mobile phone music – so, it was quite low – it revealed rap for me in a new perspective. Rap without show off and tough bassos – only with soul, on life emotions of the performers, their interaction with each other… It is wonderful!
I tasted Jamaican cake and noted that its taste could be described as.. Sunny %).
I made contact with Jamaican dj in terms of “trying to play together”). I don’t know what it might result in, but the idea seems to be really interesting).
Thanks, great event that will stick in memory for many years).
(Timur M.)

Pamela Castriota Cancer Awareness Organization (PCCAO) Dinner on March 20th

PCCAO_FlyerThe Pamela Castriota Cancer Awareness Organization (PCCAO), in association with A Fe We Culture and Country Kitchen will host “Celebrating Unity & Life”, a dinner fundraiser. This inaugural event will also celebrate the company’s one year anniversary and will be held on Thursday, March 20, 2014 at The Country Kitchen Restaurant – 810 Pelham Parkway in Pelham Manor, NY, 10803.

“Celebrating Unity & Life” will spotlight courage, strength, unity in community, life and PCCAO’s impact in cultivating new pathways to promote Cancer Awareness. This event will reflect community, cultural roots, challenges and at the same time bring together business and institutions in an on-going mission to empower our community on various issues.

Jamaica’s Minister of Health, Fenton Ferguson, will be the special guest speaker. PCCAO Inc. is a non-profit organization that evolved out of Mrs. Pamela Castriota’s desire to simply help. The organization was developed to advocate education and to encourage early testing in order to eradicate the social stigmas associated with the disease, focusing on adolescents and young individuals in Urban/Jamaican/Caribbean communities; to identify resources for persons affected by cancer and find sustainable resources to insure the organizations growth and reach.

Mrs. Castriota is the inspiration behind this this endeavor; she was first diagnosed with breast cancer in October 1998. A Fe We Culture is acting for and on behalf of the PCCAO until the company attains its individual 501c3 status. A Fe We Culture, through this alliance, will provide very high visibility for Cancer awareness and those supporting the cause.

For further information, please contact us at 917.995.7917 or 347.485.1154; email: pccaoinfo@gmail.com or afeweculture@yahoo.com.

Friends of Trelawney Association Small Business EXPO

8th Annual Jamaica | Trelawny Small Business EXPO

Jamaica Diaspora N.E. Conference in Boston on June 15 - 16 2012

Friends of Trelawny Association’s 8th annual Jamaica | Trelawny Small Business EXPO & Investment Symposium
May 26, Hilton JFK Hotel, Queens, NY. The EXPO and Symposium is being staged as part of FOTA’s 2012 Reunion Weekend, which has been officially designated a Jamaica 50th Anniversary of Independence event. It will be one of the first in the New York Metropolitan area to kick off Jamaica’s yearlong Golden Jubilee celebration.

THEME: “Promoting Jamaica as a Health Tourism Destination.”


9 AM — Exhibits Open
10 AM — Opening Ceremony
10:30 AM — Diaspora Health Sector Symposium

  • Diaspora Health Sector
  • Minister Ferguson
  • American Global M.D. (AGMD) which is looking to create a Health Tourism Facility in Jamaica



  • Keynote Presenter, Honourable Sharon Ffolkes-Abrahams, Minister of State | Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce)
  • Presenter: Scotia Bank
  • Panelists: Attorney General- North Trelawny’s  Patrick Atkinson 
2 PM — Breakout Session
  1. Business Investments — Led by Jampro & Scotia Bank
  2. Health Tourism — Led by Heatlh Sector with AGMD



Celebrating 50 years of Caribbean Arts & Culture

May 24, 2001, 12:00 pm – 8:00 pm

On the Summer Stage at the Harlem State Building Plaza

163 West 125th Street, Harlem NY 10039

A Fe We Culture Inc. and A’vitar Foundation have integrated to present a series of events entitled “Carib Gold”. This unique partnership will publically articulate the relationship between the two organizations and celebrate 50 years of Caribbean arts and culture. These two bodies are made up of multi-cultural and multi-national individuals, artists and professionals. Their collective endeavor is to raise consciousness through the arts for youth development. These events will celebrate the contributions of outstanding individuals from the Caribbean.

Our up-coming event is CARIB GOLD RHYTHM & STYLES – Thursday, May 24, 2012, 12:00 noon to 8:30 pm on the Plaza at the State Office Building Plaza in Harlem.

The objectives are:

1) To create an event that promotes multiculturalism and cultural esteem.

2) To celebrate our similarities while respecting our individualities.

3) Attract significant positive media attention for Caribbean music and art.

CARIB GOLD RHYTHM & STYLES will reflect on the common background, cultural roots, challenges and goals of the English, Dutch, Spanish and French speaking communities, and is a showcase for arts and culture designed to educate and entertain (“edutain”) audiences.

In order to achieve these goals, we wish to extend an opportunity for you to join us in a mutually beneficially collaboration. Thank you in advance for your attention.

Calendar of events




PM Portia Simpson First to NYC April 25th 2012
Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller introduces members of her delegation which includes from left are Minister Sen. Sandrea Falconer, Tourism Minister Wykeham McNeill and Minister of Energy & Mining Phillip Paulwell.

BROOKLYN, NY: The Hon Portia Simpson Miller, Prime Minister of Jamaica left the island earlier this week for a number of engagements in New York and Philadelphia in the United States.

The Prime Minister was the recipient of the TIME Magazine’s 100 Most Influential Persons Award at a special reception at the Lincoln Center in New York. Mrs Simpson Miller delivered a charismatic message to the hundred of Jamaicans who lined Nostrand Avenue in anticipation of her arrival at the Lennox Road Baptist Church for a spirited Town Hall Meeting.

The Prime Minister will then journey to Philadelphia to attend the Penn Relays Carnival where she will be a special guest of the University of Pennsylvania and Team Jamaica Bickle. The Prime Minister will return to the island on Sunday.


Prime Minister, the Hon Portia Simpson Miller receiving a proclamation
Prime Minister, the Hon Portia Simpson Miller receiving a proclamation from special assistant to the Brooklyn Borough President, Ms. Sophia Jones. (photo credit - Sharon Bennett)
PM Portia Simpson First to NYC April 25th 2012
Team Jamaica Bickle founder, Irwine Clare and Rev. Dr. Kirkpatick Cohall in discussions with the Prime Minister of Jamaica the Hon Portia Simpson Miller.
PM Portia Simpson Visit NY Crowd
A packed sanctuary of proud Jamaicans at the Town Hall Meeting in Brooklyn.

First and Second Biennial Jamaican Diaspora Conference

The objective of the Diaspora and Consular Affairs Department is to strengthen the linkages with the Jamaican Diaspora and to encourage and foster the participation of Jamaicans overseas in all aspects of national development.  In this regard, the Department has the mandate to:

  • Operate as an information centre and contact point for Jamaican communities abroad.
  • Encourage and mobilize Jamaicans abroad to assist in the development of their homeland.
  • Support the interests of Jamaican communities overseas through political action and economic activity.
  • Facilitate the provision of trade-related assistance
  • Ensure the creation of appropriate and conducive conditions of the return of interested overseas Jamaicans
  • Increase the human resource potential available to Jamaica through skills and attributes of returned nationals.

Click here to purchase tickets and get additional information.

Click here for a full PDF version of the flyer

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