Colors: Blue Color

Jeremy Clarkson has today backed Extinction Rebellion’s call for International Rebellion and nonviolent civil disobedience in light of the inaction of Government in the face of the Climate and Ecological Emergency.

The TV presenter said: “I know that people may think of me as a petrol head but given the daily news about changes to the climate and the world around us, I have been considering changing from car racing to carpooling.

“I have been so deeply inspired by the work of Greta Thunberg, the Swedish activist who sparked off the Global School Strike movement. Last night in her acceptance acceptance speech at the Golden Camera Awards - Germany’s most prestigious media awards - she said that celebrities must use their fame to do more to support the movement to address climate change, saying “people see you celebrities as gods, you influence billions of people, we need you, you can use your voice to raise awareness about this global crisis”.

“Greta, you went to Davos by train from Sweden, while the great and good of the world flew. Your actions have made me think, think about the world that we are leaving for our children. It is time that we adults make some changes, so that we can safeguard their future, and the future of their children to come. For this reason, I’m giving my backing to Extinction Rebellion as it clear the Government is not acting. There have been petitions, marching, lobbying, but it has not worked. It is now time for more radical action, for civil disobedience, for each one of us to find our power within and to collectively create a better world together.”

Extinction Rebellion in a statement said: “It is fantastic that Jeremy Clarkson has chosen to take this step and we hope that he will open the gates so that all of these hugely influential people do the right thing and use their fame to alert the world that this is the greatest crisis in history. Unless we move to an emergency footing immediately and governments start to cooperate to find ways to address climate breakdown, we are risking unimaginable horrors and a hell-like existence for our young to inherit.”

“This needs to be a time when celebrities join us and engage in nonviolent civil disobedience with us - not as celebrities but as members of the human race who care enough about future generations to put their bodies in front of their convictions and stand with us as we take action. Jeremy Clarkson is leading the way.”

Beginning Monday April 15, Extinction Rebellion in the UK and around the world is calling for an International Rebellion to demand decisive action on the climate and ecological collapse from governments around the world. They say ‘Come to stay, book two weeks, and bring your tents and family. Let’s rebel for all life on earth’.

Pakistan have been fined for maintaining a slow over-rate against Australia in the fourth ODI in Dubai.

Jeff Crowe of the Emirates ICC Elite Panel of Match Referees imposed the fine after Imad Wasim’s side was ruled to be one over short of its target after time allowances were taken into consideration.

In accordance with Article 2.22 of the ICC Code of Conduct for Players and Player Support Personnel, which relates to minor over-rate offences, players are fined 10 per cent of their match fees for every over their side fails to bowl in the allotted time, with the captain fined double that amount.

As such, Imad has been fined 20 per cent of his match fee, while his players have received 10 per cent fines. If Pakistan commit another minor over-rate breach in an ODI within 12 months of this offence with Imad as captain, it will be deemed a second offence by him and Imad will face a suspension.

Imad pleaded guilty to the offence after the end of the match and accepted the proposed sanction, so there was no need for a formal hearing. On-field umpires Kumar Dharmasena and Rashid Riaz, third umpire Michael Gough and fourth umpire Ahsan Raza levelled the charge.


Ethiopian Airlines, has been chosen as the Official Carrier for the 2019 World Press Freedom Day Global Conference to be held in Addis Ababa from May 1-3..

This conference is not without controversy, however.  According to Journalists without Border, terrorism charges have been systematically used against journalists ever since the 2009 terrorism law took effect. The charges carry long jail sentences and allow the authorities to hold journalists without trial for extended periods. There has been no significant improvement since the purges that led to the closure of six newspapers in 2014 and drove around 30 journalists into exile. On the contrary, another six-month state of emergency was proclaimed in February 2018, which the government could again use to arrest critical journalists and ban the public from watching or listening to certain broadcast media. The Internet and social networks are often disconnected while physical and verbal threats, arbitrary trials, and convictions are all used to silence the media.

The conference is jointly organized by UNESCO, the African Union and the Government of Ethiopia under the theme ‘Media for Democracy: Journalism and Elections in Times of Disinformation’.

UNESCO Spokesperson Roni Amerlan said: ” The offer by countries to host World Press Freedom Day marks their recognition of the value of the right to press freedom and freedom of expression.

We have often held World Press Freedom Day celebrations in countries in transition and we do not think that we should restrict our support for the recognition of press freedom and their participation in this awareness-raising event to countries which rank at the top of NGOs’ rankings.

Every year, 3 May is a date which celebrates the fundamental principles of press freedom, to evaluate press freedom around the world, to defend the media from attacks on their independence and to pay tribute to journalists who have lost their lives in the exercise of their profession. World Press Freedom Day was proclaimed by the UN General Assembly in 1993 following a Recommendation adopted at the twenty-sixth session of UNESCO’s General Conference in 1991. This in turn was a response to a call by African journalists who in 1991 produced the landmark Windhoek Declaration(link is external) on media pluralism and independence.

At the core of UNESCO’s mandate is freedom of the press and freedom of expression. UNESCO believes that these freedoms allow for mutual understanding to build a sustainable peace.

It serves as an occasion to inform citizens of violations of press freedom – a reminder that in dozens of countries around the world, publications are censored, fined, suspended and closed down, while journalists, editors and publishers are harassed, attacked, detained and even murdered.

It is a date to encourage and develop initiatives in favour of press freedom, and to assess the state of press freedom worldwide.

3 May acts as a reminder to governments of the need to respect their commitment to press freedom and is also a day of reflection among media professionals about issues of press freedom and professional ethics. Just as importantly, World Press Freedom Day is a day of support for media which are targets for the restraint, or abolition, of press freedom. It is also a day of remembrance for those journalists who lost their lives in the pursuit of a story.

The 26th celebration of World Press Freedom Day is jointly organized by UNESCO, the African Union Commission and the Government of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia. The main event will take place in Addis Ababa, on 1 – 3 May at the African Union Headquarters. This year’s theme'Media for Democracy: Journalism and Elections in Times of Disinformation'  discusses current challenges faced by media in elections, along with the media’s potential in supporting peace and reconciliation processes.

World Press Freedom Day will also be celebrated worldwide. Events will be organized in several countries to raise awareness about the importance of press freedom and journalists’  safety. More information of events will be available in the Events Map soon.

As the United Nations agency with a specific mandate to promote “the free flow of ideas by word and image”, UNESCO works to foster a free, independent and pluralistic media and the safety of journalists.

As the official carrier, Ethiopian will provide air transport service to the 1000-1500 participants who will be coming to Addis Ababa from around the globe.

Group CEO of Ethiopian Airlines, Mr. Tewolde GebreMariam, remarked, “We are honored to have been chosen to serve as the official carrier for this year’s World Press Freedom Day Global Conference. We are all the more delighted to be part of this noble cause which seeks to advance press freedom around the world.

Global, regional and national media stakeholders, high-level government officials, and journalists from across the globe will take part in the conference which will be held at the African Union Commission headquarters.


Travellers have been warned to think twice when packing their bags after researchers named some of the more unusual items banned around the world.

Baby walkers and chewing gum were just two of the items which some nations won’t allow to cross their borders, experts have revealed.

They warned all travellers to research what is and isn’t allowed into their destination country and said failure to comply could result in serious legal action overseas.

Unusual banned items include baby walkers in Canada and certain masks in Saudi Arabia, due to the popularity of a particular Hollywood blockbuster.

A spokesperson from explained: “Prohibited items are usually down to risks to domestic citizens such as weapons, however some lawmakers abroad have taken this a step further.

“Being found with prohibited items can lead to the traveller facing hefty fines which is the last thing anyone would want on a holiday.

“Granted, most people won’t be planning on taking a wheelbarrow abroad but it’s still interesting to consider why these items aren’t allowed to be imported.

“By spending a few minutes simply checking up on what is allowed into the particular country you’re going to, you can avoid any issues whilst travelling abroad.”

Here is the list of strangest items banned across the world:

  1. Baby Walkers
Due to health concerns, baby walkers in Canada are banned from being sold or imported. If found guilty of advertising or attempting to purchase the item, it could lead to a $100,000 fine or a six months jail sentence. Researchers in Canada claimed that baby walkers endanger children and delay both motor and mental development. After 15 years of retailers voluntarily refusing to sell the item, a bill was passed in 2004.
  1. Gum
Since 1992 chewing gum has been banned from being consumed or bought into Singapore. This was due to a previous prime minister noticing how much money was spent on cleaning gum off the streets and issuing a crackdown on cleanliness. Nowadays gum is still prohibited unless for a medical necessity (for which documentation must be provided). Streets and monuments are no longer paved with gum and if found on a person can result in a substantial fine, alongside being named and shamed by the local government.
  1. Masks
Seven years after the popular movie V for Vendetta was released, the Minister of Interior for Saudi Arabia banned the selling and importing of Guy Fawkes masks made popular by the film. This was under the premise that the film ‘installs a culture of violence and extremism’ in young people. The government later went on to destroy the masks already in country.
  1. Haggis
Patriotic Scots will be disappointed to know that traditional haggis has been banned from entering the US for over 44 years. The US department of Agriculture banned the import of British lamb following the outbreak of mad cow disease. Many retailers have opted to replace the core ingredient of sheep lung to break into the American market.
  1. Wheelbarrows
Nigeria has placed restrictions on many imports including wheelbarrows, much to the dismay of many green fingered travellers. The bill was placed in order to encourage a thriving domestic economy. However, you can purchase wheelbarrows once in the country from a local merchant.
  1. Japanese shaving brushes
Due to a contamination scandal in the early 1900s, Saint Lucia has banned all imports of shaving brushes produced in Japan due to incidents involving anthrax which lead to serious health problems. The ban has never been lifted in Sant Lucia even with assurances from Japan of safe products.
  1. Vicks inhalers
Due to Japan’s extremely strict anti-stimulant drug laws, any drugs containing pseudoephedrine such as Vicks inhalers are banned from the country. The popular decongestant could land a suffering Brit in prison if not careful. Instead substitute Vicks for essential oils as a natural DIY alternative.
  1. Honey
Zimbabwean honey is famous around the globe especially in Europe known for its high quality often referred to ‘liquid gold’. The country has now banned any imports of honey from abroad due to the fear of low quality ‘fake’ honey flooding the market as it has abroad. However, Zimbabwe has been criticised to not taking full advantage of the export potential only making just enough to satisfy domestic needs, missing out on the European market.


A statue of Ethiopia's last emperor, Haile Selassie, has been unveiled outside the African Union's headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in recognition for his role in establishing its predecessor, the Organization of African Unity (OAU).

Ethiopia - which has never been colonised although it was subjected to a five-year military occupation by Mussolini's Italy - had served as a symbol of African independence throughout the colonial period.

Marcus Garvey told his followers in 1920 that they should "look to Africa, when a Black king shall be crowned, for the day of deliverance is at hand". When a man called Ras Tafari was crowned in Ethiopia, in 1930, many saw that as a sign Garvey’s prophecy had come true.

His appeal to the League of Nations after his country was invaded by Mussolini's Italy is still remembered today.

The statue reminds people that he was a great advocate for pan-African cooperation, leaving a lasting legacy that continues to have an effect on millions of people across the continent today.


Former Jamaica Prime Minister Bruce Golding will lead a Commonwealth group to observe Maldives Parliamentary Elections next month.

Despite withdrawing from the Commonwealth in 2016, Maldives recently expressed an interest in re-joining. As part of this process, President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih has requested a group observe the vote, scheduled for April 6.

The observer group’s report on the election will contribute to the Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland’s informal assessment of the Maldives’ re-application.

The Secretary-General said: “I am extremely pleased to be deploying a group to observe the elections.

“Its report on the electoral process will give member countries a clear view of adherence to Commonwealth values in Maldives, including democracy and rule of law and protection of human rights such as freedom of expression.

“Our Heads of Government will then decide whether Maldives should be invited to make a formal application to re-join the Commonwealth.

“On behalf of the Commonwealth Observer Group, I wish the people of Maldives well as they embark upon this important step in strengthening the democratic culture of their country.”

The group will comprise eminent persons drawn from across the Commonwealth with backgrounds in election management, law, civil society, politics and diplomacy, among others.

The group will submit its final report to the Commonwealth Secretary-General, who will forward it to the Government of Maldives, Election Commission of Maldives, and political parties taking part in the elections and to the Governments of all Commonwealth member countries. Thereafter, the final report will be made public.

The group is expected to arrive in Maldives on March 30 and return on April 13. A Commonwealth Secretariat team led by Yvonne Apea-Mensah, Head of Africa at the Governance and Peace Directorate, will support the group.

Observers will receive briefings from the Election Commission of Maldives, political parties, civil society, media and those responsible for security, and various stakeholders.

Commonwealth Observer Groups were present for previous elections in Maldives in 2008, 2009 and 2013 while Bruce Golding led a Commonwealth Observer Group to Maldives Parliamentary Elections in 2014. The Group will be deployed to various provinces from 4 April and return to Male on 8 April to consider their report.  

Amazon is bringing a new Prime Original series ‘El Presidente’ to audiences across Latin America and around the world, an eight one-hour episode stylised drama series from Gaumont inspired by the real‐life characters and events behind the 2015 “FIFA Gate” corruption scandal. The series, which goes into production this year, will be helmed by Academy Award-winning director and screenwriter Armando Bo (Birdman) who will direct and executive produce the series.

He (Bo) said: “El Presidente will show the world, with loads of irony, how the most beloved sport of all is in fact a multimillionaire business run by a ridiculous mob we have never seen before: the Football Mafia,”

In addition to Bo, the series will feature a star-studded cast led by Andrés Parra (Pablo Escobar: El Patrón del Mal), Paulina Gaitán (Diablo Guardian) and Karla Souza (How to Get Away with Murder), among others.

‘El Presidente’ is co-produced by Gaumont with production partners, Fabula, the Academy Award-winning production company led by Pablo and Juan de Dios Larraín; and Argentina-based production company Kapow. Set against the backdrop of cities across Latin America, the U.S. and Europe, the series explores the sports scandal that rocked the world through the story of Jadue (Parra), a small‐time Chilean football club president who rose from obscurity to become a key player in a $150MM bribery conspiracy at the hand of the infamous president of the Argentine football association, Julio Grondona.

Kapow’s Agustín Sacanell explains, "El Presidente represents the opportunity to narrate the Latin American plot of FIFA Gate, with fascinating characters and their real stories that surpass any fiction imaginable. Money, corruption, power and lust. A catch-all cocktail that will be sure to capture audiences everywhere." Whilst Pablo Iacoviello, Head of Latin America Content Acquisition, Amazon Prime Video, said: “We are excited to bring ‘El Presidente’ to Prime Video, a title that strengthens our commitment to producing compelling local stories told by the very best in local talent for our customers around the world.”

“El Presidente presents a story filled with corruption and lies around one of the biggest religions in Latin America: soccer.”

Vanessa Shapiro, President, Worldwide TV Distribution and Co-Production at Gaumont, added: “Gaumont is thrilled to be working with Amazon Prime Video on our first project coming out of our Latin American TV co-production efforts,”

“Based on true facts, El Presidente packs massive global appeal and provides an unfiltered, behind the scenes look into the world’s most watched sport, soccer.”

Further, Fabula’s Pablo Larraín went on to say: “Behind the passion that thrilled the masses was a web of corruption and intrigue that seemed impenetrable, until one day, someone let the wrong man into the family,"

‘El Presidente’ is among the seven newly greenlit and returning Mexican Prime Original series announced recently by Amazon. The series will join the streaming service’s growing slate of local original productions in Latin America which to date include the critically acclaimed Diablo Guardián and hit series ‘Un Extraño Enemigo’, as well as the wildly hilarious ‘LOL: Last One Laughing’ with Eugenio Derbez.

At launch, Prime members will be able to stream the series exclusively via the Amazon Prime Video app for TVs, connected devices including Fire TV, mobile devices and online. Members can also download the series to mobile devices for offline viewing at no additional cost to their membership. The series will be a global release and available on for Prime Video members in more than 200 countries and territories.




The life and times of Trinidadian war hero, judge and diplomat, Ulric Cross, will be portrayed in a new film – ‘HERO’ to be screened at the BFI Southbank, London on May 18.

The feature film, produced by former UK resident, Frances-Anne Solomon, has already received international acclaim at its screenings in Trinidad and Tobago and Canada.

The story told is of Cross, a trailblazer who made his mark on history as a Navigator of fighter planes in World War II.  He became one of the RAF’s most decorated West Indian Airmen. He then went on to play a central role in the independence struggles of both Africa and the Caribbean.

“Ultimately, the story is about us. About who we are as Caribbean people and as citizens of the world,” says filmmaker Frances-Anne Solomon. “In that spirit, we’re thrilled to be bringing ‘HERO’ to the UK where much of the filming took place.  It is particularly poignant that this year is the seventy-fifth anniversary of the first major generation of Caribbean arrivals in Britain -- on the Empire Windrush.”

Filmed across the UK, Trinidad, Ghana, and Canada, ‘HERO’ features a host of celebrated British actors including Joseph Marcell of Fresh Prince of Bel Air fame, playing the role of writer CLR James; Fraser James, of Terminator Salvation, playing the role of George Padmore and British-Nigerian actor Jimmy Akingbola, of BBC’s Holby, playing Ghana’s first president Kwame Nkrumah.

Following its premier at the BFI, HERO will be taken across the UK in the lead up to the 75th Windrush celebrations in June.


‘Dressed Up’, a soon to be launched retail shop specializing strictly in dresses, has been generating quite a buzz in several fashion-forward circles as well as on social media. Eagerness for the unveiling on this novel concept has only grown with news of the owner’s aspiration to use the platform to showcase the works of Caribbean designers and to assist victims of domestic abuse.

The highly anticipated Dressed Up will carry ready-to-wear casual, contemporary and designer dresses for women from various walks of life such as corporate professionals, college students, stylish homemakers, trendy fashionistas or high-profile celebrities.  The shoppe will also offer a few very high-end, one-of-a-kind couture dresses for the discerning client with a desire for the exclusive.

Set to open soon in Newark, New Jersey, this garment-exclusive venture has so far been met with excitement by the general public and has received positive feedback and support from several fashion industry insiders.

‘Dressed Up’ is the brainchild of Trinidadian-born, New York-based Diane Wiltshire, known professionally and affectionately in the fashion world by the sobriquet ‘Fury’.

Fury has graced numerous international catwalks as a professional model and through her work honing her skills in this industry, fostered her passion for fashion and penchant for distinctive style.

With regard to her current mission with this retail initiative she shared, “I use fashion to express my feelings about where I am going and I use my style to honour who I am seeing. So being able to create a space where I can facilitate other women (and the men who love them) with finding that special piece that allows them to honour not only themselves but the ambiance, occasion and company, brings me incredible joy and excitement!”

In addition to her long-time modelling career, Fury brings an almost 20 year career in the Hospitality industry and a team which is highly experienced in business development, fashion merchandising and branding to this bourgeoning enterprise.

As a proud and determined Caribbean woman, Fury intends to pay homage to her heritage by featuring dresses and collections by both established and emerging designers from the region and diaspora and has already established a collaboration to carry the line of a major Caribbean fashion icon.

Notably, as a domestic abuse survivor, she will be partnering Dressed Up with a domestic abuse women’s shelter and will be dressing survivors who have lost everything but their lives. The program entitled ‘reDRESSed’ will dress survivors as they re-enter the workforce.

With an imminent launch, an already growing buzz and a unique concentration on dresses, 'Dressed Up' is poised to become the focused option and solution for satisfying this specific need in busy and savvy consumers saving them from the overwhelming, time consuming and often annoying task of sifting through racks of shirts, pants & tops in average department stores.





One of the gems of the Caribbean rolled out the red carpet yesterday for the arrival of Their Royal Highnesses the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall, who set foot on Nevisian soil as part of their historic Caribbean Tour.

“We are delighted that the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall visited our beautiful island of Nevis. Hundreds turned out to welcome the Royals who received a truly warm welcome from the people of Nevis” said Honorable Nevis Premier Mark Brantley. “We are especially pleased that Prince Charles has returned to Nevis since his last visit was some 45 years ago. Nevis continues to have a love affair with the Royals who have at various times visited our shores. We wish the Royal couple continued success on their Caribbean trip.”

On their arrival at the Charlestown Port, the Royal couple was greeted by a welcome party, comprising of Deputy Governor General Her Honour Hyleeta Liburd, Premier of Nevis Hon. Mark Brantley, Deputy Premier Hon. Alexis Jeffers, Hon. Spencer Brand, Hon. Eric Evelyn, Hon. Troy Liburd and Hon. Hazel Brandy-Williams, as well as scores of students and members of the general public

The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall were escorted to Government House at Bath Plains, where a reception had been planned that included cultural presentations by the masquerades of the Nevis Cultural Development Foundation, the Bath Village Community Tourism Group, and the Charlestown Primary School Pan Jammers.

While His Royal Highness Prince Charles departed the island, to return to St. Kitts to participate in engagements planned there, the Duchess of Cornwall and the Deputy Governor General visited The Hermitage Inn owned by the Lupinacci family. Before it was transformed into a plantation inn, The Hermitage was a Great House built sometime between 1670 and 1740.  Today, it is a plantation inn that offers traditional Nevisian hospitality and lifestyle for up to 35 guests, who stay in reconstructed gingerbread cottages “uniquely-named for the stories they tell.” A “must see” on Nevis, The Hermitage boasts of original cuisine, a collection of antiques, old-fashioned gardens, horses, carriages and local arts and crafts.


Yachting, sailing and regattas are identical within the Caribbean, the continuous trade winds and the warm sun is a draw both for the experienced sailors and novices.

The Caribbean Sea offers the perfect playground for a host of water sports with gentle warm currents and trade winds making the islands ideal for yachting, sailing, regattas, power-boating, paddle-boarding and kayaking too!

Sailors and crews come for year-round racing regattas but many of our visitors are content to make an occasional sailing trip the most treasured memory of their holiday. It can be a romantic sunset cruise on a remodelled galleon or a day’s full sailing on a yacht, dropping anchor in an isolated bay, so that visitors can swim in crystal clear waters and enjoy a picnic lunch.

Whatever your choice, sailing the Caribbean is an extraordinary adventure of a lifetime.

And around these events, there are numerous on-land activities to enjoy too.

Join the Caribbean Tourism Organization Twitter Chat on Tuesday 26 March from 3pm - 4pm GMT, where we will highlight the yachting, sailing and regattas events and activities in the Caribbean region.

Join the conversation on Twitter by using the hashtag #LoveCaribbean .


Some 15,000 people still need to be rescued from the devastation caused by Cyclone Idai, Mozambique officials say.

The cyclone victims there are stranded by catastrophic flooding and are clinging to roofs or stuck in trees, charities say.

In the port city of Beira, aid workers say there are only two to three days of clean water left.

Some 300 people are confirmed dead in Mozambique and Zimbabwe, but the toll is expected to rise.

The powerful cyclone swept in to Beira last Thursday, with winds of more than 177km/h (106 mph). It left a trail of devastation as it moved inland.

Oxfam say that an area of about 3,000 sq km (1,864 sq miles) is now under water.

Medical agencies are warning that the shortage of food and clean drinking water is increasing the threat of disease.

"The first thing you see when you arrive is destruction and a lot of water," said Get Verdonck, an emergency co-ordinator with the medical charity Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF).

"People are using well water with no chlorination, and that water is unlikely to be clean... pneumonia and other respiratory diseases are going to be a problem," he told Reuters from Beira.

Aid groups said Mozambique had borne the brunt of flooding from rivers that flow downstream from neighbouring countries.

A total of 217 people are confirmed dead in the country, but many areas have still not been reached.

Caroline Haga, an official with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, said the worst-hit areas were close to the Buzi river west of Beira.

She said rescue teams were dropping high-energy biscuits, water purification tablets and other supplies to people surrounded by water and mud.

"We have thousands of people... in roofs and trees waiting for rescue," Ms Haga told AFP news agency.

"We are running out of time. People have been waiting for rescue for more than three days now. We can't pick up all the people so our priority is children, pregnant women, injured people."

Celso Correia, Mozambique's minister of land and environment, confirmed this, telling Reuters the number of people still needing to be rescued was thought to be about 15,000.

He added that 3,000 people had already been rescued so far.

Deborah Nguyen, of the World Food Programme (WFP), said the priorities were reaching people trapped in the flooded areas and then organising temporary shelter for those rescued.

"Relief operations are progressing, but there is still a lot of work," she told AFP.

Mozambique President Felipe Nyusi has said more than 100,000 people are at risk.



Secretary-General Patricia Scotland has reaffirmed the Commonwealth’s support for the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group of States, while urging deeper collaboration to boost their trade and development potential.

She was addressing the 37th session of the ACP and European Union (EU) Joint Parliamentary Assembly on the impact of Brexit on ACP-EU Partnership in Bucharest, Romania. The Assembly aims to promote greater dialogue, cooperation and understanding among ACP and EU countries.

In her opening remarks, Secretary-General Scotland underpinned the importance of the Assembly, which brings together politicians from 79 ACP and 28 EU countries.

“A broad and diverse range of voices, views and vision should continue to be brought together as new partnerships [post-Cotonou Agreement] are forged to deliver peace, prosperity and sustainability for our people and planet,” she said.

The Cotonou Agreement, which frames EU-ACP cooperation on a broad range of issues, is set to expire at the end of 2020. A successor arrangement is currently being negotiated. At the same time, the UK, one of the EU’s largest economies and a key donor, is leaving the EU – a process known as Brexit. The focus of discussions was to better understand the possible disruptions caused by Brexit.

The ACP Group shares 40 members with the Commonwealth and enjoys preferential trade access to the EU market, including the United Kingdom.

Focusing on the possible implications of Brexit, the Secretary-General presented four potential strands of collaboration between the Commonwealth and ACP Group to ensure trade continues to support sustainable development.

The first strand involves continuing Commonwealth engagement with the EU27, two of which are Commonwealth countries: Cyprus and Malta. Both countries have expressed strong interest in working within the EU on behalf of other Commonwealth member countries.

The second strand examines the trade possibilities offered within the context of Brexit once final terms are agreed. The Commonwealth has previously worked with the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa to examine how Brexit could impact them. This analysis could be extended in collaboration with the ACP Secretariat.

The third strand focuses on leveraging “south-south engagement” to explore a greater interface between the ACP Group and rapidly industrialising Commonwealth countries in Asia.

The final strand deepens the Commonwealth’s existing collaboration with the ACP Group to strengthen the capacity of members so they fully benefit from their relationships with the EU and the UK.

The Secretary-General called for the extension of the Hub and Spokes programme, which comes to an end in April. The Hub and Spokes programme is a joint aid-for-trade initiative of the European Union, ACP Secretariat, the Commonwealth and la Francophonie.

“We have received numerous requests from member countries for the programme to be extended.  However this requires external budgetary support,” she stated.  “Last October, ACP Ministers of Trade further validated the contribution of the programme and supported its continuation.  If it is not extended, there will be a gap in the support provided to ACP countries and regions at a critical time when they are implementing trade agreements and addressing numerous emerging trade issues.”

The Secretary-General also presented a range of initiatives leaders adopted at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in London last year, which include:

  • A ‘Connectivity Agenda for Trade and Investment’ – to support global growth, create employment and promote sustainable development;
  • A ‘Commonwealth Trade Finance Facility’ – a facility to provide Commonwealth small states with up to $100 million of incremental finance to boost trade;
  • A ‘Commonwealth Innovation Hub’ – a digital hub which offers cost-effective and practical ideas to many of the challenges faced by member countries while trying to improve standards of living and achieve sustainable development;
  • The Commonwealth Blue Charter– a joint commitment by member countries to protect the ocean and sustainably manage its resources; and
  • A ‘Commonwealth Cyber Declaration’ – a collective pledge of 53 members to work closely together to evaluate and strengthen their cybersecurity frameworks and response mechanisms.
The ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly focuses on the unique needs of the ACP Group in discussions on the post-Cotonou agreement to help every member country reach their development goals.


Upon arrival at Dubai International Airport (UAE) members of the Jamaica Middle East Diaspora, adorned in Gold, Green and Black, were on hand to greet the Jamaican contingent of athlete’s coaches and medical staff with flowers, gifts, enthusiastic hugs and kisses and of course numerous selfies.

The welcome did not stop there, within 24 hours of the team’s arrival, in the UAE, and a very long flight, the Jamaican contingent were more than happy to accept an invitation from Cool Runnings Events organizer Daron Williams who hosted the team at the Els Golf Club Dubai, helped by Jamaican Middle East Diaspora.

On entering the Els Club, The Jamaican Special Olympics Team (JSOT) were welcomed by a cheering crowd of Jamaican flag waving revellers, with a sound track of Reggae music. Judging by the expressions on the faces of the JSOT, they genuinely appeared to be shocked, surprised and in some cases overwhelmed by the enthusiastic reception.

The normally effervescent Mrs. Lorna Bell Executive Director of Special Olympics eloquently expressed her gratitude to all those parties that had made the event happen, through tears of joy she eloquently told the attentive revellers of the difficult road that had been travelled, to raise the funds for flights, while congratulating the athletes for their hard work and many sacrifices they had made to simply to reach the World Games.

The customarily reserved Chargé d' Affaires, Nigel Smith from the Jamaican Embassy did not hesitate to take the opportunity to welcome the JSOT and wish them well and every success in the World Games Abu Dhabi 2019.

Daron Williams of Cool Runnings and MC Lennox Christie of (JMED) both delivered pride enthused speeches of motivation and inspiration, sprinkled with Jamaican style humour, but the most heartfelt speech was by H.E. Remigio Maradona the Secretary-General of Institution for the use of Micro-Algae Spirulina Against Malnutrition (IIMSAM) who said that,

The Late Dr. Hope P. White Davis, Founder and President of World Association of Former United Nations Interns and Fellows, who had mentored him for was the greatest Jamaica he had ever known”

Maradona also expressed how the late Dr White-Davis made him who he is today, despite facing the challenges of being disabled by Polio since childhood.

Notwithstanding the frivolities, food and entertainment, one of the most emotional moments of the Carnival was when the yellow vested members of the Jamaican Olympic team stood in unison with attending guests who, spontaneously stood for and sang the Jamaican National Anthem.

Once the opening formalities of the Carnival were complete, I managed to speak with the event organizer Daron Williams and asked him what motivated him to organize this welcome Carnival, He passionately stated,

As a Jamaican who loves all things Jamaican, I wanted to ensure that the Jamaican Special Olympics Team Felt welcome in the UAE by showing them that they have the love, support and respect of Jamaicans in the UAE.

As Jamaicans, we are an amazing people, we continue to overcome adversity and succeed. The presence of the JSOT team at the Special World Championship Games, here in the UAE is a testament to that ever-present Jamaican trait of being determined to succeed regardless of the barriers we sometimes face”

This Caribbean themed Carnival welcome, included catering by Reggae Birds and Patties by Papa Burties. No Caribbean event in the UAE would be the same without Reggae DJ Sir Lennox and DJ’s and a selection of other DJ’s organized by Don Corneille of Redemption Lifestyle organized to deliver soundtracks that would later lift the roof off of the normally exclusive and sedate Els Club.

Without hesitation, The Els Club Manager Miles Entwistle and events manager Verah Henry both said the event was a success and an amazing cultural experience. Judging by the atmosphere and the reaction of the JSOT, and the revellers, they were absolutely correct.

Article & Photos by Delroy Constantine-Simms

Have you ever thought about what truly makes you happy?

It is a question the United Nations is asking us to think about, because it has branded Friday 20 March the

It’s International Happiness Day today with the serious business of the pursuit of happiness the world over upper most on people’s minds.

Launched by the United Nations, in 2013, it is hoped that the initiative encourages governments to consider the well-being of its citizens, rather than focusing efforts solely on economic growth.

Visual Social Media expert, Louise Myers, says: “International Day of Happiness is celebrated on March 20th of every year. But,” she continues, “I suggest you celebrate it every day.

“Your happiness isn’t set in stone. Influence it by the choices you make daily.

“Genes have about 50% of influence in your personal happiness. Circumstances like income and environment affect only about 10%.

“As much as 40% is influenced by your daily activities. Your actions do make a difference in how happy you are.”

Different strokes for different folks! So, just do whatever makes you happy.

Have a happy ‘International Happiness Day’ today!

Sandwell Borough Council in the West Midlands is marking ‘World Social Work Day’ with events to highlight the importance of human relationships.

The special day, tomorrow (Tuesday March 19) is part of a world-wide appreciation of the work done in social care, with the theme of ;Promoting the importance of Human Relationships.'

To support the day, social workers from adult social care will be at three local libraries to talk about their roles.

And they will be working to encourage people to ask questions about the work of social workers in Sandwell.

Councillor Ann Shackleton, cabinet member for adult social care, said:”Anyone interested in this topic can pop in and meet staff from the community mental health, community social work and hospital teams to discuss the importance of human relationships.

“The staff will be keen to meet as many people as possible during these drop-in sessions.”

The sessions will be held between 10am – 3pm at:

  • Central Library, West Bromwich
  • Oldbury Library, Jack Judge House
  • Blackheath Library