Colors: Blue Color

The world-famous Harlem Globetrotters, featuring some of the most electrifying athletes on the planet, will be bringing their spectacular show to the UK, as part of their world tour with their one-of-a-kind show that is unrivalled in the world of family entertainment.

Every game will showcase incredible ball handling wizardry, rim-rattling dunks, trick shots, hilarious comedy and unequalled fan interaction – plus unique 30 Minute pre-show event with Harlem Globetrotters members - shoot, pass and dribble on court, autograph and photo opportunity

Represent nine decades of breaking down barriers, acts of goodwill show features even more amazing basketball skills and wizardry and a commitment to fans that goes beyond the game the Harlem Globetrotters are a worldwide icon, synonymous with family entertainment and great basketball skills.

Former player Mannie Jackson purchased the team in 1993, becoming the first African-American to own a major international sports and entertainment organization. He tripled the team’s revenue in three years and quadrupled its size in five. The team was also active in philanthropic efforts, with charitable contributions totaling over $11 million under Jackson’s guidance.

Globetrotter Michael ‘Wild Thing’ Wilson set a world record in 2000 by dunking on a 12-foot hoop at Final Four Weekend… a record that stands to this day and one of 12 world records currently held by Globetrotters players.

In 2005, a documentary, ‘The Team That Changed the World,’ aired, while the first verifiable account of the Globetrotters’ history was told in the book; ‘Spinning the Globe: The Rise, Fall and Return to Greatness of the Harlem Globetrotters.’

In September that year, Shamrock Capital Growth Fund purchased 80 percent of the team from Mannie Jackson – who eventually stepped back from day-to-day functions - and the Globetrotters announced the appointment of Kurt Schneider as Chief Executive Officer in May 2007.

The team confirmed their standing as one of the world’s most influential basketball teams in 2002, receiving the sport's highest honour with induction into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

Wang Shuang has a special reason to look forward to the forthcoming FIFA Women's World Cup France 2019.

The Chinese midfielder, who completed a high-profile move to Paris Saint-Germain and who has since delivered a series of eye-catching displays, in both the French league and the UEFA Women's Champions League, has fully acclimatized to her new life in Europe, the 23-year-old, who recently won the 2018 AFC Player of the Year award for her standout performances with both club and country, believes she will feel right at home this summer.

She said; "My experiences in France will be an advantage to me during the Women's World Cup here.

Paris is the home venue for PSG, so there wouldn't be many strangers that we may be up against.

Everyone says we (China) are in an extremely difficult group - two-time winners Germany, a fast-progressing Spain and South Africa.

It won’t be easy for us, but we don't choose our opponents."

With France 2019 kicking off in six months’ time, the current Chinese squad under new coach Jia Xiuquan has made notable progress – enough for others to take note come this summer.

She conclued; “There are no weak teams in the World Cup. We respect our rivals, but how much do they know about us?”

Targeting to attract people of the African origin to visit their continent of origin, Ghana President Nana Akufo-Addo has designated the year 2019 as the “Year of Return” to commemorate the resilience of Africans forced into slavery and to encourage their descendants to come home.

“We know of the extraordinary achievements and contributions Africans in the Diaspora made to the lives of the Americans, and it is important that this symbolic year, 400 years later, we commemorate their existence and their sacrifices,” President Nana said earlier in September last year.

His timing was based on the first recorded landing of a ship carrying Africans in Virginia, US, in August 1619 according to historians.

The Ghanaian president proclaimed 2019 as the “Year of Return” for all Diaspora descendants of Africans who were captured and transported into the Americas as slaves in the 17th and 18th centuries.

Titled, “Year of Return, Ghana 2019”, the proclamation was read in September last year at a ceremony held at the United States National Press Club in Washington DC to formally launch a program of activities marking the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first enslaved Africans to English North America in 1619.

The Year of Return seeks to make Ghana the focus for millions of African descendants reacting to their marginalization by tracing their ancestry and identity. By this, Ghana becomes the beacon for African people living on the continent and the Diaspora.

The Proclamation recognizes Ghana’s unique position as the location for 75 percent of the slave dungeons built on the west coast of Africa and the current President’s policy making it a national priority to extend a hand of welcome back home to Africans in the Diaspora.

The 2019 ‘Gateway to the World’ ultra-premium all-inclusive gave Carnival enthusiasts an extra dose of festival flair en route to the Greatest Show on Earth.

Now in its third year, this annual event has truly elevated the standard for premium events in east Trinidad and provided its patrons with an opportunity to celebrate the splendor of the Soca Kingdom in fine style.

The old Piarco International Airport served as venue for this premium extravaganza and gave the fete’s loyal attendees the right mix of class, cuisine and first-rate Caribbean party vibes.

The event’s organizers, FODAT LTD gained high marks by patrons for the superb execution, decorative ambiance and strategic positioning of bars and food stations that gave Gateway to the World a generally easy going yet festive atmosphere.

Gateway’s crowd consisted of both local event goers and even some foreign-based fetters that flew in for the weekend to experience first-hand the buzz generated from the event’s previous editions.

In keeping with the theme of ‘Welcome Home’, the diverse audience, mixed, mingled and enjoyed a wide array of local fine food offerings which included Roast Chicken with Cassava Fries, Coo Coo, Dumplings, Calalloo, Hopkins Rice & Stewed Chicken with Salad, Roasted Pork, Roti with assorted curried meats, Bake & Shark, Corn Soup, Doubles and Pholouri.

These delicacies were served alongside a top-notch selection of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages as well as a variety of sumptuous desserts.

The event served up a stellar cast of DJs as well as pulsating performances from the season’s top local and regional Soca stars such as Kes The Band, Patrice Roberts, Teddyson John, Ravi B & Karma, Nadia Batson, Ricardo Drue, 5 Star Akil, Farmer Nappy, Shal Marshal and the A Team Band alongside the energy-inspiring sounds of a popular riddim section.

One female guest who hopped a flight from Tobago just to attend Gateway shared, “This is my first time attending this fete and I am very impressed. It was recommended to me by my best friend who came last year. The food, the entertainment, the comfort and attention to detail are really impressive…Real value for my fete money!”

The fete’s eager attendees remained into the wee hours of the morning enjoying all of the action and amenities of this ultra-premium all-inclusive which is geared to be a mainstay in the annual Carnival calendar for many years to come.

Millions of people across the world came together to celebrate the most important date in the Chinese calendar, with festivities kicking off yesterday ­– the day of the second new moon of the winter solstice – signalling the start of 15 days of parades, parties and food.

2019 marks the ‘Year of the Pig,’ the twelfth of the zodiac animals. The Chinese zodiac, or shengxiao, is a repeating cycle of 12 years, each with an animal associated with certain characteristics.

ChineseNewYear.net said; “Those born under the sign of the Pig are said to avoid ‘wasteful’ spending but will still “let themselves enjoy life,” ChineseNewYear.net says.

They are energetic and are always enthusiastic, even for boring jobs. If given the chance, they will take positions of power and status.”

There’s ample opportunity to ring in the changes and take part in some time-honoured customs, from family orientated festive feasts promising dishes of delicious dumplings and tempting taro cakes to colourful street celebrations that will see cities across the UK lit up in vibrant red and gold. Here are some of the best places to visit to mark the occasion in style.

The 17th annual Chinese New Year celebrations, staged in Birmingham’s Chinese Quarter, is set to attract around 30,000 people looking to soak up all the action. 

This year’s celebrations, in and around the Arcadian Centre, will take place this Sunday - from 11.30am - and will feature authentic lion dancing, a fire act, acrobatics, street food, traditional lantern making and funfair rides. The celebrations will also take place on Colmore Row and at St Phillips Cathedral.

My fellow Jamaicans and Friends of Jamaica, It is my honour and pleasure to extend warmest greetings and best wishes to you and your families as we welcome a promising 2019. Over the past year, you have provided invaluable support to the work of the High Commission and to the Government and people of Jamaica. We are indeed grateful for your demonstration of goodwill which has enabled us to accomplish much, despite the numerous challenges.

Last year was a symbolic one in the history of the United Kingdom (UK) and of the
Jamaican Diaspora in the UK. It marked the 70th anniversary of the docking of the HMS
Empire Windrush, the 70th anniversary of the establishment of the National Health
Service (NHS), as well as the 40th anniversary of the Nurses Association of Jamaica (NAJ)
UK.

These coinciding milestones reflect the strong connection, role and contribution of
the Windrush Generation, including many of our Jamaican men and women, to the
development of British Society. To highlight the many trailblazing contributions of our nationals, the Jamaican High Commission was pleased to have launched a Windrush Legacy publication to be released on Windrush Day, 22nd June this year.

I thank all the volunteers, led by Mr. Charles Small, my High Commission team and all who have so far contributed to the publication. Special thanks also to Messeurs Peter and Steven Hargitay, Mr. Jonathan Harris, the Nottingham Forest Football Club, as well as Jam
aica National Bank (JNB), for their support of this Windrush initiative, as well as in organizing the historic football match between the Reggae Girlz and the Nottingham Forest Ladies, held at City Ground, Nottingham on 28th October 2018. We anticipate ev
en greater things as we prepare for the participation of the Reggae Girlz at the FIFA World Cup to be held in France later this year.

Despite the various global challenges of the past year, I am happy to report that in 2018,
Jamaica attained economic growth not seen in a decade, led by government reform and
improved fiscal discipline. Jamaica recorded the lowest level of unemployment since records began in 1968, and the Jamaica Stock Exchange was ranked second best performing Stock Exchange in the world based on returns on investment.

Jamaica has also continued to be a leading tourist destination globally, and to lead in
tourism innovation, tourism resilience and crisis management. In addition, Jamaica experienced a 21.7% decrease in murders from January to December 2018, as well as
notable decreases in serious and violent crimes compared to 2017. This reduction is by no means comforting and as such the Government remains resolute in its crime fighting
efforts.

This year, the Jamaican Government also demonstrated its strong commitment to preserving the environment and oceans by introducing a ban on single-use plastic bags,
plastic straws, and styrofoam food and beverage containers. The Government has put
bold and innovative measures in place to promote healthier lifestyles and reduce the
occurrences of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs), including through the introduction
of a ban on sugary drinks in health facilities and schools.

This will complement the important "Jamaica Moves" initiative to be introduced in
the UK soon. Additionally, and of great importance, is the action taken by the Government towards the protection and promotion of our precious indigenous culture by successfully inscribing Jamaican Reggae Music on the UNESCO List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

I am very pleased, as I am sure you all are, to note these positive developments. For us here at the High Commission, similar to the previous year, 2018 was certainly an active one. Matters relating to the Brexit process, as well as the unfortunate Windrush crisis were among issues of priority focus for the Mission. I also had the privilege of Chairing the Caucus of CARICOM High Commissioners during this dynamic period in UK - Caribbean relations and benefitted from the support and wisdom of a team of esteemed Caribbean colleagues.

A major highlight for 2018 was the first official visit to the United Kingdom of our Prime Minister, the Right Honourable Andrew Holness, ON, MP, who participated in the historic
Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), and several other high-level
activities, as well as a successful Town Hall meeting in April.

During the visit, the Prime Minister represented his colleague Caribbean Heads in raising with Prime Minister May, the many serious concerns facing undocumented Caribbean
migrants in the widely publicised Windrush crisis. We remain firmly committed to addressing the issues in the best interest of our nationals, including in relation to the Windrush Compensation Scheme.

The Prime Minister’s visit was followed by a successful first visit in June, of Senator the
Honourable Pearnel Charles Jr., newly appointed Minister of State, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, with responsibility for Diaspora matters. Minister Charles met
with key members of the UK Government, the business and Jamaican community and
participated in the 6th Biennial Diaspora Conference, which was organized by the Jamaica
Diaspora UK(JDUK).

We are grateful to all who assisted in the organization of the Conference, including the Jamaica Society Leeds, as well as participants from the six (6) Diaspora regions in the UK, plus Ireland. We look forward to having you join us at the upcoming 8th Biennial Jamaica Diaspora Conference being organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade (MFA&FT). The Conference will be held from 16th–20th June 2019 and we hope you will consider making your holiday plans this year, around the date of the Conference.

On reflection, the past year was one of much fulfilment for me personally, as well as my
hardworking team. In addition to our Prime Minister, our Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade and our Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, we hosted
a number of other Government Ministers and officials who visited to strengthen cooperation with the UK in their respective areas. I had the honour of presenting my Credentials as non-resident Ambassador to Denmark, Ireland, Finland and Norway and
look forward to presenting in Sweden and Cyprus this year.

I was able to undertake Community visits to Luton, Manchester and Nottingham, as well as historic visits to Northern and Southern Wales. As a Mission, we have continued to strengthen our engagement with our valuable Diaspora through the organization of various events including the annual Independence Church Service, Community meetings, Art Exhibition, Reggae Month and Black History Month events, as well as seminars on issues of importance to our community. We have participated in, supported and hosted meetings of many Jamaican organizations. We also continued to show, in tangible ways, our support for the Ministry of Health's, Adopt-a-Clinic programme and thank those who have firmly stood with us in this effort.

Over the past year, we have sought to strengthen our network of Honorary Consuls through new appointments in Finland, Ireland and Norway. Most recently, Minister Johnson Smith gave approval for the appointment of notable Jamaican, Professor Emeritus Godfrey (Geoff) Palmer, OBE, renown Scientist, human rights advocate and philanthropist, as Jamaica’s first Honorary Consul to Scotland. Professor Palmer's appointment will no doubt serve to further strengthen the ties of friendship and cooperation between Jamaica and Scotland, at this critical juncture in our relations.

I take this opportunity to convey heartiest congratulations to Mr. Wade Lyn, CBE, Jamaica’s Honorary Consul and team at our Consulate in Birmingham, as they celebrate
their 5th anniversary on 4th January. The Government of Jamaica is extremely proud and
grateful for the remarkable service which Mr. Lyn and his committed team continue to provide in Birmingham and in the Midlands.

Finally, I thank the various financial institutions, organizations, community groups, the
youth, media and individuals that continue to extend the hands of friendship to Jamaica. Thanks also to my committed team at the High Commission who continue to provide amazing service above self. Without a doubt, the lives of many Jamaicans both in Jamaica and here in the UK have been greatly enriched through the kind support which you have all provided. I look forward to the further strengthening of our partnerships in 2019.

Happy New Year and May God continue to bless you and your families, as well as our beloved Jamaica, Land We Love.

Pure Grenada, the Spice of the Caribbean achieved a historic milestone in 2018 welcoming more than half a million visitors to the destination’s shores. Spread across key niche markets, the combined cruise, yachting and stay over arrivals for 2018 was 528,077 representing a 12.90% increase over 2017.

A strong performance was recorded in stay over arrivals with an increase of 9.97%, moving from 146,375 to 160,970 visitors with special mention given to the bumper Christmas season in which a growth of 17% was recorded.

Canada recorded the highest growth rate in 2018 with a 19.05% increase (14,586-17,364), followed by the USA at 12.38% (67,252-75,577) and the Caribbean at 6.87% (27,127-28,990). Significant growth was also recorded in non-traditional markets that included Latin America at 13.28% (1,265-1,433) and the category representing all other parts of the world at 18.27% (2,934-3, 470). The USA maintains the top spot in market share for arrivals to the destination at 46.93% followed by the United Kingdom.

The yachting sector recorded double-digit growth of 10.82%, with visitor arrivals moving from 21,911 to 24,281, a direct result of 428 more yacht calls. As it relates to cruise arrivals, the sector grew by 14.49% (299,449-342,826) due to larger cruise ship calls.

Speaking about Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique’s performance, Grenada Tourism Authority’s (GTA) Chief Executive Officer Patricia Maher said; “We are delighted to surpass the historic 500,000 mark. It is a result of our hard work in lobbying airlines for more flights and the engagement of top cruise brand executives for more ship calls. I would like to thank our stakeholders for their support in ensuring our visitors continue to have wonderful experiences in the destination.”

A delighted Minister for Tourism and Civil Aviation Hon. Clarice Modeste Curwen added; “Achieving 500,000 arrivals has been a landmark goal for the destination of Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique. It is a testament to the growing island’s influence in the marketplace and industry growth. But we will not stop there as we want to grow the pie so that everyone gets a bigger slice. To do that, we must continue to keep our islands pure, share our warmth and hospitality with visitors, as well as deliver high quality professional service.”

Additionally, the GTA launched a destination shopping video, which highlighted the destination’s diverse offerings. All levels of shopping experiences were displayed including art, craft, glass products, clothing, spices and batik. GTA Product Development Manager Kirl Hoschtialek, says, “The shopping video is one of our strategies in improving the destination’s profile as it relates to shopping experiences which were highlighted in visitor surveys as needing improvement.” The video will be shared locally, regionally and internationally especially at the St. George’s Cruise Terminal.

The GTA is optimistic about 2019 and anticipates deeper collaboration with stakeholders to strive for Pure Grenada’s global brand recognition as a premier tourist destination.

Pure Grenada, the Spice of the Caribbean achieved a historic milestone in 2018 welcoming more than half a million visitors to the destination’s shores. Spread across key niche markets, the combined cruise, yachting and stay over arrivals for 2018 was 528,077 representing a 12.90% increase over 2017.

A strong performance was recorded in stay over arrivals with an increase of 9.97%, moving from 146,375 to 160,970 visitors with special mention given to the bumper Christmas season in which a growth of 17% was recorded.

Canada recorded the highest growth rate in 2018 with a 19.05% increase (14,586-17,364), followed by the USA at 12.38% (67,252-75,577) and the Caribbean at 6.87% (27,127-28,990). Significant growth was also recorded in non-traditional markets that included Latin America at 13.28% (1,265-1,433) and the category representing all other parts of the world at 18.27% (2,934-3, 470). The USA maintains the top spot in market share for arrivals to the destination at 46.93% followed by the United Kingdom.

The yachting sector recorded double-digit growth of 10.82%, with visitor arrivals moving from 21,911 to 24,281, a direct result of 428 more yacht calls. As it relates to cruise arrivals, the sector grew by 14.49% (299,449-342,826) due to larger cruise ship calls.

Speaking about Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique’s performance, Grenada Tourism Authority’s (GTA) Chief Executive Officer Patricia Maher said, “ We are delighted to surpass the historic 500,000 mark. It is a result of our hard work in lobbying airlines for more flights and the engagement of top cruise brand executives for more ship calls. I would like to thank our stakeholders for their support in ensuring our visitors continue to have wonderful experiences in the destination.”

Minister for Tourism and Civil Aviation Hon. Clarice Modeste Curwen also expressed her delight with the destination’s performance. She noted, “Achieving 500,000 arrivals has been a landmark goal for the destination of Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique. It is a testament to the growing island’s influence in the marketplace and industry growth.  But we will not stop there as we want to grow the pie so that everyone gets a bigger slice. To do that, we must continue to keep our islands pure, share our warmth and hospitality with visitors, as well as deliver high quality professional service.”

Additionally, the GTA launched a destination shopping video, which highlighted the destination’s diverse offerings. All levels of shopping experiences were displayed including art, craft, glass products, clothing, spices and batik. GTA Product Development Manager Kirl Hoschtialek, says, “The shopping video is one of our strategies in improving the destination’s profile as it relates to shopping experiences which were highlighted in visitor surveys as needing improvement.” The video will be shared locally, regionally and internationally especially at the St. George’s Cruise Terminal.

The GTA is optimistic about 2019 and anticipates deeper collaboration with stakeholders to strive for Pure Grenada’s global brand recognition as a premier tourist destination.

On Sunday, 6th January, Silversea's Silver Whisper set sail on the 'Tale of Tales,' the cruise line's enriched World Cruise 2019. Following extensive refurbishments and after a hugely successful pre-voyage event, the enhanced ship welcomed World Cruisers aboard in San Francisco for the start of the 133-day voyage, including author Pico Iyer—the first of nine creatives who will enrich the World Cruise 2019 for Silversea's guests.

During the ship's dry dock period, which lasted from 1st December until 19th December, Silver Whisper underwent a large-scale renovation—completed in line with the Musification strategy that is inspiring the enhancement of Silversea's fleet. The initial refurbishment plans of Silver Whisper were revised and augmented following the launch of Project Invictus, Silversea Cruise's long-term plan to enrich and enlarge its fleet. With the comfort of guests in mind - namely, world cruising guests on the Tale of Tales - all public areas and guest accommodation were enhanced.

In public spaces, new carpets were laid throughout the hallways, staircases, in the main restaurant, the main bar, and all guest suites. The Main restaurant underwent a complete refurbishment, with new curtains, new chairs and new wallpaper, among other enhancements; the Spa & Gym was upgraded with new equipment and other improvements, and the Beauty Salon was also completely upgraded; the Card & Conference room was entirely renovated; La Terrazza, the Panorama Lounge, the Central Staircase and the Casino were each also enhanced dramatically. The Pool Deck benefited from a new teak design, as well as an overhaul of the Pool Bar & Grill and other enhancements. New sun loungers and new balcony furniture completed the refurbishment of outdoor areas.

The comfort of guest accommodation was also upgraded: in Silver Whisper's top suites, new carpet, reupholstered and new furniture, new wallpaper, and revamped wooden surfaces saw the Musification of accommodations. All suites were invigorated with improvements to the en-suite bathrooms; new mattresses, curtains and furniture; and wood polishing.

The refurbishment of Silver Whisper is not the only enhancement enriching the World Cruise 2019 for Silversea's guests. The Tale of Tales will see nine celebrated creatives join the ship over the course of the voyage; each will illustrate their sailed segment by creating a work of art – either a written text, a photograph or another medium. Guests will receive an exclusive anthology containing all nine artworks to document their experiences. Illustrious novelist, essayist and travel writer, Pico Iyer, has joined the first segment of the voyage, sailing between San Francisco, California, and Papeete, Tahiti. Iyer's work has featured in such publications as Time magazine, Harper's, The New York Times, and The New York Review of Books, among others.

“We are delighted to have bid Silver Whisper 'bon voyage' for Silversea's innovative World Cruise 2019, the Tale of Tales,” says Barbara Muckermann, Silversea's Chief Marketing Officer. “Our guests will become the protagonists of their own stories, when they travel to the world's most remarkable destinations in ultimate comfort. Their experiences will be enriched by the presence of our nine talented Tale Tellers, as well as a number of other bespoke enhancements. We are enabling our guests to travel deeper in every sense of the expression.”

Prior to the commencement of the World Cruise 2019, Silversea hosted a pre-voyage gala dinner for the Tale of Tales' approximately 230 protagonists to get acquainted. The bespoke event, which was held at the Jewish Contemporary Museum in San Francisco and hosted by a number of Silversea representatives, offered guests a multi-sensory introduction to the Tale of Tales, setting the stage for the story to be told: guests entered through a grand entrance, where they were greeted by live harp and trumpet music, an impressive LED wall, and temple-themed lounges. Champagne and cocktails were complemented by canapés and a sumptuous feast, which was curated by Four Seasons, as guests mingled under San Francisco's skyline and sampled a taste of what is to come on this one-of-a-kind voyage.

The Commonwealth Secretary-General, Patricia Scotland, who recently visited Bangladesh for discussion with government and opposition parties, called on the Government and the Election Commission to provide a conducive environment for free, fair, inclusive and participatory elections on 30 December 2018.

The Secretary-General has noted with concern reports, over the last several weeks, of violence, intimidation and harassment against several candidates and political party activists. The Secretary-General emphasised the importance of a political and campaign environment free from intimidation and fear, and called on all political parties and stakeholders to participate peacefully in the electoral process.

The Secretary-General  has deployed a two-member senior staff team, who are already on the ground, to observe the poll and to meet with the Electoral Commission and some of the stakeholders who will participate in the election, including the Commonwealth’s international partners in Dhaka.

Scotland called on the Government and people of Bangladesh to uphold the Commonwealth Charter which recognises the inalienable right of individuals to participate in their national democratic processes, in particular, through free and fair elections in shaping the society in which they live.  Scotland said, “The people of Bangladesh must be allowed to participate, nurture and strengthen their national democratic processes and institutions."

The Secretary-General conveyed her best wishes to the people of Bangladesh as they prepare to participate in their national election.

Distinguished Jamaican born scientist, Sir Professor Godfrey “Geoff” Palmer, OBE, has been appointed Jamaica’s first Honorary Consul in Scotland.

 

H.E. Seth George Ramocan, CD, High Commissioner, said he was very pleased with the appointment of Sir Geoff who has demonstrated an undying love for Jamaica through his many decades of leadership, advocacy and promotion of the strong historical, social and economic ties between Jamaica and Scotland.

 

Born in the parish of St Elizabeth in Jamaica in 1940, Godfrey Henry Oliver “Geoff” Palmer, as he is known to friends and colleagues, migrated to Britain in 1955 as a part of the Windrush generation.  He overcame early educational and other challenges, to later graduate with a degree in Botany from Leicester University in 1964.  In 1968, he graduated with a PhD in grain science and technology from Edinburgh University.  While working at the Brewing Research Foundation he invented the Barley Abrasion Process, which revolutionised the brewing industry.  He was the first person in Europe and the fourth in the world to have been honoured with the American Society of Brewing Chemist Award of Distinction.

 

In 1989, Sir Geoff became the first black professor in Scotland. He was knighted In 2014, for services to human rights, science and charity. He is a founding member of the Jamaica Society Scotland.

 

During his working life, Sir Geoff travelled and lectured worldwide and was instrumental in the development of the cereal, sorghum as food and brewing material in Africa.  He also helped to secure the first export of British barley to China.

 

On his retirement in 2005 he was made Emeritus Professor of the Heriot-Watt University and he has accepted Honorary Doctorates from a number of Universities including the University of the West Indies. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine and of the Institute of Brewing.

 

Professor Palmer, who is also a human rights activist, has researched, written and lectured extensively on the Scottish links with slavery and the Slave Trade, including Scotland’s role in the Abolition of Slavery.

 

He currently serves as the Honorary President of the Edinburgh and Lothians Regional Equality Council.

The Chinese Community Centre-Birmingham has announced that it will stage the first exhibition about the Chinese Labour Corps in the West Midlands in February 2019, coinciding with Chinese New Year.

In November 2018, Britain commemorated the end of World War I with events across the country. One group that has been consistently overlooked is the Chinese Labour Corps (CLC) – volunteers from mainland China who were sent by the Chinese government to support the British and French armies on the Western Front. While hostilities ceased in November 1918 and troops returned home, the CLC remained behind to clear battlefield debris into 1919 with the final units not leaving until September 1920, almost two years after armistice.

Their contribution was never acknowledged in Britain until a campaign to recognise the CLC began in 2013.  Since then, a number of projects have taken place and the Chinese Community Centre-Birmingham (CCC-B) is bringing together elements from Ming Ai Institute’s ‘British Chinese Armed Forces Heritage’ exhibition which commemorates the CLC in WWI and the Hong Kong British Army Aid Group in WWII together with artefacts from the Chinese in Britain Forum’s ‘Ensuring We Remember’ campaign under the title ‘Chinese Labour Corps: the forgotten men of World War I’.

The full exhibition will be on display at CCC-B from 1st – 8th February 2019. After this, selected items will go on display in the Spotlight Zone of the Library of Birmingham from 11 February-1st March.

Chief Executive Anna Yim says: “CCC-B is excited to be working with other Chinese organisations that have undertaken significant research and produced excellent materials including exhibitions on the Chinese Labour Corps.  We have been able to draw on our good relationship with the Library of Birmingham to secure the exhibition space and facility for a panel discussion on 27th February to highlight these works in the second city. 

We have brought the exhibition to Birmingham so that Chinese and non-Chinese communities in the West Midlands can learn about the vital contribution of the CLC in the war efforts of Britain and her allies.”

The exhibition and talk are free to attend.

A new adventure story, set in the Caribbean island of Saint Lucia has just launched. It is the first children’s story book penned to promote the exotic holiday destination.

‘The Secret Treasures of Saint Lucia’ is written by successful children’s author Sara Grant and published by the Saint Lucia Tourism Authority (SLTA) in conjunction with Scholastic and Virgin Holidays.

The story for 7-11 year olds sees Jack on the trip of a lifetime staying at Coconut Bay Beach Resort with his parents when he meets Nyla, a volunteer with the Saint Lucia National Trust. When a mysterious treasure map appears, they must work together to discover the true secret of Saint Lucia.

Saint Lucia is one of the Windward Islands of the West Indies' Lesser Antilles. The "Helen of the West Indies" is known for its natural beauty and diverse attractions, including the signature Piton Mountains, a tropical rainforest and one of the world's few drive-in volcanoes.

Patricia Charlery-Leon, UK Director for SLTA said “Saint Lucia is hugely popular with families making up around a third of our visitors from the UK each year. With so much to do, it’s the perfect setting for a quest and we hope that this wonderful story inspires more families to come and have their own adventure.”

The book is available free in any of the 12 Virgin Holidays’ V-Room stores around the UK. It will also be given out at Gatwick Airport, on selected Virgin Atlantic routes.

Underlining its role as the Caribbean's leading environmentally-aware nation, Aruba has announced a total ban on all single-use plastic from next year.

The Dutch Caribbean island's government made a landmark decision in 2017 to ban all single use plastic bags and, encouraged by the impact that move had, has now extended it to include such everyday items as plastic cups and straws and Styrofoam boxes, such as disposable coolers. The ban is effective in 2019, with a one-year transition period to a total ban in 2020.

And in a further ground-breaking move, the island's Ministry of Environment has announced that sunscreens containing oxybenzone will also be prohibited in Aruba. A transition phase starts next year, with a full ban in place by 2020.

Coral reefs around the world, including along Aruba's coastlines, are suffering from

The Commonwealth Observer Group deployed by the Secretary-General to observe Zimbabwe’s Harmonised Elections on 30 July has released its final report. They are the first elections the Commonwealth has observed in Zimbabwe in 16 years.

The Observer Group was led by John Dramani Mahama, former President of Ghana, and included 23 eminent persons. A nine-person staff team from the Commonwealth supported it.

The Report highlights several positive aspects of the election, including: a markedly improved pre-election environment where all parties were generally able to campaign freely; peaceful, well managed and transparent polls on Election Day; and the participation of women as presidential candidates, polling officials, and voters.

However, the Group expressed concern about a number of technical and political shortcomings, which, in its view, unlevelled the playing field. These issues included the acute bias of state media in favour of the governing party; the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission’s limitations in the implementation of its mandate; persistent allegations of intimidation; and the unfair use of incumbency privileges. The Group further singled out the post-election violence, which resulted in fatalities, noting that it marred the final phase of the elections.

Because of these shortcomings, the Group concluded that it was unable to endorse all aspects of the process as credible, inclusive and peaceful.

In providing its recommendations, the Group recalled Zimbabwe’s relationship with the Commonwealth. The Report states:

“Zimbabwe enjoys a special historical relationship with the Commonwealth: it was in Harare in 1991, that Commonwealth Heads of Government agreed the Harare Commonwealth Declaration committing their countries to a set of core values, including democracy, the rule of law and human rights. These values are reflected in Zimbabwe’s 2013 Constitution. It is our hope that our recommendations and conclusions will contribute to their full implementation.”

Zimbabwe withdrew from the Commonwealth in 2003. However election observation in a non-member country became possible when Zimbabwe asked to re-join the Commonwealth. The Group’s Report will be considered by the Secretary-General as one aspect of the membership assessment process.

She fell multiple times but still Simone Biles was a 4-time winner of world all-around title – by a record gap.

The four-time Rio Olympic champion again proved to be the No.1 on the global stage after overcoming her first two falls in more than 60 career Olympic or world champs routines to grab a record-breaking fourth world all-around title in Doha, crowning her the best gymnast less than a year after she returned from a 14-month break.

Competing with a kidney stone that she named the ‘Doha Pearl,’ which was too big to pass in an emergency room visit, Bile was clear of Japan’s Mai Murakami by 1.693 points, the largest women’s world all-around margin of victory under the 12-year-old Code of Points. Why with two falls? Because her difficulty — which accounts for roughly 40 percent of scores — is 2.7 points greater than anybody else, by far her greatest d score edge of her five Olympic/world all-around titles.

After later apologizing on Twitter for giving fans ‘a heart attack,’ she said: “I didn’t know if I was going to pull it off and then I started doubting myself. I was definitely shocked.”

Biles led by .092 going into her last routine, floor exercise, where she is a full point better than the rest of the world.

“I was like, ‘Well, the day seems to be horrible, so let’s see what else can go wrong,'” Biles said. “Then I had to get those bad thoughts out of my head.”

She went out of bounds on her first tumbling pass but still scored a 15, highest of the day by that full point.

That made it the largest overall gap in the women’s all-around at worlds since the perfect-10 judging system was thrown out in 2006. Shawn Johnson held the previous margin-of-victory record of 1.25 points from 2007.

Biles also broke her tie with retired Russian Svetlana Khorkina for the most women’s all-around titles and matched retired Belarusian Vitaly Scherbo for the most career world gold medals with 12.