Koffee is Toast of Jamaica After Making Grammy History; And She’s Also Stoked That The Obamas Are Among Her Fans
KINGSTON, Jamaica, Tuesday January 28, 2020 – It was her first Grammy nomination. And at 19 years old, Koffee created history by becoming the first woman and youngest reggae act to ever win a Grammy for Best Reggae Album.
teenager, Mikayla Simpson, won the award for her Reggae EP ‘Rapture’, which was
released last year.
And now she is the toast of her home country, with Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport Olivia Grange singing her praises, describing her as “an outstanding, gifted, talented daughter of the soil”.
“Koffee is an
outstanding Ambassador of the Reggae music of Jamaica, despite her young age,
and is thoroughly deserving of the Reggae Grammy for her well-produced album,”
she said of the ‘Toast’ singer.
“Koffee’s achievement is inspiration for us all, especially emerging artistes and women artistes who continue to beat against the glass ceiling as they build lasting careers.”
Cocoa Tea, the man
credited with giving Koffee her big break, told the Jamaica Observer that he
had no doubt Koffee would have taken home the Grammy.
moment she was nominated, I said to myself: ‘This girl is going to win it.’ I
feel very elated and vindicated because two years ago when I just started to
post her on my Instagram, I said that she would be one of the best artistes out
of Jamaica; many people called me an idiot. However, you have to take criticism
with a smile like how you take positive comments with a smile,” he told the
In her acceptance
speech at the 62nd annual Grammy award ceremony in California on
Sunday, Koffee said: “I just want to say that this one is for all of us. This
one is for reggae…This one is for Jamaica.”
She also expressed gratitude to her producers, as well as veteran reggae artistes, including Julian Marley, Steel Pulse, and Sly and Robbie who were also nominated for Best Reggae Album.
“I would first like to thank all the producers and everyone who helped to make Rapture what it is today. I would like to pay my respects to Julian Marley, Steel Pulse, Sly and Robbie, Morgan Heritage for all the input that they have made in the reggae industry. I’ve learnt a lot from them and from other older people in the industry and that’s why I’m here; that’s what brought us all here,” she said.
includes former US President Barack Obama who named ‘Toast’ as one of his
favorite tracks of 2019, and his wife, Michelle, who has it on workout
She told Billboard on the Grammy red carpet before her win that hearing that was “super dope”.
PAHO Urges Region to Be Ready to Detect Cases of New Coronavirus; Caribbean Public Health Agency Monitoring Outbreak
States, Tuesday January 28, 2020 – Director of the Pan American Health
Organization (PAHO) Carissa Etienne has urged countries in the Americas to be
prepared to detect early, isolate and care for patients infected with the new
coronavirus, in case of receiving travelers from countries where there is
ongoing transmission of novel coronavirus cases.
services need to be prepared because they will most likely be the entry point
where cases of the new coronavirus will be detected, as has already happened
with previous epidemics,” she said at a PAHO briefing for ambassadors of
the Americas to the Organization of American States (OAS). “PAHO stands
ready to support them because detecting cases early can prevent the spread of
Up to the end of
last week, 846 confirmed cases of infection by Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCov)
were reported globally, including 830 cases from China. Of these, 177 cases
were severe and 25 died. Of the confirmed cases, 80 per cent were people over
the age of 40 and 64 per cent were men.
Other cases have
been reported in Thailand (4), Japan (2); Hong Kong (2), the Republic of Korea
(2), Macau (2) and Singapore (1). In the Americas, the United States has
confirmed two cases of travelers from China, and other countries ruled out or
is investigating suspicious cases.
In Wuhan, China,
where the latest outbreak is said to have orginiated, health workers were one
of the affected groups, which has put health services under pressure. For this
reason, Etienne stressed the importance of the awareness and training of health
personnel in the region and promoting the use of infection prevention equipment
to protect them from disease.
Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO) Dr Tedros Adhanom
Ghebreyesus convened the Emergency Committee to advise him on whether the
outbreak in China constitutes a public health emergency of international
concern (PHEIC). He decided not to declare a public health emergency at this
time, but said it is an emergency in China, and that the outbreak poses a high
risk at the regional and global levels.
“The fact that
WHO has not declared an emergency does not mean that we are not facing a major
public health challenge,” said PAHO Assistant Director Dr Jarbas Barbosa.
“With globalization and international travel, it’s not unexpected that
countries in the region can receive people with the virus.”
The Director of
PAHO’s Health Emergencies Department, Dr Ciro Ugarte, stressed that
epidemiological surveillance for early detection of cases, as well as the
management of patients with proper infection prevention and control measures to
limit person-to-person transmission, can reduce secondary cases and prevent a
spread of the disease.
“The nature of
2019-nCoV is very similar to influenza, and the symptoms are similar to those
of SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome): fever, cough, shortness of breath
and pneumonia,” Ugarte said, adding that there is no specific treatment
and no vaccine for the new coronavirus.
Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) says it is monitoring developments and
working closely with its international health partners to respond to this
health threat and provide timely advice and support to the preparedness
activities of Caribbean Member States.
It said the
National Disaster Management Offices across the region have been advised and
are engaging in local readiness actions together with the Health Disaster
Coordinators, Ministries of Health.
“CDEMA and the Regional Response Mechanism Partners will continue to monitor the situation and will provide updates if the situation warrants,” it added.
are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold
to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and
Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV). A novel coronavirus (nCoV) is a
new strain that has not been previously identified in humans.
Common signs of infection include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death.
Another State of Emergency is Declared in Jamaica’s Capital As Crime Level “Greatly Endangers Public Safety”
Tuesday January 28, 2020 – Another part of Jamaica’s capital, Kingston, is now under a state
of emergency (SOE), with the island’s police chief saying the level of crime
there is “at a scale and nature that greatly endangers public safety”.
The SOE took effect in the Eastern Kingston Police Division on Sunday.
Prime Minister Andrew
Holness said security personnel from the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) and the
Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) were deployed to carry out the enhanced
Police Major General Antony Anderson said the area has been experiencing a high
incidence of violent crimes from the latter part of 2019 and since the start of
has persistently been one of the country’s crime hot spots with several gangs
engaged in deadly inter and intra-gang conflicts or other criminal enterprise.
Today, there are currently 32 criminal gangs with over 16 now actively engaged
in various violent conflicts in the Division. There are 33 wanted persons and
another 34 violence influencers within the Division,” he said.
He said that
murders in the division increased by 16 per cent in 2019, when compared to the
previous year, while shootings increased by 49 per cent. Of those incidents, 67
per cent were related to gang activities.
“In 2019, we recovered 36 firearms along with 622 rounds of ammunition in East Kingston alone. Already, since the start of 2020, the Eastern Kingston Division has recorded 11 murders when compared with the three (murders) during the corresponding period last year,” Commissioner Anderson said.
National Security Dr Horace Chang noted that the areas extending from Upper
Mountain View to Rockfort along the coastline “continue to have a serious
increase in…homicides”. And he said the Government was therefore obligated to
take strong steps to protect the lives of the law-abiding citizens.
forces will take all steps required to apprehend, prosecute, and disrupt the
gangs that exist in these areas,” he said.
Meantime, Chief of
Defence Staff Lieutenant General Rocky Meade reminded that the SOE will give
the security forces temporary additional powers of search, arrest and detention
and limited suspension of individual rights.
“We believe that
this is necessary in order to give the security forces the necessary space to
carry out the operational tasks that will be required to help bring a sense of
normalcy to the communities affected,” he said.
He assured citizens that both the JDF and JCF have been properly trained and oriented to give due regard to basic human rights and citizen rights of all the persons within the communities.
Another Big Oil Find Off Guyana – That’s Number 19 for the CARICOM Country
Tuesday January 28, 2020 – US oil and gas giant ExxonMobil has made its 16th oil discovery
offshore Guyana, bringing the total to 19.
The latest new discovery which was announced yesterday, was made ten miles northeast of the first producing project, the Liza field at the Uaru well, on the Stabroek Block. It came just days after Guyana’s first shipment of crude oil – 1 million barrels of light crude – was sent off to the United States.
ExxonMobil said it hopes to start production on the latest oil discovery by 2023, and that it planned to deploy a fifth drillship this year for exploration and appraisal of Guyanese resources.
The Department of Energy said the new find, coupled with all other discoveries, brings the estimated resource for the Stabroek Block to more than eight billion oil-equivalent barrels. And the finds have collectively made Guyana’s 6.6 million-acre Stabroek Block the largest crude discovery of recent years.
Republic of Guyana welcomes this new discovery, which follows closely on the
heels of the start of oil production on December 20, 2019. All Guyanese should
welcome this discovery and should begin to appreciate that the nation is on the
cusp of major economic transformation and sustained development. The Department
of Energy remains committed to working with its partners and ecosystem of
agencies, to ensure that the benefits from the sector, both direct and
indirect, redound to every Guyanese,” Director of the DoE, Dr Mark Bynoe said.
The Uaru well
encountered approximately 94 feet of high-quality oil-bearing sandstone
reservoir. The well, drilled in 6,342 feet of water, is located approximately
10 miles northeast of the Liza field, which started oil production in December
According to Dr
Bynoe, “the petroleum sector is already stimulating increased employment and
expanded services, and we are expecting a ramping up of these benefits during
the Decade of Development (2020-2029) which is aimed at ensuring that the
country’s petroleum resources are utilised to improve citizens’ quality of life
and retaining greater value from the sector for Guyana and Guyanese”.
This is Guyana’s third discovery after the country commenced oil production on December 20, 2019.
According to Forbes magazine, ExxonMobil expects about 750,000 daily barrels of production – more than the daily production of India – from the Stabroek Block by 2025, and Credit Suisse in a recent bulletin said that figure “is very likely to be raised”.
Magistrate Drops Sedition Case Against T&T Trade Union Leader, But He Could Be Charged Again
PORT OF SPAIN,
Trinidad, Tuesday January 28, 2020 – President of the Public Services Association
(PSA) Watson Duke no longer has a sedition charge hanging over his head – at least
The case against
him, which stemmed from statements he made in November 2018 about proposed
layoffs at three public utility companies, was discontinued by Chief Magistrate
Maria Busby-Earle Caddle yesterday on the basis of a High Court ruling that
parts of the Sedition Act, under which he was charged, were unconstitutional.
came a week after Duke’s attorneys had applied for the dismissal, based on the January
13 ruling by Justice Frank Seepersad which the State has appealed.
“At this time,
January 27, there is an order of the High Court that these sections are
unconstitutional. At this stage there is nothing on which for him to be tried,”
she said when Duke reappeared before her at the Port of Spain Magistrates’
Court and the prosecution sought to have the matter adjourned until after the State’s
appeal is heard.
hearing on a suspension of Justice Seepersad’s ruling is set for February 3.
The Director of Public
Prosecutions can file fresh charges against Duke – who also has other pending
charges for rape, indecent assault and disorderly conduct – if Seepersad’s decision
is overturned in the Court of Appeal.
The judge had ruled that the legislation was “vague, uncertain and can lead to arbitrary application”, and was not compatible with a sovereign democratic state as it limited constitutional rights to freedom of thought and expression and freedom of the press.
Let’s Make a Deal: Jamaica’s Justice Minister Urges Gang Members to Consider Plea Bargaining
Tuesday January 28, 2020 – The Justice Ministry is encouraging accused or imprisoned
co-conspirators, such as gang members, to consider plea agreements in order to
expedite cases through the courts and reduce backlog.
The call has come
from Minister Delroy Chuck, who says plea bargaining has proven to help resolve
persons, especially those who have been sentenced in the correctional
institutions, have a great deal of knowledge about where criminal material can
be discovered and also who have committed crimes in their communities. If they
have the gumption or the courage to really assist the society in ridding it of
guns and criminals, then they should approach the Director of Public Prosecutions
(DPP),” he said.
involves negotiations, often between the attorney for the accused and the
prosecutor, where the defendant agrees to plead guilty in exchange for an
agreement by the prosecutor to vary the charges or sentence.
Section 20 of the
Plea Negotiations and Agreement Act (2017) states that individuals who have
been charged or convicted can approach the prosecution to offer assistance on a
case, in exchange for a reduction in their sentence or a less severe charge. Charged
persons can negotiate lighter charges, while convicts can have their sentences
Minister Chuck said
the Government will be working to increase awareness about the benefits of plea
bargaining by targeting charged and convicted persons.
“We intend to do
some flyers and put them in the courthouses for persons who are charged with
crimes and also circulate flyers in the prisons, inviting convicted persons and
emphasising that we are only interested in truth and in reliable material,” he
But Chuck cautioned
that if people come forward with misleading information in an attempt to save
themselves, the DPP can ask for an increase in their sentence.
of Legal Services in the Ministry, Karen Wilson, says there are other
advantages to plea bargaining in addition to the speedy disposal of cases.
pleads guilty, that can be seen as the first step towards rehabilitation.
Pleading guilty, if it is done for all the right reasons, can show that the
person is really remorseful. You can correct a man when he shows remorse and so
his rehabilitation will be more successful and his reintegration into society
will almost be guaranteed,” she noted.
But Wilson pointed
out that Section 11 of the Act outlines that judges have the power to refuse a
the agreement, the judge must be satisfied that the plea is voluntary and did
not result from force or any promises outside of the promises made in the
agreement. The accused must understand the nature, substance and the
consequence of entering into the agreement, and there must be a factual basis
upon which the agreement was made. The acceptance of the agreement must not be
contrary to the interest of justice,” she explained.
If the judge does not accept a Plea Agreement and the case goes to trial, a different judge will try the case.
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