Ajayi Ballentine Clarke makes international modeling debut

[Photo Series Above: Ajayi Ballentine Clarke of Nassau, Bahamas in Paris, France seen center with fashion celebrity, Vincent McDoom who cast ‘AJ’ as the Face of Labo Ethnik 2014. Photos by: Frédéric Bukajlo DESIGNER(photo 1, 2 & 2) Forerunner JEWELRY DESIGNER (photo 1): Marie-Laure Colrat DESIGNER (Photo 3): Didier Drogba & Co by HOM]

Twenty-two year  old Ajayi Ballentine Clarke of Nassau, Bahamas has just made his international debut on the runway in Paris, France at the Labo Ethnik (Paris) Fashion and Lifestyle event. He was cast for the show by casting director and Saint Lucian Parisian fashion celebrity, Vincent Mc Doom.

With the support of The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism, ‘AJ’ was able to fly to France and walk in three shows. While there he met many international models. “I am beyond happy to have met and worked with some really wonderful people. I made some great connections, in particular with meeting other models,” said Ajayi.

AJ was cast for the event when McDoom’s assistant Christian Tran-Van-Nhô showed him an online photo of Ajayi when they were in the process of calling agencies for their general casting.  “I’d been looking for the ‘masculine face of Labo Ethnik’ for this season since I had already chosen the female face, Brittany Noon of St. Lucia.  Looking at his photo I imagined them together on the runway, and on a poster. They really are the DNA of what I think newness represents in modeling,” said McDoom.

McDoom is a permanent judge on Russia’s Next Top Model, and has been involved in France’s and Poland’s Next Top Model, and a guest judge on Germany’s Next Top Model.

With a passion for highlighting Caribbean talent, McDoom was pleased to put AJ in front of designers from St. Lucia, Trinidad, Guyana, Martinique, Guadeloupe, Barbados, Jamaica, China, Japan, Africa, Europe, and the USA will also be represented. Labo Ethnik is held annually at Les Docks, Cite de la Mode in Paris and attracts  specialized fashion press/media, fashion editors, TV presenters, newspaper reporters, international fashion bloggers, radio hosts, seasoned fashion designers, international fashion buyers, and fashion’s well known celebrities in music, cinema, sports, television.

In 2011 when he won a “Walk Off’ modeling competition, and since that time the exotic, chiseled featured model with a body to match, has been busy developing his career while attending college and working at Atlantis resort in Paradise Island, Bahamas.

Ajayi enjoys a good workout in the gym, he’s into cars and likes to customize them himself. He has an interest in trying new foods, enjoys traveling and meeting new people. He will most certainly be meeting many new people in 2014!

Canada to host Maternal, Newborn and Child Health Summit

Image from Melinda Gates facebook page, "Every year, more than one million newborns die on their first day of life. The good news is these newborn lives can be saved with simple and relatively inexpensive interventions."
Image from Melinda Gates facebook page, “Every year, more than one million newborns die on their first day of life. The good news is these newborn lives can be saved with simple and relatively inexpensive interventions.”

According to the Lancet study each year 2.9 million newborn babies die around the world, while another 2.6 million are stillborn.

Noted philanthropist Melinda Gates issued an international call for more funding May 20th as she helped launch new research in the medical journal The Lancet on the plight of new mothers, babies and young children in developing countries.

This report puts  pressure on Prime Minister Stephen Harper as he hosts a major international meeting next week on his signature aid initiative — maternal, newborn and child health.

Harper committed $2.8 billion to the cause during 2010’s G8 summit and will be chairing the three-day event in Toronto.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced today further program elements for the upcoming Saving Every Woman Every Child: Within Arm’s Reach Summit, which is taking place from May 28 to 30, 2014, in Toronto, Ontario. Prime Minister Harper will be speaking at plenary sessions and moderating a panel discussion. He will also be participating in a roundtable with Canadian MNCH partners.

The Saving Every Woman Every Child: Within Arm’s Reach Summit will provide Canadian experts and global leaders with an opportunity to build consensus on the focus of future international efforts in maternal, newborn and child health. More specifically, Summit participants will work together on three key objectives: delivering results for mothers and children, doing more together globally, and undertaking real action for women’s and children’s health.

On Wednesday, May 28 – the opening day of the Summit – a discussion among panelists will focus on how the global MNCH agenda is delivering measurable results for women and children. Additional sessions will focus on increasing global attention to nutrition and saving lives of children through immunization.

On the second day of the Summit, a key session entitled “Doing More Together Globally” will explore those elements of the global partnership on MNCH that have been key to success: political leadership, financing commitments, focus on high-impact, cost-effective interventions and accountability. Concurrent sessions will also take place on: innovative financing and new partners; civil registration and vital statistics to promote accountability in MNCH; newborn health: further reducing child mortality rates; and the need to accelerate progress on maternal health.

On the third and final day of the Summit, participants will gather for a plenary session entitled “MNCH at the heart of post-2015.” This panel discussion will focus on the concrete steps needed to ensure real global results on maternal, newborn and child health to 2015 and beyond.

Additional details on the Summit itinerary can be found at: http://mnch.international.gc.ca/agenda-ordre_jour-en.html. Further information will be added as it becomes available.

Quick Facts

  • The Saving Every Woman Every Child: Within Arm’s Reach Summit will bring together Canadian stakeholders and experts, as well as global leaders from developed and developing countries, international organizations, civil society, the private sector and foundations to take stock of the progress made to date and discuss the way forward.
  • Key international participants will include:
    • Jakaya M. Kikwete, President of Tanzania;
    • Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah of Jordan;
    • His Highness the Aga Khan;
    • Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations;
    • Dr. Jim Yong Kim, President of the World Bank Group;
    • Melinda Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation;
    • Margaret Chan, Director-General of the World Health Organization; and,
    • Anthony Lake, Executive Director of UNICEF.
  • The Summit will contain high-level keynote speeches and a mix of plenary and thematic sessions. They will focus on reducing newborn mortality; improving accountability through strengthened civil registration and vital statistics systems; saving lives through immunization; scaling up nutrition as a foundation for healthy lives; and building new partnerships with the private sector to leverage innovation and financing.
  • There is solid international progress being made to address maternal, newborn and child health, but more needs to be done.
  • The number of women who die each year during pregnancy or childbirth has dropped substantially – from 523,000 deaths in 1990 to 289,000 in 2013.
  • The global number of deaths of children under the age of five has dropped significantly as well, from nearly 12 million in 1990 to 6.6 million in 2012.

“Canada continues to be a leader in pressing for global action on maternal, newborn and child health issues. I look forward to welcoming key international partners to the Saving Every Woman Every Child: Within Arm’s Reach Summit in Toronto next week so that together we can keep these critical issues at the forefront of the global agenda and put an end to the tragedy of women and children dying needlessly, from causes we know how to prevent.” – Prime Minister Stephen Harper

Short Agenda: Maternal, Newborn and Child Health Summit


The Rich swimwear debuts at Facet Fashion Week

Hollywood, California – Young Bahamian designer Richie McCoy debuted his most recent swimwear collection, ‘Androgynous’ at this year’s Facet Fashion Week. The event was held on the rooftop of the luxurious W Hotel on May 16th. Scores of designers, boutique owners, models and industry lovers from across the U.S were in attendance at the annual event.

The blazing hot temperatures of Hollywood were nothing compared to ‘The Rich’, a brand that is only months old is already making its mark. ‘The Rich’ by Richie McCoy was birthed in late 2013 when the designer entered and won the FashArt competition in Nassau, Bahamas.  As a result of sharing his official brand photos via social media, Richie received an email from the producer of Facet Fashion Week requesting his attendance.

Overwhelmed by the opportunity, Richie gladly accepted and immediately began putting together his new collection.  A self-taught individual who simply experimented with his mother’s sewing machine continues to improve his craft day by day. And if things couldn’t get any better, they did, as Richie asked to close out the event. “They told me they wanted to save the best for last and that my collection would be the grand finale.”

Collage photos: EthnoNightlife.com

Since the show, several boutiques have requested the designer swimwear to be sold in their stores.

When asked about showing at the event Richie says it was ‘definitely worth it’ as it is just the beginning for what is to come for the young designer. He has plans to eventually expand beyond active and swimwear, with a goal to become a fashion powerhouse.

‘The Rich’ speaks for itself and will continue to grow in the years to come. I can’t wait to see what he has next in store!


St. Lucia’s Brittany Noon signs with Paris’ Metropolitan Models

Just days within arriving in the fashion capitol of the world, sixteen year old Brittany Noon of St. Lucia has signed with Metropolitan Models of Paris, France.  Metropolitan is the same agency that got Claudia Schiffer, Eva Herzigova and Heidi Klum started.

The young natural beauty, who currently lives in Antigua, is in Paris to make her international debut at Labo Ethnik Fashion Trade Show thanks to Parisian celebrity, Vincent McDoom (seen here) who is the event’s casting and artistic director.  Brittany will open  the show on May 22nd and will also close it wearing a 150,000 euros one-off dress by renowned French high fashion designer Frank Sorbier.

“After signing with the agency she went immediately for fittings with some of the Labo Ethnik designers including St Lucian compatriot Lyn Bristol,” said Vincent McDoom.

Lyn Bristol expressed that she feels Brittany has the presence of a true international top model and is honored that she is the first St Lucian designer that Brittany will wear.

Although McDoom grew up with Brittany’s father Dominic, he only met Brittany for the first time when she arrived in Paris with her mother Carole, and is thrilled he was able to make the connection with Metropolitan.  “Ever since I posted Brittany’s photo to my Facebook wall, I’ve had interest in her,” he said.

“She is everything that’s new and fresh in modeling and compares to Christy Turlington and Giselle Bundchen. What’s hot about Brittany is that no one can place where she’s from and that’s the beauty of the St Lucian in her… I am extremely proud to have been the one to discover her,” he said.

It’s a dream come true for Brittany who has been modeling since she was fourteen.  Metropolitan already has her lined up for Paris high fashion show castings in June for the upcoming season , and McDoom will tutor and mentor her, as well as provide counsel to her parents. “It’s an honor for me to become her  ‘fashion godfather’,” said McDoom.

“She is extremely grateful for the opportunity and could not stop thanking me,” said McDoom who chose Brittany as ‘the face of’ this year’s Labo Ethnik event after a mutual friend showed him her photo. Brittany will also be featured in his upcoming Caribbean show later this year.

Brittany’s ultimate dream after she completes school is to grace the covers of  international fashion magazines like Vogue, Elle or Harper’s Bazaar, and walk the cat walks of Milan, Paris, London, China, Japan, and New York for luxury designers like Dior, Marc Jacobs, Calvin Klein, Armani, Gucci, St Laurent, Tom Ford and the spectacular Victoria’s Secret fashion shows.

With the support and love of her parents, and under the careful guidance of Vincent McDoom all is certainly possible for the exotic beauty most likely destined to become the first supermodel out of St. Lucia, a country that must certainly be very proud!


Brittany making her international debut on the runway in Paris, France at Labo Ethik.
Brittany making her international debut on the runway in Paris, France at Labo Ethik.


Meet the Faces of Labo Ethnik 2014
16-yr-old Saint Lucian model to walk the runway in Paris

Meet the Faces of Labo Ethnik 2014

(Written by Robbin Whachell / Translated by Christian Tran-Van-Nhô)

Meet the 2014 Faces of Labo Ethnik Fashion Trade Show! 16 year old Brittany Noon, a Saint Lucian model and 22 year old Ajayi Ballentine Clarke, a Bahamian model have both been selected as this year’s signature faces by casting and creative director, Vincent McDoom, a St Lucian / Parisian fashion celebrity. It will be both models first international appearance on the runway and  they will take part in the opening night show and walk for designer,  Lynn Bristol.

Labo Ethnik will take place from May 22nd to 25th at Les Docks, Cite de la Mode in Paris and will feature designs from Africa, Israel, Europe, the Caribbean, Canada and the USA. Expect daily fashion shows with an emerging designers showcase on May 24th and exhibitor sales. The event attracts news and fashion media, fashion editors, international fashion bloggers, international fashion buyers, and celebrities from music, cinema, sports, and television.

Brittany Noon was selected after a mutual friend showed McDoom a photo of her, and McDoom’s assistant helped in the selection of Ajayi Ballentine Clarke after seeing a photo of him online. “I’d been looking for the ‘masculine face’ to accompany Brittany for both this show and my upcoming show in the Caribbean,” said McDoom.

“I know Brittany and Ajayi will look great together on the runway and on our poster. They really are the DNA of what I think newness represents in modeling,” said McDoom.

Brittany started modeling at age 14 and is born to a Saint Lucian father, Dominic Noon and French mother, Carole Noon the Noons have been living in Antigua for the past 12 years where both parents work. Brittany’s father grew up with Vincent McDoom in St Lucia. “We’ve known each other for years, but our professions took us both in different directions and we have not seen each other in 25 years since I left the Caribbean to further myself in the fashion industry here in Paris,” said McDoom who is is a permanent judge on Russia’s Next Top Model and has been involved with Germany, France and Poland’s Next Top Model shows.

In 2011, Ajayi, ‘AJ’ who hails from Nassau, Bahamas won a “Walk Off’ modeling competition, and since that time the exotic, chiseled featured model who has a body to match, has been busy developing his career while attending college and working at the world famous Atlantis resort. Ajayi enjoys drawing, playing the piano, free-styling (rapping), dancing and meeting new people.

Both AJ and Brittany will most certainly be meeting many new people in 2014!

For more information on Labo Ethnik visit the website: laboethnik.com, or on Facebook: facebook.com/labo.ethnik

(Photo of Ajayi by Roderick Wells)

Rencontrez les « Faces » du Labo Ethnik 2014

Découvrez les « new faces » 2014 du Labo Ethnik Fashion & Lifestyle!  Brittany Noon, 16 ans, modèle de Sainte-Lucie et Ajayi Ballentine Clarke, 22 ans, modèle des Bahamas, ont tous deux été sélectionnés comme la signature de cette année  par le Directeur artistique et de casting, Vincent McDoom, un ste-lucien /parisien, célébrité de la Mode. Pour ces deux modèles, ce sera leur première apparition sur la scène internationale, puisqu’ils défileront lors la soirée d’inauguration du Labo Ethnik le 22 mai 2014 à Paris et également pour le défilé de la créatrice Linn Bristol.

Le Labo Ethnik se tiendra du 22 au 25 mai aux Docks – Cité de la Mode à Paris et mettra en vedette des designers d’Afrique (Mickael Kra, Laurence Airline, Taïbo Bacar…), Israël (Fakhriya Khalafova), d’Europe (Franck Sorbier, Jeremy Bueno…), des Caraïbes (Heather Jones…), du Canada et des États-Unis. Attendez-vous à voir des défilés chaque jour, des expositions-ventes, ainsi qu’un concours de jeunes créateurs le 24 mai. L’événement attire la presse mode, des rédactrices de mode, des blogueuses internationales de mode, des acheteurs internationaux de mode et également des célébrités du monde musical, du cinéma, du sport et de la télévision.

Brittany Noon  a été sélectionnée après qu’un ami  a montré à Vincent  McDoom une photo d’elle ; quant à Ajayi Ballentine Clarke, c’est l’assistant de Vincent qui l’a aidé dans sa sélection après avoir vu une photo de lui en ligne. « Je cherchais le « visage masculin » qui accompagnerait Brittany à la fois pour ce défilé et mon prochain événement Mode dans les Caraïbes », a déclaré McDoom.

« Je sais que Brittany et Ajayi iront très bien ensemble sur le podium et sur notre affiche. Ils sont vraiment l’ADN de ce que je pense qu’est la nouveauté dans le mannequinat », dit McDoom.

Brittany a commencé le mannequinat à 14 ans et est née d’un père sainte-lucien, Dominic Noon et d’une mère française, Carole Noon. Ces 12 dernières années, les Noon ont vécu à Antigua. Le père de Britanny a grandi avec Vincent à Ste-Lucie. « Nous nous connaissons depuis des années mais nos métiers nous ont fait prendre des directions différentes et nous ne nous sommes pas vus depuis 25 ans, lorsque j’ai quitté les Caraïbes pour évoluer dans l’industrie de la Mode, ici à Paris », dit McDoom qui est membre permanent du jury de Next Top Model Russie, et qui s’est également impliqué dans les défilés de Next Top Model Allemagne, France et Pologne.

En 2011, Ajayi, (A.J) qui est originaire de Nassau, Bahamas a remporté le concours de mannequin « Walk Off », et depuis, l’exotique vedette au corps sculpté de façon très harmonieuse, s’est attaché à développer sa carrière tout en allant au collège et en travaillant au mondialement célèbre Atlantis resort. Ajayi aime le dessin, jouer du piano, le free-styling (rap), la danse et rencontrer de nouvelles personnes.

Brittany et A.J, vont tous deux, très certainement, rencontrer beaucoup de nouvelles personnes en 2014 !

Pour plus d’informations sur le Labo Ethnik, visitez le site Internet: laboethnik.com ; ou la page Facebook : facebook.com/labo.ethnik

NOTE : pour obtenir une interview avec l’un ou l’autre des modèles, merci de prendre contact avec Christian : christian.assistant.vmcd@gmail.com / 0631007910


Canada announces greater protection for law enforcement, service and military animals

Prime Minister Stephen Harper, with his wife Laureen and Health Minister Rona Ambrose, meet Quanto’s handler Const. Matt Williamson and his new dog Ozzie at the EPS Canine Unit. Harper announced the introduction of Quanto’s Law in Edmonton on Monday May 12, 2014. Photograph by: John Lucas , Edmonton Journal
Prime Minister Stephen Harper, with his wife Laureen and Health Minister Rona Ambrose, meet Quanto’s handler Const. Matt Williamson and his new dog Ozzie at the EPS Canine Unit. Harper announced the introduction of Quanto’s Law in Edmonton, Alberta on Monday May 12, 2014. Photo: John Lucas

Prime Minister Stephen Harper today announced the introduction of the Justice for Animals in Service Act (Quanto’s Law), legislation that would ensure that those who harm law enforcement, service and Canadian Armed Forces animals face serious consequences.

Our Government recognizes the special role that these animals play in protecting our communities and improving the quality of life of Canadians. The proposed legislation is aimed at denouncing and deterring the willful harming of specially trained animals used to help law enforcement officers, persons with disabilities or the Canadian Armed Forces.

The introduction of this legislation fulfills a commitment made by our Government in the 2013 Speech from the Throne to recognize the daily risks taken by police officers and their service animals in their efforts to enforce the law and protect Canadians and communities. The legislation honours Quanto, a police dog who was stabbed to death while helping to apprehend a fleeing suspect in Edmonton, Alberta, in October 2013. Quanto had four years of decorated service and had participated in more than 100 arrests.

Quick Facts

  • The legislation proposes Criminal Code amendments that would create a new offence specifically prohibiting the injuring or killing of animals trained and being used to help law enforcement officers, persons with disabilities or theCanadian Armed Forces.
    • Persons convicted of such an offence could face up to five years’ imprisonment, with a mandatory minimum sentence of six months in prison in cases where a law enforcement animal is killed while assisting a law enforcement officer in enforcing the law and the offence is prosecuted by indictment.
    • If a law enforcement officer is assaulted or a law enforcement animal is injured or killed while on duty, the sentence for that offence would be served consecutively to any other sentence imposed on the offender arising out of the same event.
    • The RCMP currently has 157 police service dogs in service across Canada: 135 are general duty profile dogs and 22 are detection profile dogs. They are used to help find lost persons, track criminals, and search for items such as narcotics, explosives and crime scene evidence. In addition to the RCMP, provincial and municipal police services across Canada have integrated police service dogs as part of their everyday service delivery in our communities.
    • Canada Border Services Agency has 53 dog-and-handler teams that help to detect contraband drugs and firearms, undeclared currency, and food, plant and animal products.
    • Correctional Services Canada uses dogs to help stop the flow of illicit drugs and contraband into federal correctional institutions. They have over 100 dog-and-handler teams across Canada.
    • The Justice for Animals in Service Act (Quanto’s Law) applies to law enforcement animals, service animals and Canadian Armed Forces animals. In practical terms, dogs would be the primary animals protected by this new legislation given they are the animals most often trained and used to assist law enforcement officers and persons with disabilities. However, horses are also used by some police forces. Also other kinds of animals can be trained as service animals to assist people with disabilities. They all would be protected under the Justice for Animals in Service Act (Quanto’s Law).
    • The development of the Justice for Animals in Service Act (Quanto’s Law) is part of the Government’s Plan for Safe Streets and Communities. This Plan focuses on tackling crime, enhancing victims’ rights, and ensuring a fair and efficient justice system.

“This legislation also recognizes the vital role that service animals, such as guide dogs, play in helping persons with disabilities benefit from a better quality of life and lead more independent lives. This sends the message that violence against service animals is unacceptable and those who commit such callous acts will pay the consequences.” – Prime Minister Stephen Harper

OAS Secretary General Highlights Importance of More Inclusive Societies in Visit to Canada


Secretary General Meets with Minister of Foreign Affairs of Canada From left to right: José Miguel Insulza, OAS Secretary General; and John Russell Baird, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Canada (Photo: OAS)
Secretary General Meets with Minister of Foreign Affairs of Canada
From left to right: José Miguel Insulza, OAS Secretary General; and John Russell Baird, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Canada (Photo: OAS)


The Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), José Miguel Insulza, travelled today to Ottawa to meet with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Canada, John Baird, with whom he discussed the regional situation and the central theme of the upcoming OAS General Assembly in Paraguay, “Development with Social Inclusion.”

During the meeting this morning at the headquarters of the Canadian Foreign Ministry, Minister Baird emphasized the importance of the OAS as the main hemispheric political forum and made particular reference to the leadership of Insulza during his term at the head of the General Secretariat. The top Canadian diplomat committed to attend the meeting in Paraguay and expressed his interest in the current political context in the region.

Before his meeting with Foreign Minister Baird, Insulza delivered a keynote address at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in which he highlighted the importance of achieving more inclusive societies in the region. In his words, Secretary General Insulza emphasized that “the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean have a historic opportunity to embrace economic transformation, achieve sustainable development, promote equality of opportunity, end extreme poverty and improve livelihoods.” But to do so, said the OAS leader, Latin America “has to grapple with the issue of how to achieve more inclusive societies. These times of challenge are also times of opportunity.”

The leader of the hemispheric institution also stressed the economic and social challenges that face the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean now that many analysts predict slower growth than during the last ten years. In terms of the economies, said the Secretary General, the main challenge “is to find ways to build economies that allow the region to maintain high growth rates on its own without relying on erratic commodity prices in global markets,” which points to the need to increase the competitiveness and stability of the economies of the region, and adopt policies to increase internal revenues.

On the social front, said Secretary General Insulza, there are also many pending reforms. “One of the major challenges still facing Latin America is how to bring down its high levels of income distribution inequality,” he said and pointed to the importance of education in achieving this goal. “Education is key to social progress in the 21st century, but the latest global survey of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) shows that every Latin American country’s school system is in the bottom third. Schools and universities are not providing graduates with the skills employers demand. The disconnect between the supply and demand of skills is a drag on the region’s emerging markets,” he added.

These tendencies, said the Secretary General, are challenges to the democracies of Latin America and the Caribbean which, in many cases, are still being consolidated. “We have democratic governments but weak states and institutions, which are experiencing demands to better the living conditions of their citizens, but often lack the capacity to do so.” “The main risk for democracy today in our Hemisphere is that the people democratically choose their leaders and grant them legitimacy, strength and will, but who face problems of poverty, inequality, illnesses and injustice with weak institutions to support them,” concluded Secretary General Insulza, who warned that “the combination of weak institutions and strong leaders is never a stable combination.”

During the afternoon, Secretary General Insulza, who was accompanied by Ambassador Hugo de Zela, his Chief of Staff, met with the Member of Parliament Randy Hoback, Chair of ParlAmericas, and its Director General, Alisha Todd. The issues discussed in the meeting focused on how to deepen cooperation between the OAS and ParlAmericas, on the basis of the existing Memorandum of Understanding.

For more information, please visit the OAS Website at www.oas.org.

Positive is Top Marlin Awards 2014 Nominee with 13 Nominations


Trinidad and Tobago artist Joel "Positive" Murray is this year's top Marlin Award Nominee with 13 nominations
Trinidad and Tobago artist Joel “Positive” Murray is this year’s top Marlin Award Nominee with 13 nominations


Trinidad & Tobago gospel reggae recording artist Joel “Positive” Murray is this year’s top Marlin Awards nominee with a whopping Thirteen (13) nominations. Positive is also the top nominee from Trinidad & Tobago scoring nominations in a number of key categories including Album of the Year for his sophomore CD “Forever My King”, Song of the Year for his massive Soca anthem “Blessing After Blessing”, Reggae Recording of the Year for “Sweeter”, Reggae Vocal Performance of the Year–Duo/Group for “Let Me Be The One” and Reggae Vocal Performance of the Year–Male for his dub opus “Better Must Come”. He was also nominated twice in the Song of the Year category, once for “Blessing After Blessing” and the other for the dancehall track “Rock of My Life” featuring DJ Nicholas.

Sherwin Gardner and DJ Nicholas follow close behind and are tied with Eleven (11) Nominations each. Sherwin who recently celebrated twenty five (25) years in ministry with two major concert events over this past Easter weekend in Antigua and his native Trinidad, also landed nominations in most of the major categories including Album of the Year for “Relentless” and Song of the Year for his up-tempo smash “We Now Start” featuring J Prince. The single “We Now Start” was also nominated for Calypso Vocal Performance of the Year-Duo/Group and Soca Recording of the Year. In addition to being nominated for Producer of the Year, Sherwin also was nominated for Rock Recording of the Year for the single “God So Big” featuring American Gospel Hip-Hop Artist “Da T.R.U.T.H. He also scored his first ever nomination in the Foreign Language of the Year category for the single “Brinca” featuring Puerto Rican born female Hip-Hop artist Ruth Vega.

On The Shout Records CEO and Jamaican dancehall artist DJ Nicholas also captured nominations in several key categories including Album of Year for “School of Rock”, Reggae Recording of the Year & Reggae Vocal Performance of the Year-Duo/Group for “Close to You” featuring Jermaine Edwards and Kevin Smith and Song of the Year for “Rock of My Life” featuring Positive. Like Positive, DJ Nicholas was also nominated twice in the same category, first in the Dancehall Recording of the Year category for the singles “Cut If Off” and “Rock of My Life” and then in the Reggae Hip-Hop Recording of the Year category for “Meet My Star” and the Jermaine Edwards single “Never Lose My Faith”.

Jamaican gospel songbird Kerron Ennis has emerged with Ten (10) nominations which is a personal record for her and making her the highest nominated Female artist this year. In addition to being nominated for Album of the Year for her latest CD “I’M Alive”, Kerron’s apocalypse inspired single “Last Days” was successfully nominated for three (3) awards including Music Video of the Year-Female, Rock Recording of the Year and Song of the Year. She won her first Marlin Award in 2006 for the title track of her debut album “God is On Our Side”.

Also receiving Ten (10) nominations is one of Trinidad & Tobago’s leading gospel recording artist Isaac Blackman who snagged several key nominations this year including Album of the Year (World Changers), Calypso/Soca Vocal Performance of the Year-Duo/Group (Sweet Music), and Packaging of the Year (World Changers). His latest Soca single “Blessing Me” earned him nominations for Calypso/Soca Vocal Performance of the Year-Male, Music Video of the Year-Male, Soca Recording of the Year and Song of the Year. In 2009 Blackman won several Marlin Awards including one for Song of the Year for his global anthem “To the Ceiling”. Past multiple Marlin Award winner and Producer Jermaine Edwards earned Nine (9) nominations this year including Reggae Recording of the Year and Reggae Vocal Performance of the Year-Male for his single “I Feel Joy” as well as Praise & Worship Recording of the Year for “Awesome God”. He is nominated twice in the Reggae Vocal Performance of the Year–Duo/Group category, first for his single “In My Life” featuring Sean Lypher and then for his guest vocal performance on the DJ Nicholas reggae single “Close to You” that also featured singer Kevin Smith. During the last Marlin Awards hosted in 2010, Jermaine emerged as the top winner that year with awards in many of the top categories including Song of the Year for his mega hit “Make You Smile” and Album of the Year for “Destiny”.

Joining Jermaine as a nominee in the Producer of the Year category is Trinidad & Tobago new recording artist, songwriter and producer Joel Prince aka J Prince who also recived a total of Nine (9) nominations. In addition to be nominated as one of Six (6) New Artist of the Year contenders, Joel was also successful in receiving nominations for Calypso Recording of the Year and Calypso/Soca Vocal Performance of the Year-Male for his single “Di Water”. He captured a major nomination in the Song of the Year category for his guest vocal appearance on the Sherwin Gardner Soca hit “We Now Start” and also scored a nomination in the Adapted Contemporary Recording of the Year category for his urban flavored version of the universal Praise and Worship anthem “Here I AM To Worship”.

Three (3) artists received Seven (7) nominations each including Trinidad & Tobago new female recording artist Kezie Peters whose debut album “Music Over Me” earned her a nomination for Album of the Year and one for New Artist of the Year. Jamaican male recording artist Kevin Downswell also earned Seven (7) nominations this year including Album of the Year and Packaging of the Year for his sophomore CD “The Search Continues”. He also earned a nomination for Praise & Worship Recording of the Year for his worship single “More (Says The Lord)” and his inspirational ballad “If It’s Not You” earned him three (3) nominations including Contemporary Recording of the Year, Contemporary Vocal Performance of the Year-Male and Song of the Year.

Rounding out this list with Seven (7) nominations as well is gospel reggae artist and Lion of Judah Sounds CEO Monty G, making him the highest nominated Bahamian artist this year. Monty, who was nominated along with sonic partner DJ Frost for Producer of the Year, also secured a nominated for Album of the Year for his latest project “King’s Highway”. In addition to being nominated for Song of the Year for his global smash “Plead My Cause”, Monty was also successful in being nominated twice in the Reggae Vocal Performance of the Year category. He picked up one nomination for his guest vocal performance on the Rueben Heights’ single “Guide Over All” and the other for “Will You Be Mine”, the mid-tempo reggae ballad featuring Kristine Alicia.

For a complete list of all nominees interested persons can visit the awards official website at www.marlinawards.com.  Official nominations were released on Friday April 10th 2014 in over Fifty (50) Categories.

Winners will be announced during this year’s Caribbean Gospel Music Marlin Awards scheduled to be held on Saturday July 26th 2014 at the Diplomat Center in Nassau, Bahamas. In addition to the general categories a number of special awards will also be distributed including the Life Time Achievement Award, The President’s Award as well as a number of Regional Contribution Awards in honor of several Caribbean Gospel recording artists who have passed away since the hosting of the last awards in 2010.

Canadian author Farley Mowatt dies at 92


I remember giggling and making fun of his name as a school girl, but we had to read many of his writings.  The author and environmentalist has sold more than 17 million books in 52 languages.  His most noted: And No Birds Sang, A Whale for the Killing, Sea of Slaughter, People of the Deer, and Born Naked. His last book The Snow Walker was released in April, 2014.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper today issued the following statement after learning that celebrated Canadian author Farley Mowat had passed away:

“On behalf of the entire country, I extend my deepest condolences to the family and friends of Farley Mowat, who passed away recently at the age of 92.

“Mr. Mowat was a celebrated author, environmentalist, activist and Second World War Veteran, having served throughout Europe. One of Canada’s most widely read authors, he was a natural storyteller with a real gift for sharing personal anecdotes in a witty and endearing way. His literary works almost always reflected his deep love of nature and of animals.

“For his contributions to Canadian arts and culture, he was awarded many honours, including being made an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1981, in addition to receiving the Queen’s Golden and Diamond Jubilee Medals.

“Mr. Mowat will be remembered as a passionate Canadian. His legacy will live on in the treasure of Canadian literature he leaves behind, which will remain a joy to both new and old fans around the world.

“Canada has lost an icon… Farley Mowat broke the mold for Canadian literature.”  – Random House Canada

Press release to announce his death

Wikipedia overview

Mowatt was conducted into the Canada’s Walk of Fame.

1 in 4 Canadians have tried to help a friend leave an abusive partner

Image: Christopher Gilbert
Image: Christopher Gilbert

Canadians would first look to a friend for help, although many would attempt to resolve abuse on their own

(Written by Canadian Women’s Foundation) Toronto, ON – A new study from the Canadian Women’s Foundation reveals that 1 in 4 Canadians have tried to help a friend leave an abusive partner. Violence against women is prevalent in Canadian society, with women at higher risk of violent victimization by someone they know, like an intimate partner.

According to the survey, Canadians are most likely to turn to a friend first to report situations of verbal abuse (20 per cent) and emotional abuse (22 per cent). However, a relatively equal amount of respondents expect to resolve verbal and emotional abuse without outside help (28 per cent vs. 21 per cent, respectively), and a full 10 per cent would expect to resolve physical or sexual abuse on their own.

“The fact that a quarter of Canadians have tried to help a friend leave an abusive partner underscores the prevalence of violence in this country,” says Anuradha Dugal, Director of Violence Prevention, Canadian Women’s Foundation. “Abusive situations can foster feelings of self-doubt, self-blame and humiliation, but attempting to resolve it alone can pose a great threat to the safety and well-being of the victim.”

Although Canadians are likely to report abuse to their friends, 13 per cent of respondents do not have confidence that their friends would believe them. Canadians also worry that their family (16 per cent), doctors (15 per cent) and police or other authorities (28 per cent) would not take their reports seriously.

“It’s alarming that so many Canadians are worried that their friends/family, doctors and even the police, would not believe them if they disclosed abuse. Living in a culture where speaking out about abuse is still taboo and where many blame the victim leads to many women believing that the abuse is their fault. Women are therefore less likely to come forward to report the assault or to seek assistance to escape the abuse,” explains Ms. Dugal.

Other findings in the study revealed:

  • The majority of Canadians would first report physical abuse (55 per cent) and sexual abuse (56 per cent) to the police or other authorities
  • Close to half (43 per cent) of respondents are not confident that their HR department at work would believe them if they reported abuse
  • Almost one-third (31 per cent) of Canadians say that the financial toll that the legal process would take on their friends and family would be likely to prevent them reporting an abusive situation
  • A further third (31 per cent) of Canadians say having their story exposed to the public, friends and family members would likely prevent them from reporting abuse

The Canadian Women’s Foundation’s 10th Annual Campaign to End Violence against Women, ending May 11, raises awareness and funds for women who have experienced abuse. The funds raised help more than 445 shelters for abused women and their children and community violence prevention programs across Canada that break the cycle of violence.

If you know a woman in an abusive situation, the Canadian Women’s Foundation offers the following ways that you can help:

1. Be supportive
The most important thing you can do is listen and offer your nonjudgmental support. Tell them the violence is not their fault, and that they deserve to be treated with respect, no matter what. Let them know you do not blame them. If they decide to stay, do not judge them. The most valuable things you can offer a woman who is being abused are respect, taking her seriously and linking her to where she can get help.

2. Learn more about relationship violence
Recognize the warning signs of abuse and understand why many don’t press charges against their abusers.

3. Be aware of the risks
Be careful about how you communicate with the victim, since many abusers closely monitor their victims (where they go, who they see, phone calls, email, Facebook etc.)

4. Ensure your own safety
Never confront an abuser or do anything that puts you in danger or feels unsafe. Take care of yourself by talking through your feelings about the issue with a supportive, knowledgeable friend or professional.

5. Find resources
Before speaking to a victim, get the phone number of your local shelter, crisis line, YWCA, or agency offering specialized services for victims of abuse. This way you can provide specific information, if and when they are ready.

6. Choose the right time and place
Be thoughtful about where and when to discuss your concerns. Choose a place where you will not be overheard or interrupted, and where they will have privacy. Don’t choose a time when you feel unprepared, or when they seem distracted or are in a hurry.

7. Voice your concerns
Be sensitive. Don’t give details about what you have witnessed, as she may feel the need to give excuses or deny what happened. Explain why you want to support her and tell her you’re ready to listen whenever she is.

8. Put them in charge
Don’t expect to know all the answers. Explore options with them. Don’t try to take over or tell them what to do. Tell them: “I won’t make you do anything you don’t want to do.” Ask direct, simple questions such as: “Do you want me to help you find someone to talk to?” or “Do you want to go somewhere safe?” If they aren’t sure what to do, simply encourage them to talk, and listen without judgment.

To learn more about violence against women, read the Canadian Women’s Foundation’s fact sheet.

*Methodology: From March 21st to March 22nd 2014 an online survey was conducted among 1,009 randomly selected Canadian adults who are Angus Reid Forum panelists. The margin of error—which measures sampling variability—is +/- 3.1%, 19 times out of 20. The results have been statistically weighted according to education, age, gender and region (and in Quebec language) Census data to ensure a sample representative of the entire adult population of Canada. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding.