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                       Singh ins Miss Jamaica contest in fine style

In 2016 when she first entered the Miss Jamaica World beauty pageant, Shanique Singh said she wasn't prepared and lacked experience to make a lasting impression. Six years later, she decided to re-enter after being encouraged by friends and relatives.

On Sunday night she was crowned Miss Jamaica World 2022 at the grand coronation held at the Court leigh Auditorium in New Kingston. She won from a field of 13 contestants. "When I first entered, I was 19 years old and fresh out of high school. I didn't have the experience that I have now, and I wasn't as wise. I didn't know the importance of hard work and dedication. I felt I was ready now, and with that said I was going to do this," Singh, who wore the sash Miss Howard Johnson Realty, told the Jamaica Observer shortly after she was crowned on Sunday night. "I am so grateful, and it really is a testament to how hard work can really pay off in the end. I am extremely proud of myself, extremely proud of the hard work I have been putting in. I can't wait to represent Jamaica," Singh continued. Singh, who is from Old Harbour in St Catherine, is a medical student at The University of the West Indies. She will represent Jamaica at the next Miss World pageant. A venue and date are yet to be announced. "I think I am very prepared at the moment for the Miss World pageant but there's always room for improvement, and I have a great team to back me. I am actually on a break from school to focus on the pageant because I realized that it does require a lot of your time. I'm really grateful that it paid off," said Singh. Prior to Sunday night's final, Singh was named winner of three fast-track events — Beach Beauty, Talent, and Beauty with a Purpose. Ineisha Davis (Miss RETV) and Tahje Bennett (Miss Artwell Classic Prints) were second and third, respectively. The top five included Asheka Robinson (Miss QORHIC) and Toni Ann Martin (Miss Emancipation Park). Making the top 10 were Shanika Samms (Miss Makalani Swim), Tashwania Buchanan (Miss Interlinc), Mikhailia Nathan (Miss Jamaica Observer), Rishema Daley (Miss Len's Catering) and Khamara Wright (Miss Dining with Curvy). Winners of the sectional prizes were Lineisha Davis – Best Personality, Khamara Wright – Multimedia Challenge, Tashwania Buchanan – Most Improved Contestant, and Toni Ann Martin – Most Congenial and Most Photogenic.

by Taboola Promoted Links

                Karbon emerging dancehall artiste

EMERGING act Karbon is part of the entertainment package slated for 'The Marketplace' at Rio Nuevo Plaza (next to the Cool Oasis Service Station) in St Mary on Friday December 9, and Saturday December 10. Lori-Ann McPherson is organizer of The Marketplace.

"The Marketplace is a place where small businesses and entrepreneurs can come and display their products with a view to get them in the hands of customers. It's like a flea market and more," McPherson, I added a touch of entertainment as Karbon the Hard One is a very good artiste. I met him last year and his music is clean and uplifting. We need more of that sort of music. I also want people to know that reggae is still alive and well in Jamaica — not only dancehall," McPherson continued.

The Manchester-born Karbon always had a passion for music; he wrote his first song as a teen and has never looked back. His songs include Lions Roar, Highgrade Maka, Fully Awake, and Journey.

Lori-Ann McPherson

McPherson — a graduate of St Catherine High in Spanish Town — said she always had a vision to assist small and fledgling business owners, especially women, in getting a boost.

"My vision is to do The Marketplace monthly, for now," she said.

McPherson is encouraging small business owners and consumers to come on down.

"It doesn't matter your age; one of our exhibitors is nine years old and she is selling jewellery so just come on down. There's something for everyone."


                Sustainable platform for E-commerce

THE Caribbean Investment Forum (CIF) at its upcoming staging in November is to increase focus on the building of more sustainable economies of commerce while supporting the Caribbean's transition to a 'SMARTer, GREENer' region.

The high-level business forum scheduled to run from November 8-11 will facilitate discussion among Caribbean leaders as they move to take urgent steps to action opportunities that will support the sustainable development of island states and to build Brand Caribbean's assets beyond beaches and beers and its world-renowned tourism product.

Organizers, Caribbean Export, have indicated that the event, to be held in Trinidad and Tobago this year, is to be used as a launching pad for thought leaders keen on accruing the benefits of first-mover advantages in the developing space.

The event, in forging alliances to accelerate growth across key areas, particularly in the blue and green economies, aims to also jump-start a new period of transformation for the Caribbean. Almost three years since the outbreak of the novel coronavirus pandemic, which upended the lives of many across the region and the globe, stakeholders are now intent on doing things differently, consequently pushing healthier, environmentally friendly, and globally acceptable information technology-driven best practices. This, as they also push to strengthen the region's economic resilience against exogenous shocks.

Attracting more than 400 delegates, including high-level industry experts, government policymakers, and investment facilitation agencies, participants over three days will discuss the avenues available to support the Caribbean's transition to a GREENer, SMARTer, success-driven economy and to discover unique opportunities for businesses. Participants will also be provided an opportunity to connect with investors having interest in bankable investment projects and prospects in the Caribbean.


         Grace Kennedy annual Jerk Festival, Miramar, FL

AFTER a two-year break due to COVID-19, the Grace Jamaica Jerk Festival returned to South Florida on November 13. Organisers had plenty to celebrate at Miramar Regional Park.

Eddy Edwards, co-founder of the event, was happy to see a full house of patrons traversing the lush expanse of booths, most of which served jerked cuisine.

"We are all elated to be back celebrating our 20th anniversary, Jamaica's 60th, and title sponsor Grace Foods' 100th. It was a good feeling seeing festival fans back in the park enjoying themselves after a two-year hiatus," he said.

As is customary, food shared the bill with music. Sound systems blared dancehall and soca music, setting the stage for an live evening show featuring Cham, Tarrus Riley, Romain Virgo, and Christopher Martin. There were cameos from Mykal Rose and Duane Stephenson.

The Boston Jerk booths were again popular with fans at the Grace Jamaica Jerk Festival which took place November 13 at Miramar Regional Park in Florida.

The best 'performers', however, were those people manning the booths.

"Vendor interest was high since the festival was announced in February, and all vendor spots were sold out weeks before the event," Edwards disclosed.

There was a bit of drama following Riley's workmanlike set. Juliet Holness, wife of Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness, was booed by a section of the crowd while making a speech.

The Kingston-born Edwards and his colleagues started the Grace Jamaican Jerk Festival in 2001. It has long outgrown its Caribbean brand to attract corporate support from major companies such as Publix supermarket as well as members of South Florida's diverse demographic, which includes the massive Spanish community.


                         BRT Week successful turnout 

COMING off of a successful staging earlier this year in Atlantic City which saw more than 25,000 patrons in attendance, 'BRT Weekend' promoters have set their sights on Ocho Rios, St Ann, for their next staging in 2023.The three-day, all-inclusive, Caribbean music festival's inaugural Jamaican staging is slated for March 10-12 next year. Event promoter Hans-Peter Mullings said he and his team have high expectations as they make their second attempt at taking their premier event to Jamaica, after facing cancellation in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. "We got cancelled a day before the Thursday kick-off back in 2020 because of COVID so we have ticket holders holding their tickets for almost three years," said Mullings. "We are thankful to all those persons out of Jamaica, the USA, and Canada who can't wait to see what we do in Jamaica — the birthplace of dancehall, reggae and the great Robert Nesta Marley," Mullings continued. Known for bringing people together for a stress-free time away from home, BRT Weekend promoters have announced free shuttle service for their patrons from select hotels to all six events. The shuttle service will be available from recommended hotels: Moon Palace, Sandals Ocho Rios, Riu Ocho Rios, Couples San Souci, Couples Tower Isle, and Beaches Boscobel.

"To us BRT Weekend is not just about the artiste line-up, it's about the experience and the customer service that we are planning to give everyone in Jamaica, and the customer service that we give everyone all over. Our main thing is customer service and customer satisfaction," said Mullings. "It's a vacation. If people take time to come and vacation with us, we take time — extra time — to make sure that they leave with smiles on their faces," he continued.

According to the event promoter, the artiste and DJ line-up will be announced. Commencing 11 years ago, the weekend festival has seen Spice, Alkaline, Dexta Daps, Adonia, Skillibeng, Ding Dong, Machel Montano, Mr. Killa, Kes the Band, Govana, Shenseea, Charly Black and Jada Kingdom, and Super Cat gracing the stage.

Selectors Dutty Dex, Young Chow, and Chromatic all have appeared on the festival.

JMMB Financials  results  impact year to date

The continuation of adverse macroeconomic conditions has affected profits for JMMB Group during its six-month period ended September.

At the end of the half-year mark, the regionally integrated financial services provider achieved $3.63 billion in net profit — down from the $5.5 billion in record profits the c​ompany delivered "under more normalised market conditions in the previous financial year". Additionally, the group posted net operating revenues of $12.4 billion, representing an eight per cent decline when compared to the prior year.

Profit for the second quarter also fell $1.6 billion, more than halving the $3.6 billion earned during the same quarter of 2021.

Patrick Ellis, JMMB's chief financial officer, said that despite the fallout, the group's performance remains commendable despite the tight macroeconomic environment — one characterised by rising inflation, persistent geopolitical uncertainties; supply chain disruptions, increasing interest rates and the resulting reduction of liquidity in the market.

Patrick Ellis, chief financial officer, JMMB Group

"As regulators continue to increase domestic interest rates to combat inflation, local bond prices in Jamaica and the Dominican Republic have been significantly impacted and interest rate spreads reduced.

"The group's financial results reflect the impact of this environment, as evidenced by a 34 per cent dip in net profit, year-on-year, as well as a fall-off in earnings from gains on securities trading [GOST] and net interest income [NII] which, when combined, account for 61 per cent of total revenue," he said.