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Saturday October 5 2002
She Caribbean Magazine OnlineTropical Traveller Magazine Online

Jamaican success story comeS to St Lucia

Sean Paul set to hit the Gaiety stage
Sean Paul Henriques, one of the biggest crossover success stories of the dancehall world, will perform in St Lucia October 19 at the Gaiety on Rodney Bay.
Both BET and MTV have been playing the video of Paul’s smash hit “Gimme the Light” directed by Little X, who has worked regularly with major hip-hop stars.
The exposure is paying off and Paul is getting added to the playlists of urban stations throughout the United States and beginning to rise in Europe as well.
“I remember being a bathtub singer. You know, the type that sings and everybody’s like, ‘Shut up,’ ” says Paul, whose parents were swimmers on the Jamaican national team in the 1960s.
These days Paul, who also swam in his fair share of water polo and swim competitions as a teen, still has everybody talking with a mix of reggae DJing and singing that Jamaicans have dubbed “sing-jay”.
“The words I use in this song, we don’t usually use those terms in Jamaica— ‘Gimme the light, pass the dro,’ ” he said of his surprise hit “Gimme the Light” and its lyrics. “I did it so [American] heads can pick up on it. It’s a party song. I’m glad people take that in that context. I’m not telling kids to go do this [smoke].”
As a youth in Kingston, music that filtered in from the US was one of Paul’s greatest influences.
Paul’s aspiration to follow in the paw prints of rap/reggae hybrid expert Supercat wouldn’t come to fruition for a few years— he had to get the blessing of his mother first.
“I begged my mama,” Paul remembered. “I had them buy me a keyboard, and that’s where my whole music genesis came from.”
But even with the equipment supplied by his parents, Paul still had to convince his mom that the money he was bringing in as a chef and a bank teller would be nothing compared to his dream profession as DJ extraordinaire.
“I said to her, this is what I want to do,” said Paul, a graduate of Kingston’s UTECH University. “Let me try to do this. Give me a year after school.”
He didn’t even need that long. His first try at putting out a song, “Baby Girl,” became a radio hit in Jamaica. Two years later he started to flood the Caribbean with smashes like “Infiltrate” and “Deport Them,” both of which made it onto his US debut, Stage One (2000).
With the US market being difficult for many reggae artist to break into, Stage One suffered from meager sales, even though “Deport Them” became a club staple. Paul, who can be caught on upcoming albums by Mya and Beenie Man as well as the Clipse’s remix to “Grindin’,” said he’s studied and found the perfect formula for his follow-up, Dutty Rock.
“With this album, I’m trying to show growth where my music is spread out to more than just the dancehall riddims,” he said. “Sometimes in the biz you have to do things different from that mainstream and just make your music the way it feels.
“I been doing some different things,” he continued. “Doing some of my songs in Spanish. I don’t really speak Spanish, but I was taught by this dude that’s from Cuba. I’m trying to stick out in different ways.”
Despite all the hype surrounding Sean Paul, the DJ remains modest—“It humbles me to know that I can get through as a DJ because I had the opportunity in life to do the bank thing. Some people can’t get them life there. So me haffa give thanks for what I have and I try not to make anyone feel negative at all, because even the slightest thing can make someone feel negative. And positivity is something that always drives me and the music I create.”
Tickets for the Sean Paul show can be purchased at Anthony’s Jewelers, Steve’s Barber Shop and Sunshine Bookstore.


Officers on stage!
From left: Goretti Johannie, Melissa Joseph, Prisca Victorin, (Back Row) Silvina Augustin, Velma St Catherine and Siana Jean
Believe it or not, the police men and women patrolling our streets are not all akin to Robocop. To prove it they will take to the stage on October 20 in a beauty and talent pageant.
The pageant, which will incorporate men and women, is part of Police Week celebrations being held under the theme “Police and the community working together for a brighter future”.
According to organisers, the purpose of Police Week is to reinforce the message that the public and police need to work together to ensure a crime free future.
One of the pageant contestants, Linus George is well placed to know how the public reacts to the police. He has been with one of the most talked about police divisions, the Criminal Investigations Department (CID), for ten years.
“It has been a challenging ten years for me,” said George. “With fighting crime, a lot of things happen to you. You tend to lose a lot of your friends. They do not see that you are actually working for them. The public often believe the police are working against them.”
He said that working in the department which gets the most flack from the public boosts his confidence. “It does not break my spirit, actually it builds me up. When we go out there as police officers we are there to do a job,” he said.
“The CID is the department responsible for fighting crime and any time a crime happens we are the ones who respond. We approach every scene in a very professional manner and we just do our best. We hope that the public sees that.”
George added that he was all set to make a difference. “We want to let the public know that we are working for them and we are ready to convince them.”
Twenty-five-year-old Corporal Prisca Victorin representing the precinct of La Caye, Dennery said that what people don’t know is that the Force helps build character. “The Force has helped me build my self-confidence, communication skills and my character,” she said. “Sometimes it is very challenging, especially as a woman. I have learnt to accept myself as an individual.”
All the contestants seemed to echo the same sentiments: Joining the Force changed their lives.
The show will be held at the Gaiety on Rodney Bay. Tickets for the show can be bought at police stations throughout St Lucia.
Also on the cards for Police Week are a police debate, a calypso competition, an open day, inter-divisional games and athletic meets with participants from regional forces.


Does captivity mean lack of respect for dolphins?
How sad to hear that St Lucia is being seduced by the lure of captive dolphins by the promoters of Dolphin Fantaseas. Dolphin Fantaseas says its goal is to teach respect for all living creatures and the environment.
It might want to start by returning the six dolphins they captured in Cuban waters to stock their two facilities in Anguilla and Antigua. These dolphins were removed traumatically and without knowing what impact this had on the wild dolphins they left behind.
Dolphin Fantaseas professes their love of dolphins, however, it is “love” utterly devoid of respect. In order to capture dolphins, high speed boats chase them to the point of exhaustion. Isn’t this called harassment?
Dolphins are often injured by boat propellers and capture nets. Those that are injured are dumped back into the ocean with no regard for their injuries. Calves who are still associated with their mothers are often the target due to their aesthetic beauty. It is not uncommon for dolphins to have heart attacks and die from a capture.
Does this sound like a company that cares about the conservation of the species?
As for the educational value of captive dolphins, I see none. What are we learning about the true nature of dolphins when we force them to eat dead fish, house them in small sea enclosures and force them to interact with humans every day? These behaviours are completely contrary to how a dolphin behaves in the wild. What Dolphin Fantaseas is really giving the public is a prefabbed, prepackaged, counterfeit dolphin experience.
We must learn to respect dolphins for who and what they are, not what we’d like them to be.


UWP finally speaks up!
UWP leader Dr Vaughan Lewis: Prepared to awaken the party from its slumber?

Ever since the United Workers Party’s highly publicised city protest in July, the opposition has remained relatively quiet.
But last Friday, party leader Dr Vaughan Lewis, alongside his deputy Lenard Montoute and Arsene James, attempted to break that stretch of silence.
What has the UWP been up to? Dr Lewis made it clear that members were “back in the field,” preparing for an upcoming “substantial” national council meeting.
“We have been on the road in the meantime—not as publicly as we were in relation to Soufriere,” Dr Lewis explained, “but we have been trying to reconsolidate and reconnect with our supporters.”
And as for the once-touted demand for a Soufriere by-election, it appears that flame has been doused. Although Dr Lewis said it was the government’s privilege to call elections—not the opposition’s—he still upheld his party’s belief.
“We believe the position we took was sound. Now that the Integrity in Public Life Bill has been implemented and the Integrity Commission established, the person involved—Mr François—should make his report to that Commission and that should be done with dispatch,” Dr Lewis said. “That Commission, for example, makes specific provision for the acquisition of assets like motorcars.”
Taking time out to comment on the newly established National Economic Council, Dr Lewis said it was good to see that the government had acceded. Over the last few years, he noted, the UWP had called on the government to re-establish such a council.
But there was a sore point. Lewis said he was disappointed that the connection between the past and present had not been made. As far as he was concerned, a thorough review of the previous economic council was crucial.
“What we would wish to see is the agenda and priorities set out by that the council, and like the prime minister, we would hope the NEC is not simply at the behest of priorities set for it by government,” Lewis declared. “It’s hopefully not a case of problems the government finds difficult or inconvenient to deal with that it shuffles onto the NEC.”
But it didn’t end there, Lewis turned his attention to the banana industry.
“This government falsely privatised and said to the industry: ‘Don’t come back to us, we’ve lifted the debt,’” Lewis maintained.
“But I believe they’re coming to their senses now that we are in the depths of a recession that we never really shouldn’t have got into particularly in relation to banana production,” Lewis said. “When everything is sorted out we will see that our options are not that many and that much of what was done in the past could have been retained and amended to suit the present.”
Micoud MP Arsene James spoke on the plight of the banana farmers and the blow they’d been dealt by Tropical Storm Lili.
“The UWP hopes that government will move quickly to allocate the assistance that is necessary to ensure quick recovery of banana production,” James explained. “Such assistance must also be forthcoming before government makes any effort to force farmers to start making payments to WINCROP.”
Since 1996, James said, the banana industry had been in decline. He said it experienced its lowest ebb five years later.
“We know the government is saying that there was some recovery prior to Lili but what we know is that many of our small farmers have been marginalised. They’re no longer producing bananas because they can’t afford the costs.”
As for the Peter Josie-led Farmer’s Union, James said he would support any organisation working in the farmers’ benefit. His only contention was that it was a bit late for a union.
Was the industry safer in state hands?
“It’s hard to tell because right now there is not one private company. And we have seen that the farmers have not fared very well under these companies,” James said. “With one association and government input farmers felt better because there was a credit system, an assured market and regulations in place. Sometimes when things got bad, government subsidised the industry.”
Lenard Montoute expressed concern over the manner in which minimum standards for taxi drivers were established.
“While we recognise that efforts must continually be made to upgrade standards, it is necessary to ensure that the Ministry for Tourism provides adequate insight and explanation regarding its proposals,” Montoute said. “In the true spirit of transparency, the Ministry and the National Taxi Council should immediately set about allaying the fears and anxieties of taxi drivers—making clear what the training and certificate programme entails.”
He continued: “The Ministry’s suggestion of limiting an individual to a single vehicle for use as a taxi, unless he or she forms a company, is as ill-advised as it is in direct contravention to free enterprise principles.”
Although Montoute said more innovative measures could be found to accommodate taxi drivers who weren’t as academically inclined, he failed to expand.


Young mother granted bail After 18 months in custody
On Wednesday, a young Bagatelle mother, Zena Gilbert, appeared before Justice Adrian Saunders at the High Court Assizes.
Zena had originally been charged with the murder of her then live-in boyfriend Vincent Clifford on March 21, 2002 in an alleged domestic dispute.
Since the incident, the young mother had been remanded in custody pending trial. However, after reviewing the case, the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions reduced the charge to manslaughter last week.
Lawyer Lorne Theophilus, acting for Gilbert, explained to Justice Saunders that his client had been in prison for the last 18 months on a murder charge and was applying for bail.
“If you are minded to grant bail it should be in the form of a suitable surety because her family is of simple means,” pleaded Theophilus.
Acting Director of Public Prosecutions Victoria Charles objected on the grounds that the defendant she said would be returning to her relatives who were in the main prosecution witnesses.
“My concern,” said Charles, “in objecting to bail is that they may be influenced one way or the other by her presence in the same household.”
Justice Saunders ruled that Gilbert was to remain in custody until bail conditions could be worked out between the legal parties in Chambers.
Contacted for comment later that day, Theophilus said: “Bail was granted in the sum of $5,000 cash or suitable surety. “
Asked why it had taken the prosecution so long to reduce the charge of murder to manslaughter, he said: “Incompetence.” Adding: “In my view this was a clear cut case from the start, of manslaughter and not of murder.”