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Archive for April, 2020

Bartlett Launches Free Online Training for Tourism Workers

KINGSTON, Jamaica; April 23, 2020: Minister of Tourism, Hon Edmund Bartlett has officially launched free online training for tourism workers. The initiative, which is being driven by the Jamaica Centre of Tourism Innovation (JCTI), a division of the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF), is geared towards assisting tourism workers, who were laid off as a result of the closure of hotels during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Under the programme, tourism workers are being offered 11 free online courses to hone their skills and improve their qualifications.

The Ministry is reporting that so far, 2,279 users have registered since the programme launched yesterday afternoon, with several candidates placed a wait-list, given the high demand for specific programmes (such as certification in Hospitality Team Leader, Restaurant Servers, Hospitality Supervisor and Spanish).

Speaking after the digital launch, Minister Bartlett said, “We are very proud that the programme is so well-received by our hospitality workers.  In fact the portal crashed moments after our launch, due to the influx of interest, but I am happy to report these technical issues have been addressed. So I encourage all hospitality workers to take advantage of this opportunity.”

The Minister added that this initiative was very important because he wanted the workforce to be more qualified after the period of this pandemic, than when it started.

“The COVID-19 crisis has hit our tourism sector hard. As hotels and attractions have shuttered operations and borders have closed all of the 160,000 workers directly employed in tourism have been impacted in one way or another. Forty thousand remain employed while 75% [120,000] have been laid off.

Therefore, I am pleased to announce that we will be offering our tourism workers a lifeline. There is no better time than now for them to retool and upskill. It is a smart investment in staying resilient, which will pay handsome dividends when the tourism sector returns to normal,” he said.

The programme is being administered in collaboration with our major partners.  HEART/National Service Training (HEART/NSTA) Trust, will be offering courses free to candidates and paying all the tutors.

The National Restaurant Association (NRA), the owners of the American Hotel and Lodging Educational Institute (AHLEI), will be offering their signature ServSafe Certification, and the Universal Service Fund (USF) will be supporting individuals who need access to the Internet.

“The USF, in particular, is a critical partner as we seek to ensure access for those who do not have the technology at home. The USF has 193 functional Community Access Points (CAPs) throughout Jamaica, each with 25 computers with internet access,” said Minister Bartlett.

He further added that, “The Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF), will be partnering with the USF to use select CAPs in Trelawny, St. James, St. Ann and Westmoreland so that students without access to a smartphone will be able to utilize the CAPs in these parishes to participate in the courses and access course material.”

The JCTI initiative includes 11 free online certifications, which will ensure the continued advancement of local tourism workers despite the challenging circumstances.

The courses are as follows: Laundry Attendant, Guest Room Attendant, Kitchen Steward Porter, ServSafe Training in Food Safety, Certified Hospitality Supervisor, Introduction to Spanish, Public Area Sanitation, Hospitality Team Leader, Certified Banquet Server, Certified Restaurant Server, and DJ Certification.

These are certification programmes, which means that only candidates with actual work experience are eligible.

All courses will include certification examinations and successful candidates will receive certificates from certifying institutions, including the National Restaurant Association, the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute or HEART Trust/NSTA.

Registration continues at www.tef.gov.jm/jamaica-centre-of-toursm-innovation

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Saint Lucia Tourism Authority rolls out its “Saint Lucia Inspires” Blog Series

Castries – April 21, 2020 – The Saint Lucia Tourism Authority (SLTA) through its website www.stlucia.org and Facebook platform @travelSaintLucia will take viewers and readers on a topical, informative and entertaining destination experience through its “Saint Lucia Inspires” Blog Series.

As most jurisdictions are observing a state of emergency, imposing travel bans or in the early stages of recovering, there has been a rise in interest in armchair travel. Recent research tells us that people are searching online now for travel ideas in the near future. People are looking for inspiration and connections from their homes as they try to navigate the medical, social and environmental challenges that the COVID-19 pandemic presents.

The “Saint Lucia Inspires” Series commenced at 10:00 a.m. ECT on April 20, 2020 with a feature by renowned Saint Lucian Journalist and Writer-Stan Bishop, dubbed Choiseul the Cradle of Craft.

Commenting on the series, Tourism Minister- Honourable Dominic Fedee said; “The virtual demand for Saint Lucia at this time is amazing and our team is more than happy to share the stories of our hidden treasures and authentic experiences that when our international gateways are open again, Saint Lucia would be top top-of-mind.”

Saint Lucia Inspires will continue with a bi-monthly Monday-blog that will place special highlights on the island’s villages, heroes, offerings and culture.

In addition to Saint Lucia Inspires, the SLTA continues to showcase its 7 Minutes in Saint Lucia Series which is a Live Instagram virtual experience on Tuesdays & Thursdays at 11 a.m. ECT on @travelSaintLucia

Saint Lucia, Let Her Inspire you!

For More Information on Saint Lucia visit www.stlucia.org


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Barbados Crop Over Festival Set to Return in 2021

In keeping with ongoing global efforts to contain and manage the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government of Barbados has made the difficult decision to cancel the country’s Crop Over Festival this year.

The island’s premier arts and culture showcase celebrates the end of the sugar cane crop with craft markets, soca and calypso competitions, parties and much more, and was scheduled to launch in June 2020. The festival usually runs for two months, culminating on the first Monday of August with a colourful street parade dubbed Grand Kadooment. On Kadooment Day, thousands of locals, visitors and even celebrities that have included Cultural Ambassador Rihanna, and Lewis Hamilton, take to the streets in costume to party.

Also cancelled this year due to COVID-19 is the National Independence Festival of Creative Arts (NIFCA), which was slated for October and November 2020. This annual festival, which celebrates the best of Barbadian performing, visual and culinary arts, will return in 2021.

The Ministry of Creative Economy, Culture and Sports responsible for these two key events, will instead dedicate this time to a national training programme in schools and communities to ensure the continued development of local arts despite the festival cancellations.

More information will be provided on the national training program as it becomes available.

For more on Crop Over and Barbadian arts, visit http://www.ncf.bb, and follow the National Cultural Foundation on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thencfbarbados/

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Nevis Postpones Annual Summer Festival

Nevis Mango & Food Festival Moved to 2021

New York, NY, April 15, 2020 – The global community is in the grip of the COVID-19 virus, declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization. As the coronavirus outbreak continues to spread, in accordance with the policies of the St. Kitts and Nevis government, the annual Nevis Mango and Food Festival 2020 will not take place this year. This decision has been made out of an abundance of caution, with the well-being, safety and health of both residents and visitors in mind.

The 3-day Nevis Mango and Food Festival, slated to take place on the 4th of July weekend, has become a fixture on culinary calendars for foodies. Chefs from across the region, along with a visiting celebrity chef, embrace an epic culinary challenge, totally dedicated to the mango and the creative cuisine inspired by mangos. The only caveat is that the mangos that are used must be one of the 40+ varieties that grow on the island. The festival is an initiative by the Nevis Tourism Authority and is now expected to take place next year, over the 4th of July weekend, 2021. elebrity Chefs

In making the announcement, the CEO of the Nevis Tourism Authority, Ms. Jadine Yarde, said, “The Nevis Mango Festival has become a staple on our tourism calendar; however, this is an unprecedented situation and our main priority continues to be the health and safety of our visitors, our colleagues, Nevisians and the people of the global community”. She continued, “These are challenging times, but they will come to an end. We encourage you to stay well. We will prevail and your friends in Nevis will be here to welcome you when you are ready and able to travel again”.

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J$250 million paid over to Tourism Workers Pension Scheme Fund Manager – Bartlett

KINGSTON, Jamaica; April 16, 2020: Tourism Minister, Hon Edmund Bartlett says the initial $250 million of the $1 billion committed to long-awaited Tourism Workers Pension Scheme by the Government has been paid over to the newly selected-fund manager, Sagicor Jamaica Limited.

“The long awaited Tourism Workers Pension Scheme has reached another milestone. We can now announce that we have an Investment Manager, which is Sagicor and finalizing arrangements with a Fund -Administrator. Additionally J$250 million of the J$1 billion from the Ministry’s injection has been disbursed to seed the fund to ensure these workers have a pension,” said Minister Bartlett.

He noted that he is currently awaiting the House’s approval of the regulations, which will pave the way for the Scheme’s implementation, once industry workers return to their jobs.

“The well-being of our workers in the industry remains a priority for us at the Ministry of Tourism. We are forging ahead with this scheme because we want to ensure that after the coronavirus (COVID-19) has passed, the pension programme will be in place,” said the Minister.

The pension scheme is a defined contributory plan supported by legislation and will require mandatory contributions by workers and employers.

The Tourism Workers Pension Scheme is designed to cover all workers ages 18-59 years in the tourism sector, whether permanent, contract or self-employed, the ministry said. It further noted that this includes hotel workers as well as persons employed in other tourism subsectors such as craft vendors, tour operators, red cap porters, contract carriage operators and workers at attractions.

Benefits will be payable at age 65 years or older.

The Ministry of Tourism is providing $1 billion to seed the fund, so that immediate benefits can accrue to qualified pensioners, who have met the vested period of five years.

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‘Misbehaviour’ Movie Goes Digital today

Just one month after the star studded world premiere of MISBEHAVIOUR in London, the movie is now available on digital video on demand platforms. Pure Grenada, the Spice of the Caribbean has heralded the movie for its portrayal of a defining moment in history: the crowning of the first woman of colour as Miss World.

Attending the London premiere on March 9 was Charge d’Affaires for The Grenada High Commission London, Samuel Sandy; Dr Johnson Beharry VC COG and Mrs Mallissa Beharry; Mary McQueen and Deborah McQueen, the mother and sister of artist, director and screenwriter Steve McQueen; Suzanne Gaywood OBE, former designer of Gold medal-awarded Grenada exhibits at RHS Chelsea Flower Show among other specially invited guests.

Pathe Film Studios announced that because the UK cinema release of MISBEHAVIOUR was cut short by the Covid-19 crisis (with cinemas closing only 4 days after the film’s release), the film is being made available to watch at home 3 months ahead of schedule. It is now available on all platforms (including Amazon Prime, Sky Store and iTunes) for an exclusive period.

Jennifer Hosten, born in Grenada in 1947, was a flight attendant for BWIA (now Caribbean Airlines) when she took a leave of absence to compete in Miss World. The beauty competition was the most-watched TV show on the planet and in 1970 was hosted by US comedy legend, Bob Hope. The stakes could not have been higher and when the live broadcast was interrupted by a Women’s Liberation Movement stage invasion, the global audience was captivated. Then, as Miss Grenada – the self-styled Nutmeg Princess – was crowned the first woman of colour Miss World, conventions crumbled.

MISBEHAVIOUR, directed by BAFTA winner Philippa Lowthorpe (Three Girls), stars Gugu Mbatha-Raw as Grenadian, Jennifer Hosten – the first woman of colour to be crowned Miss World, Keira Knightley as a member of the newly formed Women’s Liberation Movement, and an all-star cast including Jessie Buckley, Greg Kinnear, Lesley Manville, Keeley Hawes, Rhys Ifans and Phyllis Logan.

Grenada Tourism Authority (GTA) Chief Executive Officer Patricia Maher said: “Misbehaviour depicts a chapter of Jennifer’s story that exemplifies her ground breaking life as she helped put Grenada on the map fifty years ago. I invite you to take the time to view this remarkable story while you’re at home and staying safe. We look forward to showing this film in Grenada when we can again gather socially.”

The comedy drama in which Grenada is mentioned throughout, ends with a fitting tribute from the Mightly Sparrow to ‘Cousin Jennifer’, Miss World 1970.

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