United States of America Charge d’Affairs to Jamaica, Eric Khant.

United States of America Charge d’Affairs to Jamaica, Eric Khant believes that American businesses are keen on investing in Jamaica. Speaking at the recent AMCHAM Business and Civic Leadership Awards For Excellence Dinner in the ballroom of the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel recently, Khant lauded the island’s administrators for placing the country on an economic path to success. Khant said, “the economic vital signs are promising. I believe this is why Jamaica has seen a number of Americans coming through, exploring business opportunities in Jamaica. “As a matter of fact, we have a trip delegation of 10 companies coming to Jamaica at the end of this month,” Khant added. Khant also urged Jamaicans to get themselves qualified for the opportunities, whenever they present themselves. He said, “there is still work to be done. The more Jamaica makes it easier to do business here such as reducing the red tape and bureaucracy, I believe the more Jamaica will attract foreign investors.” “Also for Jamaican businesses to continue to thrive and for Jamaica to become even more an attractive place to do business, Jamaica must invest in people, after all, I dare to say that people are the most valuable resource Jamaica has.” NCB Group President and CEO Patrick Hylton (right) is greeted by Jamaica Broilers CEO Christopher Levy at the AMCHAM Awards. “The key consideration for investors is the quality of human resource that is available in a country. And I am always encouraged to get a consistent feedback from American companies that Jamaica has an abundance of talent.” “But Jamaica should not take that for granted, however, and ensure that its talented labour force is not neglected. Train and develop and make the talent allow Jamaica to build world-class businesses,” Khant said. Meanwhile, the Hollywood-themed glitzy awards dinner and awards presentation saw the former chairman of Jamaica Broilers, Robert Levy being selected to receive the Lifetime Achievement Award and NCB Group President and CEO, Patrick Hylton, received the President’s Award. Other winners included, Sagicor Foundation, (Large Foundation Award); Trade Winds Citrus Limited (medium organization), Pocket Rocket Foundation (small foundation, MoBay City Run (small non-profit foundation); Sergeant Nickoyon O Brown, (individual); and Errol Miller, former chairman of the FLOW Foundation, who was honoured with a posthumous award for charitable work. See slider below for more photos from the awards banquet. [image_gallery] For the latestnews, download our app athttp://bit.ly/GetALoopJMfor Android; and athttp://bit.ly/GetiLoopJMfor IoS.

Yoni Epstein, Founder and Executive Chairman of itelbpo.

Yoni Epstein, Founder and Executive Chairman of itelbpo, believes that the Caribbean’s long history of tourism and hospitality has created a culture of service that fuels growth and success in the business process and outsourcing (BPO) sector, which relies heavily on the ability to deliver exceptional customer experiences to global brands. Speaking on the second episode of ‘Happy Hour Chat with Yoni’, itelbpo’s monthly webinar series, Epstein revealed that an advantage upon launching the company filtered through its deliberate recruitment of talent with experience from the local tourism industry to build his first group of customer service agents. “They already have a step-up on the game of customer experience. The hospitality industry has been prevalent in Jamaica for the last 50-60 years and from that they have learned how to deliver a very high level of service, which transitions well into the contact centre industry,” explained Epstein, in response to moderator Melissa O’Brien, Research Vice President, Customer Engagement, Retail and Travel Strategies at HFS Research, one of the most influential analyst firms in the world. There are other reasons why Jamaica is especially attractive for the BPO sector. It offers great climate, a conducive business environment, reliable infrastructure and extensive air travel routes. As it relates to competition, this is important in the wider context of the Caribbean, which continues to attract a high level of interest in the BPO sector due to an inviting culture and high-touch customer service approach, nurtured by businesses directly and indirectly associated with the tourism industry. Ultimately, all of that comes with accessing a skilled labour force. Epstein expressed that good rapport with customers is one of the most important attributes of a good agent, noting that it plays an important role in the contact centre’s overall success and helps to eliminate what is called ‘dead air’ - breaks in conversation that end up in silence. An agent’s ability to mitigate these occurrences is key and this unique trait is one that tourist industry workers seem to have already mastered. “In the tourism industry you’re at the bars, you’re on the beach, you’re trying to ensure people are having a great time. You’re much more open to starting a conversation and building that rapport with the customer, which really transcends through to the end-user having a great experience,” he said. Providing a tourism-minded service approach is an even greater asset when servicing travel and hospitality clients, which accounts for approximately 25 percent of itelbpo’s business. “We cater to the needs of both large and small businesses within the tourism industry. We are one of several vendors for Hilton hotels and take reservation calls, as well as customer care calls. Itelbpo also supports small independent properties where all their calls are registered into a central reservation system, which allows our agents to assist their customers in the same way a big brand would,” stated Epstein. Itelbpo continues to provide innovative technological and outsourcing solutions to customers across all industries. The company that started in 2012 with only seven employees now boasts 2,000 employees with operations in Kingston, Montego Bay, Bahamas, Mexico and a work-at-home staff spread across the United States. The next in itelbpo’s monthly webinar series, ‘Happy Hour Chat with Yoni’, is slated for December 6, 2018. For the latestnews, download our app athttp://bit.ly/GetALoopJMfor Android; and athttp://bit.ly/GetiLoopJMfor IoS.


Dancehall artisteStarfacedelivered an animated and dynamic performance during the first leg of the Mello FM tour atthe Ocean Village Shopping Centre in Ocho Rios recently. She hit the stage singing 'Make It', a conscious song talking about her dreams of stardom, before segueing into the energetic 'Top Klass' which was met by a roar from the large audience, forcing the selector to 'wheel up' the song.Starfacedid 'Top Klass' and then closed her set with her current radio hit, 'Ready', a counteraction of Rygin King's 'Tuff'. As she performed the song, women in the audience sang lustily along with the words while some giggled openly.Starfaceleft the stage to a huge ovation.The tour will have stops in Portmore, Kingston, Mandeville and Montego Bay over the next month. Starfacehas also been confirmed for a showdubbed '9 Tuh 5' at 35 Dunrobin Avenue on November 17th. "Dovey Magnum has a show on December 28th, and she put me on it, so the shows are coming in," she said. In the meantime, another popular single, Top Class, on the Knackout Productions label, is also generating some buzz. She will be shooting a video for this project this week. For breaking news, download our app athttp://bit.ly/GetALoopJMfor Android; and athttp://bit.ly/GetiLoopJMfor IoS.

Done Yute

It is perhaps surprising that dancehall artiste Don Yute and international superstar Sean Paul have never done a collaboration together or maintained a personal or professional relationship despite the fact that they came into the business through the same channels in the same era. Both of them were labelled as 'uptown artistes', light-skinned young men who had a different flavour and flow, and who sought to make their mark in a rough-and-tumble dancehall landscape that belied their upbringing. The two are no longer friends. Or even passing acquaintances. "There is no current link with me and Sean Paul, I was just the one with the know-how and the Golden Child label voicing him sometimes and introducing him to top dancehall producers yard and abroad. I got the dubplates for him and did the best I could booking shows including his first Sting for example, the Miami and Atlanta shows and just general exposure on platforms around Jamaica," Don Yute told Loop Jamaica reporter Claude Mills. "I carried him to like Tuff Gong, Mixing Lab, Big Ship, Stone Love, you name it; he already had the link with Jeremy Harding. But he has never reached out to me to do a song or anything to do with music business," he said. Don Yute also believes that Sean Paul could have done more to help the Dutty Cup crew, a group of artistes and friends who gained notoriety in the 1990s. "Dutty Cup was never my concept, me and (Kid) Kurrupt link, I never knew Chicken and Dadigan like that, but most of us was bredrins for the most part. But I think Sean, being who the rest of his team gave vibes to etcetera, could have set up a structure for them but I can't say why he stopped rolling with dem when they started out so good," he said. Don Yute is preparing to drop a new EP, 'Pandemonium', his first official project since 2011. The first song he recorded was'Smushy Smushy', a dubplate for Ambassadors (later called Legends) sound system, the first uptown sound. However, he roared onto the dancehall scene with the hit single single for Dave Kelly on the Pepperseed rhythm called 'Loving Excess', a collaboration with Wayne Wonder in 1993 that is still popular 25 years later. "Spragga was known as a bad man, and mi and him a par. One morning, mi see him on Red Hills Road, and we just start roll. Spragga Benz introduced me to Dave Kelly, I was there and I heard Wonder singing 'excess amount of loving' and mi say mi have a song to go with that, 'loving x amount plenty', and dem say 'rahtid, come in,'and that's how that happened," he said. He followed up with other hits such as 'You Own The Man' with Dave Kelly again, then 'Hardcore' with legendary producers Steely and Clevie. Then he migrated overseas in 1996 in an effort to get his music and brand in international markets. He started out in Atlanta, where he got the ears of Lil Jon with a song called 'Putty Cat' on the More Gal rhythm, while Lil Jon was a disc jockey on Atlanta Hot 97. "They were playing the 'Book Book' song juggling from yard which had my song 'Putty Cat', and somebody told Lil Jon that I was there in Atlanta in Stone Mountain with a girl, and that is how I voiced on the So So Def volume 1. I am the only Dirty South dancehall artiste, I was there when Lil Jon was making that Crunk music. That's when I realised how big the music was because, when I got to Jamaica, I got a US$8,000 cheque in the mail and that was how I started doing music on my own label," he said. He established his own recording label called Golden Child, and produced a host of singles for artistes like Akon, Pitbull, Trina, and Trick Daddy. He worked closely with SoSo Def Records CEO and producer Jermaine Dupri, dropping gold-selling singles 'Sexiest' and 'Hardcore Wuk' for So So Def Bass All Stars in 2008. He toured the United States with G Unit, Omarion, Ying Yang Twins, Rick Ross and Musiq Soulchild. He has four collaborations with Akon, produced by Konvict Music for Golden Child. Don Yute has placements in NBA games, he hasmovie placements with songs such as'This Boy Here' which appeared in a movie soundtrack for 'Love Songs' with Monica and a song called 'Sweat' in a movie called 'Havoc' with Anne Hathaway. He has represented dancehall at the highest level. But through it all, he has remained the Golden Child. Real. Relevant. And all street. "When I migrated overseas, I was promoting my CDs everywhere, and one day, I went to a barbershop and handed out the CDs and the whole barbershop just stop and somebody said, 'ah you sing Caan Tell How the Gal Dem Hot', and mi say, 'yu know dem song?'. But ah just me that, mi just remain humble, grind and do the work. As a little youth, I saw Josie Wales, Garnet Silk, Half Pint, Leroy Sibbles, dem man dem set it, is not a braggadocious ting, music is a respect ting," Don Yute, whose real name is Jason Andrew Williams, said. Don Yute with friend, fellow dancehall artiste Spragga Benz "Don Yute is the people, I can never forget that, I and I owe everything to them, mi just show love everywhere mi go, ah that me a live offa now," he said. He will be releasing 'Pandemonium' early next year. An Israeli artiste-producer called Adam Benlawi, produced three songs, namely 'You Dweet', 'Rockstar' and 'Zillion Kisses', under his Jammwise Productions on the new EP. "I like to experiment artistically and Benlawi has his finger on the pulse of the world sound, the Mediterranean sound. Benlawi did a mash up mix of 'Sensi Ride' that is doing well in that market in Israel and he is also an artiste. I met him through Facebook when did a cover of my 'Living in a Dream' song from Playground riddim which sold several thousand copies in Israel," Don Yute said. One of the singles released from the EP is 'Lock the Party' on the Flava Unit/Capone Entertainment label. Don Yute has released videos for the singles like 'Come Please Me' video, a hip hop mix of 'You Dweet', and 'Holding a Meds' so far. "There are genres coming out everyday, you have to stand up for your genre, the segregationin theindustry is paralyzing it. A generation ago, I was Baby Cham, and Rygin King, so we nah fight the youths. The youths need more direction from the elders. There is no ego in music, whether your name come first or last on the record, you get the same money. When Don Yute came out, he went to the street, there was no uptown or downtown, just love and respect for the music," he said. Hegave some advice to the new dancehall acts who are rising to the fore now. "Ego means nothing, fame doesn't matter, sometimes it's our attitude make we no reach where we supposed to be in the music business, fix that and you can conquer the world, it's always about the music first," he said. Despite his sunny personality, Don Yute knows darkness as he survived a major scare when he was shot at point black range in the chest by masked men in the year 2000. "It was just after landing a musical deal with Capitol Records, just about the time 'Row The Boat' became my most popular song, I headed to Atlanta and I would always go to my friend's house to drop off my music, he selects at a club called Royal Peacock. That day, in March 2000, I went to the house, the person who opened the door had a mask with carnival feathers, I thought it was my friend playing around, but I saw two other youths, the selectors for the sound face down on the ground, but it was never scary. I wasn't looking for any gun, so I was going upstairs to give my friend the CD, and the gunman was in front of me, and he tried to grab my chain and mi box off his hand, and then all I see is fire. Then the gunman shot me in the chest, scarring my lungs, is a miracle, it miss my vital organs. That was really one of the darkest chapters in my life," he said. These days, he is living in Miami and enjoying the joy of life and the blessings that arrive with each day. "I am just grateful for my life, I have six daughters, but mi still have my ratings and my love," he said. His father died three months ago of a heart attack, his grandmother slipped and fell, and she died three days ago, and one of his cousins who lives in the US, also died last week. "It's been a rough time, it's the worst thing that happened to me, my father's death. There was so much pain, I couldn't even go to the funeral, but right now, mi just a push through," he said Don Yute's place in history is secure as one of the early success stories of 1990s dancehall, a seminal period where the fashion, flavour, violence and authenticity of local dancehall fuelled an intense period of music creativity and experimentation that is yet to be matched by subsequent eras. "I wouldn't say I'm the catalyst of uptown meets dancehall, it's history that said it and real original dancehall goers and supporters in the streets, uptown and ghetto yutes. I know the Bogle, Haggart, Roses, Ouch girls, Jack Sowah to Cactus, Super D, King Addies with Babyface and Tony Matterhorn to Arrows dub studio and King Jammys, I was there for all of that and that is enough for me," he said. For the latest news, download our app athttp://bit.ly/GetALoopJMfor Android; and athttp://bit.ly/GetiLoopJMfor IoS.

(From left) Dwayne Barrett, President of the Jamaica Judo Association,  and General Secretary Szandra Szogedi, share with Jamaica Olympic Association officials Ryan Foster (CEO), Christopher Samuda, President and Director Laurel Smith, upon their return from India where judoka Tom Davis won two gold medals at the Commonwealth Games Judo Championship.

Jamaican Tom Davis claimed two historic gold medals at the 2018 Commonwealth Judo Championships in Jaipur, India. It was the first time that Jamaica was represented in judo at the Commonwealth Championships and Davis, an elite judoka, won medals in the Masters and Seniors categories. “Top of it I was able to draw history for Jamaican judo, for which I am very pleased for our nation and for our sport,” said Davis. “The Indian Judo Federation did everything they could to make us feel welcome and that support, just like what I receive from the Jamaica Judo Association (JJA) and the Jamaica Olympic Association only leads to much better performances.” Continuing, Davis said it was a ‘proud moment’. “It’s a proud moment to stand on the rostrum, let alone on top and hear the National Anthem,” said Davis. “It is something I didn’t experience very much or as much as I would have liked in previous years, it is massive.” His last medal was secured in the final, which meant the championship - which ended on November 10 - closed off with Jamaica’s National Anthem. Davis said this was special. “The night before my last event I was secretly very proud thinking tomorrow it would be the last anthem played at the Commonwealth Judo Championships, what a nice way to end the competition. Still impetus to hear it again, until next time,” Davis reminisced with JJA General Secretary, Szandra Szodegi. Ryan Foster, CEO of the JOA, said they are happy to facilitate history. “The JOA is extremely pleased to continue to be part of, and facilitating history. When Dwayne (Barrett, JJA President) and Szandra came to the JOA some months ago to share their plans we immediately knew that their objectives were aligned to ours,” he said. “Judo we believe is on course to be part of our ‘10 in 20’ plan,” Foster outlined. “We will be launching soon our text funding campaign to further raise funds to facilitate our members’ dreams. We are proud of Tom and his perseverance to make us proud.” Over 200 judoka from 11 countries participated at the championship. For the latestnews, download our app athttp://bit.ly/GetALoopJMfor Android; and athttp://bit.ly/GetiLoopJMfor IoS.

Jamaica, Cuba and Haiti took big steps toward qualifying for the 2019 Concacaf Gold Cup with victories in week three of the inaugural Concacaf Nations League Qualifying on Saturday. Jamaica (3W-0D-0L, 9 points) and Suriname (1W-1D-1L, 4 points) produced a nail-biter, with the Reggae Boyz emerging victorious 2-1 at the Montego Bay Sports Complex. A Cory Burke header (7th minute) and a Darren Mattocks penalty conversion (16th minute) outweighed Donnegy Fer’s sweep into net (36th minute) to give the win to the 2015 and 2017 Gold Cup finalists. The Reggae Boyz will close out the Nations League qualifying play-offs with an away meeting with Central American outfit El Salvador on March 23, 2019. Cuba (3W-0D-0L, 9 points) slipped past the Dominican Republic (2W-0D-1L, 6 points) 1-0 at the Estadio Pedro Marrera in Havana. Yordan Santa Ctuz pounced on a loose ball in the area in the 83rd minuteand fired in to earn the three points for the Cubans. Undefeated Haiti (3W-0D-0L, 9 points) managed to overcome an early red card and handed Nicaragua (2W-0d-D-1L, 6 points)their first defeat in a 2-0 final at the Estadio Nacional de Futbol in Managua. Miki Cantave took advantage of a Nicaragua error to make it 1-0 in the 12th minute, which was followed three minutes later by Wilde-Donald Guerrier’s sending off for the visitors. Haiti hung tough though and even extendedtheir lead through Derrick Etienne Jr. in the 31st minute before seeing those out in the second half for the three points. Rounding out the action was a 0-0 draw between Cayman Islands and Saint Lucia at the Truman Bodden Sports Complex in George Town. The stars of the night were the goalkeepers, with each making big saves, including a spectacular stop from point-blank range by Cayman Islands GK Ramon Sealy. Following the qualifying rounds, teams will be placed in Leagues A, B, and C of the three-tier Concacaf Nations League. The Concacaf Nations League embraces a promotion and demotion system and will serve to seed teams and serve, importantly, as a qualifying platform for the expanded Gold Cup, which will have for the first time 16 teams for 2019 edition. For the latestnews, download our app athttp://bit.ly/GetALoopJMfor Android; and athttp://bit.ly/GetiLoopJMfor IoS.