Construction ofClosed Harbour Beach Park in Montego Bay will begin following the official groundbreaking by Prime Minister,Andrew Holness on Friday. The project, which is being primarily funded by the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) and executed by the Urban Development Corporation (UDC), will be one of the largest transformative development for the parish. The project forms a part of the UDC’s Montego Bay Redevelopment Programme which will see the conversion of the 16-acre property into recreational space with amenities that will allow for it to operate as a free access licenced public beach. The project which is estimated at a cost of JMD $1.296 billion is anticipated for completion within 18 months with main funding provided by the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF). According to Holness“the Closed Harbour Beach Park development is one which signifies the integrated and inclusive development which is required for the achievement of Vision 2030.” "This development will not surpass the people of Jamaica but rather will work with and for them following on the economic and sociocultural impact which the park will provide,” Holness said. Hailing the project as “the continuation of the reimaging of Montego Bay”, Edmund Bartlett, Minister of Tourism in his remarks noted that significant contribution to domestic tourism will be ushered in through the development of the park as the first obligation to the people of Jamaica will not be ignored as they will claim the park as their own. Senator Ransford Braham, Chairman UDC, who expounded on the scope of the project, noted that upon transformation, the property will see widening of the sidewalk and new perimeter fencing along Gloucester Avenue and Howard Cooke Boulevard while the interior of the park will feature a Beach Futsal & multi-purpose court, kids play area, food kiosks and outdoor dining area. Dr Carey Wallace, Executive Director, TEF assured that the agency is always willing to support projects of this nature particularly those which ensures the inclusion of ordinary Jamaicans in Jamaica’s development agenda.

Cedric Wilson and Cheryl Lewis

The Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR) has announced the appointments of two new Deputy Directors General: Cedric Wilson and Cheryl Lewis. They were appointed by the Prime Minister,Andrew Holness, upon the recommendation of the Office, to serve for three-year terms. The appointments took effect on February 1, a release from the OUR stated. “Ms. Lewis and Mr. Wilson join Maurice Charvis in the post, bringing the total number of Deputy Directors General at the OUR to three, the release said. Prior to his appointment, Wilson served as Director of Regulation, Policy, Monitoring and Enforcement at the OUR, the most recent of several positions he has served in since joining the organization in 2004. An Economist, Mr. Wilson has 25 years’ experience working in the electric utility industry. He was employed at the Jamaica Public Service Company Limited as Tariff Specialist and General Manager of Corporate Planning for over 10 years and worked as a Regulatory Consultant in the electricity and water sector for some 15 years. Mr. Wilson has undertaken work in several countries across the Caribbean. Notably, he was project manager for the CARICOM renewable energy study in 2009 and tariff consultant to the Eastern Caribbean Energy Regulatory Authority Project in 2016. Additionally, he has collaborated with the Public Research Utility Centre (PURC), University of Florida, USA, in the delivery of a regulatory seminar in Africa and is a regular speaker at PURC’s biannual conference on utility regulation. Ms. Lewis joined the OUR as Deputy General Counsel in October 2010 and has served as General Counsel to the OUR for the last six years prior to her appointment. During her tenure at the OUR, she has provided leadership and effective representation locally and internationally. Ms. Lewis has also been at the centre of and has played a pivotal role in, discussions, negotiations and planning for the successful introduction of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) in the electricity sector and the development of the associated infrastructure in Jamaica. She has also delivered special lectures internationally on Jamaica’s experience with LNG. Prior to joining the OUR, Ms. Lewis worked as Counsel in the Attorney General’s Chambers for 15 years where she served in various capacities including as Assistant Attorney-General in Litigation, Divisional Director of General Legal Advice and Divisional Director of the Commercial Affairs Division. She is a British Chevening Scholar (2001) and holds a Master of Laws (LLM) in International Business Law from the University of Manchester, England, a Legal Education Certificate (LEC) from the Norman Manley Law School, Jamaica and a Bachelor of Laws (LLB) from the University of the West Indies, Barbados. In congratulating Ms. Lewis and Mr. Wilson, Director General, Ansord Hewitt says the appointments augur well for the development of the OUR and the work it has to do. “This will be particularly helpful to me in streamlining the activities of the OUR and allowing more options with respect to assigning leadership responsibilities for the sectors and activities we regulate,” said Hewitt.


Unknown Gringo

Montego Bay artiste Unknown Gringo is gunning for the top spot in dancehall. He has been gaining traction in recent months with a raft of hit songs including chart-riders like 'Money Factory' and 'Brawling Death' in recent weeks. Now, he has released a video for his latest release, “Money Factory” that is racking up thousands of views on YouTube. “The video was released this week and it is doing very well, big up the producer Shabdon Records. My next project will be ‘Money Machine’ featuring Chronic Law, that has over 30,000 views so we will be doing a video for that soon,” Unknown Gringo said. He is also gearing up to release his first EP, “Rise of the Unknown Gringo” which will feature seven tracks, some of which will be previously unreleased tracks in July 2019. The artiste has performed at a number of 'JB Outta West' shows in Montego Bay and Negril, as well as several events all over Jamaica. He is booked to appear on one of the shows of this years Britjam in Montego Bay. Music producers have begun to recognise the talent and are sending dope beats his way. Plus promoters have begun to bank on him as one of the wave of new artistes from Western Jamaica who are making their mark internationally in dancehall. Born Frantz Morris, No Face Unknown grew up in the crime-torn Flankers area of Montego Bay before his family moved to Trelawny. He started singing in church and even released a gospel song, which led to his taking the name 'Francheeno' and he began to work with several producers including Through Divine Productions for whom he recorded the popular 'All Night Long' and another label, Third Eye Records. He established a working relationship with Must Rich Records and One Harmony Records which are based in the United Kingdom. Through those companies, he released songs including 'Open Your Eyes', 'Man Love So True' and Life Set a Way for Chiney K Records. He took a break from music to pursue his business interests. When he returned to the music industry in 2016, he adopted the No Face Unknown wearing a mask to disguise his face. The new image created a sensation in the media and the dancehall public and his career began to take off. He got a major hit with the single, 'Tank Up' and 'I Am the Chosen' and 'Bingo'. In 2018, he tweaked his name, calling himself 'Unknown Gringo' and got rid of the mask. He recorded several singles for independent record label, Chase Mills Records, including the club banger, 'Vroom Vroom', 'Cute Cute' and the bad man anthem, 'Brawling Death'. He also recorded several singles under his own label, Desconocido Records. Recent singles include 'Money Factory' for Shabdon Records and 'Go Up' under the Chase Mills Records label.

Aston Cooke

Tributes have been pouring in for playwright Aston Cooke, who was found dead at his St Andrew apartment on Friday morning. "I have lost a friend, not just a colleague, so his death has really shaken me up," Lenford Salmon, a senior advisor to Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sports Minister Olivia Grange, told Loop News reporter Claude Mills. Salmon, who is a principal at Jambiz International Inc, which produces theatrical productions, met the playwright36 years ago and maintained a great friendship over the years. "I spoke to him a week agoas we were seeking to get the MissWorld competition to be staged in Jamaica. We were going to London to speak to them, a move orchestrated by Minister Olivia Grange. This is a tremendous loss for Jamaica, he was one of the island's foremost designers, not only of set design, but carnival costumes. He was a brilliant playwright, and he had a passion for the development of youths in theatre, and is a co-founder of Jamaica Youth Theatre (JYT). He was a product and a moving force of the schools drama festivals, and he put his life into maintaining it," Salmon said. Cooke was one of the principals of Crown of Beauty Jamaica Limited, which owns the Miss Jamaica World franchise. He is the recipient of 10 national Actor Boy Awards for outstanding achievement in Jamaican theatre and an inductee to the Caribbean Hall of Fame for Arts and Culture. In 1985, Cooke was responsible for writing the first episodes of Oliver at Large for Jamaica's "King of Comedy" Oliver Samuels‚ which became Jamaica's most successful scripted television series to date. Cooke has served as director of boards for several organisations, including Television Jamaica Limited, Jamaica AIDS Support for Life (JASL) and as Board Chairman of the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC) during 2013 and 2016. Grange expressed shock and sadness at the passing of the playwright. “The news of Aston’s passing on this Jamaica Day is a blow for us all. But Aston would be proud of the glorious display and embrace of Jamaican culture in our schools and communities. Our culture was his life. He displayed a level of commitment to his culture that must be emulated and admired," the culture minister said. “In the midst of our cultural celebrations today, we say farewell to a gentleman who has left us a proud legacy that echoes the makings of a cultural icon. We are sure the spirit and legacy of Aston Cooke will live on," she continued.“On behalf of the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport and the JCDC, I wish to express our deepest condolences and heartfelt sympathies to the family and friends of Aston Cooke. Be comforted in the fact that his legacy is untouchable and that he has given his best years to what he loved dearly, his culture.” Chairman of the Board of Commissioners of the JCDC, Mexine Bissasor, described Cooke asa quiet giant who made a tremendous contribution to Jamaica’s culture and specifically, theatre,. “His legacy is one that speaks to love, passion and honour. His deep love for the artform saw him being a part of all the veins of the heart of the industry; he has served the Commission three different times up to the day of his death," she said. Meanwhile, executive director of JASL, Kandasi Levermore said Cooke's untimely death has left the organisation with a void it will never be able to fill. She said his work with JASL over the past two decades speaks volumes but it is his calm disposition and astuteness in creating that body of work which the JASL family will miss him for most. “Aston’s passing is devastating for all of us and will leave us with a void for a very long time. The creative flair that he brought to the team is marked only by a man who has immersed himself in all aspects of life, and that he did well – in the arts which he loved dearly, both as an actor and playwright; pageantry; and as a committed servant of the marginalised," she said. Born in Kingston, Jamaica, Aston Cooke attended All Saint's Primary School in Jones Town, Kingston, and later won a Common Entrance place to enter Wolmer's Boys' School. He began writing plays as a student at Wolmer's as an active participant in the Schools' Drama Festival of Jamaica. His first one-act play, Pickle‚ won several awards for Wolmer's Boys’ School in the Jamaica Secondary Schools Drama Festival. Cooke is artistic director of the Jamaica Youth Theatre, a group he founded in 2004 that serves as the performing arm of the Schools' Drama Festival of Jamaica. He led the visionary campaign for the Jamaica Youth Theatre (JYT) to be selected from over 100 companies from 40 countries worldwide and eventually representing the nation at the 2010 "Contacting the World Youth Theatre Festival" in Manchester, England. He is also a published writer, with his book, 'Country Duppy & Jonkanoo Jamboree'.


Jockey Omar Walker.

Omar Walker and champion trainer Wayne DaCosta dominated Saturday's 10-race card at Caymanas Park, sweeping the three feature races. Six-time former champion jockey Walker won the six-furlong Sir Howard and Hot Line Stakes Guineas trials with FATHER PATRICK and DaCosta's LADY BLUE, respectively. He also booted home DaCosta's 3-5 favourite, DRUMMER BOY in the 'Lindy' Delapenha Memorial Trophy at a mile. DRUMMER BOY was the second of four winners for DaCosta, who opened the card with 1-2 favourite BRANDY at seven furlongs with Anthony Thomas. FATHER PATRICK, the 3-5 favourite, took over from UNIVERSAL BOSS entering the straight and stayed on strongly under Walker's urging to hold TOONA CILIATA by a length, stopping the clock, winning the Sir Howard Stakes in 1:12.0. Walker made it three winners for himself and DaCosta with LADY BLUE in the Hot Line Stakes, joining Dane Nelson and apprentice Christopher Mamdeen on 11 winners for the season. LADY BLUE proved too good for rivals, making all the running from post-position one, winning the fillies-only event in 1:13.3. Thomas, last year's champion jockey, closed DaCosta's four-timer with 7-1 chance YAYA'S DREAM, winning a five-furlong straight battle with SIR JHUNJHUN WALA. Meanwhile, Nunes saddled two winners, TOP EAGLE, and WESTERN WHEELS, in the fourth and 10th, respectively, to maintain his lead atop the trainers' standings ahead of Gary Subratie, Richard Azan, and DaCosta. Racing continues at Caymanas Park on Wednesday.

Kingston College (KC) dominated the 43rd staging of the Puma Gibson McCook Relays at the National Stadium on Saturday night. The North Street-based school won six of the 11 relays, a massive boost just a month before the ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls' Athletics Championships where Calabar High will be seeking eight straight boys' titles and 29overall and EdwinAllen, their sixth straight girls' titleand seven overall. The other five relays werewon by five different schools – Calabar High,Wolmer’s Boys, St Jago High, Jamaica College (JC) and Enid Bennett High. In the girls’ section, Edwin Allen just managed to come out on top with three victories, one ahead of Holmwood Technical, which ended with two wins. St Jago, The Queen’s School, and Hydel won a relay each. KC dominated the 4x100-metre relays, winning three of the four races. KC’s victories came in Class 2, Class 3 and Class 4. The quartet of Terrique Stennett, Adrian Kerr, Javain Johnson, and Michael Joseph, as expected, outclassed the field in the Boys’ Class 2 4x100m relays to win in 41.18 seconds. Calabar High finished second in 41.48 with Lvoughn Douglas, Ellado Coltas, David Thomas and Corey Ottey. St Jago’s quartet of Vashaun Vascianna, Jahiem Robinson, Jahvel Graville and Okeimo Johnson finished third in 41.55. KC also had a comfortable victory in the Boys’ Class 3 4x100m relays, again beating Calabar High into second place. KC clocked 43.71 seconds for the victory, with Calabar recording 43.83 for second. JC came home third in 43.95. KC closed out their sprint relay dominance with a commanding victory in the Boys’ Class 4 4x100m relays. The quartet clocked 45.64 seconds, well ahead of St Jago (47.03) and JC (47.39). The Boys’ Class 1 4x100m relay was won by Calabar High, but they were disqualified shortly for a lane violation on the anchor leg. Wolmer’s Boys, who finished second, were rewarded victory in 40.50. St Jago High (40.54) and KC (40.49) were promoted to second and third. KC's other three relays victories came in the 4x200m and the final event of the night, the 4x400m relay. In the 4x200m relays, KC secured two victories through their Class 2 and Class 4 teams. After finishing seventh to St Jago High (1:25.39), KC returned to win the Boys' Class 2 4x200m relay final in 1:28.12, beating Wolmer's Boys (1:28.20) and Calabar High (1:28.89) and the Boys' Class 4 4x200 in 1:36.36, well clear of St Jago High (1:40.39) and Cornwall College (1:41.43). KC's closed out their dominance on the night with an easy victory in the Boys' 4x400m Open Relays. KC crossed the line in 3:10.99, beating Holmwood Technical High (3:12.36) and the big favourites Calabar High (3:13.65) Calabar High secured their lone victory in the Boys' 4x800m Open Relays, winning in a meet record 7:31.71, which erased the previous record of 7:32.71 set by St Jago High in 2017. JC finished second in 7:32.18, which also bettered the previous record. KC finished third in 7:34.78. Edwin Allen High secured their three victories in the 4x100m relays and the 4x800. Edwin Allen won two of the Girls’ 4x100m relays. The Michael Dyke-coached team, as expected, won the Class 2 and Class 3 finals, both in meet record times. In the Girls’ Class 2 4x100m final, Edwin Allen won in 44.75 seconds, a time which erased the previous meet record of 45.01 held jointly by Edwin Allen and Vere Technical High. St Jago High (45.26) and Holmwood Technical High (46.16) finished second and third. Edwin Allen High’s high powered Class 3 4x100m team then smashed its 2018 meet record time of 44.76 by posting 44.59 seconds for the victory. St Jago High (45.61) and Immaculate Conception High (46.92) were well beaten into second and third place. St Jago won the Class 1 sprint relay in 45.62, while Holmwood Technical took Class 4 in 48.86. Edwin Allen High secured their third and final victory in the Girls' 4x800m Open Relay, crossing the line in 8:58.00, well clear of St Mary High (9:09.95) and Holmwood Technical (9:17.35).