The Jamaica Public Service Company (JPS) is reporting reduced earnings for 2019, as it braces for a hit from the outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19). For the year ended December 31, 2019, JPS saw its revenue fall to US$881 million for the year ended December 31, 2019, a marginal decline of three per cent compared to the previous year. Net profit was US$23.14 million, one-third less than the US$31 million in net profit made in 2018. “Subsequent to the reporting date, the World Health Organisation declared the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak a pandemic due to its rapid spread across the globe. Jamaica has been affected by the outbreak, which resulted in the Government of Jamaica undertaking a variety of measures to reduce the spread of the virus among the population”, JPS said in notes that accompanied its latest financial results. “These measures have disrupted business operations and have resulted in increased economic uncertainty.” As a result, “the group’s business activities and financial performance may be impacted by supply chain disruption; unavailability of personnel; declines in sales and operating cash flows or the collection of outstanding receivables,” JPS said. The company said it was unable to provide an estimate of the financial impact cannot be made at this time. Net finance costs for the company jumped from $35.8 million in 2018 to $55.57 million in 2019. The company reported cash of US$35.02 million at year-end, up from US$27.2 million the year before. JPS is owned by Japanese company MaruEnergy and EWP, a subsidiary of Korea Electric Power Corporation, which is incorporated in South Korea. The JPS group comprises South Jamaica Energy Holdings Limited (SJEH) and Caribbean Blue Skies Energy Limited (CBSE), whose primary activities are the provision of operation and maintenance services to entities in the energy industry.

FirstRock Co-founder and CEO Ryan Reid.

First Rock Capital Holdings Limited (FirstRock) has completed the purchase of 3.43 acres of land in Kingston 6 for US$5 million from Desnoes Estates Limited, a subsidiary of PanJam Investment Limited. The previous owner of the property known as 1, 1B and 3 Bamboo Avenue, had obtained approval for a multi-family dwelling complex. The lots are to be merged to accommodate a residential complex of four-story apartments, townhouses and semi-detached units.Applications to modify restrictive covenants were successful, according to Supreme Court documents. The Bamboo Avenue purchase is FirstRock’s ninth acquisition and follows the company’s listing on the Jamaica Stock Exchange earlier this year. FirstRock raised around US$12.3 million in IPO in January and later listed Class A shares and Class B shares on the US-dollar market and Jamaican-dollar market of the Jamaica Stock Exchange. The prospectus, which accompanied the IPO, outlined FirstRock’s plans to acquire three additional three properties, including the lots on Bamboo Avenue. “The terrain and location of the subject property make it ideal and suitable for a luxury townhouse development to generate profits through sale and residual income from rental of units. Ground is to be broken in the second quarter of 2020,” it was noted. Also included in FirstRock's investment plans is, The Shoppes atRose Hall inMontego Bay, which currently has 29 shops, 22 of which are occupied. The company also disclosed its interest in an office building in Virginia, US, which houses the leased offices of SunTrust Bank of over 20 years for US$7 million. The US-based property spans over 4,100 square feet and sits on nearly 25,000 square feet of land. All three properties were estimated to cost First Rock US$25 million through a combination of debt and cash equity. FirstRock had in its portfolio eight properties across Jamaica, Costa Rica and the US prior to listing. The company began operating in March 2019 after raising about US$16 million in debt capital. It made US$218,000 profit from operations since commencing operations. FirstRock lists as part of its strategic plan the purchasing and improving existing income-producing properties for rental income and the development of properties with selected strategic partners for immediate sale.


Pharaoh

Dancehall artiste Pharaoh is pleased with the buzz aroundthe cheeky video for his latest single,'Want Some a Yu Ting'. "The fans like the energy in the video, the location, the girls, the lyrics, everything come together. I had a great time in Jamaica shooting the video and that sense of good vibes and fun translated into a great video," Pharaoh, whose real name is Rayon Robinson, saidabout the video which was released on March 27th. The song was officially released earlier in March on the Pharaoh Dynasty label via all downloadable digital music platforms. Pharaoh knows that the entertainment world has been hard hit by the spread of the COVID-19 disease which has cancelled tours, nixed events and brought the world to a virtual standstill. He knows that the impact is particularly hard on young up-and-coming artistes and the impact goes beyond just not being able to perform; they’re also now recovering from financial burdens brought on by investing in visas, hotels and airfare for shows which have been pushed back indefinitely, killing any opportunity to reach a new audience. "It's rough right now, so in, so out, so up, so down, life is a cycle and everything within, what is today won't be tomorrow. This coronavirus must pass, we all have a choice in seeing the cup half empty or half-full. I have taken the time to spend with family, write and record new songs, and learning new things. All new artistes must just push through and propel forward," he said. Pharaoh experiments with several genres of music including R&B, Afrobeats, as well as dancehall and reggae. The artiste grew up in Amity Hall district in StThomas, but spent time between Tel A Viv with his father and Retreat in St Thomas when his parents split. At the tender age of five, he knew that he wanted to be singer or an actor. During his teenage years, he began experimenting with dancehall. In 2014, he migrated to the United States,where he began to groom himself in that 'pharaoh' image, even growing a beard and followinga strenuous health and fitness regimen to ready himself for the rigours of dancehall. There are plans to release a seven-song hardcore dancehall EP this summer. He is managed by the US-based management company, Pharaoh Dynasty Entertainment.

Shana S

US-based, Jamaica-born singjay Shana S has reached out to severalfamilies living in Portland to provide cash to purchase much-needed grocery items asthe global spread of the novel coronavirus(COVID-19) has forced millions of people into lockdown, and possibly unemployment. "We all know how frustrating it is to be in a position where our families or neighbours are in need and we can’t help them. COVID-19 has now made that situation frustratingly impossible for some families with the stay at home order. So with the help of my team, LeAnn from our local radio station Stylz FMand friends, it feels great to be a part of a good deed that's helping to ease some of the burden placed on families," Shana S said. With the help of her friends, Shana S was able to drop off envelopes with $13,000 cash to purchase groceries for their families In Portland. "I got a donation from one of my high school friends who was inspired by what I was doing and wanted to help So together we helped these families including a woman who has been home-bound and unable to move for years. We plan to do more. If just one person feels less lonely or isolated when faced with this pandemic, then I’ll feel better. Coronavirus is scary. Let’s make kindness go viral. Get involved, Jamaica, help your neighbours," she said. Shana S is promoting her latest single, 'Different Style', and released a video which is in rotation on FLOW, and HYPE tv. "Check out my Facebook and YouTube pages, share and like the video," she said. Born in Port Antonio, Portland, Shana S attended Titchfield High and then Port Antonio High school when she became interested in hairdressing, music and art. She didn't take music seriously until she migrated to the US in 1999. In 2003 she recorded her first official song 'Nah Back Down' on the Top Speed Riddim under the name Sexy S produced by recording artiste Demarco on his Star Kutt recording label. Her other songs include 'Up In Deh', 'Happy Life' and 'Sugar Daddy'.


Legendary former West Indies captain Sir Vivian Richards.

Legendary former West Indies captain SirVivianRichards believes Cricket West Indies missed an opportunity to improve Women’s cricket after their first World Cup win and again when the region hosted the event in 2018. Sir Viv said the missed opportunities mean there is now an uphill task for the women in the region to get to the level where they canagain, win world tournaments. “After we would have had the women’s World Cup and after they would have won we haven’t seen the so-called promises we would had here with the tournament being held here in the Caribbean, and we here in Antigua would have seen the hype about the ladies and where we are going, but I think that has been a letdown,” said Sir Viv. “We would have dropped a few points in that particular category and that’s one of the negatives that I think in order to try and get that momentum again where we once were because it is not looking good at present, and especially with some of the tournaments we would have seen the girls partake in this year also,” he said. In March, West Indies missed out on the semi-finals of the Women's Twenty20 World Cup for the first time in six tournaments when they suffered a 46-run defeat to England in a lopsided contest in Australia. Recently, Cricket West Indies CEO, Johnny Grave, indicated that his organisation would be doing all it could to ensure that the regional tournament for women continued despite the fear of COVID-19 spread in the Caribbean. The CEO was speaking about the Women’s Super50 Cup as well as the inaugural Regional Under-19 Women’s Championship. “They are very important tournaments, not just in terms of the preparation but in terms of the preparation for the selection of those respective squads as we look to compete in the World Cups of those events due to take place in the early part of 2021,” said Grave.

UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin.

UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin confirmed August 3 as the latest possible date for the 2019-20 Champions League final. The coronavirus pandemic has led to a prolonged hiatus for sport in almost every country, with the European football system impacted on an unprecedented scale. Many of the top leagues have been suspended indefinitely and the pause forced UEFA to postpone Euro 2020 by 12 months, buying the club season a little more time. The target is still for the 2019-20 campaign to be concluded by the end of June, but many doubt that is realistic, giving rise to debates about what will happen if the pandemic fails to ease. Ceferin has at least attempted to offer clarity for the Champions League and Europa League campaigns, with cancellation seemingly on the cards if the competitions cannot be concluded by the start of August. The UEFA president also indicated potential alterations to the knockout stages are under consideration. "It must finish by August 3, both the Champions League and Europa League," Ceferin told German broadcaster ZDF. "It is an extraordinary situation we are in, so we are flexible on dates and kick-off times. If the crisis eases earlier, then we can start sooner. "We could play with the current system, or in one-off matches played on neutral turf. For now, it's just an option to play with a final eight or final four. "The only wrong decision we could make now would be to play in a way that puts the health and safety of players, fans and referees at risk. "However, if we are in secure conditions, then I don't see the problem."