Jeffrey ‘Ja Rule’ Atkins and his wife of sixteen years, Aisha Atkins, are ‘livin it up’ on vacation in St Lucia. The rapper was a dominant force on the charts in the early 2000s, often collaborating with songstresses to memorable effect – I’m Real and Ain’t It Funny with Jennifer Lopez; Rainy Dayz with Mary J Blige and of course Always on Time, Mesmerize and Wonderful with Ashanti. Recently, Rule has been using his voice to advocate for better living conditions for residents in public housing in his native Queens, New York community, especially as it concerns heating in the enduring winter conditions. The couple have taken a break from the springtime snow storm that has just hit New York and are soaking up the St Lucian sun and experiencing its staggering natural wonders. Take a look at the vacation photos the couple has shared from their Instagram accounts @ruleyork and @mizzrule. [image_gallery] Download our app to keep up with the news in Saint Lucia: Android: & iOS:

Beyonce and Jay Z on a motorbike during a video shoot in Trench Town on Tuesday afternoon.

Hip Hop power couple, Jay-Z and Beyoncetransformed the normally docile day activities of Trench Town, Jamaica, into a Hollywood movie set on Tuesday, March 20, 2018, with the shooting of a video scene alongCollie Smith Drive in the community which is the birthplace of reggae music. The presence of a high-level security detail made it clear to those venturing into the area, the status of the individuals involved, as some of the major streets leading to the scene were blocked off with both police and private security standing guard. It got tighter closer to the scene, which involved Jay-Z riding a 'Yeng Yeng' bike up Collie Smith Drive with wife Beyonce coolly nestled on the back in a blue sweat top which covered a short set that complemented the pink shoes she wore. The diva completed her outfit with diva-like sunnies. Jay-Z was simple - the rap legend had on a sweat suit with a kerchief wrapped around his head. While the power couple was the lead, the scene also involved a number of riders behind them. The scene had many takes, with the residents of the area shouting adoringly at Beyonce. "We love you Beyonce", "Queen B" and "Diva Beyonce" were some of the names they called her, while she waved and smiled approvingly duringbreaks. Jay-Z visited the communitylast year during arecording visit with Damion 'Junior Gong' Marley. Downloadourappto read all Loop News:Android: iOS:

Lashaun Prescott leads a Sokafit community burn in Point Fortin.

For the last three months, I have been a part of the Sokafit BodyMORPH programme, a three-month fitness programme that incorporates weight training, nutrition advice and twice-weekly Sokafit classes. The programme is an offshoot of Sokafit, a fitness system created by media personality Lisa Wickham and her business partner Sheldon Felix. As the name implies, the programme is fuelled by soca music but more than that, it takes elements of our Carnival culture and packages it into a fast-paced soca dance fitness class. Yes, there is wining but there is also waving – in each class, participants are given bandanas to wave – and there are moves inspired by the Dame Lorraine Carnival character and sailor dance. The moves are also named after places in T&T such as the Buccoo Bounce, Bago Rock and the Sando. With Sokafit officially registered in Australia, France, Canada and, most recently, South Africa, the programme is not just about exporting an indigenous fitness system but also exporting T&T culture to the world. Sokafit in South Africa "When we train the coaches we do a cultural aspect of the programme, we teach them about the culture of Trinidad and Tobago, the multi-ethnic influences on the music and how they are going to use the music to impact the choreography on the class,” said Wickham, just back from South Africa where she spent over six weeks training coaches. She was initially joined by Lashaun Prescott, head coach of Sokafit and founder of the Elle dance school. Prescott was the one Wickham and Felix contracted to design the Sokafit programme after Felix came up with the idea to get into fitness as a way to diversify their business. The duo had worked together for years in entertainment, pioneering, among other things, the way music videos were shot and produced. “We were looking to diversify from what we know which mainly entertainment and he wanted to do a TV show in fitness. I know in aerobicsI would be in the back of the class wining and they would say no and I couldn’t understand why I couldn’t wine. I found other forms of fitness were too strict in the movements and not necessarily dance and I wondered why we couldn’t combine the two and do something that people at home could do. So initially it was conceptualised as a television show,” explained Wickham. Describing Prescott as the epitome of dance and soca, Wickham said when she first produced the COTT Awards where she met the dancer. She watched as Prescott was introduced to Machel Montano and went on to dance for him with her group of dancers from Elle. She said they approached Prescott with the idea but she had been accepted to go to New York University to do her Master’s in dance. [related node_id='efad70dd-10f5-4b47-bde8-f735d208ebee'] “We said we will wait on you. By the time she came back in 2012, I was doing Home Again and Girlfriends Getaway and the film business was booming. In December 2015 I said we have to do Sokafit, if we don’t do it now someone else will. In January 2016 we shot the teaser with Lashaun. People loved it and TV6 said yes they are on board and once it hit the airwaves people were like how do we get this in our gym,” recalled Wickham. The tipping point, she said, was when Maurisa Gibson Bailey, the only exercise physiologist and sports scientist in the country, requested a Sokafit class at the Mucurapo West School where she teaches. “We had a meeting with her to plan it and as a scientist, she said this is a proper fitness system. For instance, she said wining is called circumduction of the waist and if you repeat these moves over and over you will see the benefit to that part of the body. She explained the benefits of each move and she agreed to come on board and with Lashaun, a group of Elle dancers, Sheldon and myself we sat on the floor in the studio week after week workshopping the moves, developing the criteria for coaches and developing the programme,” said Wickham. To qualify as a coach, participants must learn the physiology and impact of Sokafit on the body and do a written exam as well as practical exams. Sokafit’s growth from television was really as a result of them responding to the needs of the market. After featuring the Mucurapo West School, other schools started calling and the founders embarked on an educational tour where children exercised and given lectures on fitness. They did 23 schools in all including seven in Tobago. Adopting the #onefitnation and #onefitworld slogans, Wickham and Felix decided that in an effort to help combat non-communicable diseases in the country, they could bring Sokafit to communities around the country through free community burns. From Plymouth and Roxborough in Tobago to Point Fortin and Matura, Sokafit held community burns all over T&T. Classes began in various venues when members of the public came forward to train as coaches. The first coach outside of the Elle dancers was Tiffanie Dennison, whose father enquired about her training in Sokafit. Dennison was already a fitness coach in other systems and loved soca music. Based in South, she today conducts Sokafit classes in San Fernando and Central Trinidad at six gyms. “We had our first international coach from Australia, Jamie Trahanas. She comes every Carnival and she and Lashaun are friends. When Jamie saw Sokafit she wanted to be trained and certified and is now a super coach,” said Wickham. Last year, they got an email from Tania Parissi, an Italian, who teaches Salsa and Zumba in Montreal, Canada. “She was looking for a new form of fitness to introduce to her studio in Montreal and she came here not knowing anything or anyone, she trusted the process and now she just launched the Family Fit featuring Sokafit kids. Training with her was Jenny Pauline, who is the sexy, vivacious coach for the French Caribbean in Martinique and Guadeloupe. She has huge classes with up to 100 people.” Stating that they plan to be all over, Wickham said she already had links in South Africa as she does a lot of film work there and in showing her business partner the Sokafit videos, she was encouraged to establish the system there. “So Lashaun and I went across and we trained 22 coaches. We expanded the curriculum there to include business studies and communication skills to be used as an empowerment tool in the townships,” she said. Describing the cultural immersion of the programme, Wickham said in South Africa, they recreated the J’ouvert experience with powder and the paint, and then explained the significance of the tradition in the Carnival context. Asked about the challenges in growing the Sokafit brand, Wickham said in T&T some dismiss it as just a wining thing. “We take the benefits of soca dance for granted but this has been put into a fitness system to help people meet their fitness goals. Within the system is repetition, in a fete you not going to jump the same way all night to get the benefits,” she explained. As a start-up, she said, finance is always an issue especially when it comes to legal fees and associated costs of setting up in different countries. She praised ExporTT for holding their hands through their international expansion. She said from a human resources standpoint, they have been able to rely on satellite relationships with a team of videographers, photographers, coaches, graphic designers, doctors and nutritionists who all support Sokafit. Wickham, who has kept herself relevant in business and media since she first appeared on Rikki Tikki at the age of six, knows all too well that innovation is key to survival and that has been applied to Sokafit. The BodyMORPH programme is an offshoot product to help people focus on their goals of losing weight and getting fit and includes blood work, body analysis and nutrition advice. A recently launched product is the Chip2Burn which will be held in communities. Participants chip behind to soca music as they do on Carnival days before engaging in an intensive burn. Asked about the future plans for Sokafit, Wickham was mum. “Just look out for more surprises,” she said.

The Puerto Rico Tourism Company (PRTC) is recovering from the devastation of last year's super hurricanes and has announced its rapid-pace recovery efforts and positive outlook for 2018. Host of the 15thedition of the Caribbean Travel Marketplace, the most important regional tourism event of theCaribbean, the country is showing its readiness to host visitors from all over the world. "We have made great strides because we've implemented a comprehensive strategy which has,in turn, secured a promising comeback for the Island," said Carla Campos, Acting Executive Director of the PRTC. "Puerto Ricohas reached great milestones that couldn't have been achieved without GovernorRicardo Rosselló'sleadership and the immense support we've received from travel industry private sector partners since day one. With over1.9 billion dollarsof hospitality development in the pipeline and an existing lodging inventory undergoing exciting renovations,Puerto Rico'srevamping is underway." Major milestones important for leisure and business travellers include: Cruises:Not only didPuerto Ricoresume operations just two and a half weeks after Hurricane Maria, but by end of June2018,Puerto Ricowill have received 1.04 million passengers. This Winter season, 14 vessels – four more than the previous season – are homeporting inSan Juan, including Royal Caribbean Freedom of the Seas, the Windstar Pride, Silverseas Silver Wind and Viking Sea. The 2018/2019 cruising season is set to witness a record-breaking 1.7 million passengers, which is expected to generate roughly$250 millionin revenue for the economy. Air Access:The airline industry is rapidly restoring and growing. Two weeks after Hurricane Maria, the Luis Muñoz Marin International Airport had 20 daily flights, but today, there are on average 110 daily flights. Capacity is on the rise with a current monthly seat volume of 391,000. ByJuly 2018, seat capacity will increase by 81,000 more. Very promising is that by early summer 2018, air access will be on par with levels this time last year, andPuerto Ricois growing at a faster pace than comparable destinations that have gone through similar situations. Growth is driven by newly established routes and existing frequency, in addition to larger aircrafts that will result in higher seat capacity. Hotels:Currently, there are over 122 hotels operating, which equates to 12,458 available rooms. An exciting 2,670 more rooms will be added to that inventory after undergoing renovations. For example, the Wyndham Grand Rio Mar Puerto Rico Golf & Beach Resort, the Ritz-Carlton Reserve and El San Juan Hotel. Looking ahead, the Puerto Rico Tourism Company estimates 25 percent more rooms in the pipeline for development, which equates to 3,800 new rooms. Some of the hotels in the pipeline are the JW Marriott, Aloft San Juan Convention Center, Aloft Ponce, Serafina Hotel, Four Seasons Cayo Largo, among others. Approximately$1.9 billionwill be injected into new developments and renovations, which contributes to adding roughly 3,831 new jobs. Destination Attractions:A month after Hurricane Maria, the Puerto Rico Tourism Company announced that 22 attractions were open, however, today there are more than 120. Additionally, 13 golf courses and 15 casinos are also open for recreation. Travellers need not worry about being hungry while on the Island becausePuerto Ricohas 4,000 operating restaurants. We are seeing continued commitment from partners who are choosing to keep their big-ticket events inPuerto Rico, like the DIVAS Half Marathon and5K, PGA, Ironman, and MLB Series, all events happening in Q1 and Q2 of this year alone. If planning a vacation is on the horizon,Puerto Ricowants to set the record straight. For more information including details on open attractions, accommodations,Puerto Rico'smost popular restaurants and more, And, for information on other Island updates (related to hospitals, ATMs, supermarkets, etc.), visit

China announced a $3 billion list of U.S. goods for possible retaliation in a tariff dispute with President Donald Trump and girded Friday for a bigger battle over technology policy as financial markets sank on fears of global disruption. The Commerce Ministry said higher duties on pork, apples, steel pipe and other goods would offset Chinese losses due to Trump's tariff hike on steel and aluminum imports. It urged Washington to negotiate a settlement but set no deadline. In a separate and potentially bigger dispute, the ministry criticized Trump's decision Thursday to approve a possible tariff hike on Chinese imports worth up to $60 billion over Beijing's technology policy. It gave no indication of a possible response but a foreign ministry spokeswoman said Beijing was "fully prepared to defend" its interests. "We don't want a trade war, but we are not afraid of it," said the spokeswoman, Hua Chunying. Financial markets sank on concern the escalating tensions might disrupt the biggest global trading relationship or lead other nations to raise import barriers. Tokyo's benchmark tumbled by an unusually large 5.1 percent while the Shanghai Composite Index closed down 3.4 percent. The dollar dipped to 104.90 yen as investors shifted into the Japanese currency, which is viewed as a "safe haven" from risk. China's response Friday appeared to be aimed at increasing domestic U.S. pressure on Trump by making clear which exporters, including farm areas that voted for him in 2016, might be hurt. "Beijing is extending an olive branch and urging the U.S. to resolve trade disputes through dialogue rather than tariffs," said economist Vishnu Varathan of Mizuho Bank in a report. "Nevertheless, the first volley of shots and retaliatory response has been set off." The list announced Friday was linked to Trump's steel and aluminum tariffs , but companies already were looking ahead to a battle over complaints Beijing steals or forces companies to hand over technology. The tensions reflect the dueling nationalistic ambitions of Trump and his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping. U.S. efforts to boost exports of technology-based goods, begun under Trump's predecessor, Barack Obama, conflict with China's plan for state-led development of global competitors in fields from robotics to electric cars. Foreign business groups complain Chinese regulators are trying to squeeze them out of promising industries. The Commerce Ministry announcement Friday made no mention of jetliners, soybeans or other products that are the biggest U.S. exports to China by value. That leaves Beijing room to take more drastic steps. Chinese officials are trying to figure out how to address U.S. concerns, said Jake Parker, vice president for China operations of the U.S.-China Business Council, which represents American companies that do business with China. "Until the Trump administration articulates those concerns and how China can address them, it's going to be very, very difficult for China to make those changes," said Parker. Washington doesn't believe it needs to give Chinese leaders another list of requests because they already know what the United States wants, said a senior U.S. official, who briefed reporters on condition he not be identified further. He said Trump and Xi agreed last year on a 100-day agenda of trade-liberalization measures but Beijing failed to act on about half of them. Instead, the Trump administration wants Chinese leaders to address more basic structural issues that interfere with market forces, said the official. The official cited Beijing's "Made in China 2025" plan as "hugely problematic." It calls for creating Chinese competitors in electric cars, robots, artificial intelligence and other fields. Business groups complain it will hamper or outright block foreign access to those industries. The latest proposed Chinese tariffs would add a 25 percent charge on pork and aluminum scrap, mirroring Trump's 25 percent duty on steel, according to the Commerce Ministry. A second list of goods including wine, apples, ethanol and stainless steel pipe would be charged 15 percent. Chinese purchases of those goods last year totaled $3 billion, the ministry said. The U.S. steel and aluminum tariffs also have irked Japan, America's closest ally in Asia. "We have repeatedly told the U.S. side that steel and aluminum imports from its ally Japan will not adversely affect America's national security, and that Japan should be excluded," said Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga. China's top economic official, Premier Li Keqiang, appealed to Washington on Tuesday to "act rationally" and said, "we don't want to see a trade war." The United States buys little Chinese steel or aluminum, but analysts have said Beijing would feel obligated to take action to avoid looking weak. Beijing reported a trade surplus of $275.8 billion with the United States last year, or two-thirds of its global total. Washington reports different figures that put the gap at a record $375.2 billion. Trump's technology order is in response to "unfair and harmful acquisition of U.S. technology," said a statement by the U.S. Trade Representative's office. It said USTR would pursue a World Trade Organization case against Beijing's "discriminatory technology licensing." A USTR statement said possible measures include a 25 percent tariff on Chinese-made aerospace, computer and information technology and machinery but gave no details. China is unlikely to respond until Washington acts but might launch an investigation of imports of U.S. corn and soybeans "as a warning shot," said Parker. He noted Beijing began a probe of U.S. sorghum in February after Trump announced the steel and aluminum tariffs. On Tuesday, the Chinese premier promised at a news conference Beijing will "open even wider" to imports and investment as part of efforts to make its state-dominated economy more productive. Li said Beijing would "fully open" manufacturing, with "no mandatory requirement for technology transfers." However, Chinese officials already insist companies aren't required to hand over technology, so it was unclear how policy might change.

The Lead Optician and owner of Eye-Q Stylist Opticians, Alicia Hartman with some of the students during their visit.

Sixteen students are looking ahead to the 2018Barbados Secondary Schools' Entrance Examination, commonly known as the Common Entrance Exam, without any unknown or lingering issues. [related node_id='b4a9a9be-edb3-4c20-9e94-13065ef53e14'] Due to a partnership engineered by Eye-Q Stylist Opticians, the students from the Leacock’s Primary school in St. Peter who will be taking the Examin a few months’ time, benefited from free eye-tests in late December, to determine whether their eye-sight was being negatively affected by any undiagnosed optical issues. Owner of and lead Optician of the Limegrove Lifestyle Centre based enterprise, Alicia Hartman, said this programme allows the six-year-old company to give back to the community in a significant and meaningful way: “We were looking for a way to have a positive impact in the community without simply donating money to a charity, so when this idea came up we saw it as a perfect fit because it allowed us to utilise our skill to the benefit of others.” “Far too often the optical health of children is overlooked, not because of a lack of interest, but more so a lack of understanding. A lack of understanding of the several optical issues that a child may face, which can negatively impact on their ability to learn. From issues with blurred vision to light sensitivity, or simple irritation which puts stress on the eyes, there are many things to watch out for”, she explained. The St. Peter resident stated that the Leacock’s Primary School was chosen because of its proximity to her home, as well as the size and history of the school: “I’ve always been very inspired by the history of Leacock’s Primary and especially Sybil Leacock herself. She has done a tremendous job with the students there for many decades, so to me it was a perfect place to start. We also wanted to start small, but this is certainly a project that we are passionate about and will look seriously at expanding to other schools in the future.”, said Ms. Hartman. Giving her perspective on the programme, Founder and Principal of Leacock’s Primary, Sybil Leacock, said the initiative was very fitting: “Here at Leacock’s Primary we do all that we can to give our students the best possible platform for their future. I’d therefore like to thank Eye-Q for recognising that the conditions under which a child has to learn are just as important as the information that they are seeking to take in.” In addition to carrying out the eye-tests and diagnosing any issues found, Eye-Q Stylist Opticians have worked with suppliers to develop affordable packages in the event that any of the children do require glasses. Ms. Hartman also thanked the team at Courtesy Garage for partnering with them to provide transportation for the children and their parents over the two-week period of the programme.


Spectr News Theme
February 03, 2018

Laff-It-Off "Size Roun'

The highly anticipated comedy show
Laff-It-Off 2018
Size ‘Roun’
The Funniest Ever!
This Saturday!
Venue : Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre, Two Mile Hill, St. Michael

Performance Dates 
Saturday January 27, 2018.
Saturday February 3, 10, 17 and 24, 2018.
Saturday March 3, 10, 17 and 24, 2018.
There will be 10 performances only for the 2018 Season

Reserved Seating $50.00
Regular Seating $40.00

Box Offices: 
C S Pharmacy, Lower Broad Street
A & B Music Supplies, Sheraton Mall
All Ticket Pal Outlets

Follow us on:
Instagram @laffitoff246
Facebook: @laffitoffproduction
#laffitoff #laffitoff246

Spectr News Theme
April 08, 2018

2018 Holistic Health Fair

The Barbados Reiki Association has been running an annual health day since 1998, in order to showcase complementary healing modalities. Holistic Health Fair 2018 will include a wide range of therapies, health products and healthy foods both on sale as well as on display. Various presentations will also be interspersed throughout the day to educate and inform on health and wellness matters.