Britain’s Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall will bid Barbados farewell on Sunday, following their tour of Commonwealth nations this week. Their Royal Highnesses will attend a church ser...


In this Feb. 24, 2019 file photo, Barbra Streisand introduces "BlacKkKlansman" at the Oscars at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP, File)

Barbra Streisand is coming under intense criticism on social media for telling a British newspaper that two men who say they were molested as children by Michael Jackson were "thrilled to be there" and that the alleged abuse "didn't kill them." In a wide-ranging interview with the Times of London, Streisand was quoted as saying she "absolutely" believed the accusers, Wade Robson and James Safechuck, who make their allegations in the recent HBO documentary "Leaving Neverland." But the legendary singer also raised eyebrows by saying Jackson's "sexual needs were his sexual needs." In a statement emailed Saturday to The Associated Press by a representative, Streisand said: "To be crystal clear, there is no situation or circumstance where it is OK for the innocence of children to be taken advantage of by anyone. The stories these two young men shared were painful to hear, and I feel nothing but sympathy for them." She then added a note of implicit criticism of the boys' parents: "The single most important role of being a parent is to protect their children. It's clear that the parents of the two young men were also victimized and seduced by fame and fantasy." Jackson's estate has condemned the HBO documentary. The pop star, who died in 2009, was found not guilty in 2005 of charges he molested a 13-year-old boy.

Maroon 5

The ninth edition of the Curaçao North Sea Jazz Festival will feature another star-studded lineup. Maroon 5, Ozuna, Gladys Knight and Third World will make their appearance at the festival at the World Trade Center at Piscadera Bay. A release from the festival organiserssays they are still busy with various other artists who will be announced in the course of the coming months. The festival opens on Thursday, August 29 with free concerts of Havana D’Primera and Aymee Nuviola. American band Maroon 5 has sold over 20 million albums and received three Grammy Awards. Their debut album, Songs About Jane, became their big breakthrough and its successor, It Won't Be Soon Before Long, did even better. Hits were aplenty: Harder To Breathe, This Love, She Will Be Loved, Makes Me Wonder, Moves Like Jagger featuring Christina Aguilera… the list goes on. Their latest album, Red Pill Blues, was released at the end of 2017 and contained the number 1 hit single Girls Like You, featuring Cardi B. This past January, Maroon 5 had the honour of performing during the Super Bowl Half-Time Show. Juan Carlos Ozuna Rosado, known simply by his surname Ozuna, is a Puerto Rican reggaeton and Latin trap singer. In early 2016, Ozuna rose to prominence for his appearance on the single La Ocasión, going from strength to strength ever since. He has released two albums to date; 2017’s Odisea and 2018’s Aura, and won two Billboard Music Awards and three Latin American Music Awards, among others. In 2017, he made his acting debut in the film Que León. Six years after making her debut in Curaçao the ‘Empress of Soul’ Gladys Knight is returning to the island. With her band The Pips she had great hits, such as I Heard It Through The Grapevine, Midnight Train To Georgia, and Baby Don’t Change Your Mind, in the 1960s and 1970s. At the end of the 1980s Knight started her solo career and found instant success with the James Bond title track License To Kill. Her latest album, Where My Heart Belongs, was released in 2014 and is a bona fide gospel album, on which The Pips also performed. Knight now has seven Grammy’s and numerous other awards to her name. Jamaican band Third World celebrated its 45th-anniversary last year. Calling themselves ‘Reggae Ambassadors’ and describing their sound as reggae fusion, Third World mix reggae with many other genres such as soul, funk, and disco. Their biggest hit to date was 1978’s Now That We Found Love. Their success has brought them all over the world and put ten Grammy nominations to their name. Their latest single, Loving You Is Easy, was produced by Damian Marley and released earlier this year. Cuban Timba band Havana D’Primera was founded by Alexander Abreu in 2008, the band was formed by a collective of musicians in the Cuban music scene, numbering 17 members in total. Abreu is considered one of the best trumpeters of his generation and is also a skilled composer, singer, and bandleader. Fusing rhythms across salsa, jazz, funk, and Afro-Cuban, the band have released four studio albums so far. The latest is 2018’s Cantor Del Pueblo, which landed them their second Latin Grammy nomination for Best Salsa Album. Aymée Nuviola, nicknamed ‘La Sonera del Mundo’, is a well-respected singer from Cuba who trained at the Manuel Saumell Conservatory in Havana. Nuviola is one of the biggest Cuban stars of today, and she even recorded a song with American legend Jackson Browne. As a young singer Nuviola moved to Miami where her solo career really took off. Last year she won her first-ever Latin Grammy Award for her 2017 album Como Anillo Al Dedo.


Photo: DJ Goodblood

Soca music is so infectious, even fans in the chilly city of Helsinki, Finland have joined Mr Killa's call to ‘run with it’. A group of Finnish DJs and music lovers have begun hosting soca parties which have found a niche within the Finnish music scene. Video footage shared online showed a recent soca party which had soca lovers dancing to Mr Killa's 'Run With It'. DJ Goodblood, based in Helsinki, said some of the group first became exposed to soca while listening to Jamaican dancehall. “Many of us discovered soca music first through dancehall music that sometimes featured some soca tunes. And of course, international hits like Turn Me On, Tempted To Touch, Roll It Gal reached Finland too.” He said MX Prime made a visit to Helsinki in 2009 which helped propel the soca scene there. (Photo: DJ Goodblood with Kees Dieffenthaller.) “In 2009, Komposti Sound (local dancehall reggae sound system) brought Maximus Dan (MX Prime) to perform in Helsinki, and that was the only Soca event in Finland for a long time.” “Around that time some of us started going to Notting Hill Carnival and got more and more into soca. Since then, some of us have been going to Carnival in different places, including Trinidad, Berlin, Miami,” he said. DJ Goodblood said prior to this, soca music was fairly unknown in Finland. “There was never a soca scene in Finland, just a small group of people who love soca and carnival. We have DJs that have been playing soca in their sets year after year: VG+, Scandal Bag, Resupekka, DJ Goodblood, Lempow, Leimasin and A7." Resupekka and A7 played soca sets at Berlin Carnival, and in 2019 DJ Goodblood played for the Showtime Carnival Mas Band and Friends For The Road J’ouvert in Trinidad, along with a range of other Carnival events. He said one radio show, ‘Boom Shakalaka’ gave soca music a platform onFinnish radio station, Basso, and the music has since taken off. (Photo: DJ Goodblood interviewed Nailah Blackman while in Trinidad for Carnival 2019. The interview was later aired on Finnish radio station Basso.) Meanwhile, others who had attended Carnival festivals around the world, such as Nottinghill Carnival, Barbados Cropover and others, began coming together to share their love of soca. “We just wanted to bring these people together and see if we could start to organize some soca parties. Last summer we had a soca special at the weekly Afro Sunday afrobeats party and it featured DJ Lbee from Trinidad.” “And last Friday (March 15, 2019) we finally had “Soca Room” at the monthly Uptown Friday club night and it was quite promising. People really loved it,” he said. He says the feedback has been quite promising. “Those who love soca music were really happy about our party last Friday. Most people in Finland don’t know about soca, but we welcome everyone to come and check out our parties. They would probably love it,” he said. He added that the group plans to continue having soca parties as long as people still enjoy attending them. “Our plan is to keep pushing soca music in parties, on radio and social media. If people keep supporting and turning up we will surely organize more soca parties in Helsinki,” he said. For more information on the group, follow their social media pages: Facebook https://www.facebook.com/djgoodblood/ https://www.facebook.com/boomshakalaka.worldwide/ https://www.facebook.com/blackbearsound/ https://www.facebook.com/finlandsocamassive/ https://www.facebook.com/afrosundayhelsinki/ Instagram https://www.instagram.com/djgoodblood https://www.instagram.com/resupekka https://www.instagram.com/afrosundayhelsinki

Glen Niles, founder of the Down Syndrome Family Network with his son Tyrese.

When it comes to advocating for inclusion for people with Down Syndrome, Glen Niles is fuelled by his personal experience. A Trinidadian father of a 20-year-old son with Down Syndrome. Niles still looks on with awe as he witnesses his son’s development. “Tyrese has more of a social life than me,” Niles told Loop with a laugh as he lists the parties and river limes his son attends. “You think that you will get accustomedbut I could never get accustomed from knowing when he was born and he has Down Syndrome and thinking he won’t be able to do anything and seeing him do all this my jaw drops open,” said Niles. In addition to doing all the social things anyone his age is expected to, Tyrese also had a job. He is employed at Aeropost where he started off an intern and now works as a warehouse attendant. “They send a code to the warehouse, the alarm sounds and the code pops up in the machine. They will take the code and get the package and take it to the customer. Once I went to the warehouse and stood in the Operations Manager’s office where he couldn't see me and I watched Tyrese take this card and go and retrieve the package, I thought the card had specific details like aisle eight, row seven but when I went down to talk to him and I asked to see the chit, there was only a barcode and I am like how? He learned his job and the more opportunities he was given he learned that role,” said Niles. Founder of the Down Syndrome Family Network (DSFN), Niles said though from birth he treated Tyrese as a normal child, imparting lessons he learned from his own childhood, it was the Down Syndrome conferences he attended abroad that really opened his eyes to the Tyrese’s potential to function as normally as possible. “The first time I went to one of those conferences, it was mind-blowing for me. That was the catalyst. In Trinidad, it is almost a hopeless situation because I didn’t know anyone with Down Syndrome who was doing anything. When I attended the conference in Boston and saw people with Down Syndrome and heard them talking and laughing with each other and dressed in trendy clothes and they were just like everyone else, going to restaurants and bars, drinking alcohol, having wines with meal, they weren’t being treated any differently, nobody was staring at them or anything,” he recalled. Niles said the highlight of that conference was the featured speaker, a young man with Down Syndrome who was described as a self-advocate. “I am looking at the screen and I am saying he looks like has Down Syndrome and I was like nah, nobody with Down Syndrome could be speaking at this level. But he spoke about his life and experiences coming out of school, working, living on his own. I am looking at Tyrese and saying wait, all the things I thought Tyrese couldn’t do, he is doing it. So when I came back, I started telling everyone I met about it, that they could do anything and everything all we have to do is give them the chance. Opportunities reveal potential,” he said. Niles said since DSFN started about seven years ago, he has seen many people’s attitudes changes towards their children with Down Syndrome. More parents are proud to post their children’s pictures on social media and take them out in public. More employersare also willing to hire people with Down Syndrome. He said apart from Tyrese, they have had one person who was hired by the Office of the Prime Minister Gender Affairs Division and another hired by Digicel IMAX. Niles made it clear that none of these hires were a case of charity. “We are working harder with the parents because organisations are approaching us but this is not a charity, the self-advocate has to function in the environment and they have to work. Most of the responsibility falls on parents,” he said. Reflecting on Tyrese’s job, Niles said he was initially very apprehensive when his son was selected for the internship. “I was hesitant, I started to think of all the different self-advocates that would make this a success but they were adamant they wanted Tyrese and it worked out, he has a very high work ethic, he is always early, he works until the stipulated time…it’s amazing.” He said more educational opportunities are needed for children with Down Syndrome but made it clear that they don’t need segregation but inclusion. “We advocate for inclusion so no segregated school, the only thing required is patience. Down Syndrome is a cognitive disability so it is not that they can’t learn, they will take longer but it needs repetition,” he advised. Niles said despite the gains there is still no law regarding persons with disabilities and there are no homes for adults with Down Syndrome who were never given the opportunities to develop. “Now we are not reaping the rewards of seeds not sown. Parents who were not aware that they should empower their child with Down Syndrome so the child could not do anything and now they are adults now who can’t function are burdens to their siblings because their parents are dying. It is additional stress and we don’t have facilities for them. Some of them are being placed in homes for the elderly so people are contacting us to find out how they can lobby for facilities for adults with Down Syndrome." “This is one of the reasons I advocate hard for Tyrese because I know I wouldn’t be here for the rest of his life and I don’t want him to be a burden to anyone," he said. The DSFN UN World Down Syndrome Day Conference will be held on March 22 at the Hyatt, Regency Trinidad and March 25 at the Magdalena Grand in Tobago.


Demand for St. Kitts and Nevis as a premier destination for travelers continues to rise, with air arrivals for the first two months of this year posting a year-to-date increase of 15.3 percent system-wide as compared to the same period in 2018. A release from St Kitts Tourism Authority said the results are even better from North America, the destination’s largest source market, registering a year-to-date increase in air arrivals of 19.3 percent for January and February 2019 as compared to the same months in 2018. This continues the growth of airlift from major gateways in 2018, which increased over 2017 by 9.3 percent system-wide and reached a total of 153,364 air passenger arrivals for the full year, the highest number ever recorded in the destination’s history. “I am extremely pleased to see such strong increases in air passenger arrivals to our Federation for 2018 continuing into peak season 2019,” saidLindsay Grant, Minister of Tourism for St. Kitts and Nevis. “These numbers are a clear indication that we are gaining momentum towards reaching our goal of 150,000 stayover visitors in the next few years.” “We redoubled our marketing efforts in the fourth quarter of last year specifically to support our additional peak season air service and these numbers demonstrate that we have achieved very successful results,” added Racquel Brown, CEO of the St. Kitts Tourism Authority. “With the milestone airlift arrivals recorded for 2018 and performance last year in the months of March and June nearing 30 percent growth over the same months in 2017, the significant growth measured so far in 2019 signals a rising demand for St. Kitts as a highly desirable travel destination, particularly from North America and for key events such as St. Kitts Music Festival. We will continue to employ this successful marketing formula as we strive to reach our goal of 150,000 stayover guests by 2021 from our primary source markets of the US, Canada, UK and the Caribbean.” St. Kitts’ marketing strategy maintains a particular focus on reaching individuals who are a match with the geo-demographic lifestyle data of its target visitors in key gateway markets to support airlift year-round as well as marquee island events including St. Kitts Music Festival. In the fourth quarter of 2018, additional digital, print and spot TV advertising combined with public relations to communicate special offers and raise brand awareness in and around select North American cities comprised a coordinated campaign to grow arrivals for peak season 2018-2019. The Ministry of Tourism and the St. Kitts Tourism Authority also work closely with airlines to systematically build out air bridges to/from identified target gateways to grow service in a sustainable manner while making the island increasingly easy to reach via air. St. Kitts & Nevis welcomed non-stop Saturday flights from Minneapolis that started December 22, 2018 and operate through April 20, 2019. In addition, from Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey, the destination receives Wednesday non-stop flights that started January 9, 2019 and operate through March 6, 2019 to complement existing non-stop Saturday flights. Looking ahead to the summer, new non-stop Saturday flights from Dallas starting May 25, 2019 and operating through August 17, 2019 open up a new gateway with easy connections from Houston and the western states of the US.

In this April 28, 2017, file photo, Garuda Indonesia planes are parked on the apron at the Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Tangerang, Indonesia. (AP Photo/Dita Alangkara, File)

In a blow for Boeing, Indonesia's flag carrier is seeking the cancellation of a multibillion-dollar order for 49 of the manufacturer's 737 Max 8 jets, citing a loss of confidence after two crashes in the past six months. It is the first announcement of a cancellation since Boeing's new model aircraft were grounded following fatal crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia. PT Garuda Indonesia, which had ordered 50 Max 8 jets in 2014 and had received just one plane last year, has sent a letter to Boeing last week requesting to cancel the order worth $4.9 billion, the company's spokesman Ikhsan Rosan said Friday. The carrier has so far paid Boeing about $26 million for the order. Garuda joined other airlines worldwide in grounding its one Max 8 jet after the crash of an Ethiopian Airlines flight this month which killed all 157 people aboard. It came less than five months after 189 people died in the Oct. 29 crash of another Max 8, operated by Indonesian private carrier Lion Air. "Passengers always ask what type of plane they will fly as they have lost trust and confidence in the Max 8 jet," Rosan told The Associated Press, "This would harm our business." He said that Garuda plans to meet with Boeing representatives next week in Jakarta to discuss details of cancelling the order. "We don't want to use Max jets ... but maybe will consider switching it with another Boeing model of plane," Rosan said. He said Indonesian passengers are afraid to take flights using any Max model, whether it's the 8, 9 or 10 series. A preliminary report from Indonesia's National Transportation Safety Committee in December stopped short of declaring a probable cause of the Oct. 29 crash. Officials have provided scant details since then, saying they are still analyzing data from a cockpit voice recorder that was only recovered from the sea in January. Meanwhile, in Europe, Polish national carrier PLL LOT said it was considering asking for financial compensation from Boeing or even a delay to deliveries of purchased 737 Max 8 aircraft after the planes were grounded globally following the crash in Ethiopia. In a statement to The Associated Press on Friday, LOT said it would wait for communications from Boeing and flight regulators on whether to put the Max 8 planes back into service. LOT has five 737 Max 8 planes and is to receive nine more this year. Its total fleet counts over 80 aircraft. Another Polish carrier, charter airline EnterAir, said Friday it would also seek damages. It has two Max 8 planes and has placed orders for another four. Earlier this month, Norwegian Air Shuttles said it would seek compensation from Boeing. It had grounded its 18 Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft.