Semifinalists in the Sweet Soca competition. (PHOTO: Richard Grimes)

Things are shaping up for the Sweet Soca and Party Monarch semifinals, which feature a range of ages and experience. This morning, the 16 artistes in each competition drew positions for their order of appearance on Phenomenal Friday, July 7, at Kensington Oval. The Sweet Soca competition lineup has many names well known to competition, such as Red Plastic Bag, TC, Mistah Dale, Mr Blood andLil Rick. Meanwhile, there are more fresh faces in the Party Monarch competition, such as 19-year-old Saffiyah, who previously had a short stint with Krosfyah. Party Monarch semifinalists after drawing positions for Phenomenal Friday. (PHOTO: Richard Grimes) Veteran balladeer, Shirley Stewart, is into the Sweet Soca semifinals for the first time and noted that nothing beats experience. Stewart, who celebrated his 64th birthday earlier this month, said, “I’ve been singing for more than 40 years so I’ll be bringing all my experience to the stage. I was here before computers, but I’m still here and doing quite well – I feel good! I love hanging out with young people – they give me inspiration.” While some often dread performing in position number one, Marvay believes he has the ‘Antidote’, telling Loop News, “I’m feeling good…I’m excited to see how I present the song.” For Shaquille, who is performing at position number 9, it is his second time reaching the Sweet Soca semifinal stage and he is feeling confident with his track, 'Collateral'. He told Loop News, “The feedback I’ve got on this song is incredible. I feel kind of nervous but still, I’m confident in myself and the song and how it’s been doing.” He added, “I intend to perform the life out of this song so hopefully everything goes in my favour at the end of the night.” The lineup for the Soca Royale semifinals is as follows: SWEET SOCA 1 – Damian Marvay 2 – RPB 3 – Faith 4 – Statement 5 – Nikita 6 – TC 7 – Natahlee 8 – Sanctuary 9 – Shaquille 10 – Shirley Stewart 11 – Kirk Brown 12 – Mistah Dale 13 – Fadda Fox 14 – Blood 15 – Lil Rick 16 – Marzille Reserve – Mikey PARTY MONARCH 1 – Queen T 2 – Peter Ram 3 – Jahm-R 4 – Scribz 5 – Gorg 6 - Mikey 7 – Saffiyah 8 – Mistah Dale 9 – Sim Simma 10 – Kirk Brown 11 – Faith 12 – Ras Iley & Grynner 13 – Ramases 14 – NikMan 15 – Holla Bak 16 – Mr Blood Reserve - N/A

Grand Kadooment Producer Adisa 'Aja' Andwele and veteran band designer Gwyneth Squires.

Gwyneth Squires is not switching to beads and feathers. “I don’t like feather mas, because you don’t know who suffer from asthma, sinuses, allergies, so forth. So we decide to go without feathers,” she asserted. With 21 Festival Designer of the Year titles under her belt, when asked what is the secret to winning the elusive and coveted award, she said, “To be honest, colours, colours, colours, and then too, what you’re portraying.” Yesterday, when the new Mazda 2 to be won by the Festival Designer of the Year 2017, was revealed, Squires jokingly said that she hasn’t had her licence for the past three years but the new prize has her considering renewing her licence. [related node_id='4bf3b3a8-ac2a-49ae-828b-4ab82a8d0cd6'] Shrugging her shoulders slightly she said, “I won it 21 times, this year, I don’t know…but hopefully!” This year she’s putting out ‘Kites at the Garrison Savannah’ for Juniors and ‘Signs of the Times’ for the adults. Squires is one of the few designers who brings two bands religiously every year. Advising younger designers coming into mas regardless of whether they are creating for Kiddies Kadooment or Grand Kadooment, she urged, “That is what the judges looking for: what you’re portraying and the colours.” In terms of many younger bands and party bands competing heavily in the Fantasy category, she said: “Oh boy! That’s right. They go to Fantasy because most of the costumes come into Barbados and not making here. That is what we want to stop. If you go to my mas camp now you will see my people working. Sometimes they work overtime. Sometimes I tell them, ‘Wuh allyuh working so fuh? Cool allyuh self!’” Last year, when the Republic Bank Grand Kadooment Results came back, Gwyneth Squires tied for first in the Topical category with Designer Betty West. Her theme was Spirit of our Nationhood and she won Most Colourful Large Band, BMA Brands of Barbados Award (Large Band), the Robert Weekes Award – Best Festival Designer, Large Band of the Year, and the 50th Anniversary of Independence Award. Her individual costumes – male and female, and flag person all took prizes as well. Livefyre.require(["app-embed#1.0.8"], function (appEmbed) {appEmbed.loadAll().done(function(embed) {embed = embed[0];if (embed.el.onload && embed.getConfig) {embed.el.onload(embed.getConfig());}});});


Christopher 'Ludacris' Bridges and wife Eudoxie are continuing to share pictures of their vacation in St Lucian paradise. The rapper and actor previously posted pictures of the extreme luxury and natural beauty he experienced on the island. [related node_id='baca7e31-61f9-49a4-b78b-2a5a406e205d'] In a recent post, Ludacris shows that he is also mindful of connecting with locals saying, "Whenever I visit another country, I always feel the need to touch the town and show respect to the locals and my appreciation of their culture. #love #stlucia Meanwhile, his beautiful bride Eudoxie has posted photos of herself and the couple in St Lucia's various stunning settings. On one picture she commented, "Being with someone who loves and appreciates other cultures and food as much as I do is heaven sent. 🙏 One of the many reasons I fell in love with him. When he went to Gabon, he tried every food that was given to him. He walked the streets with me and allowed me to show him where I was raised. Your humility is always appreciated my love. @ludacris ❤️" Try not to get too jealous of this perfect vacation. [image_gallery]

Syphilis cases are on the increase. In New Hampshire, USA, health officials said the state is experiencing an outbreak of syphilis, with the number of reported cases so far for 2017, about double that of previous years. From January to May, 42 cases of syphilis were identified. That's an increase compared with the past five years when an average of 20 cases was reported during those months. Health officials say between 2012 and 2016, there were on average about 80 total cases per year of the disease reported in New Hampshire, with 2016 having the highest number of 104 cases reported for the entire year. They say the outbreak in New Hampshire is consistent with national trends. The US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said in 2000 and 2001, the national rate of reported primary and secondary (P&S) syphilis cases was 2.1 cases per 100,000 population, the lowest rate since reporting began in 1941. “However, the P&S syphilis rate has increased almost every year since 2000–2001. In 2015, a total of 23,872 P&S syphilis cases were reported. During 2014–2015, the national P&S syphilis rate increased 19.0 percent to 7.5 cases per 100,000 population, the highest rate reported since 1994,” the CDC said. The CDC said during 2000–2015, the rise in the rate of reported P&S syphilis was primarily attributable to increased cases among men and, specifically, among gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (collectively referred to as MSM). However, during 2013–2015, the rate increased both among men and women. During 2014–2015, the rate increased 18.1 percent among men and 27.3 percent among women. The CDC said these increases among women are of particular concern because congenital syphilis cases tend to increase as the rate of P&S syphilis among women increases. “Nationally, P&S syphilis rates increased in every age group among those aged 15–64 years and in every race/ethnicity group except for American Indians/Alaska Natives during 2014–2015. As in recent years, MSM accounted for the majority of reported P&S syphilis cases in 2015. Nationally, the highest rates of P&S syphilis in 2015 were observed among men aged 25–29 years and 20–24 years, among men in the West and in the South, and among Black men,” the CDC said. In England, the number of cases of syphilis has reached the highest level since 1949, figures show. Cases of the infection have almost doubled since 2012, according to data from PublicHealthEngland (PHE). In 2016 there were 5,920 syphilis diagnoses, a 12 percent increase on the previous year’s figure (5,281) and a 97 percent rise on 2012 (3,001). PHE said the cases were mostly associated with transmission in gay and bisexual men, and other men who have sex with men. PHE said the impact of STIs remained greatest in heterosexuals aged 15-24, black ethnic minorities and men who have sex with men. In the Caribbean, Barbados health authorities have also reported an outbreak of syphilis on the island. A just-completed report analysed trends in new cases over a four-year period between 2011 and 2014, according to recent media reports. According to Anton Best, a Senior Medical Officer, the study revealed a significant increase in the number of syphilis cases between 2011 and 2013. Subsequently, the outbreak stabilised in 2014 and 2015, he said. “The majority of cases occurred in men (72 percent). Nearly three-quarters of cases occurred in persons between the ages of 15 and 49 years, with the average age of a syphilis case being 34 years,” he said. A new report by the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) showed an increase in congenital syphilis, that is, transmission from mother to child, in Latin America and the Caribbean. According to the report on the Elimination of Mother-to-Child Transmission of HIV and Syphilis in the Americas: Update 2016, The report indicates that new cases of congenital syphilis in Latin America and the Caribbean have doubled since 2010, when countries and territories reported 10,850 cases, showing a steady increase since then. By 2015, an estimated 22,400 children were born with syphilis. In 2015, 83 percent of pregnant women in prenatal care were tested for syphilis and 84 percent of those positive, received treatment, rates that have remained stable for five years. Currently, the number of children born with congenital syphilis in the region (170 per 100,000 live births) triples the goal of elimination (50 per 100,000). "Expanding rapid diagnostic tests and initiating treatment at the same visit, as well as engaging sexual partners of pregnant women diagnosed with syphilis to know their status and treat them, is crucial to avoid reinfection during pregnancy and end this disease by 2030”, said Massimo Ghidinelli, head of the PAHO HIV, STI and Viral Hepatitis Unit. Syphilis Facts What is Syphilis? Syphilisis a sexually transmitted infection that can cause serious health problems if it is not treated. Syphilis is divided into stages (primary, secondary, latent, and tertiary). There are different signs and symptoms associated with each stage. How is Syphilis spread? You can get syphilis by direct contact with a syphilis sore during vaginal, anal, or oral sex. You can find sores on or around the genitals, on the lipsor in the mouth. Syphilis can spread froman infected mother to her unborn baby. Can Syphilis be cured? Yes, syphilis can be cured with the right antibiotics from your health care provider. However, treatment might not undo any damage that the infection has already done.


BHTA Hall of Fame inductee, Peter Odle, with BHTA Chairman Roseann Myers (right) and Natalie Springer of the Tourism Development Corporation. Odle was recognised as the BHTA's Board member with the longest tenure.

The Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association (BHTA) revealed the inductees to its newly launched Hall of Fame at its 65th Anniversary Awards Ceremony and Dinner earlier this month. A total of 28 persons were inducted into the BHTA Hall of Fame, including the recipients of the 12 previous Lifetime Achievement Awards. Also being inducted werethe first committee of management and executive secretaries of the Barbados Hotel Association (the BHTA’s predecessor), and 65th Anniversary awardees Trevor Ramsay, Colin Steed and Basil Forbes. Joining them in the Hall of Fame were the BHTA’s longest-serving employee, Judy Wilkinson; its longest-serving Board member, Peter Odle; and the 2017 Lifetime Achievement Awardee, Jeff Kinch of Dover Beach Hotel. [image_gallery] BHTA Chairman, Roseann Myers, told the association’s Annual General Meeting that establishing a Hall of Fame was critical, as precious records and data have already been lost. “We have to celebrate the accomplishments of our members and their sometimes quiet contributions to the industry. This is a project we hope to accomplish with the assistance of UWI to get the necessary research done,” she said. She added, “We herald the contribution of these great mindsand that of those who may not be named in our limited history.We thank them all, most posthumously, for they would have contributed in some way to literally put Barbados on the map as a leading warm weather destination.” Several others who have made significant contributions to the hotel and tourism sector were also honoured that night.These included cultural icons Anthony ‘Gabby’ Carter and Richard Stoute, as well as past Presidents and executives of the BHTA. Inductees in The BHTA Hall of Fame: Winston B. Ward A.M. Charlie Taylor Eileen Robinson Fred Goddard, MCP Peter Morgan Arthur Brooks Gordon Parkinson Wendy Sisnett Nancy Taylor Rosalind Crane Trevor Ramsay Colin Steed Basil Forbes Peter Odle Judy Wilkinson Jeffrey Kinch George Forte Dr Colin Hudson Denis Tull Frank Odle The Merrymen Oliver Broome Paul Foster/Cecil Ince Basil Gooding Mr & Mrs Keith Miller Jon Martineau Susan Springer Bernice Critchlow Earle

The two percent fee on purchases of foreign currency that was first announced by Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs, Christopher Sinckler, during the 2017 Financial Statement and Budgetary Proposals will now go into effect for cash, bank drafts and wire transfers on Monday, July 17, 2017. Credit, debit and travel cards will become subject to the fee from September 1. The fee, which was initially supposed to be in place from July 1, is intended to raise revenue for the Government. TheCentral Bank of Barbados (CBB) will oversee the rollout of the fee. In a statement issued this evening by the CBB, acting GovernorCleviston Haynes,explained that the delay is to allow the public to become familiar with the new fee. “These additional two weeks will give us the opportunity to educate Barbadians about the Foreign Exchange Fee so that they are clear on what types of transactions it relates to and how it will be applied. This will help to ensure that there is a smooth and orderly introduction of the FXF,” he said. Haynes revealed that the extended lead time for credit, debit and travel cards is to allow commercial banks and other credit card providers a longer window to adjust their computer systems. “We have been in consultation with The Barbados Bankers Association and, based on their feedback, we will provide them with additional time to complete the work that needs to be done so that cardholders will be able to clearly identify what portion of their payment for foreign purchases is due to the FXF.” The FXF will be applied to the Barbados value of the foreign currency transaction. From July 17, persons buying US$500 in cash at a rate of 2.02857 will pay $1,034.57 instead of $1,014.30, as shown below: All persons conducting purchases of foreign currency will be required to pay the FXF, except residents and non-residents making payments from their foreign currency accounts, including entities in the International Business and Financial Services (IBFS) sector. The FXF is also not applicable to foreign currency sales related to the settlement of transactions for the bulk purchase of petroleum, diesel or jet fuel, where documentary evidence has been provided to the authorised dealer. The Central Bank said in the coming days it will carry out a public education campaign. They will be placingpamphlets in the commercial banks and other key locations; producing videos thatwill be broadcast on television and posted on its social media channels; and its website will have detailed information on every aspect of the FXF. Anyone who has questions about the fee is encouraged to contact the Central Bank. The Bank also issued a guidance note to the new Foreign Exchange Fee.


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July 01, 2017

St. Bartholomew's Church Flea Market

The event is scheduled to take place on Saturday, 1st July, 2017 from 9:00 a.m to 5:00 p.m. with stall spaces available at a cost of $50.00.