Buju Banton has been cleared to enter Trinidad and Tobago. High Frequency Entertainment today shared a letter they received from the Minister of National Security Stuart Young who made good on his word to grant the singer an exemption. Permission has also been granted to Luciano and Wayne Wonder to enter the country as well. They are two of the supporting acts on the show which will also feature rising reggae sensation Koffee. The letter, signed by the Permanent Secretary, said there is no objection on grounds of security for Banton, real name Mark Myrie, Luciano, real name JeppherMcClymont and Wayne Wonder, real name Vonwayne Charles entering the countryfor the purpose of performing at the I Am Legend concert on Easter Sunday, April 21. The artistes are scheduled to enter T&T on Good Friday, April 19 and depart on Easter Monday, April 22. Last Thursday at the post-Cabinet press briefing, the National Security Minister said because of Banton's criminal history, the organisershad to apply for an exemption allowing him to enter T&T. The organisers said a letter was submitted since last November but per the Minister's request, it was re-submitted. Banton was released from a USprison on December 7, 2018 after serving close to 10 years for a drug-related crime.

Easter is one of the best times to be in the Caribbean. The weather is perfect for hanging out at the beach or river and with the long holiday weekend, it is a great time to get out and have some fun with your family and friends. If you are spending time in the Caribbean this Easter, you may want to indulge in some of the region's unique, fun and at times, strange, Easter traditions. Here are 10 things you can take part in this Easter weekend. Beat a Good Friday Bobolee If you’re in Trinidad on Good Friday and you see people beating effigies hanging from fences and in public spaces, don’t be alarmed, they’re just Good Friday Bobolees. The beating of the Bobolee is a Good Friday tradition that originally symbolised the beating of Judas Iscariot who betrayed Jesus Christ. Today, people make Bobolees to represent politicians, public figures or anything that is unpopular. Predict your future with an egg In Barbados and Jamaica, you can predict your future with an egg. A fresh egg is broken and placed in a container on Holy Thursday. On Good Friday, whatever shape the coagulated egg takes is used to predict your future. Fly a kite Across the Caribbean, Easter is synonymous with kite flying. In some islands, there are kite flying competitions but you don’t have to compete to enjoy this activity that is suited to the young and old. You can either make your own kite or buy one already made. Avoid the Beach on Good Friday Yes, you are in the Caribbean and the sun is beating down on you making you long for a cool dip in some pristine blue water. But, in many islands, bathing in the sea on Good Friday is a big no. According to a long-standing myth, bathing in the sea on Good Friday turns you into a fish. However, you are free to hit the waves for the rest of the long weekend. Watch goats and crabs race in Tobago Easter weekend sees a hive of activity in Tobago with goat and crab racing as one of the big attractions. There is actually a racing facility in Buccoo village where the animals square off in this highly competitive and fun event. Watch a tree bleed People in Barbados and Jamaica claim that on Good Friday, a tree called the Physic nut tree bleeds red sap. Believed to be the same wood Jesus’ cross was made from, the Physic tree normally bleeds white sap when cut. But if you cut the tree at noon on Good Friday, the sap is said to be red like the blood of Christ. Eat buns Hot cross buns, made with raisins and dried fruit and adorned with a cross made out of frosting, is one of the popular food items during Easter in the Caribbean. In Jamaica, the buns are eaten with cheese and it is certainly a feature at breakfast and dinner tables across the region. Celebrate the Rara in Haiti Rara is a holiday celebrated during Easter week in Haiti. The celebration includes a parade with songs, traditional instruments and costumes. Eat yams in Jamaica Easter Monday is when one of Jamaica’s biggest festivals takes place, the Trelawny Yam Festival which includes foods and beverages made from yams such as yam pudding and wine and competitions. Take in folklore in Curacao On Easter Monday local folklore groups wear traditional costumes and parade through the streets of Punda and Otrobanda in Curacao. The groups play traditional musical instruments as they dance through the streets. The festivities are tied to the end of the harvest.


The stinking toe (PHOTO: iStock)

Stinking toeis the fruit of the West Indian Locust, one ofthe largest trees in the Caribbean. The fruit is held within a large brown pod that is shaped somewhat like a toe and, when the shell of the pod is broken, a repugnant odour is released - hence the name, stinking toe. The fruit and the tree it grows on are botanically known as Hymenaea courbaril. The stinking toe shell of the pod is very hard and is about five centimeters thick.Within the shell is a cream-coloured, powdery flesh. The texture is very dense and dry and the flavour is sweet, like powdered sugar. The bark, leaves and flowers of the West Indian Locust tree have long been consumed by indigenous tribes in the South American, Brazilian, Peruvian, and Central American rainforest, particularly the Karaja Indians and the Creole of Guyana. In Jamaica, the stinking toe is a largely underrated delicacy, with lots ofnutritional andmedicinal benefits. The fruit is very low in calories, and high in carbohydrates. It hasbeen said to be an appetite enhancer, and an aphrodisiac. Itis high in vitamin A and iron, and studies done on the flesh of the fruit show that it has antimicrobial, antifungal and antibacterial properties. Outside of tropical Mexico, Central and South America, stinking toe trees grow in Jamaica and in some of the Caribbean islands. The trees are also grown by some rare and tropical fruit growers in Southern California. Some of this information was taken fromwww.specialtyproduce.com

️This April 10, 2019, photo shows a sign by furnyc.org in the window of Victoria Stass Collection in New York's fur district. The fur trade is considered so important to New York’s development that two beavers adorn the city’s official seal, a reference to early Dutch and English settlers who traded in beaver pelts. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

A burgeoning movement to outlaw fur is seeking to make its biggest statement yet in the fashion mecca of New York City. Lawmakers are pushing a measure that would ban the sale of all new fur products in the city where such garments were once common and style-setters including Marilyn Monroe, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Joe Namath and Sean "Diddy" Combs have all rocked furs over the years. A similar measure in the state Capitol in Albany would impose a statewide ban on the sale of any items made with farmed fur and ban the manufacture of products made from trapped fur. Whether this is good or bad depends on which side of the pelt you're on. Members of the fur industry say such bans could put 1,100 people out of a job in the city alone. Supporters dismiss that and emphasize that the wearing of fur is barbaric and inhumane. "Cruelty should not be confused with economic development," said state Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal, a Democrat from Manhattan, who is sponsoring the state legislation. "Fur relies on violence to innocent animals. That should be no one's business." The fate of the proposals could be decided in the coming months, though supporters acknowledge New York City's measure has a better chance of passage than the state legislation. The fur trade is considered so important to New York's development that two beavers adorn the city's official seal, a reference to early Dutch and English settlers who traded in beaver pelts. At the height of the fur business in the last century, New York City manufactured 80% of the fur coats made in the U.S, according to FUR NYC, a group representing 130 retailers and manufacturers in the city. The group says New York City remains the largest market for fur products in the country, with real fur still frequently used as trim on coats, jackets and other items. If passed, New York would become the third major American city with such a ban, following San Francisco, where a ban takes effect this year, and Los Angeles, where a ban passed this year will take effect in 2021. Elsewhere, Sao Paulo, Brazil, began its ban on the import and sale of fur in 2015. Fur farming was banned in the United Kingdom nearly 20 years ago, and last year London fashion week became the first major fashion event to go entirely fur-free. Fur industry leaders warn that if the ban passes in New York, emboldened animal rights activists will want more. "Everyone is watching this," said Nancy Daigneault, vice president at the International Fur Federation, an industry group based in London. "If it starts here with fur, it's going to go to wool, to leather, to meat." When asked what a fur ban would mean for him, Nick Pologeorgis was blunt: "I'm out of business." Pologeorgis' father, who emigrated from Greece, started the fur design and sales business in the city's "Fur District" nearly 60 years ago. "My employees are nervous," he said. "If you're 55 or 50 and all you've trained to do is be a fur worker, what are you going to do?" Supporters of the ban contend those employees could find jobs that don't involve animal fur, noting that an increasing number of fashion designers and retailers now refuse to sell animal fur and that synthetic substitutes are every bit as convincing as the real thing. They also argue that fur retailers and manufacturers represent just a small fraction of an estimated 180,000 people who work in the city's fashion industry and that their skills can readily be transferred. "There is a lot of room for job growth developing ethically and environmentally friendly materials," said City Council Speaker Corey Johnson, who introduced the city measure. New Yorkers asked about the ban this week came down on both sides, with some questioning if a law was really needed. "It is a matter of personal choice. I don't think it's something that needs to be legislated," said 44-year-old Janet Thompson. "There are lots of people wearing leather and suede and other animal hides out there. To pick on fur seems a little one-sided." Joshua Katcher, a Manhattan designer and author who has taught at the Parsons School of Design, says he believes the proposed bans reflect an increased desire to know where our products come from and for them to be ethical and sustainable. "Fur is a relic," he said.


The Hon. Gordon "Butch" Stewart, Chairman and Founder, Sandals Resorts (left) accepts the 2019 Chancellor's Award from Robert Bermudez, Chancellor of the University of West Indies.

The Hon. Gordon “Butch” Stewart, O.J. C.D. Hon. LLD, Chairman and Founder of Sandals Resorts, accepted the Chancellor’s Award on behalf of his company at the 10th Annual University of the West Indies (UWI) Toronto Benefit Gala held at The Ritz-Carlton Toronto recently. [related node_id='dd19ad1c-5424-4eaa-82dc-c89196d8c7eb'] The Chancellor’s Award is presented to a Caribbean organization in recognition of their extraordinary international success and positive contribution to the region. Since first opening Sandals Montego Bay in 1981, the family-owned, privately-held hotel company has grown from that single all-inclusive resort in Jamaica to become one of the most well-known, award-winning hospitality groups in the world. With five brands and 24 resorts in seven countries – Antigua, The Bahamas, Barbados, Grenada, Jamaica, St. Lucia and Turks and Caicos – Sandals Resorts International is the undisputed leader of luxury, all-inclusive vacations in the Caribbean. The year 2019 also marks the 10th anniversary of The Sandals Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Sandals Resorts International, which to date has raised more than $11 million, impacted well over 850,000 people in the Caribbean with the overall dollar amount of projects and programmes implemented in three core areas – education, community and the environment – valued at over $58 million dollars. Established in 2010, the UWI Toronto Benefit Gala raises money for the University’s Scholarship Fund and receives tremendous support from the Canadian private and public sectors and educational institutions. Over 500 scholarships have been awarded to academically outstanding students across the Caribbean who do not have the necessary funds to realize their potential.

German prosecutors have indicted former Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn and four others on charges of fraud and unfair competition, saying he failed to prevent manipulation of engine software that let Volkswagen cars cheat on diesel emission tests. Prosecutors in Braunschweig said Monday that Winterkorn knew about the deceptive software since 2014. The prosecutors' statement said that the defendants faced from six months to 10 years imprisonment if convicted and that bonuses earned due to sales based on the deception could be forfeited.