Jamaican PM Andrew Holness (left) and his wife with Minister Edmund Bartlett
Photo by Fern Whyte
Photo by Fern Whyte

Jamaica’s newly-appointed Prime Minister Andrew Holness made his first official visit to New York recently.

Invited by the American Friends of Jamaica to attend their 30th annual Hummingbird gala, the youngest leader of the Caribbean nation made a black-tie appearance at the Capitale in lower Manhattan where philanthropists raised funds to aid charitable organizations on the island.

During a brief address, he thanked the charitable organization for its persevering contribution in improving healthcare, education and economic opportunities throughout the island.

Holness said, “we are grateful for all the charity.”

“I have been elevated to prime minister from minister of education,” he added, and committed to “developing capacity to provide for our citizens.”

Accompanied by Edmund Bartlett, the minister of tourism, Daryll Vaz and representatives from the diplomatic corps, he thanked “in advance” the organization founded in 1982, which has contributed more than $11 million to needy organizations on the island.

He also echoed statements from the United Kingdom’s Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales who sent a videotaped message expressing his concern for disadvantaged youths from a Kingston community he identified to be Rose Town.

The royal ambassador outlined his concern about gang violence on the island and expressed a desire to help AFJ with their efforts to “instill a sense of pride and belonging” to disfranchised individuals.

He also talked about Rose Town and lauded AFJ for establishing a library and community center there.

Holness and the prince also commended Denis O’Brien, founder of Digicel and AFJ’s 2011 honoree.

While in New York, Holness met with corporate and business executives during a luncheon and was encouraged to extend his stay for a third day.

He returned home in time for a Jamaica Labor Party conference, which began on Nov. 19.

Dancehall deejay Shaggy joined reggae super-group Third World to provide entertainment.

Also present at the gala were Pamela Bridgewater, U.S. ambassador to Jamaica and Audrey Marks, Jamaica’s ambassador to the USA, John Lynch, director of tourism and Daryll Vaz, member of parliament and former minister of information.

“Here & Now” Replaces “Like It Is”

WABC-TV debuted “Here & Now” a new one-hour, public affairs program which replaces the popular “Like It Is” show hosted by Gil Noble.

On its premiere airing on Oct. 30, ABC reporter Sandra Bookman hosted the lounge-styled replacement talking about various issues. She interviewed rhythm & blues singer Dione Warwick who recorded a song of the same title, “Here & Now.”

The program made its debut amidst a sea of controversy including protest demonstrations outside the television studios with community activists calling for continued broadcast of the longstanding Black, community-oriented showcase. One of their demands was to retain the original title as well as hire broadcaster Gary Byrd to host.

Reportedly, the station will hire rotating reporters to fill the slot.

JA Politician Pledges “Endless Love” For Former First Lady

Jamaica may be the focus of another celebrated wedding when former first lady Beverley Anderson Manley says “I Do” to her longtime companion Dr. D.K. Duncan. After years of public courting, the firebrand politician kneeled before his 70-year-old lover and within earshot of guests to her birthday party proposed marriage.

The couple did not disclose details to their future nuptials but it was revealed that the date would be soon.

According to reports the couple looked picture-perfect with Manley enthused that her husband-in-waiting parodied a Lionel Richie hit song to punctuate his sentiment. Duncan parodied the words to “Endless Love.”

Reportedly, Manley responded singing “Have I Told You that I love You.”

It is understood that the romantic aspect of the proposal pleasantly awed guests at the birthday celebration.

The former broadcast journalist was married to Michael Manley from 1972 to 1990.

Since that time she has been romantically linked to the opposition People’s National Party member.

Catch You On The Inside!

Jamaica Ambassador to the United States HE Audrey Marks (left) with PM Andrew Holness and his wife.
Photo by Fern Whyte

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