Jamaican women ‘sweep’ CTO honors

From left Jacqueline Johnson, Sarah Greaves-Gabbadon, Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett,, Myrtle Dwyer and Winsome Charlton.
Photo courtesy of Janet Silvera
Photo courtesy of Janet Silvera

Caribbean Tourism Organization marked their annual conference and celebration of Caribbean Heritage Week from June 6 to 11 with a myriad of activities in New York City.

A wedding inside Vanderbilt Hall at Grand Central Station united Belizean Leticia Young with Guyana native Raymond Mohan during a day-long fair and exhibition that featured attractions from CARICOM nations in the region. In addition, a gathering to discuss diasporan concerns; a power breakfast and the usual close-out dinner dance ball marked the festivities.

However, amidst all the fun and entertainment Jamaica dominated a luncheon awards, which usually acknowledges varied achievers from numerous countries who have excelled in various aspects of promoting tourism to the Caribbean. Of five awards presented, Jamaicans took four.

“By these wonderful women of the Caribbean I am beginning to think that it’s a woman’s world,” Jamaica’s Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett said.

That Jamaican women claimed the lunchtime honors is also significant.

Bartlett’s belated assessment of a long perceived global acknowledgement of women’s contribution to the society was only trumped by a boastful claim of his country’s matriarchal achievers when he stated – ‘looks like a sweep for Jamaica.’

Mixed reaction from the multi-national assembly might have tempered further braggadocio on the feat which touted excellence from women of Jamaican heritage.

Jacqueline Johnson, founder of Caribbean Wedding Association, Sarah Greaves-Gabbadon, editor of Caribbean Travel & Life, Myrtle Dwyer, former director of sales & marketing at Half Moon Resorts and Winsome Charlton, co-owner of Hi-Class Promotion were the distinguished quad who gushed gratitude.

Caribbean Wedding At Grand Central Station Stops Commuters

Busy commuters through Grand Central Station seemed to stop in their tracks recently after glancing at a couple of well-dressed individuals who said wedding vows inside Vanderbilt Hall at the 42nd central train station.

The couple, Leticia Young from Belize and Raymond Mohan from Guyana tied the knot during a public ceremony celebrating Caribbean Tourism Organization’s week-long events.

Crowds sampled foods and beverages at the underground marketplace and fair. And more than a few, received brochures on which islands of the Caribbean to marry, honeymoon or spend the next vacation.

The wedding made St. Kitts the center of attention as the twin islands’ tourism authority hosted a congratulatory cake-cutting ceremony for the lucky couple. The Caribbean-American couple received congratulatory remarks from Sen. Ricky Skerritt.

They also received complimentary roundtrip plane tickets to the island as well as a free honeymoon which was presented by representatives from the island.

“Our feature participation in today’s wedding ceremony reinforces our marketing strategy to highlight St. Kitts as a premiere romance, wedding and honeymoon destination,” Rosecita Jeffers, CEO of the Transit Authority of St. Kitts said.

“We hope the newlyweds enjoy a wonderful honeymoon experience in St. Kitts, exploring all of the charms of our unique island destination.”

Throughout the day, many consumers visited booths displaying attractions to St. Vincent & The Grenadines, the British Virgin Islands, Trinidad & Tobago, Grenada, Guyana, the Cayman Islands, Jamaica, St. Lucia and other scenic destinations throughout the Caribbean.

Empire State Building Shines Spotlight On Caribbean

The same evening a ball at The Plaza Hotel closed out festivities marking the annual CTO celebration, the Empire State Building lit with the colors of the Caribbean. The towering beacon beamed pastels of blue and green with white topping the pinnacle to declare CTO’s presence and Caribbean pride. Throughout the week, numerous events and cultures shared the night sky display from one of the world’s most-known edifices. The Tony Awards took the Sunday night spotlight with an all-white lighting marking achievers on Broadway AKA the Great White Way.

Bermudan Motivates With Motherly Advices

Bermudan Dennis Rahiim Watson is a New York resident who has been motivating youths longer than most will recall. He is chairman of the Caribbean Youth Leadership and Achievement Task Force and the most memorable speaker at the recent CTO ball. Although there were colorful folk dancing representing Indian, Spanish, English and other cultures from the region, a multitude of award presentations when Watson took the podium, all eyes and ears focused on him. Invited to speak on the topic of ‘life lessons from Caribbean Mothers,’ Watson captured the black-tie crowd with funny sayings he started but allowed them to complete.

“I was pleased to be given the honor of delivering a five minute passionate motivational keynote address,” Watson said. “I was impressed with the high level of audience participation as we all reflected on the wise sayings of our mothers back in the day. I am gratified by the positive feedback from my presentation from supporters and guests.”

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