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ST. KITTS - The So Arise, 2017 Antigua and Barbuda Gospel Music Award winners have been named. Walking away the winner of three out of his six nominated awards, at the March 25th ceremony, is Jamaica's own, Di Anointed Vale, who is an International Gospel Reggae Recording Artiste, on the St. Kitts based, JIFE Music Record Label. Vale’s debut Album "Blood A Jesus”, is the label's first completed project.

JIFE Music Record’s President Nyquan Nisbett, who is also one of the main producers at the label, was also nominated for "Producer of the Year", which was the only category, decided by judges and not open for public voting. Di Anointed Vale walked away as the reigning, "International Psalmist of the Year (Male)", and "Vocalist of the Year (Male)". His song "Worship" won "Best Collaboration" featuring Princess Vanessa, native of Guyana.

“It’s a real great feeling to know that all the hard work and the sleepless nights in the studio, mixing the songs, building the rhythms and all of that stuff paid off. To see that someone recognizes your work, it feels real good to know that there are people who would recognize what you have contributed,” was Vale's response to the overwhelming recognition, he has received for his debut album that was recently released, in St. Kitts in December 2016. He produced every track, and sung some of the background vocals and it's become an overnight success.

Vale was also nominated for "Songwriter of the Year (Male)", "I'm Available" featuring Guyana's Eddie Neblett, picked up two nominations, one for "Best Collaboration" and the prestigious, "Song of the Year" nomination.

"Jesus is For Everyone" is the Record Label's Mission Statement, which is also how they came up with JIFE as their acronym. JIFE Record Label is a subsidiary of Palm Branch Media, which is a media production company in St. Kitts. JIFE was formed for the purpose of exploiting some of the best like Vale, in Caribbean Gospel Music. JIFE was founded by four St. Kitts & Nevis entrepreneurs; Andre Huie, Roy Nisbett, Lester Henry and Jermaine Willock, which are experienced in performing, producing and promoting music.

PHILIPSBURG, St. Maarten - Two of the biggest MC’s/DJ’s in the Dominican Republic, DJ Popi and DJ Profeta has been added to the lineup for Noche Latina on Sunday night in Carnival Village. Noche Latina is Presented by Presidente beer in collaboration with the St. Maarten Carnival Development Foundation (SCDF). The night will feature artists exclusively from the Dominican Republic.

Organisers are certain that the inclusion of Popi & Profeta will add even more excitement to the show as both are known for their hype and funny skills as MC’s who can keep a show entertaining. They are the most sought after MC’s in the Dominican Republic, hosting their own shows and concerts in addition to being top-notch DJ talent on the party scene in that country.

Popi & Profeta will be joined by St. Maarten’s own DJ/MC tandem in DJ Eagle and DJ Ricky, no strangers to Latino concerts and the party scene on St. Maarten.

Under the theme “Siente La Musica!” or Feel The Music, Presidente and SCDF will present two artists that fall under the “Urbanas” genre, two “Bachateros” and one Salsa band that will “have the public dancing all night,” according to the foundation.

Taking the stage will be Urbana stars Shadow Blow and Mozart La Para. They will be joined by popular Salsa band Revolucion Salsera and finally, legendary Bachata singer Luis Miguel del Amargue will complete the lineup. Bachata singer Yoskar Sarante was also on the lineup but the singer has fallen ill and will no longer be performing. He has issued an apology to his fans via video that will be posted on the SCDF Facebook page.

AIRPORT ROAD, St. MaartenThe 2017 edition of Flag Fest was bigger and better than ever and enjoyed by a huge crowd. Each year this annual fest has grown and Winair is pleased to have been a sponsor of 78 Inc. Entertainment Foundation’s event since its inception 3 years.

This truly regional Caribbean extravaganza caters to people from all surrounding islands to get together, proudly displaying their nations colors side by side and enjoy their favorite bands. Connecting a diversity of people through entertainment, music and dance is a theme that coincides well with Winair’s mission to provide efficient connections & travel throughout the region.

The public may have noticed that Winair took the opportunity to proudly display a different but familiar logo at this event. Moving forward Winair will be introducing our iconic logo. This logo was previously used in our 55-year history and is well known throughout the Caribbean. We will return to our bold red color in all destinations served in the following months.

PHILIPSBURG, St. Maarten - Before a reasonable crowd at the Festival Village on Thursday night, Raw Promotions successfully hosted the annual Nagico Calypso finals.

The event, which had a participation of some 11 competitors, including last year’s Monarch Queen Shakiya, saw some stiff competition among the participants.

The show got off to a start at 8 pm promptly with the playing of the St. Maarten Song, which was followed by entertainment by CD Ranking. The first Calypsonian to perform, the Mighty Magic, made his way to the stage at exactly 8:50 and by 2:07 am, the results were pronounced by the MC and president of Raw Promotions, Fernando Clarke.  

At the end, Fish de Mega Boss was announced the winner of this year’s contest with 602 points for his two songs, namely I Can’t Finish and Prick. He was then crowned by the former Calypso Monarch, Queen Shakiya.

It was Fish de Mega Boss 5th time winning the crown. The first runner up went to Fox with 596 points, while Protégé had to settle for the 2nd runner up position with 583 points. The 4th runner up position went to Ebony Empress who scored 5 53 points.

SIMPSON BAY, St. Maarten - A series of colorful carnival themed mini-parades and poolside fêtes is once again being hosted by Simpson Bay Resort & Marina. Following glowing reviews of last year’s pioneering event which gave many long-time visitors their first carnival experience, this year’s ‘Royal Jump Up’ schedule will see double the number of parades and the resort is extending a welcome to the general public.  

The reveling kicked off on Wednesday, with resort guests and staff chipping and dancing through the nearby inner streets, following the lead of St. Maarten’s own Generation New Status drum band and Dazzling Divas dancers.

Participants donned both genuine carnival costumes from previous Grand Parades, as well as the new option given this year: bright custom made shirts, some of which were ‘bedazzled’ and decoratively cut in workshops.

The same clothing options – costumes for rent or shirts for sale – will be available to future participants joining the remaining scheduled mini-parades from 6:00pm and happy hour extending to 8:00pm on resort grounds on April 19 and 26, and May 3.

Participants are asked to otherwise wear their own brightly colored/ neon clothes and accessories, or costumes. Residents can also join the shirt decorating workshops at the resort.

Wednesday’s group started out on the smaller side and gradually grew as resort guests joined in, with some guests also spectating from their balconies. At the poolside, the regularly scheduled happy hour was transformed by dancing, local and regional Soca numbers, and further performances by Urmain "Youmay" Dormoy and the youth of Generation New Status drum band.

POND ISLAND, St. Maarten – TelEm Group Technicians and engineers have been busy connecting the Festival Village with fiber optic cable and new Wi-fi solutions to vastly improve mobile voice and data user experience during this year’s carnival season.

Prompted by an initiative of Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Mr. Kendall Dupersoy to “flood” St. Maarten’s premier gathering spot for carnival with top of the line telecommunication connections, TelEm Group’s outside plant has been busy in recent weeks running lightning-fast fiber optic cables from the company’s main building on Pond Island to the Festival Village. From there, connections are also being made to other parts of Phillipsburg in preparation for more connections in the center of town.

According to Mr. Dupersoy, the focus on the Festival Village is turning out to be a great learning experience for TelEm Group in providing fiber optic and Wi-fi services in a densely populated area.

As a pre-cursor to the company’s upcoming island-wide rollout of Fiber-to-the-Home (FTTH) this Summer, the project at the festival Village will also provide valuable training to TelEm Group staff and local contractors, who will be instrumental in building the underground fiber optic network over the next two years.

“There are thousands of people in the Village at the height of carnival and practically everyone will be using their mobile phones to make calls, take pictures or send videos to theie families and friends” said the CEO.

He said the net result during Carnival is an incredible demand at specific times of the day and night for unlimited bandwidth to satisfy the needs of customers in the Village.

“In the past, consumer demand in the Village has literally choked TelEm’s telecommunication network, leaving customers angry and unsatisfied. By providing additional bandwidth from the higher capacity fiber cables, and also by introducing a new Wi-fi solution for the Village, customers and the public can look forward to an unforgettable user experience at the Festival Village during this Carnival season,” said the TelEm Group chief.

PHILIPSBURG, St. Maarten - The Junior Carnival Parade will be held on Saturday, April 8. The St. Maarten Carnival development expects a small, but lively parade for children which, because of how late Easter is falling, has to be held much earlier than usual.

The parade will kick off at 2:00pm from the Jose Lake Ballpark along L.B. scot Road. All troupes will begin gathering at 12 noon on Saturday. The parade will travel down L.B. Scot Road, Bush Road, over the Prins Bernard Bridge and take the span of Pondfill until it ends at the Little League Ball Park.

The SCDF took the decision last year not to take the children parade down Fronstreet and will stick to that decision this year.

PHILIPSBURG, St. Maarten - The weekend of April 7 will be a busy one with the last pre-Carnival events being held on Friday and Saturday before the St. Maarten Carnival Development Foundation (SCDF) cease all public activities for Holy Week.

The partying begins on Friday, April 7 when the SCDF and TelCell will host the finale of the Road to Carnival party series. This finale will be two-fold; first there will be a happy-hour party at Taloula Mango’s on the Boardwalk that will run from 6:00pm until 11:00pm.

This event will feature LIVE performances by five of the participants of the 2017 Soca Rumble competition: Shadz, Fox, Magic, King James and Lion. Also on stage for the night will be popular and versatile band 4M HD. “The idea is to have a great time on the boardwalk with great music at a great location like Taloula Mango’s,” SCDF said, adding that there will also be giveaways from TelCell and much more.

PHILIPSBURG, St. Maarten – The Rotary Club of Sint Maarten celebrated its 45th anniversary with a special dinner celebration at Moomba Restaurant in Maho on Thursday, March 29, 2017.  To commemorate the occasion the Rotary Club awarded a Paul Harris Fellow to its only remaining charter member, Richard Gibson.  Mr. Gibson accepted the award and recounted several of his memories from the early days of Rotary on Sint Maarten.  Mr. Gibson went onto say, "It has been a pleasure to be a Rotarian for all of these years. Our Club and Rotary has accomplished so much good on the island because of what we have accomplished together.  I look forward to being here for the next 45 years."

The Paul Harris Fellow is recognition of exceptional service and a tribute to a person whose life demonstrates a shared purpose with the objectives of the Rotary Foundation of Rotary International of world peace and international understanding.

President of the Rotary Club of Sint Maarten, Henna Budhrani added, “Rotary service helps the people of our community in more ways than we realize.  Tonight I am honored to be President as we welcome members from all 4 of our St. Maarten/St. Martin clubs to celebrate 45 years of Rotary service in St. Maarten, which began with our very own Mother club.

PHILIPSBURG, St. Maarten – on Monday, the 27th of March, the last batch of T-shirts that give access to the Lighted Parade 2017, reached Sint Maarten. This was announced earlier today by Carnival Event organizer Rio Productions.

The shirts are being sold at a rapid pace, and are expected to be completely sold out by Thursday, March 30th 2017. President of Rio Productions, Mrs. Brenda Wathey, explained: “the T-shirt sales went much faster this year due to our special collaboration with both NBA and Soggy Dollar Bar. They both have an enormous crowd, and utilized all modern media channels to reach out to their followers. In addition to that, Chippie and Caribbean Liquors and Tobacco, made ongoing efforts to reach out to their loyal customers, by offering them special packages on the T-shirts”.

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