With the Caribbean Week in New York event as a platform, the University of the Virgin Islands Research and Technology Park will be in town from St. Croix this week courting companies and touting the facility’s benefits at an invitation-only “Big Apple VIP Investment Showcase Reception.”
Introducing business leaders and key members of the New York’s Caribbean diaspora to the 15-year-old specialist economic development agency, known as UVI RTPark, is the goal of Thursday’s reception in Manhattan.
RTPark Executive Director Gillian Marcelle is leading the New York trip and delivering the message that RTPark and the U.S. Virgin Islands are premier business destinations of “firms in knowledge and technology,” including bio-medical, energy research, wellness and healthcare management, internet advertising, and technology-mediated companies.
“The RTPark program is at a very exciting stage,” explained Marcelle. “Our recent clients are involved in projects that build the pipeline of skills in the U.S. Virgin Islands and bring new ways of doing business to the territory while the owners of these businesses enjoy living in an island paradise,” she said.
RTPark is headquartered in a $13 million, 18,000 square foot, LEED certified green two-story structure, near the main entrance of the University of the Virgin Islands’ Albert A. Sheen campus. Marcelle said, since 2015, RTPark has welcomed 20 new companies — qualified entrepreneurs and business owners attracted by generous tax incentives and the warm and Caribbean lifestyle promoted through the hashtag, #WorkFromTheBeach.
Intellectual Global Concepts LLC, a technology, media and entertainment company; and the Anvil 1 LLC technology, consulting and investment firm; are recent RTPark additions.
And the Anvil 1 firm has not only bought into the RTPark concept, but its also investing in the high-tech future of the University of the Virgin Islands and its students. Anvil, managed by MIT and Harvard educated Dale Le Febvre, donated $750,000 in May to support for UVI energy and process technology courses, and scholarships for students.
“The RTPark program is at a very exciting stage,” said Marcelle, about the facility’s progress.
For more information about the UVI RTPark, call (340) 692-4300, email
BENEFIT FOR FARMERS IN JAMAICA
The “Caribbean Farmers Market” and “Jerk Roots and Yam Fundraiser,” uniting an impressive lineup of personalities to aid farmers and agricultural efforts in Jamaica, will be held next Sunday in Queens at Roy Wilkins Park.
Dr. Julius Garvey, son of Jamaica National Hero Marcus Garvey; Ky-Mani Marley, son of reggae great Bob Marley; dub poet Mutabaruka; popular comedian Maja Hype; reggae star Sister Carol; gospel/reggae performer Stichie are part of a superstar collection of celebrities coming together to support the Farm Up Jamaica organization’s Farmer Assistance Fund aiding distressed Jamaican farmers, teaching organic agriculture, promoting agri entrepreneurship and reducing food imports to the island nation.
Caribbean farmers market full of favorite foods, vegetables, fruits, roots and cook-off competitions are main features of the event.
All proceeds go towards support of the Farm Up Jamaica initiative. Children under 12 are admitted free. Visit www.farmupjamaica.comfor tickets and information or send email to
CULTURE & FUN FETE
Celebrating National Caribbean American Heritage Month, State Senator Jesse Hamilton and the West Indian American Day Carnival Association are cohosting a free “Movies Under the Stars: Caribbean Culture Jam Film Fun and Fete” on Friday in Park Slope, Brooklyn at Old Stone Park, Third Ave., between Fourth and Fifth Aves.
There will be a carnival headpiece-making workshop for kids, stilt walkers, a Color Me Dance Party with DJ English, a soca/reggae fitness class and a screening of the movie “Happy Feet.” Bring blankets and chairs. For information, call (718) 284-4700 or send email to
NETWORK JOURNAL’S UNDER-40 HONORS
The Caribbean is well represented in the 2017 honorees of the Network Journal business magazine’s 40 Under Forty Awards Dinner coming to Crowne Plaza Hotel Times Square Manhattan hotel’s Broadway Ballroom on June 15.
Awardees at the 20th annual affair are recognized for their outstanding careers, entrepreneurial leadership and community service.
The daughter of Barbados immigrants, Catherine Toppin, senior patent counsel and manager at General Electric; and Jamaica-born Haywood Hawthorne, VP of Manufacturing Operations and IT at the Golden Krust Caribbean Bakery and Grill corporation are among the awardees with Caribbean roots being recognized the 20th annual event recognizing honorees’ outstanding careers.
The 20th annual event begins with a cocktail hour followed by dinner and the awards ceremony. Corporate, business, community and government leaders attend the affair network and recognize the awardees, who will be highlighted in a video presentation during the evening’s festivities and featured in a special summer issue of The Network Journal magazine.
Other award winners with Caribbean roots include:
- Christian Archibold, VP of Information Security for the BBNP Paribas Corporate and Institutional Banking, born in the U.S. to a mother from Jamaica and father from Panama;
- Dr. Haydée Brown, founder and owner, Foot and Ankle Orthopaedics of New York, whose paternal grandparents hailed from Jamaica and Martinique. She is also an assistant clinical professor in Orthopaedic Surgery at Mount Sinai Hospital;
- Chalon Clark, partner in the Husch Blackwell legal firm. Born in the U.S. Clark’s father is from the Bahamas.
- Guyana-born Jermaine Daw, the director of HR Business Partner for the National Basketball Association;
- Haiti-born Dr. Vanessa Baptiste Griffith, an associate medical director with Northwell Health and an assistant professor of Pediatrics for Hofstra Northwell School of Medicine;
- Aubreana Stephenson Holder, chief operating officer of Federal Management Systems financial management firm, who was born in the U.S. to immigrants from Guyana;
- U.S.-born eBay Chief Diversity Officer Damien Hooper Campbell, whose father is from Guyana
- Moya O’Connor, trial counsel for Liberty Mutual Insurance, who has Jamaican roots;
- Panama-born Rhys Powell, founder and president of Red Rabbit food service;
- Executive VP Melissa Proctor, chief marketing officer of the National Basketball Association’s Atlanta Hawks, whose father and mother are from Jamaica and Belize respectively;
- Philip Rigueur, VP and head of Joint Venture Markets Sales Effectiveness and Distribution at Aetna, whose parents were immigrants from Haiti.
The Crowne Plaza Hotel Times Square Manhattan is at 1605 Broadway (between 48th and 49th Sts.) Individual tickets are $350 on or before June 9 and $400 afterwards. For tickets and information, visit www.tnj.com.
‘EAT CARIBBEAN’ WEEK
Caribbean restaurants in New York — from Harlem to Queens and Brooklyn in between — are taking part in “Eat Caribbean Restaurant Week,” coming June 18 to 25, presented by the West Indian American Day Carnival Association.
Participation is free for restaurants in the free discount initiative and registration for eateries ends Tuesday. For registration information, send email to www.eatcaribbean.nyc.com.
CARIB HERITAGE BRUNCH
Featuring guest speakers and the recognition of Caribbean American icons, the Caribbean Chamber of Commerce and Industry is presenting its Caribbean-American Heritage Celebration Economic Development Power Brunch on Thursday in Brooklyn Borough Hall, 209 Joralemon St., at 10 a.m.
To RSVP, call the chamber at (718) 834-4544 or send email to
CARIBBEAN WRITERS FESTIVAL
The Caribbean Cultural Theatre’s “WORD! – A Caribbean Lit Fest,” featuring authors old and new “from Cuba to St. Kitts; Haiti to Guyana” comes to Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Plaza, 1368 Fulton St. in Brooklyn, next Sunday, from noon to 7 p.m.
Under the theme “Trim the sail and roam the sea!,” the festival features a long list of writers in the sessions including:
- “Heritage – An Ever Present Past” – Opal Palmer Adisa (Jamaica), Cindy Similien-Johnson (Haiti), Tykime Davis (Panama) at 1 p.m.
- “Courage – Creating a World of Wonder” – Devon Harris (Jamaica) and Anaya Lee (US/Guyana) at 2 p.m.
- “Creativity – Making the World We Live In” – Cray Francis (Antigua and Barbuda), Carol Ottly-Mitchell (St. Kitts and Nevis), and Tammie Paige (Panama)at 3 p.m.
- “Adventure – A Brave, New World” – from Zetta Elliott (Canada/St. Kitts and Nevis), Ibi Zoboi (Haiti) and Daniel José Older (USA/Cuba) at 4 p.m.
The event is presented in association with Restoration ARTS, with support from Humanities New York, city Department of Cultural Affairs, Poets & Writers, Inc, and assistance from Akashic Books, Blue Mango, LLC, Caribbean Film Academy, Caribbean Research Center – Medgar Evers College, Friends of the Antigua and Barbuda Public Library, Guyana Cultural Association, Jamaica Progressive League, Mosaic Literary Magazine, St. Martin Friendship Association, St. Lucia House Foundation, sx salon: a small axe literary platform, Union of Jamaica Alumni Associations; and Urban+Out.
Call (718) 783-8345 for information.
MORGAN HERITAGE LISTENING PARTY
Morgan Heritage is back in a big way with its new release “Avrakedabra” and a Manhattan album listening party on Tuesday, giving fans good taste of the latest work from the Grammy Award-winning ensemble.
The affair — presented by Digiwaxx Media, CTBC Music Group, and Red Stripe at the Mist event space, 46 W. 116th St., starting at 7 p.m. — features a question and answer session at the event. Admission is $20. For tickets, visit http://bit.ly/morganheritagealbum2017.
Morgan Heritage won the 2016 Grammy Award for Best Reggae Album for their “Strictly Roots” album.
SPRING STEEL BAND SHOW
For music fans, the CASYM Spring Concert returns today, according to the When Steel Talks website.
The annual show — featuring the CASYM Steel Orchestra, and steel pan ensembles from P.S. 161, M.S. 316 and special guest performers — will be held at Cafe Omar, 1744 Nostrand Ave., from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Admission is adults $15 and children $10. For information, call (917) 482-1503 (917) 337-5282 or (347) 678- 6801. The When Steel Talks website is covers steel pan news, history and culture worldwide. Visit www.whensteeltalks.com for information.
TRUMP MARKS CARIBBEAN MONTH
Evoking the memory and accomplishments of Alexander Hamilton, the Caribbean-born American Founding Father, President Trump issued a proclamation recognizing June as National Caribbean-American Heritage Month
“Throughout our history, Caribbean Americans have helped create and maintain the strength and independence of our Nation.” said President Trump in the May 31 statement, which spoke of Hamilton’s immigration to America and his contributions to the newly-born American nation.
“Alexander Hamilton, who came from poverty in Nevis, was a key contributor to our Constitution and the first Secretary of the Treasury, helping to establish our modern financial system and to create the United States Coast Guard,” he said.
Every day, Caribbean Americans help make America more prosperous and secure. Our Nation is particularly grateful to the many Caribbean Americans who have served and are currently serving in our Armed Forces, protecting our Nation, and promoting freedom and peace around the world. “Today, more than four million Caribbean Americans live in the United States and continue to contribute to a vibrant culture that enriches our nation,” he continued.
“I encourage all Americans to join in celebrating the history, culture, and achievements of Caribbean Americans with appropriate ceremonies and activities.”
CARIBBEAN ’30 UNDER 30′ AWARDS
The categories are varied _— such as food and beverage, art and photography, business, technology, agriculture, sustainable development — but winners of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States’ “30 Under 30 Campaign” have creativity, excellence and entrepreneurship in common, according to the OECS.
Details on a 30 Under 30 Award Ceremony will be released in the coming weeks, but the OECS Commission, through its Youth Empowerment Strategy initiative, opened nominations for the honors last November. The nominating period ended March 31.
The winners came from Antigua and Barbuda, the British Virgin Islands, the Commonwealth of Dominica, Grenada, Martinique, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines
“It is the hope that this initiative will provide the support that these young entrepreneurs need to take their businesses to the next level,” said OECS Director General Didacus Jules, explaining that the awards program are intended to bolster creativity and entrepreneurship among the region’s youth.
GOOD SPORTS IN THE USVI
For tourists to the U.S. Virgin Islands, now there’s more than sand and sun. Through deal with the National Collegiate Athletic Association, sports can be added to that traditional list of Caribbean attractions.
The USVI is now an approved destination able to host NCAA Division I sporting events — including basketball, volleyball, swimming events, soccer, lacrosse and other NCAA-sponsored sports during the summer months.
“With all 24 NCAA Division I sports teams now able to travel to the U.S. Virgin Islands for summer tours, we look forward to being part of the growth of the Paradise Jam competitions and to the possibility of hosting other NCAA sporting events,” USVI Gov. Kenneth Mapp said calling the new designation represented ab big oost for sports tourism opportunities in the U.S. territory. “This is an amazing opportunity to expand our sports tourism portfolio and our facilities.”
Gov. Mapp made the announcement late last month at a news conference at Government House on St. Thomas. Commissioner of Tourism Beverly Nicholson-Doty; Commissioner of Sports, Parks and Recreation Pedro Cruz; Assistant Commissioner of Sports, Parks and Recreation Calvert White; and Nels Hawkinson, executive director of Basketball Travelers, Inc., which runs the USVI’s annual Paradise Jam basketball tournament in November, were in attendance.
The USVI has partnered with Basketball Travelers to bring five men’s college basketball teams to the territory as early as this August. Three U.S. Division I schools — James Madison University, the University of Northern Colorado and Vanderbilt University — will visit in August for the Paradise Jam Summer Tours, along with Canada’s Carleton University and Brock University.
The Paradise Jam Summer Tours allow visiting teams to experience the natural beauty of the USVI while playing competitive out-of-season games against international opponents bringing basketball games to St. Thomas and St. Croix.
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