Caribbeat: Grenada sprint star Kirani James inks deal

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Republished with permission from the Sunday, January 29 edition of the New York Daily News

Kirani James of Grenada, world champion in the 400-meter run, will be making a dash for top honors at the 2012 London Olympics and taking the Caribbean’s LIME telecommunications company along for the ride.

LIME, the region’s largest cell phone provider, announced last week that James has signed a three-year deal to represent the company in the Caribbean.

Calling LIME a “prestigious, unique and loyal brand,” James said it was a “no-brainer for him to push through this deal.”

Governor General Sir Carlisle Glean and Sports Minister Patrick Simmons and other island VIPs attended the signing agreement.

“LIME has had a long relationship with Kirani, through various avenues including sponsoring his home-club, Speedzone and through its now four-year sponsorship of the LIME Carifta games in which Kirani rose to prominence,” said Sheldon Keens-Douglas, regional head of sponsorship for LIME.

He added that “Kirani will support some of LIME’s ventures in the region, will make personal appearances on behalf of the company and feature in some of its regional campaigns.”

James — a sprinting phenomenon as a youth — attended the University of Alabama and won back-to-back NCAA outdoor titles before defeating American LaShawn Merritt to win the 400-meter run at the World Athletics Championships in Daegu, South Korea, last August.

Trading in on Eastern Caribbean tourism

The St. Maarten Annual Regional Trade Show (SMART), promoting tourism and tourism ventures in the Eastern Caribbean, is coming to St. Maarten May 16 through 18.

Tourism firms from St. Maarten, St. Martin, Anguilla, Antigua, Barbuda, the British Virgin Islands, Dominica, Guadaloupe, Montserrat, Saba, St. Barthes, St. Eustatius and St. Kitts and Nevis are scheduled to take part in the show, being held at the Radisson Blue Resort, Marina & Spa.

Visit shta.com/smart for information.

Irwine Clare gets another hat

Jamaican-American Irwine Clare, known for his work with Caribbean Immigrant Services and the Team Jamaica Bickle athletes’ hospitality initiative, is wearing another hat — he’s been named as a member of the U.S. North East Diaspora Advisory Board.

The board, chaired by Jamaica’s Minister of State in Foreign Affairs and Trade, serves as a liaison between the government and the Jamaican Diaspora.

Clare, who assumed office last week, is the first board member elected in the United States. Previous members were elected at conferences in Jamaica. He replaces Patrick Beckford, who will remain as board chairman until the regional conference is held later this year.

“Irwine is well known in the entire U.S. N.E. community through his advocacy and charitable work, most notably with Team Jamaica Bickle,” said Beckford. “He is a great replacement for me. As partners for the Diaspora, we will be collaborating and uniting our efforts on behalf of the Diaspora and by extension Jamaica.”

Set to celebrate St. Lucia’s freedom

St. Lucians in New York are gearing up for their independence day and the February 25 independence gala, which will be hosted by the St. Lucia House Foundation at Grand Prospect Hall, 263 Prospect Avenue (between Fifth and Sixth Avenues) in Brooklyn.

The February 13 deadline to submit an ad for the gala’s commemorative journal is approaching. For a rate card and information, send email to the St. Lucia House Foundation at sluhouse.correspondence@gmail.com

Courses for financial and home buying basics

The Bedford Central Community Development Corp. and Medgar Evers College’s School of Continuing Education are getting back to financial basics and offering courses on financial literacy, affordable home buying and other sessions.

And the courses can be part of a Financial Literacy Certificate Program.

All sessions will be held on Saturdays from noon to 3 p.m.

Designed to give participants a needed edge in these tough economic times, the financial literacy course will cover the basic of money matters including how individuals and families can better manage their income and investments. The course will be held on February 4, 11, and 18.

Learn about opportunities for first-time home buyers and the home buying process at the Affordable Home Purchasing session on February 4, 11 and 18. Cost is $95 for the three sessions.

The Investing for Moderate Income Investors course will be held on February 25 and March 3. The cost is $85 for the two sessions.

Estate Planning will be covered in a March 10 session. The cost is $75.

And there will be a Financial Planning and Budgeting course held on March 17 and 24. It’s $95 for the two sessions.

Register online for any of the courses at www.mec.cuny.edu/ACE or call (718) 804-8850 for information on the Financial Literacy Certificate Program.

Allen Stanford’s $7 billion fraud trial starts

Once upon a time in Antigua, all eyes were on Texas businessman R. Allen Stanford. Through substantial investment and business dealings, he became so popular he was knighted by the Antiguan government.

Last week a Houston federal court, Stanford began his fraud trial for allegedly running an enormous, 20-year long Ponzi scheme that made him more than $7 billion.

Last week, the jury saw a 2008 video showing the defendant criticizing “damn greed” on Wall Street, according to Bloomberg News.

“People are stupid, they’re greedy, they’re lazy, they don’t stick to their core values,” Stanford said in the video recorded at a gathering of Stanford Financial Group Co. executives in Miami. “We’re different,” he added.

MoCADA makes finals of national ArtPlace funding project

MoCADA is a finalist! MoCADA  –  the Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts – will get support from ArtPlace, a novel collaboration of private and public institutions, which provides grants and loans

MoCADA joins 128 other organizations in 68 cities working to transform their communities by driving vibrancy through investments in the arts.

“This new round of applications shows that there is serious momentum building for creative placemaking (the multi-faceted approach to the planning, design and management of public spaces) in the U.S.,” says Carol Coletta, president of ArtPlace.

“These artists and designers are an undervalued asset for kick-starting momentum in our communities. And in this economy, it’s hard to imagine why any community wouldn’t deploy every asset it has for success.”

ArtPlace expects to distribute $15 million in 2012. Visit www.artplaceamerica.org/2012finalists for a full list of finalists.

China bank backing another project in the Bahamas

There’s a new bridge and port coming to the Bahamas with help from China’s state-owned Export-Import Bank, the Associated Press reported.

The bank will provide a $41 million loan for the bridge and port on Abaco Island in the northern Bahamas in a plan unanimously approved Thursday by the House of Assembly. The port will include commercial berths, a private marina, space for warehouses, a port administration building and a public park.

“This project will relieve pressure and accommodate future growth for the island,” Environment Minister Earl Deveaux.

The new $6.5 million Little Abaco Bridge will allow the government to remove the causeway connecting Great and Little Abaco and restore natural flow to the mangrove forest and other natural habitat in the area, he said. Both the new port and the Little Abaco Bridge are expected to be finished by November 2013.

China’s Export-Import Bank is also providing the financing for Baha-Mar, a $2.6 billion resort complex in the Cable Beach area of New Providence, which will include four hotels, a golf course and what’s being touted as the largest casino in the Caribbean. Baha-Mar will be largely built by China State Construction Engineering Co., which will import thousands of Chinese workers for the project.