FIFA fines Mexico federation $10K

FIFA on Wednesday handed the Mexico Football Federation a $10,400 fine for "discriminatory and insulting chants" during a World Cup game against Germany.

The FIFA disciplinary committee handed down the 10,000 Swiss francs fine (the equivalent of $10.4k U.S.) on Wednesday for chants directed at Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer.

A source also told ESPN's Rene Tovar that if the chants continue during matches, stadium security would begin to identify and remove the offending fans from the stands.

Mexican fans have long shouted the word, which gay rights groups argue is anti-gay.

"The FIFA Disciplinary Committee has sanctioned the Mexican Football Federation (FMF) with a fine of CHF 10,000 for the misconduct of a group of Mexican fans (cf. art. 67 of the FIFA Disciplinary Code) in relation to discriminatory and insulting chants during the first half of the 2018 FIFA World Cup match played between Germany and Mexico," FIFA wrote.

FIFA also sanctioned the Serbian Football Association $10,000 "for the display of an offensive and political banner by Serbian fans during the match played between Serbia and Costa Rica."

The Mexican Football Federation, which began a campaign ahead of the World Cup to end the chant, was sanctioned 12 times for anti-gay slurs during the World Cup qualifying campaign, receiving warnings for the first two offences and fines for 10 more.

The chant was also widely heard at Mexico games in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, when FIFA took no action, but the governing body has since launched a clampdown. Other Latin American teams, including Argentina and Chile, have also been fined.

"The decision was passed after a thorough assessment of the relevant match reports, the FMF's precedents and the evidence provided, which included videos of the incidents as well as examples of certain sustainable actions taken by the FMF to raise awareness among its supporters," FIFA said. "Moreover, the Disciplinary Committee gave a warning to the FMF, who may face additional sanctions in case of repeated infringements of this type."

Although the Mexican team has appealed before for an end to the chants -- the players even released a video on the subject in 2016 -- some supporters have not relented.

Mexico striker Javier Hernandez on Wednesday appealed to his country's football fans to stop their anti-gay chanting at World Cup matches, arguing it could lead to further fines from FIFA.

Hernandez posted a message on Instagram on Wednesday asking fans to end their derogatory chants during their opponents' goal kicks.

"To all Mexican fans in the stadiums, don't shout 'pu--'," Hernandez said. "Let's not risk another sanction."

Eintracht Frankfurt midfielder Marco Fabian made a similar plea via his social media on Wednesday, retweeting the Mexico Federation's educational campaign to end the use of the chant, along with this message.

"Yes, we all know that it is not an anti-gay slur nor is it insulting. The intent is not to offend and it is meant to be teasing and part of Mexican folklore. But we also know that when we as Mexicans put our minds to something, we accomplish it. And I know that our Mexican fans in Russia will be abstaining from using this chant, correct?"

Thousands of Mexican fans have flooded into Russia for the World Cup and some chanted the abuse during the match against Germany on Sunday, prompting FIFA to announce disciplinary procedures earlier this week.

Mexico caused a major shock by beating Germany 1-0 in their opening game in Group F. They next play South Korea on Saturday. FIFA is employing three specialist observers at each World Cup match to report discriminatory behaviour by spectators.


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#BTEditorial – Glowing eulogies are not for the dead

They say Romeo does talk, but the people don’t listen to parents, politicians or priests, but the calypsonians get an ear because we are the vehicle to inform the masses.” Charles “Romeo” Smith, November 2016.

Charles Romeo Smith was laid to his eternal rest yesterday having enriched Barbados’ cultural landscape since 1963. He left many cherished memories and moments in the hearts and minds of Barbadians as well as the several colleagues with whom he would have rubbed shoulders professionally for more than five decades.

Over the years Romeo would have produced a body of work that included such gems as Scavengers from the late 1960s, the 1973 classic A Land So Dear, as well as his 1981 Pic-O-De-Crop-winning selections Brother Fuzzy and Gem Gone. Though he never won the crown again, Romeo remained a permanent fixture in Barbados’ premier cultural event - the Crop Over Festival - and gave of his music, time, advice and affection to those who sang beside him and those who watched him in the audience.

However, it is a pity that the huge volume of songs which he would have performed over the past decades is not part of a catalogue stored by calypso tents or the National Cultural Foundation for posterity. It is one of the weaknesses of our festival that many excellent songs are lost forever annually because they do not make it out of the tents in terms of recordings or due to the lack of advancement in the Pic-O-De-Crop competition.

Following Romeo’s death accolades have streamed from several sources. They have referred to his love of country, the art form, his willingness to help others, his unselfish nature, his good heart, his penchant for sharing ideas and encouraging young calypsonians, his dedication to fighting causes in the name of fellow calypsonians and his ever affable nature. During remarks following Romeo’s passing, Minister of Creative Economy, Culture and Sports John King had this to say: “I think that when the historians begin to write, that his name will be mentioned in a good place as one of the pioneers. But also if you study his work, some of the things that he sang, he used Barbadian dialect well, he used Barbadian sayings. Romeo was such a gem.” Mr King’s predecessor Mr Stephen Lashley was in similar tongue and tone, noting that Romeo would be remembered for his significant contribution to the development and enhancement of the calypso art form in Barbados and beyond. “Romeo has left an indelible mark on the history of calypso in Barbados and we applaud his selfless contribution, even during times of personal difficulty,” Lashley said.

And here is where Romeo’s story gets somewhat sad. Romeo last appeared on a calypso stage in 2008 and even then he was not 100 per cent in terms of his health. And we ask the question, what was done between 2008 and May 2018 to show this Barbadian gem how much he was appreciated? How did the Government - specifically the Ministry of Culture and the National Cultural Foundation - demonstrate the nation’s respect and admiration for this calypsonian? How did the calypso tents and fellow calypsonians with whom he was associated demonstrate that Romeo’s worth was tremendous in their estimation? How did Barbados react in this national treasure’s moments of greatest vulnerability over the last decade?

We respect and agree with all the praises which have been showered on the late Charles Romeo Smith. But did he know these things? Did Barbados officially convey its appreciation for him and his contributions to his face or within his earshot in a major way? Good or great things said in a eulogy might make the living feel warm and fuzzy but they do nothing for the deceased. Eulogies are not for the dead.

While expressing his gratitude that Barbados had honoured Anthony Gabby Carter for his contributions to calypso, Romeo once said in an interview that more calypsonians were deserving of the country’s highest honours. He noted then that Barbados’ 50th anniversary celebrations were particularly appropriate to do such as it would remind everyone of the importance of the music of Barbados. Unfortunately, it seems that our cultural performers are often placed somewhere near the bottom rungs of the ladder with respect to accolades and national recognition while politicians and to some extent academics are placed at the top. Our history is replete with too many examples of persons who have made tremendous contributions to Barbados but meaningful national recognition was often slow or late in coming. 

The likes of musician Lord Radio and sportspersons Seymour Nurse and Kathy Harper-Hall, cultural practitioner and trade unionist Nigel Harper, educators Viola Davis, Charles Pilgrim and Pamela Hinkson, attorney-at-law Robert Bobby Clarke and several others, have left an indelible mark on the lives of thousands of Barbadians and on the Barbadian tapestry. But do they know how much we appreciate them? Perhaps, this is the time to start praising them from the church steeples when they can hear, rather than do it when they lie in a box in the aisle where they can’t. 

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#BehindTheStage – Jah Reddis

1. I am the father of two children; Mykyla King and Mason King.

2. When I am not working or performing I enjoying riding bikes.

3. One artiste I would like to work with is Lil Rick.

4. I would like to experiment with different types of soca like ragga soca and dub.

5. A food I like to eat everyday is a burger with onions, cheese and bacon.

6. One of my craziest fan moments to date was watching persons cry at one of my performances.

7. I am 5 feet 11 inches tall.

8. I have released 13 songs in the space of two years.

9. One artiste I look up to Gorg because he always gave me good advice and supported my music.

10. I am also releasing a Sweet Soca song with SuperLynkz.

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Motivational Manning

Public Figure, MC and Talk Show Host, Joel Bajan DJ Khalid Manning is a 25-year-young man who is focused on empowering people by using his voice as his platform to inspire and motivate his peers and the wider society to do better.

He told Bajan Vibes that he is energetic about using his talent to influence change, “I’m passionate about speaking, whether it is motivational, hosting or being an MC. It is about using my voice the best I can to impact as many people as I can… My interest right now, strictly speaking, is being able to impact several lives.”

Joel added that even though he takes motivational speaking seriously, he’s an everyday kind of guy. “I enjoy watching crickets, sports on a whole and soca and carnival; that is a major part of my life, [I’m] just a regular human being seeking to be the best version of myself that I could be,” he said.

 So how did he get started? According to Joel, the journey wasn’t by some divine intervention but started as a simple joke.

“I was messing around on my Snapchat one morning and I was calling it ‘motivational morning with Manning’ and I was making sport and dropping various quotes that I had written down. I realized that people were taking an interest and they appreciated the openness of them,” he explained.

His motto comes from the famous comedian Kevin Hart’s words - “The goal is being popular as a human-doing and not as a human-being.” So, it wasn’t long before Joel started to take his talent seriously.

“Speaking was definitely something that [was dominant] through my entire life. From preschool right through to sixth form at Queen’s College, I would always have ‘too talkative’ [written] on my report.”

 Joel told Bajan Vibes that he launched his own TV show called Cross Talk because he wanted to utilize his creativity so that he could fully build on his brand.

Armed with only a dream and literally no budget, he launched the show. “Season 1 was an eye opener because I did not know how people would receive the show given that I was branching off on my own and I didn’t have the backing of a name. It was a pain but it was also rewarding. Given that nobody truly knew about it, I had to sell the concept hard,” he said.

Cross Talk featured interesting individuals and [it was] about diving into the topics and being able to be myself because that is one the thing I found difficult in working for a company,” Joel said.

Due to the overwhelming success of the first season, he was able to secure a major sponsor for the second season and is he now planning for season three which he said will be coming very soon.

 Joel had some advice to those who are at a crossroads education-wise, “The one thing I have found is that there is no one path, there is no one way and you do not have to figure it all out now. People think that by age 18/19 you need to know what you want to do in life; there are some people who can get that done and it works for them and [others] need to explore life.”

 He pointed to his own self as an example because he is pursuing a master’s degree in Financial Management after doing a bachelors degree in Human Resource Management.

 “There were some people who looked at me and said I seem to be all over the place and not knowing what I want to do. At one point in time that bothered me, but it doesn’t any more. I don’t mind being all over the place because my experiences contribute to who I am today,” Joel said.

 In the short term, Motivational Manning is hoping to have more speaking opportunities, and to drive home the idea of improving your personal brand.

 “I believe that, as it pertains to what’s next for me, I shall let life decide that one. Whatever opportunity presents itself, then that’s what I shall dive head first into and take it stride by stride from there.”

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Zane Corbin wins with Boat Ride

Zane Corbin received top honours at the St James Parish Independence Committee talent show when he wowed the judges with his steel pan performance of Red Plastic Bag’s Boat Ride on Saturday night at the Learning Centre, St James.

During the hour and a half long show, which showcased five acts, Corbin fought off Talibah Davis who also played the steel pan for the top spot. She did a rendition of Bless The Lord Oh My Soul.

Meanwhile, crowd favorites, the Full Hype Dancers came in third. The all-male group brought the energy to the venue as they danced to popular local songs Hit It by Gabby, Colours by Natalie and Shackle Out by Porgie and Murda.

Also making appearances were the Western United Star 4H Band and the Western United Star 4H Group. The 4H Band performed Mighty Gabby’s Emmerton while the 4H Group danced to Sanctuary’s song Mega Monday.

Saturday’s Talent Show also comprised guest performances by the St. Silas Sunday School and the Capricorn Line Dancers. The top performers have secured a place at the Zonal Parish Talent Show, slated for September 22, where they will vie for a spot to perform at the Spirit of the Nation Show.

The 2018 St James Parish Ambassadors, Ryan Herbert and Shae Coulthrust were very impressed with the talent and commended the performers on a job well done.

The pair also used the occasion to speak to the audience about their Parish Project titled, ‘St James We R.E.A.D.Y’ (Reaching Everyone Across Districts Yielding strong resilient communities). The Project focuses on disaster preparedness and the work to be done by the Ambassadors includes community clean-ups and the formation of first aid groups within the parish. Members of these groups will be first respondents in cases of emergencies.


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Visual arts for Crop Over  

For the last 24 years, Barbadians have enjoyed the masterpieces created by visual artists, both newcomers and veterans, at the Courtney Blackman Grande Salle at the Tom Adams Financial Centre headquarters of the Central Bank.

This year, that exhibition will take on a new dimension, as the former Crop Over Visual Arts Exhibition has now become the Crop Over Visual Arts Festival.

The festival element will take place on Saturday, June 30, starting at 10 a.m. The National Cultural Foundation’s Officer in charge of Visual Arts Rodney Ifill, said “This year, we will be introducing an Art Walk, stretching from Queens Park to the Church Village Green here at the Central Bank. Some 45 artists will be taking part in this festival, and we will have four booth spaces in Church Village Green and six in Queens Park. Our artists will be displaying art, craft, jewellery, and will also be demonstrating weaving, basketry and ceramics techniques. There will also be a tuk band walking around, and we will have ‘busking’ going on, along with other forms of musical entertainment.”

Chief Executive Officer of the NCF Cranston Browne added, “This festival will also allow Barbadians to discover their ‘inner artist’ and add their own creativity to a mural that will later adorn the Central Bank’s surroundings.” He also lauded the Central Bank for the 24 years they have sponsored the Visual Arts Exhibition and encouraged other businesses to follow the bank’s lead and purchase more local artwork. “This exhibition sensitizes Barbadians to the talent we have here, and as we continue to keep our cultural and creative industries at the forefront, festivals like this will be essential components of the cultural industry. I urge Barbadians to support our artists and explore art’s economic potential, and I hope the private sector will get on board and purchase pieces to display in their offices the way the Central Bank does.”

Speaking on behalf of the Central Bank, Manager of the Frank Collymore Hall Fran Wickham-Jacobs, expressed similar sentiments to Browne and noted this year’s theme was Memories - From Then Till Now. She also revealed that the bank had recently signed another three-year contract with the NCF to continue sponsoring the event.

 Following the Art Walk on June 30, Barbadians will get the opportunity to see the artwork on display from July 1 to August 4 at the Central Bank. Admission is free of cost to both the exhibition and the Art Walk. (DH)

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2018 is Jus D’s break out year

Antonio Johnson, or Jus D, as he’s commonly called, has everyone singing his tunes this Crop Over. The well-known writer-producer-singer is no stranger to the entertainment scene; he has written for a variety of Trinidadian artistes such as Ricardo Drue, Teddyson John and the Monk himself, Machel Montano.

In 2017, he had soca lovers chipping and whining down the road with his Trinidadian sweet soca hit Na Na Ni. Since then, it seems like everything Jus D touches turns to gold.

The 30-year-old talented musician has his hands quite full this season, having released four singles so far for the festival; Hole,  Manager, Only Thing She Know and Sugar featuring Faith Callendar.

Thus far, he has made it into the International Bashment Soca Competition with the infectious Manager, but this isn’t his last stop. He informed Bajan Vibes that he has his eyes set on contending for the Sweet Soca and possibly the Party Monarch titles this year.

His approach is quite surprising for a man who has made several hits behind the scenes.

“I always wanted to be one in the spotlight on the stage seeing the crowd’s reactions and my way of getting in the game was being behind the scenes. In 2016, I decided it was time to get back in front of the scene,” he disclosed, noting that his fame sky rocketed with the international interest of Na Na Ni.

“I said maybe it was my time now [to] push my own sound and myself as an artist and I decided [in] 2018, we’re going to follow up on 2017,” he added.

,In addition to writing and producing his own music this year, he has also written Fadda Fox’s Rock Dat Body, King Bubba’s Juice, Altuh Ego’s Work It and Busy Signal’s Party Heaven.

Earlier this year, he also participated in the production of the Love and Life album by Jamaican reggae artiste I-Octane. The album debuted in the top three on the Billboard Reggae Chart.

It has been endless accolades and achievements for Jus D and it shows no signs of slowing down.

“I just happen to be in a really good space and it is just song after song and everybody is just gravitating towards them. It is an amazing feeling,” he said.

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Lady Essence ‘Ruff’ Riding

Twenty-eight-year-old Shaketa Clarke, more commonly known as Lady Essence, is a full-time Bashment Soca artiste. Her 2017 song Fluffy Gal Anthem received 26,250 views since it was released on June 8, 2017. Bajan Vibes spoke with Lady Essence about her 2018 release Ruff Ryda.

Q: Who is Lady Essence?

A:  Lady Essence loves the hype and is not a shy person. She also calls a spade a spade, regardless of what people think.

Q: If you had to describe yourself in three words what would they be?

A:  I would say that I am bubbly, confident and very humble.

Q: What is one thing the public would not know about Lady Essence?

A:  One thing they may not know is that I have a fear of centipedes . . . just to call that word gives me chills.

Q: How did you become involved in music?

A: I became interested in music when I was going to Springer Memorial School. It was around sports time when the friendly rivalries against other schools were going on for the Interschool Championships. Springer was always the school targeted because all we did was win every year. So I guess the other schools were fed up and would sing chants at us. So we would write some chants to sing about the other schools, but it was clean fun. I was recognized one day at school in full assembly when my schoolmate Oliva Carter and I took the stage and did the collection of chants we had. Talk about forward! Teachers cheered us on that morning and we had the hall rocking! It was an experience that I would never forget. But music started for me from secondary school days.

Q: Looking back, how was Crop Over 2017 for you?

A:  Crop Over means a lot to me as it boosts the tourism industry and it is a season [where] once you have a hit song or a catchy enough song, you can get some gigs and gigs equals money. I also love how people live with each other around that time; it is a lot of love towards people you don’t even know. Persons just dance and sing with strangers and most of the time people are so happy. I love the music and the soca parties also.

Crop Over 2017 was good for me as [my] song Fluffy Gal Anthem was well received and I did what I wanted to do, which was to make some of the insecure “fluffies” aware to love themselves and always walk with confidence because they are all beautifully made.

Q: Are you excited for Crop Over 2018?

A:  Yes, I am very excited for Crop Over 2018. My new soca release Ruff Ryda is a Bashment Soca which was produced by Set of Pelican City Records. The song basically is [saying] if you are going to ride a bike, horse or whatever, just ruff ride and dun. Mek the thing look good man, do not be a lazy rider. I also have another release Give Dem It produced by Uprising Studios by Steppa.

Q: Will you be entering any Soca competitions this year?

A: Yes, I am looking forward to the Bashment Soca competition.

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Biting social commentary

The skills of the veteran performers stole the show at the Cave Shepherd All Stars Calypso Tent last Sunday night at the St Gabriel’s School.

The majority of the songs addressed the island’s economic woes and the 30-0 win by the Barbados Labour Party in the May 24 general elections. Calypsonian Colin Spencer created much buzz with his second-half performance of the witty and tongue in cheek kaiso, Going Where The Money Is. Spencer, who previously contested for the St George North seat under the Democratic Labour Party ticket, had the crowd in stitches when he remarked that he looked quite good in red. His delivery of the song was well executed and struck a cord with the audience who clapped in agreement and easily sang along with the melody and chorus. While his second half was on a lighter note, Spencer’s first song Come Back Father addressed tragedies that were afflicting people worldwide. He implored God to help humankind as it struggled with natural and man-made disasters.

Jude Clarke, formerly known as Hee Haw, was a force to reckon with. Based on his fiery performance, Clarke might be making it to the finals this year. His energy and charisma invigorated the audience who was captivated by his zesty performance.

He deservingly received an encore for his confident delivery of Great. The infectious melody and catchy hook sought to unite Barbadians and encourage them to be optimistic despite the country’s dire economic outlook. “We in this thing together,” Clarke sang, to a roaring applause from the crowd.

Clarke followed that outstanding performance with  How Did Wrong Things Get So Right in the second half. Bordering on controversial, the song discussed issues such as sex changes, same-sex marriages and the legislation of marijuana. The song was not as impactful as Great, nevertheless, it was another solid performance from Clarke.

Another impressive performer was De Announcer who did not hold his punches in his delivery of Glad. Dressed as a tennis player in a full red outfit and armed with a racket , he sang of how ‘Mia Williams’ grand slammed “Freundel Sharapova’.

“I am so GLAD to see the back of the DLP,” said De Announcer. After his initial performance, the crowd demanded an encore. During the second half, he sang Crop Over, a tribute to the biggest and most celebrated cultural festival of the year which is loved by thousands, including De Announcer himself.

One of the few ladies who stood out amongst the large male contingent was Donella. Her performance, melodies, diction and overall showmanship could not be faulted. Her songs We Ain’t Changing and Pray For De Children addressed societal ills. However, which discussed the alarming rise of school-based violence, was her stronger performance.

Vying for the Pic-O-De-Crop title for the first time, former Junior Monarch competitor, Raheem’s debut performance showed that he has great potential. His performance of De Bus Ride was so nice, he had to do it twice.  The animated storyteller also brought this spunkiness to the second half with his Why Vote Though not as well received, it was a satisfactory performance.

Meanwhile, Niqa gave good deliveries of her songs Still Love Barbados Bad and A Better Life. However, she lacked the dynamism needed on stage to take the song to the next level.

Also gracing the St Gabriel School stage for Father’s Day was ShawnieDe Slayer Franswa and Charisma.

During the show, Tent Manager Eleanor Rice-Watkins also honoured prominent fathers Dr Adrian Lorde, Desmond Haynes, Neville Keith Simmons and Mohammad Nassar. (KK)

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CARICOM names its first Energy Personality

As the Caribbean region recognizes the importance of sustainable energy solutions to the island chain as a whole, CARICOM has embarked on a programme to honour the people who are making significant contributions to the sector.

During the launch of its Innovation Lab and Expo at its Regional Electric Mobility Workshop this morning at the Barbados Hilton, the regional body announced Hannah Olmberg-Sousman of Suriname as the inaugural winner of its Energy Personality Award competition.

Devon Gardner, Programme Manager for Energy at the CARICOM secretariat, stated that “During Energy Month last November, we made the decision to honour some of the people whose work in recent times has been making a significant impact on the regional energy landscape.”

In all, there were seven nominees for the award. Along with Mrs Olmberg-Sousman, they included Dr Indra Aratsingh, Jonathan Barcant and Adrian Thomas from Trinidad and Tobago; Joshua Hunte from Barbados; Ruth Spencer from Antigua and Barbuda, and Angella Beckford from Jamaica.

Mrs. Olmberg-Sousman, a lawyer by profession, was recognized for her work in bringing electricity to the indigenous people in her native Suriname, and her commitment to empowering women in that segment of the society. Visibly humbled and overwhelmed when she was announced the winner, she spoke about the work she has been doing since 2011. 

”My husband and I, along with another partner, started a company called Guguplex Technologies, which has the slogan “Light is Life”, and we install solar powered electricity systems for indigenous people living in the rural areas of Suriname who never had access to this service before. The most significant thing I have done in my career so far is when I personally had to install an electrical system in the company of two other women. Normally, I ‘hide behind my husband’  with those technical projects, but everything went smoothly and the people actually applauded us when the lights went on for the first time!”

She added that she is actively involved in mentoring young women. “I am an Ambassador for the Y network of the Clinton Foundation, and my mentee this year lives in Barbados and has been doing some significant work here.”

 Gardner added that the Energy Personality honour will become an annual event and vowed that CARICOM would not forget the pioneers in the energy sector. “We know there are many people who have worked diligently in this field for decades, and eventually we will consider honouring them with Lifetime Achievement Awards.” (DH)

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