Antiguan Author Releases Award-Winning Novel, Musical Youth

MUSICAL_YOUTH_Cover-webBASSETERRE, St. Kitts – Teen readers in the Caribbean and the world will have one more book to read this week when the award-winning Musical Youth by Antiguan and Barbudan author Joanne C. Hillhouse is released. The book, which placed second in the 2014 Burt Award for Caribbean Literature, follows one eventful summer in the life of a group of Antiguan teenagers. According to the book’s blurb, guitarist Zahara and Shaka, a musical genius find love and challenges as they take part in a musical that they must get right by the end of the summer. Readers will be drawn in by the book’s cast of interesting characters and will love the musical thread that runs through the story.
The Burt Award for Caribbean Literature is administered by CODE, a Canadian NGO with 55 years of experience supporting literacy and learning in Canada and around the world. As a second place winner of this award, Musical Youth will be distributed throughout the Caribbean to libraries and similar learning institutions. In addition, CODE supports professional development of writers and libraries. One of the first events connected to Musical Youth will be a free workshop for adult and teen writers this November in Antigua. The first place winner is A-dZiko Simba Gegele of Jamaica with her novel All Over Again and third place was won by Jamaican author Colleen Smith-Denis with her novel Inner City Girl.
“This is an important book,” comments a representative of the publisher, CaribbeanReads Publishing, “because Caribbean teens will be able to see themselves in the young people in the story and relate to it. There are few books that achieve this goal and that’s why we are so excited to be a part of this and of Joanne’s success.”
On their website, the administrators of the BURT Award describe the book as follows: “Musical Youth is a beautifully crafted novel with the leitmotiv of music running throughout it. This is a powerful and credible story of young love between two likeable heroes.”

Joanne C Hillhouse, author of Musical Youth. (Emile Hill Photo)
Joanne C Hillhouse, author of Musical Youth. (Emile Hill Photo)

This is Joanne C. Hillhouse’s fifth publication. She has won fellowships to Breadloaf, Callalloo, and the Caribbean Fiction Writers Summer Institute and has been awarded a UNESCO prize as well as the David Hough Literary Prize. She runs the Wadadli Pen Writing Programme to nurture and showcase creative works by young writers in Antigua and Barbuda. Her other publications include The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, Fish Outta Water, and Oh Gad!
Musical Youth is available online on Amazon in both print and kindle formats and in some bookstores. Learn more about Musical Youth and the author Joanne C. Hillhouse at .

About CaribbeanReads
CaribbeanReads is a boutique publishing company which provides affordable modern literature for children and young adults which engages the imagination and celebrates our heritage.
For more information contact: Carol Mitchell –

60 Women to get Free Mammograms after annual Pink Ribbon Charity Week

BRADES, Montserrat  – Sixty more women on Montserrat will now be able to receive free mammograms following another successful fundraising campaign organized by Caribscan and the Pink Ribbon Charity.

The fifth annual Pink Ribbon Walk ended on Saturday evening after more than 190 men, women and children took the almost one-hour trek from Lookout Community Centre to The Lyme in Brades, where another 100 people were waiting. During a short closing ceremony, organizer Sonia Charles of Caribscan said this had been quite an emotional week as she was touched by the tremendous support that she’d received at each event created to bring awareness to breast health and to raise money for the Pink Ribbon Charity.

Sonia Charles, owner of Caribscan, the main sponsor of the Pink Ribbon Charity gives Dr Eumel Samuel of Belmont Clinic Antigua a cheque of EC$9,000 which will allow 60 women from Montserrat to get free mammograms on Saturday, October 11, 2014 at The Lyme in Brades. (Goldenmedia Photo)
Sonia Charles, owner of Caribscan, the main sponsor of the Pink Ribbon Charity gives Dr Ronnie Samuel of Belmont Clinic Antigua a cheque of EC$9,000 which will allow 60 women from Montserrat to get free mammograms on Saturday, October 11, 2014 at The Lyme in Brades. (Goldenmedia Photo)

The Pink Ribbon Charity Barbecue on Wednesday kicked off the activities with 62 people enjoying a tasty meal at Olveston House. The charity had initially planned for 45 people but as the demand grew they were able to sell more tickets, the proceeds of which go to the fund. The Breakfast & Cake Sale on Saturday morning was also well supported by the community.

To date more than 120 women have benefited from the fund and over the next few weeks, 60 more women will be able to travel to Antigua to have the mammograms conducted at the Belmont Clinic. Charles expressed thanks to Dr Eumel Samuel and his team from the clinic who have given the charity a 50% reduction in fees to allow the women of Montserrat to get the tests which could save lives.

The Ministry of Communications & Works was also commended for its generous offer of a $100 roundtrip ferry fare for women holding vouchers to take get the screening in Antigua.

Honourable Minister of Health Delmaude Ryan told the gathering as there is “still no clear cause for breast cancer, the answer to its control lies in our hands. Literally. Early detection, through self-examination, clinical screening, and mammography screening have proven positive results.”

Minister Ryan also said the “Government and people of Montserrat are very grateful for the partnership of Caribscan and the Belmont Clinic, in providing opportunities for women on Montserrat to have mammogram tests through this initiative. The Government of Montserrat, through the Ministry of Health pledges its continued commitment to any initiative that promotes breast cancer awareness and control. We will continue to strengthen our public health systems to increase programmes that contribute to total healthcare to include breast cancer awareness in Montserrat.”

Sonia Charles commended the board of the Pink Ribbon Charity and all of the companies and individuals who donated their time and resources to making the week a success. This included John and Yvette Ryan of The Lyme who has been an annual supporter of the walk and fundraising BINGO, Fly Montserrat, the Ministry of Health, Education & Social Services, the Ministry of Communications and Works, The Montserrat Reporter, MNI Alive, ZJB Radio Montserrat, and Goldenmedia.

Women are encouraged to call 496-6248 if they already possess vouchers or wish to register to receive one in order to get their mammograms done.

Find photos from the Pink Ribbon Week on

Grow Your Business by Upgrading your Product Packaging

Brands-RawOrganic-Wedges This Raw Island brand caught my eye recently at the V.C. Bird International Airport in Antigua. I love coconut and here it was packaged as Raw Organic Shredded Coconut ready for use in some sugar cake or my favourite coconut tart.

The brand also featured coconut oil, organic coconut wedges and a coconut butter in the display.

I’m always excited to see locally made products presented well. You can immediately up-level the value and perceived value of your product by packaging it in an attractive way.

The colours were simple and the writing clear. The white on black background with a bold font told me what I was buying and the see-throw bottles and containers meant I could look at it too.Brands-RawOrganic-ANU

I took the photos not only to blog about it but to find out more about the company. From the Facebook page I realise there are even more products and locations where the brand can be found on Antigua. With proper packaging your products can go from the corner store to the main shops and locations with plenty of traffic.

It also works to your benefit when shipping overseas and people can clearly read what are the ingredients and other information necessary to gain entry in new markets.

You may think it is an expense you cannot afford to have but if you are ready to push your business to new levels of growth then you must make the investment to present your product in a way which will appeal to the market. If you are concerned about going it alone. Seek out your local business development office or Chamber of Commerce to find out about other companies who may want to invest in packaging but are unable to do it alone. It is possible to team up to buy equipment or order supplies which can be designed for your different needs.

Your packaging is the first impression people will have of your product. Your business’ success is worth the investment.

Visit Raw Island Products.

Antigua Telecoms Minister Lauds Columbus International Inc. and CXC MOU

Antigua & Barbuda’s Minister of State for Information and Communications, Dr. Edmond Mansoor (Laune Isaac Photo)
Antigua & Barbuda’s Minister of State for Information and Communications, Dr. Edmond Mansoor (Laune Isaac Photo)

FREEPORT, THE BAHAMAS – Antigua & Barbuda’s Minister of State for Information and Communications, Dr. Edmond Mansoor, on Thursday, September 05, 2013 lauded the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between Columbus International Inc. (Columbus) and the Caribbean Examination Council (CXC).

Dr. Mansoor called CXC Registrar, Dr. Didacus Jules, and corporate vice president of sales and marketing for Columbus, Rhea Yaw Ching, change agents at the helm of revolutionising education for all ages across the Caribbean.

“The absolute epicentre of changing Caribbean civilisation, is through education,” the minister stated. “To make this happen,” he added, “We need broadband as an absolute minimum to every household, every student, and every government agency. It is the economic currency of the future. We are very interested as a government in Columbus’ vision of piping fibre to the home.”

The new MOU outlines three key areas that Columbus will support the work of the CXC.

  • To enhance CXC’s technological capacity to help bring needed innovation to the delivery of its education products and services in the Caribbean;
  • To foster the development of indigenous educational content through the use of technology; and
  • To enable broad dissemination of educational content relevant to the Caribbean.

Dr. Jules acknowledged the importance of the occasion, which brings together two organisations with complimentary goals. The collaboration, he noted, would allow for CXC to elevate and privilege Caribbean knowledge adding that Columbus was giving the regional examination body the infrastructure to disseminate indigenous content in a digital space.

Since starting operations in 2005, Columbus is one of the fastest growing companies in the region with USB$1.3 in assets and a capital investment of over USB$1.1. The Company operates one of the most advanced broadband networks in the region, spanning 42 nations with operations in 8 Caribbean countries.

Rhea Yaw Ching said the MOU fits squarely in the company’s vision for the region. “We are making sure that Columbus can create the capacity to enable the creativity.”

Flow-Morning Event-0072
Corporate Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Columbus Communications Rhea Yaw Ching and CXC Registrar Dr. Didacus Jules sign a MOU on Thursday, September 5, 2013. (Laune Isaac Photo)

The Columbus executive acknowledged the work of their strategic partner BrightPath Foundation, which is a key player in the regional push to mobilize young people to embrace technology, not as consumers but as creators of mobile apps, instructional games, movies, and other positive content which reflects the Caribbean experience.

BrightPath, Dr. Jules noted, is providing the hands on expertise to enable the CXC to manifest its vision of providing more educational solutions, which solve real world challenges, and prepares students to operate in a changing and increasingly competitive world.

The CXC Registrar explained that the next step in actualising the MOU would be for an assessment of the capacity of Columbus and CXC. The new alliance will support their access to increased bandwidth, installation of fibre optic wiring in the new headquarters and the establishment of a new eMarking process.

About Columbus:

Columbus International Inc. is a privately held diversified telecommunications company based in Barbados. The Company provides digital cable television, broadband Internet and digital landline telephony in Trinidad, Jamaica, Barbados, Grenada and Curacao under the brand name FLOW and in St. Lucia, St. Vincent & the Grenadines and Antigua under the brand name Karib Cable. Columbus also provides corporate data and cloud based services under the brand Columbus Business Solutions. Through its wholly owned subsidiary, Columbus Networks, the Company provides capacity and IP services, corporate data solutions and data center hosting throughout 42 countries in the greater Caribbean, Central American and Andean region. Through its fully protected, ringed submarine fiber optic network spanning close to 42,300 km and its 26,400 km terrestrial fibre and coaxial network, Columbus’ 2,400 plus professionals provide advanced telecom services to a diverse residential and corporate client base of over 550,000 customers.Visit

About CXC:

The Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) is the leading provider of examinations for secondary schools in the Caribbean; providing a suite of examinations to 16 English-speaking territories and three Dutch-speaking islands. Established in 1972, CXC offered its first examinations for the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) in 1979. Nineteen years later, in 1998 CXC introduced the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE). Over the last five years, CXC introduced the Caribbean Certificate of Secondary Level Competence (CCSLC) and the Caribbean Vocational Qualification (CVQ) to cater to students with a wider range of abilities. In 2012, the Caribbean Primary Exit Assessment (CPEA) was introduced to help pupils transition smoothly from primary to secondary school.

CXC has two operational centres, the Headquarters located in Barbados, which is headed by the Registrar and Western Zone Office located in Jamaica, headed by the Pro Registrar.

Media Contact:

Solange Bethart, Communications Specialist, Columbus,
Cleveland Sam, CXC Public Information Officer, (246) 227-1892,