Caribbean’s #1 Music Business Conference Returns in August

PORT OF SPAIN — The Artiste Management Music Business Conference (AMMBCON), the Caribbean’s #1 music business conference, is now open for registration at

Scheduled for August 19-21, 2015 at University of Trinidad and Tobago’s North Port of Spain Campus, AMMBCON designed panels and workshops to offer artistes, producers, songwriters and managers with practical, action-oriented advice and solutions to the problems they’re facing. Topics range from how to market yourself effectively, how manage bookings, how jumpstart songwriting creativity, and how to produce ear-catching music.

The Codrington Pan Family (AMMBCon Photo)
The Codrington Pan Family (AMMBCon Photo)

“We know you may be thinking ‘another music conference?’” said ASK Promotions/AMMBCON CEO Stephen Howard. “But this isn’t one of those events where industry insiders preach and artistes walk away with little to help them move to the next level. AMMBCON is open to all Caribbean artistes who want to gain control over their music careers and make money in today’s entertainment world.”

AMMBCON 2015 features top music experts from renowned organizations such as:
· Grammy Recording Academy
· South by Southwest (SXSW)
· YouTube
· The Bellamy Group
· Platinum Productions & Media
· After Touch Music
· WOMEX, Piranha Arts
· CidaCo
· Vibe Magazine

For as little as $500 TTD participants get three days of mind-blowing sessions and a chance to showcase for a chance to perform at music events throughout the world – like South by Southwest (SXSW) 2016 in Austin, Texas.

SXSW Booking Programmer Todd Puckhaber has been an AMMBCON panelist the last two years and credits his decision to create the only country-specific showcase for Trinidad & Tobago at SXSW 2015 to his participation at the conference.

“Without AMMBCON, I doubt I would have been exposed to T&T talent,” Puckhaber said. “There is a lot of undiscovered talent in the Caribbean and AMMBCON seems to be one of the few organizations trying to develop talent for the international market.”

Roger Corbin, CEO of Platinum Productions & Media, says AMMBCON’s ability to give artistes a platform to display their talent is a major benefit.

“AMMBCON impresses me with its ability to connect with the community and give the talented artiste an opportunity to learn about the entertainment business and a platform to display their talent,” Corbin said. “It’s an outlet to showcase the local talent to a global audience and present them with the necessary tools for success in a very competitive industry.”

Check out for full registration and conference information or call 1-868-341-7896.

Saint Lucia to Host Third “LOVE Elevated” Wedding Symposium

Five-Day Event for Travel Agents and Wedding Planners Showcases Saint Lucia
as an Ideal Backdrop for Destination Weddings

CASTRIES, Saint Lucia – From September 23 – 27, 2015, Saint Lucia will host a roster of wedding experts during the third annual “LOVE Elevated” Wedding Symposium. New this year, a panel of real brides who were married on the island will share their destination wedding experiences and first-hand advice with attendees.

“Recognized worldwide as the ‘Most Romantic Island in the Caribbean,’ Saint Lucia has a natural ambiance for weddings and romance,” said Louis Lewis, director of tourism for the Saint Lucia Tourist Board. “By providing truly useful information to attendees about destination weddings, the Wedding Symposium builds Saint Lucia’s reputation as a premier location for weddings as well as provides opportunities for our island partners to better understand the market.”

Noted speakers will also address the latest trends and topics ranging from “What’s New and Trending in the Industry,” “Using Social Media to Enhance Destination Weddings and Increase Sales,” to “Why Saint Lucia” and “Surviving a Destination Wedding,” providing insights to planning and hosting the perfect wedding on the island.

Panelists and speakers include:

• Michelle Myers, chief revenue officer and publisher of BRIDES, launched Brides Live Wedding, a crowd sourced, live-streamed wedding curated by Brides, which garnered nearly one billion impressions and enabled her to successfully monetize social media. Prior to Brides, Ms. Myers served as vice president and publisher of Lucky magazine and was the founding publisher of People StyleWatch.
• David Beahm, founder and president of David Beahm Design, has drawn from experience with New York’s top florists and special event designers, as well as formal training in theater, television and grand opera, to become one of New York’s top event designers. A favorite of celebrities, socialites and the fashion world, his work on Catherine Zeta-Jones and Michael Douglas’s wedding was featured in magazines and news shows internationally and touted as the “The Wedding of the Century.” Town & Country magazine has called him “one of New York’s extremely design savvy” talents. His company, David Beahm Design, produces events the world over.
• Alan Berg has been named “North America’s Leading Expert on the Business of Weddings & Events.” Berg’s experience ranges from publisher of two wedding magazines, to vice president of sales at The Knot, and now, a contributing Education Guru for WeddingWire, the leading wedding technology company. He also speaks and consults for WeddingsOnline in Ireland, Dubai and India, as well as Guides For Brides in the United Kingdom.
• Andrea McDowell, previously a TV director for the BBC, is the founder and managing director of the wedding videography company Shoot it Yourself. The company launched five years ago and is the United Kingdom’s largest wedding videography company, producing over 350 wedding videos a year.

romance-heartThe festivities include site visits to unique wedding destinations and hotels around the island, a showcase of island wedding vendors, and the opportunity for attendees to observe a sunset wedding aboard the Pearl Pirate Ship. A picturesque sunset cruise and cocktail reception from the southern side of the island with views of the iconic UNESCO World Heritage Pitons round out weekend activities.

Priced at US $250 per person, the five-day Symposium includes all seminars, social events, site inspections and transportation from select hotels. For a complete schedule and more information, visit

For more information about the island of Saint Lucia, call 1-800-456-3984, 1-888-4STLUCIA or visit

From farm to fork: Improving Nutrition in the Caribbean

Canadian and Caribbean researchers to participate in the Caribbean Week of Agriculture

cwa2013GEORGETOWN, Guyana – Researchers from universities in Canada and the Caribbean will discuss improvements in the region’s agriculture and nutrition during the Caribbean Week of Agriculture (CWA2013): Linking the Caribbean for Regional Food and Nutrition Security and Rural Development, to be held in Guyana, October 4-12, 2013.

Since 2011, researchers from the University of the West Indies in Trinidad and Tobago and McGill University in Canada have been working together to improve to improve food production in the region, as well as the nutrition and health of CARICOM populations. The project is funded under the Canadian International Food Security Research Fund (CIFSRF), a CA$124 million program that supports partnerships between Canadian and developing-country researchers to increase food security through applied research in agriculture and nutrition.

The From farm to fork: improving nutrition in the Caribbean project seeks to address rising obesity rates in the region, due in large part to the limited attention Caribbean countries have paid to local food production. As a result, there is a high dependence on imports of high-calorie, low-nutrition foods. This has created a paradox of obesity and poor nutrition, which threatens people’s health throughout the region.

Results to date are promising. Children in Trinidad and Tobago and St. Kitts and Nevis are receiving improved school meals that contain vegetables and fruit produced by local farmers. By adopting water management techniques such as drip irrigation and mulching, crop production has increased. Farmers have also diversified their crops. These and other research results will be presented during the two-day workshop Coming Soon: A Healthier, Food Secure Caribbean: Improving Nutrition and Health of CARICOM Population, Oct. 10-11.

IDRC will also participate in the CWA2013 exhibition and trade show. Journalists are invited to visit the interactive CIFSRF CARICOM Food Security Project booth to learn more about the work that the research teams are carrying out in Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, St. Kitts and Nevis, and St. Lucia.

Experts from IDRC, McGill University, and the University of the West Indies will be available for interviews before and during CWA2013.

Journalists and the public can join in the conversation through Twitter (#IDRC and #CWA2013) and Facebook.

For more information, visit

Putting research to work

Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC) funds practical research in developing countries to increase prosperity and security, and to foster democracy and the rule of law, in support of Canada’s international development efforts. We promote growth and development and encourage sharing knowledge with policymakers, other researchers, and communities around the world. The result is innovative, lasting solutions that aim to bring change to those who need it most.


CIFSRF is a CA$124.5 million program of Canada’s International Development Research Centre, undertaken with the financial support of the Government of Canada provided through Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada. CIFSRF supports applied research partnerships between Canadian and developing-country organizations to find lasting solutions to hunger and food insecurity. It is a core element of Canada’s Food Security Strategy.

Richard Branson’s Gift to LIAT and How You Can Overcome Negative Press

Liat exteriorbranding2
Official LIAT (1974) Limited photo

Montserrat – As someone that grew up flying on the Caribbean airline LIAT, I hesitantly clicked that now famous link to Richard Branson’s tweet to find out what an irate passenger had to say about them. While quite funny, the letter which you can read in full below highlighted some now familiar experiences that many have had or heard tales about.
It is the reason the airline’s acronym has come to mean many things such as Late If A’Tall (in Antiguan vernacular); Leave Island Any Time; or Luggage in Another Terminal.

However, LIAT is not the first and won’t be the only airline to ever get bad press. In fact, the story stemmed from the fact that Branson has had a negative letter about his own airline’s cuisine in the past.

We don’t usually like getting negative feedback but even negative feedback can be good. In fact, customer feedback should be viewed as your friend. In support of continuous improvement, feedback gives you evidence of what you are doing wrong or doing right. In a world where the bad is celebrated in the same or in greater proportion to the good, a situation such as this could possibly be the gift you need to push your business to the next level.

In this molten world of social media, you also don’t have days and weeks to go out and create a marketing strategy to combat negative press. You’ve got to move and respond in a way that says you are listening to your customers and are always ready to provide a solution to the problem.

Read the letter from Arthur Hicks here and then further on to ways you turn bad press to good use for your business.

Dear LIAT,
May I say how considerate it is of you to enable your passengers such an in-depth and thorough tour of the Caribbean.

Most other airlines I have travelled on would simply wish to take me from point A to B in rather a hurry. I was intrigued that we were allowed to stop at not a lowly one or two but a magnificent six airports yesterday. And who wants to fly on the same airplane the entire time? We got to change and refuel every step of the way!

I particularly enjoyed sampling the security scanners at each and every airport. I find it preposterous that people imagine them all to be the same. And as for being patted down by a variety of islanders, well, I feel as if I’ve been hugged by most of the Caribbean already.

I also found it unique that this was all done on “island time,” because I do like to have time to absorb the atmosphere of the various departure lounges. As for our arrival, well, who wants to have to take a ferry at the end of all that flying anyway? I’m glad the boat was long gone by the time we arrived into Tortola last night — and that all those noisy bars and restaurants were closed.

So thank you, LIAT. I now truly understand why you are “The Caribbean Airline.”

P.S. Keep the bag. I never liked it anyway.

Hmm, Hurts just reading it…

LIAT-airlineHere are some six ways you can turn bad press to good use for your business:

1. Acknowledge the complaint. This particular letter was printed in April and we don’t know if it was ever acknowledged by the airline. Responding kindly to a letter from an unhappy customer sends the message that they were heard and they are important to you. Whether it was posted on your social media account, to a newspaper or directly to your company, let that customer know that you received it and if possible what steps you are taking to rectify the issue they raised.

2. Mine your complaints and bad press for gold. If you find a recurring theme in the messages you receive about your company’s service, then it is time to do something to improve it. To continue to ignore highlighted issues leaves room for more tweets and viral letters such as this and most definitely to the loss of valuable customers.

This irate customer managed to touch just about every major issue that the airline has been known for over the years. For the Caribbean people in my social media circle, it was both the sense of shame that it had been made public in such a massive way, but there was also total understanding as it has become an expected experience for anyone choosing to travel on the airline. Review your customer service policy, rates, products, whatever is the critical focus, find ways to improve it and let people know when you do.

3. Talk back publically. The message was made public so you do the same. This is not the time to ignore or be offended. Certainly do not go on the defensive about the negative stories. Now that it’s been shared millions of times, people want to know what you plan to do to rectify it. Respond to queries posted on your social media pages, and if a press conference is an option, organise one which can help you clear up a negative issue and clarify any erroneous information published.

4. Make an offer to your now expanded audience. Now, at the start of the long school break, many are deciding whether to make that trip to a neighbouring island. This is a great opportunity for the airline to celebrate those 21 Caribbean destinations that many of the rewritten articles pointed to. This story was shared the world over and many may have never been to the Caribbean; what a great time to introduce them to the islands and the positive experiences they can have here. No matter your business, you can make an offer to your clients to show them you know they are listening and watching and you are prepared to be the solution and not the problem.

5. Get satisfied customers to talk about your company. Social media allows you to hear directly from the people using your service. This is now a preferred source that other people check to find out if your product is worth it. Before purchasing a product, I always check what other customers are saying and how they rate a book, a new set of pots or electronics. Create spaces for your happy customers to talk back to you and then share those positive words and images with your audience. Happy customers willing to tell their story are worth more than full-paged ads and flashy commercials.

6. When in doubt get help. Maybe all of this has been overwhelming for you and you are also not comfortable with the press, a public relations firm or brand management specialist can assist you in turning a negative story into a golden opportunity.

About the author:

Nerissa Golden is the owner of goldenmedia, a public relations and marketing firm. She is the author of The Making of a Caribbeanpreneuer: Strategies for Overcoming Fear and Building Wealth. Follow her on twitter @trulygolden and get more great tips on