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U.S. Virgin Islander Promotes Hometown in New York

Sambala Boyd -USVI Tourism

Sambala Boyd (left) alongside Frances-Anne Solomon of CaribbeanTales Worldwide Distribution in Brooklyn during Caribbean Week in New York.

NEW YORK – The diplomatic center of the world New York sees hundreds of ambassadors attending the United Nations headquarters, but last week there was a different type of ambassador in town from the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Sambala Boyd was the United States Virgin Islands Department of Tourism’s Ambassador and his primary function was to share the warmth of the Caribbean islands with his fellow New York residents.

To make it even more notable “Ambassador” Boyd is actually a New Yorker originally from the USVI. He was appointed by the USVI tourism authorities for an unusual term – one week. But for a very big one – the Caribbean Tourism Organization‘s Caribbean Week in New York.

Boyd responded to a Department of Tourism social media essay contest on Facebook which asked U.S. Virgin Islanders living in New York what makes them great USVI Ambassadors and what it means to represent their hometown in North America.

Boyd, a talented singer, songwriter and model, nailed his ambassadorship with an inspiring essay. “I am obligated to share this extension of my culture – this belief that a smile, good morning, good day or good evening can warm hearts and yes even change lives. These are simple things to display to the world and New York, yet they are the strongest aspects of my Virgin Islands culture,” Boyd penned.

The youth envoy who believes that “a nation’s culture resides in the hearts and in the soul of its people” attended the Rhythms of the Caribbean Ball at The Plaza this month with special guest Dr. Anissa Moody, a New York area-based psychologist and fellow U.S. Virgin Islander.

“It was a night to remember. The elegance, entertainment and education about the state of our Caribbean tourism industry was welcome. I thank the Department of Tourism for this amazing opportunity,” recalled Boyd.

USVI Commissioner of Tourism, Beverly Nicholson-Doty, thanked the young ambassador for his passion and encouraged nationals across the diaspora to continue recommending their homeland for a vacation experience.

“We are thankful to Sambala and to our islanders all over the world – you are true ambassadors and are truly valuable to our tourism product and experience,” she declared.

During the week, Boyd – who is working on his debut album “Faith, Hope and Love”, also attended the inaugural CaribbeanTales New York Film Showcase, which brought the curtain down on the 2011 edition of Caribbean Week in New York.

By: United States Virgin Islands Department of Tourism

Caribbean Artists Among the World’s Best, Says Tourism Chief

NEW YORK – The head of the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) declared his organization supports the arts because Caribbean artists are among the best in the world.

Hugh Riley, the CTO’s Secretary General, applauded the work of CaribbeanTales Worldwide Distribution, producers of last weekend’s New York Film Showcase, for profiling the talent of the Caribbean and preserving the region’s story-telling culture.

Addressing the opening of the CaribbeanTales New York Film Showcase last Saturday in Brooklyn, Riley explained his organization supports the cultural industries because Caribbean’s artistes, writers and filmmakers are among the most skilled story tellers in the world.

“At CTO we focus a great deal of our time, energy and attention on marketing the Caribbean as the world’s premier warm weather tourism destination … we do it for the social and economic benefit of the people of the Caribbean – (however) to truly benefit our citizens we need to understand their stories and to tell them with power, persuasion and passion,” asserted Riley.

The tourism chief contended that in today’s era of social media and cutting edge telecommunications “if you really want to move from conversation to persuasion, if you truly want to move both the mind and the heart, no medium can match the immersive experience we get when we sit in the dark (with) our mind and body relaxed and (we are) focused on a film.”

At the Spike Lee Screening Room at Long Island University’s Brooklyn Campus, patrons viewed a number of Caribbean-produced trailers and shorts, along with feature films “Calypso Dreams,” arguably the best film ever made about calypso, and the riveting documentary “Fire in Babylon”, the inspiring story of how a West Indies cricket side triumphed over its colonial masters.

Joking that not all Caribbean films involved pirates, Riley described the well-attended showcase, a fitting closing act for Caribbean Week in New York. It was, he continued, “a chance to give expression to our values as Caribbean people and tell the stories that we too often forget.”

The showcase included a keynote address by Caribbean-American Mark Walton, The Africa Channel’s executive vice president of sponsorship and corporate development, panel discussions featuring rising Caribbean filmmakers and a live interview with the Mighty Sparrow conducted by Trinidadian scholar and author Dr. Elizabeth Nunez.

Hugh Riley of the Caribbean Tourism Organization addresses patrons at the CaribbeanTales New York Film Showcase in Brooklyn.

CTWD, a member of the BIM Ventures family of entrepreneurs, has hosted two film festivals in Barbados, another in Canada, produced training workshops for filmmakers, and now has more than 60 films in its catalog.

The Caribbean Tales New York Film Showcase was supported by The Africa Channel, Barbados Tourism Authority, Bay Gardens Resorts (Saint Lucia), Brammer’s Subway of Brooklyn, Bullzii Marketing, Caribbean Cookbook by Rita G. Springer, Caribbean Lifestyle TV, Caribbean Tourism Organization, the Consulate General of Barbados in New York, Caribbean International Network (CIN TV), Cockspur Rum, Creatively Speaking, cynergy spa, Distribution Specialist Michelle Materre, Falco Ink, Funsation4 Media, Great Huts Resort (Jamaica), OCEAN Style Magazine, Spanish Court Hotel (Jamaica), Third World Newsreel, Tribeca Film, and ZYNC TV.

Author: CaribbeanTales Worldwide Distribution

Paul Campbell: Launches New Movie on the Eve of Kingston Pon di River

INTERNATIONALLY acclaimed Jamaican actor and artist Paul Campbell, who released his new movie, Out the Gate, last Thursday in New York City, has joined the line-up of prominent Jamaicans scheduled to perform at the inaugural Kingston Pon Di River.

A festival of literary, visual, performing, and culinary arts, Kingston Pon Di River is set for Sunday, May 29 at Boone Hall Oasis, Stony Hill.

Campbell is best known for his tough-guy starring roles in Dancehall Queen, Third World Cop and Shottas, among other indigenous films which have explored the nucleus of the underbelly of Jamaican life and the streets.

His latest foray on screen will run in select cinemas in the Big Apple.

Campbell’s co-star in Out the Gate is compatriot Oliver Samuels, the king of Jamaican comedy, who is best known for his Oliver at Large series, as well as more recent theatrical productions with Jambiz.

“Out the Gate taps into real-life ideas, dreams, concerns, challenges, and victories by many immigrants in the United States,” read a statement released by the promoters. “Without boring you, the production team successfully explored the music industry, migration and the issue of donmanship, among other critical topics that will have you thinking and talking about it for a long time.”

Aside from Campbell, many other high-profile Jamaicans and expatriates will put their literary skills on display at Kingston Pon Di River. They include minister of transport and works Mike Henry, Television Jamaica’s Kay Osborne, United States Ambassador Pamela Bridgewater, Mexican Ambassador to Jamaica Leonora Rueda, public relations and advertising consultant Jean Lowrie-Chin, former government minister Aloun Assamba, Totlyn Oliver, Nadean Rawlins, and former postmaster general Blossom O’Meally-Nelson.

The arts festival will also cater to kids, as Kelly Magnus will read age-appropriate material to them, and patrons will be treated to music by Dwight Richards and Friends, the Kingston Drummers, and veteran musician Ernie Smith.

Kingston Pon Di River is the brainchild of Dynamic Event Services, a group of women with backgrounds in the tourism industry who seek to reposition Kingston, Jamaica’s capital, as the cultural centre of the Caribbean.

Part of the proceeds from the event will go towards the renovation of the Ward Theatre in downtown Kingston.


Check out the official trailer for “Out the Gate” below: