Friday, May 18, 2007

Jamaicans Cook Up a Storm On 'Liberty'

They are waiters, chefs, cabin attendants, bartenders and jacks and jills of all trades. Yes, they are Jamaicans, working on Liberty of the Seas, Royal Caribbean International's (RCI) newest and the world'slargest cruise ship.

As they say, if you visit anywhere in the world, and you don't meet a Jamaican, then something must be seriously wrong. So, it was no surprise when I participated in Royal Caribbean International's two-night pre-inaugural cruise 'to nowhere' on Liberty of the Seas and found out that 126 Jamaicans out of a crew of 1,360 are employed to the ship and are making a positive and inspiring impact on the thousands of people they come in contact with daily.

As I strolled through the Windjammer restaurant on day one of the cruise in Miami, trying to find something to eat, I met Cavette Gabbidon and Jason Gentles who are chefs on the ship, which will make its maiden voyage to the western Caribbean on Saturday.

It was Cavette's love for cooking and his mother's encouragement that got him involved in the hospitality sector.

"My mom told me she want me to learn to cook because she didn't want ladies to give me junk food to eat," he told The Gleaner. A graduate of Hotelympia Institute in St. Mary, Cavette, who hails from Ocho Rios, St. Ann, worked in two hotels before taking up this job in 2005.

Eight-month Contract

Each contract lasts for eight months, then they return home for two months before they set sail again. The 23-year-old is now on his third contract and has worked on RCI's Jewel of the Seas and Explorer of the Seas. He has visited countries such as Ireland, Scotland, England, Germany, France, Norway, among others, where he has met persons from different countries and has learned to appreciate their culture as well as learn some of their languages.

But Liberty of the Seas, he says, is the best thing that could've happened to him because this ship will sail to Jamaica, among other Caribbean islands, every other week.

Great Experience

Like Cavette, Jason worked in a restaurant before he was employed to RCI. This is his second contract and he says the experience has been great.

"Working on a ship is agreat experience. It has its ups and downs and the rules and regulations are very strict but, on the other hand, you get to go to the different islands and meet different people, free of cost."

The 25-year-old, who has his girlfriend back home, says it is difficult to be away for long periods of time but he tries to remain positive and tells himself that he is doing this because he hopes to return home full time and set up a prestigious restaurant.

A Heart Trust/National Training Agency graduate, Jason's responsibility is to cook an American speciality each day. On Caribbean night, he cooks jerk chicken, among other tasty Caribbean dishes.

Like Jason, Cavette does not intend to work on a ship for the rest of his life. In fact, as soon as he makes enough money he also intends to return home and set up a restaurant.

Go For It

And for young Jamaicans who are thinking of applying for a job on a ship, Cavette says, go for it, but ensure that you remain focused.

"You have to be determined, because this is not an easy road and you have to have the heart of a lion," he said with a roar.

Cavette, a graduate of Claude McKay High School in Clarendon, says he misses home but tries not to think about the island until it's near time for his contract to expire.

"My girlfriend and my mom are at home and sometimes when I call back home and things are not right, I have pure headache," he said while laughing and rubbing his chin.

They both work about 10 hours per day, seven days per week.

Liberty of the Seas is to dock in Jamaica on Wednesday and, for them, this is the most anticipated trip because they will have a chance to see family members and show off the ship to their friends.

Photo of: Jason Gentles (left) and Cavette Gabbidon, Jamaican chefs on Liberty of the Seas. - Photo by Petrina Francis

Source: The (Jamaican) Gleaner

See You in Jamaica

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Jamaican Judge Selected As Yale World Fellow

Monday, April 30, 2007

Judge Marlene Malahoo Forte. selected among 500 emerging leaders.

Jamaican judge Marlene Malahoo Forte has been selected as one of only 18 persons worldwide to participate in the Yale World Fellows Programme at the top-rated Yale University in the United States, the US Embassy in Kingston announced.

Judge Malahoo Forte was selected from "an exceptionally qualified and competitive group of 500 emerging leaders from over 100 countries", the embassy said in a press statement at the weekend.

The participants in the programme will spend four months at Yale, where they will explore critical world issues, sharpen skills and build relationships with other leaders, the embassy said.

It said World Fellows were selected at early-to mid-career point and came from a range of fields including business, government, media, international organisations, the military, religious organisations, and the arts. They "are uniformly of star quality with established records of accomplishment and upward trajectory". In her submitting her nomination, the embassy said, Judge Malahoo Forte exhibited "a quiet determination and an unshakable confidence in Jamaica".

"To that end, she has embarked on a life of public service and the Yale Fellowship should only enhance her leadership capability and capacity to contribute to Jamaica."

Malahoo Forte is a judge at the Corporate Area Civil Courts in Kingston and a lecturer in Criminal Practice and Procedure at the Norman Manley Law School, Mona Campus, Jamaica. She is a Commonwealth Scholar who holds a Master of Laws Degree, with merit, from the University of London, King's College; a Bachelor of Laws Degree with honours, from the University of the West Indies, Barbados and a Certificate of Legal Education from the Norman Manley Law School.

She is a former headgirl of Manning's School in Savanna-La-Mar, Westmoreland. Before taking up her judicial appointment in February 2001, she was an assistant director of Public Prosecution, with a success rate of over 98% at both the trial and appellate levels, the embassy said.

Courtesy of The Jamaica Observer

See You in Jamaica