Winemakers 4th edition at La Samana

Exquisite evening; unbeatable setting!

The evening was sultry; the air luscious with hints of fresh blossoms in the gardens; soft lighting led us into the foyer of one of the most delightful open-air restaurants on island. Belmond, La Samana, was hosting another fabulous evening of wine pairing which we were attending.

Given a beautiful warm welcome at the desk, we were guided through to the lower terrace. Meeting and being introduced to some delightful folk along the way, we were shown directly to the wine cellar, La Cave, where we were to have our first glass of bubbly for the evening.

The wine cellar is an unexpected place; it is the epitome of a true cellar, musty and chilly with the wonderful aroma of barrels, burning candles and of course wine. Deep steps and winding passages run right into the heart of the cliff under the hotel perching above like a shimmering bridal cake.

We were offered our first glass of Billecart-Salmon Brut Reserve, the bottles of champagne were displayed on a table with shining flutes awaiting their turn to be filled with golden bubbles and a glorious white arrangement of flowers; we were then taken for a wander through the winding passages to a room where, on occasion, one may dine amidst aged bottles of wonderful wines, the table set with shining silver and glistening glasses. Oh, yes, pure enchantment.

Back on the terrace with our champagne, we stood gazing at the gorgeous view, the calm sea, watching planes come in to land as the gloaming gently turned to night. And then it was time to be seated so that the excellent pairing could begin.

The amuse bouche was heavenly, a small cup of warm asparagus foam soup garnished with a speckling of olive oil and paired with the same champagne we had been enjoying – certainly a promising start.

The following course was quite delightful, a Sea Scallop Carpaccio in Almond Milk garnished with a radish and tart granny-smith apple salad and yuzu vinaigrette; paired with Billecart-Salmon Brut de Blancs Grand Cru. This was the only champagne that did not make full marks on my taste buds; it did, however, go down smoothly.

Warm rolls were being offered constantly, they were perfect to sop up the juices from this and the next dish.

The second pairing was a wild salmon fillet braised in champagne and set on a bed of endive surrounded by a caviar sour cream sauce. Oh my! Paired with Billecart-Salmon Extra Brut 2006, nothing could be more delicious. The smooth sauce, perfectly braised fish, and champagne could not be bettered; or could it?

The next dish, veal fillet tournedos, was slow-cooked and served with roasted asparagus and shallots and a juice of roasted coffee foam; paired with Billecart-Salmon Brut Sous Bois. The woody influence came out strongly, mature and rich, sophisticated and stylish, nutty and full-bodied – certainly a champagne that can hold its own with roasted coffee flavours. A perfect pairing indeed!

Finally, the dessert course, along with some petit fours, equalled fruit salad and cookies of sophistication. The fruit, melon and raspberries, finely diced and artfully displayed with a fruity gel and fruity coulis, wee meringue licks and a Breton Sable brought a light ending to a most enjoyable evening; paired with Billecart-Salmon Brut Rose, perfection in extreme.

Once again, the chef, sommeliers and staff at La Samana pleased all who experienced this Winemakers 4th edition. You don’t want to miss the next one!

Info:

Trellis, Belmond, La Samana

Phone: + 590 590 87 64 00

Reservations recommended

Ratings:

Staff friendliness: *****

Service speed: *****

Restaurant cleanliness: *****

Food quality: *****

Value for money: ****

Ambience: *****

After a four-year hiatus, the ancient and classical Indian dance form of Bharatanatyam will be showcased on the stage of Belair Community Centre on Sunday, May 28, starting at 6:30pm. The one-and-a-half hour recital will feature some 40 young dancers of Nritya Dance Company and teacher/choreographer Aparna Samaga.

“Recitals like this are so important in keeping classical arts thriving amongst the younger generations. Recitals inspire and motivate them into practicing and training in the classical arts. Our kids become ambassadors of our rich Indian cultural heritage,” said Samaga of the show. “Our main goal in conducting this kind of concert is creating an awareness of Indian cultural tradition to the St. Maarten public and encouraging all youngsters and kids to come and learn this divine art form and thereby help in keeping this art form alive.”

The programme will feature the beautiful South Indian Classical Dance form of Bharatanatyam, group dances to the tunes of Indian classical and fusion music and a Bollywood dance number which dancers recently learnt in a workshop taught by ace Bollywood choreographer Shampa Gopkrishna.

Samaga said a small dance drama, based on an Indian folktale will be staged this year. The story of the cow Punyakoti is strongly rooted in the cultural tradition of the Karnataka state in India. Heard in the past over many generations, and to be heard in the future also, this is the story of truthfulness, honesty and faithfulness. The mother cow Punyakoti, who is very innocent and mild, is caught by a cruel tiger Arbhuth; but she changes the tiger’s mind with her truthfulness.

“The story reveals the importance of truthfulness in our life. Truth is god. Punyakoti touches our heart, appeals to our emotions. Human beings have to learn lessons from animals,” Samaga explained.

The core of the recital remains Bharatanatyam, the ancient traditional art form with its origins steeped in divinity and its reflection of the Indian culture at its best. It is a highly complex movement language that is an amalgamation of multiple layers of melody, rhythm, emotions, story, mime, philosophy, poetry, physical energy and tempo. And yet, beneath all these layers lies the innermost core of the art – a merging of physical energy with spiritual ideals.

The dance form uses a sophisticated vocabulary of hand gestures (Hastas), rhythm (Tala) and expression (Bhava) and is composed of two distinct aspects: Nritta (Pure Dance and Abstract Movements) and Abhinaya (Mime or Facial Expression). Nritta is intricate rhythmic footwork synchronous in time and tempo to the music; and Abhinaya visually interprets the narrative of the lyrical composition.

Looking beyond the music and the drama, the rhythm and the poetry, Bharatanatyam is really moored in something more profound and spiritual. It is very easy to simply appreciate the outer beauty and glamour of the form, but for the audience to experience a Rasa (aesthetic experience) that exists beyond this physicality is the true test for an artiste.

Samaaga said Bharatanatyam isn’t meant to merely entertain. Every performance is an experience for both the artiste and the audience – a spiritual experience of sublime aesthetics. Linear geometrical patterns, a perfect balance of the body, eloquent expression, and precision of footwork to intricate mathematical rhythms are the hallmarks of this dance.

Tickets are US $15 for adults and $10 for children ages five to 10 and are available at National Institute of Arts (NIA) on Longwall Road, Kams Food World on W.J.A. Nisbeth Road, Oro Diamante Jewelers on Front Street, Blue Rivera (next to Cheri’s Café) and Victorious on Rue de St. James, Marigot. Entrance price will increase by $5 at the door.

For more information, contact Samaga at 1 (721) 526-8850.

Basketball Playoffs @ Casino Royale

Who do you think will be the next NBA champion?

Located at Sonesta Maho Beach Resort, Casino Royale is the perfect spot to catch all the sports action! The National Basketball Association playoffs will be showing on HDTV screens throughout Casino Royale.

And don’t forget to place your bets right at our in-house Sports Book!

~ Mother’s Day Black Tie Gala ~

DADA! Dance & Arts Dimension Academy is inviting all families of mothers to stretch the Mother’s Day weekend into a holdover performance. Bring your mom out to Belair Community Centre this Saturday, May 20, for a formal event with prizes galore!

There will be singing, dancing, poetry and tons of fun – and it’s all dedicated to mom. There will be plenty of special surprises and there will even be a prize for the best dressed mother.

The apex of the evening is planned for 9:00 when a jaw-dropping precession of all the moms takes place on the Red Carpet – just as it should be. Hollywood stars gonna take a back seat to the ladies who raised us, after all, who deserves the glam treatment more than Mom?!

Each guest will receive a free welcome drink and there will be additional food and drink on sale. The fun starts at 6:30pm. Prices are $20 for adults and $15 for kids. Get your tickets from any of the DADA family or from Janek’s Boutique.

Call 1 (721) 523-4436 or 522-5801 for more information, or look up their facebook page: Dance Dimensions A.

Founder of SXM’s Girls Night Out

Nigeria, New York, Guadeloupe, France, Washington and Sint Maarten – Ogechi Anyanwu has called many places her home. But the latter, our island, holds a special place in her heart.

Ogechi, who founded SXM’s Girls Night Out, realized that women as consumers have a huge influence on our economy. This “power”, Ogechi has dubbed “sheconomy.” SXM’s Girls Night Out is an event that empowers businesses and entrepreneurs to tap into the “sheconomy” on Sint Maarten/Saint Martin while providing female consumers with an all-around perfect night out filled with shopping, cocktails, pampering and entertainment.

On Saturday, June 3, the 5th edition of SXM’s Girls Night Out will be held. Since the first edition in 2012, Ogechi and her team have seen the event grow in exponential numbers with more than 1,500 women in attendance last year. Out N’ About sat down with Ogechi to find out more about her popular event.

How did you become an event organizer?

When I was 19, I moved to France to attend university to study international law. Since I was four, I wanted to become an attorney, with the dream of fighting injustice. Yet in my last year, I realized that my dream wasn’t realistic as one of my teachers said, “Justice isn’t just.” Besides that, most of the attorneys I knew did not live a lifestyle I envisioned myself living. I moved to Washington and started studying entertainment business and management. I loved the idea of being part of creating a product that allowed people to escape the everyday hustle and bustle. During this time, I attended a lot of events and started being inspired by how to go about creating unique events myself; which I did as soon as I got my degree!

What inspired Girls Night Out?

During university, I attended a lot of events, which gave me many ideas. I also have always been a fan of empowering women and was drawn to the idea of creating a unique event that caters to them. I had also noticed that there were few events that took women into account from an economical standpoint. I saw a niche there; women are a HUGE part of our economy and should be recognized as such. Many events, marketing and businesses do not target women and their huge buying power the right way. SXM’s Girls Night Out is a combination of what I aspire to change, have seen, learned and fills that important “sheconomic” gap. It was also important to me that it would be a lot of FUN!

How did you go about creating this new event?

I presented my idea to my mom, Bernadette Davis, who many people know on Sint Maarten/Saint Martin. She has produced many successful events; so I asked her what she thought about my idea. I also asked if I could be on her team should she decide to do it. She loved it and said, “You are going to make this event happen and I will be on your team.” We involved a few more key family members each with their own unique talents and ideas who have made SXM’s Girls Night Out such a success. Jennifer Simmons-Hughes and Ogechi have shared a vision of creating a production company from the age of 11 and 12. After the first SXM’s Girls Night Out event, Jennifer was inspired to open several Yogen Fruz chains in Holland. Linda Cocks is a multi-business owner and a tourism industry expert. Ijeoma Anyanwu is a marketing expert and creative director.

What are some of the difficulties in creating such an event?

It is hard to have to fight for sponsors each year on Sint Maarten/Saint Martin. I think many people face the same issue on the island. Our event has proven successful, yet it is a bit of a struggle every year to get everyone on board. Logistically, if you work with the right people, everything runs smoothly; but there is always a chance that something unintended happens. Of course there are many more upsides, for example, this year a talented entrepreneur will be joining our event as a vendor. She is a designer and hasn’t had an opportunity like this to market herself. I just know we will make a difference to her business, which makes my team and me very happy. When you see and hear these kinds of positive reactions to your event, all the initial struggles are worthwhile!

Why should we women come out to SXM’s Girls Night Out?

You should come to our event because you will have a great time! You will be surrounded by friends, or make some new ones while you shop, sip, savour and pamper yourself. Dozens of vendors will be selling your favourite products and might introduce you to some new ones you will fall in love with. You will be sampling delicious cocktails and snacks while you enjoy an array of entertainment. There will also be mini-massages and mini-makeovers for those who want to relax. There will also be special workshops for those who want to learn and be inspired. It is a perfect night out for women to leave all the stress of the world behind! Oh, and there are many surprises too!

Surprises?! What kind of surprises?

It is our fifth anniversary – quite a milestone – so we will be giving away many prizes throughout the night. Besides all of the swag filled bags given to the first 600 women and the goodies you can win throughout the event; we will also have three GRAND prizes! By buying your ticket to SXM’s Girls Night Out, you will automatically enter a raffle. First prize is a Caribbean Cruise for two; second prize is a stay at a hotel on the island and third is a cash prize. For just $30 admission, you have a chance to win these and more!

If you could have three people over for dinner, dead or alive, who would they be, what would you serve them and what would you discuss with them?

I would have Oprah Winfrey, Michelle Obama and Beyoncé; I would serve a hot goat cheese salad with baguette and butter on the side as the appetizer, lobster in a cream sauce served with rice pilaf for the entrée and a cup of vanilla ice-cream wrapped in a crepe and topped with a creamy rum sauce and whipped cream. We would discuss being women with a dream, the journey to achieving our dreams and the things we had to give up to accomplish them. I would love to hear their stories on juggling being a woman, a partner/wife, a mother and an entrepreneur.

See you at SXM’s Girls Night Out on Saturday, June 3! Bring your friends, sisters and mom out for a great time. Come shop, sip, savour and be pampered. Contact info: www.sxmgirlsnightout.com, 1 (721) 527-8660 or info@sxmgirlsnightout.com

Fernando Clark will be hosting this year’s Laugh Till Belly Burst Comedy Show which is set for Saturday, June 10, at Princess Port de Plaisance. Clark tells us why he went on board as host again this year, about his life as a comedian and a bit about what fans can expect from him.

Who is Fernando Clark?

That’s a very interesting question. I am the fourth of five children. I have one brother living in St. Maarten and the rest are in the USA (with Donald Trump). As for who I am, I am the person that you hear on the radio in commercials and on talk shows. I am the face you saw as a presenter of the nightly AVS News. I am the person you see as the Master of Ceremonies for various events on the island. I am the guy who makes you laugh. I am no stranger to the St. Maarten community.

How would you describe yourself?

Easy going, like a lot of fun and laughter; but when it comes to my work, that is when I put on my serious hat. There are two sides to me, the fun and laughter side and the serious side. Sometimes I mix the serious and the fun; but when I have to, I keep them separated.

Education?

All my schooling was done in Aruba where I was born and I actually graduated with the subjects biology, chemistry and mathematics. But after school, I went into banking and finance. I worked in banking for 36 years and followed many banking and financial courses, so I always considered myself to be a banker. I also did some courses in communication and marketing. I combined all of them and created a product called Fernando Clark.

When did you discover your love for comedy?

Early in secondary school – I was asked to be the MC for school activities. But even before that, I enjoyed making people laugh. I loved to entertain. Then when I came to St. Maarten, I continued the trend. But it was during my school days that I actually discovered that I had what it takes to make people laugh. In those days, comedy was not as big as it is now, so people referred to a comedian as a payaso, which is Spanish for clown. So to aspire to be a comedian back then was not a big thing. Parents didn’t feel proud to introduce their child as “Meet my son, the clown.”

How did you get into the industry professionally?

There were people who kept telling me that I can do it; and they organised the first stand-up comedy show in St. Maarten. Entrance was free. The hall was packed and thereafter we did more shows. But it was my Fernando Clark RAW CD that got me to the Apollo Theatre in New York, and after that, it was smooth sailing. That was back in 1995. After that, I received invitations to perform in other countries. And that is when I started using my talent professionally.

What do you love about comedy?

Laughter is like a medication. It releases stress. I feel like a doctor when I make people laugh. Sometimes I encounter angry people and after making them laugh, they are a different person. If I can make people happy, release their stress and tension, then I feel that I have in some way contributed to somebody’s wellbeing. Could you imagine how life would be if there was no laughter? No comedy? I also love to hear a good joke. I love to laugh too, so I enjoy being entertained.

Why did you decide to host the LTBB comedy show?

For the opportunity to work with comedians from different countries. Imagine, we have a comedian from Africa. It will be fun working with him. I am sure he will bring a completely different style of comedy to St. Maarten. Each one has different styles and ways of bringing comedy across. So, it will be a mixture of good comedy. I definitely want to be a part of that.

What would you say to encourage others to come out to watch the show?

Miss LTBB? Are you crazy or insane? Be there. Come and release your stress, and actually laugh till your belly burst… Right now, comedy is one of the highest paying professions in the world. In Jamaica for instance, comedy shows outdo dance hall and hip hop parties. Don’t miss LTBB. Release the stress!

What do you think should be done to further promote local comedians in St. Maarten?

Many people think it is easy. Once they start and realise the work involved and the commitment it needs, they drop out. But St. Maarten has many great talented potential comedians. They need to be motivated and eventually compensated for their talent. But it starts with the individual person. We should not rely on others to pave the road for us, we have to make that first step.

What inspires you when it comes to creating your funny material?

Society. I look around, see funny things and write it in such a way to make people laugh and wonder: “How he came up with that?” In my last one-man stand-up comedy, I took the challenge to do a part about funerals. That was a challenge, but it was successful. Can you imagine people laughing about funerals? Those are the kinds of challenges that inspire me.

What, if anything, is off limits when it comes to comedy for you? And what issues would you say generally make the best jokes?

Unlike many other comedians, I don’t curse. Many of them use sexual jokes, I try as much as I can to keep away from that. But there is nothing that I consider off limits. Family matters, politics and relationships make good topics.

What’s next for Fernando Clark the comedian?

On September 30, I will do a long awaited one-man stand-up comedy. You will hear more about that after LTBB.

If you could invite three persons (dead or alive) for dinner, who would they be and what would you serve them?

If I have to invite them one at a time, it would be the late Dr. Claude Wathey, Vance James Jr. and Eldridge Van Putten, separately. That way, I know there would be no fighting. I would serve them KFC. If I had to invite three people together, I would invite The Mighty Sparrow, Paul Keens Douglas and King T-Mo. I know we would have a great conversation and lots of fun. I wouldn’t serve anything. T-Mo is a great chef, he would knock up something for them to eat.

In the HOTSEATwith Veraguas

Sailor, Captain, Boat-Bar Owner

“My dad was a boat-builder and he had my brothers and me out in the water from a very young age,” says Stefan Veraguas, who grew up in Fort Lauderdale. Hailing from a family of sailors, it isn’t surprising that Stefan ended up following a career path as captain aboard a variety of boats.

When he first sailed into Caribbean waters 18 years ago, he was blown away by our little rock. Today Stefan, his brother Daniel and girlfriend Kristen have made Sint Maarten their home and hope to be part of the community through their new business and charity work.

JabJabs their bar was officially opened just a few weeks ago. It has been in the Veraguas family for many years, but instead of sailing her like they used to as kids; she is now geared up for more “adult” play with a fully stocked bar, live music and all the right party-vibes.

Why did you decide to move to Sint Maarten?

I loved Sint Maarten from the moment I set foot on it. Besides having all the obvious Caribbean assets – sea, sun, sand – it is a sailing hub and a fun island with a lot of things to do.

How did the idea for JabJabs come about?

My brother Daniel and I actually have wanted to work on a project together for a while. JabJabs has been in our family since I was 13 years old. We lived on her for a bit and used to sail her as a family. Five years ago, my dad told us he was selling her. Right away I called my brother. Willy T’s is a popular floating-boat-bar in the British Virgin Islands, and we thought: “This would be great for Sint Maarten too!” We bought JabJabs and started transforming her.

Tell us more about JabJabs and her transformation.

JabJabs is an 86-foot Sparkman Stevens, built in 1958 for a Duke in Amsterdam. Today she is still sea-worthy. After a few minor repairs, we sailed her down to Sint Maarten. Here we did all the construction to modify her into a bar. A lot of the rebar used for the railings and roof is actually from old causeway construction material! It took us three years to officially open her for business. This could have been done quicker with outside investments, but we wanted the business to stay between my brother and me. Today our hard work has paid off!

Who does what on JabJabs?

My brother is the main guy overseeing the construction; he is the welder, carpenter and all around handyman that made (and is still making) all the improvements to our floating-bar. Kristen is a trained chef and sommelier; she helps me behind the bar and logistics at the moment and will play a big part in getting our restaurant up and running. I am managing director and oversee everything else!

What were some of the reactions of your customers the first time they went on board JabJabs?

They loved it! We have been getting so much positive feedback, which of course makes us feel great and motivated in return. We have a fully-stocked bar, a wide variety of beer, $2 beer and $3 house-liquor happy hour from 5:00 to 7:00pm, free Wi-Fi, 360-degree views, fun vibes and live music events. You should come and check JabJabs out too!

What else are you adding to JabJabs in the coming months?

A few more lights, bar-appliances and we are aiming to open a restaurant aboard by this summer! It’s going to be a simple but mouth-watering menu of healthy, fresh choices. We also want to open for breakfast in high season; so that cruisers can enjoy a cup of coffee, read a paper and surf the web in the morning hours.

You mentioned that community is very important to everyone working on JabJabs?

Yes! We want to be part of the Sint Maarten community. First off, you would not believe how much gorgeous wildlife you can see in Kim Sha Bay; turtles, eagle-rays, tarpon, pelicans and more. So we want to make sure we are an eco-friendly boat that has minimal impact on the surrounding environment. We are adding solar panels as soon as we can, for example, to our boat and will limit (if not ban) the use of plastic.

We also hope to facilitate charity events. If any non-profits would like to hold an event such as a fundraiser aboard JabJabs, please contact us! We would love to be part of giving back to the community.

Do you have any exciting JabJabs events coming up?

YES! “Stell and Snuggs” is playing live aboard on May 21 from 5:00 till 8:00pm. Christel Astin and Jarad Astin use a wide variety of instruments to bring their audience on a musical journey. Their vocals and instrumentals enclose musical elements of Colombian Cumbia, Gypsy, Country, and Brazilian Choro.

How do people board JabJabs?

Of course if you have a dingy, you can easily tie up at our bar. If you don’t, you can swim OR just come to Kim Sha beach, you will see our blue tent and sign on the beach and we will give you a free ride over (and back). You can also call us at +1 (721) 523 8021 for a pickup.

What do you do when you’re not working on JabJabs?

Right now, honestly, almost all of our time is spent working on JabJabs! If I do have some time off, I love taking my dogs to the beach with Kristen.

If you could invite three people (dead or alive) for dinner, who would they be and what would you serve them?

Let’s assume our kitchen is already open on JabJabs, so we would all have dinner there! First would be Johnny Depp, as long as he dresses up as Captain Sparrow. I’d serve him a Dark & Stormy and Fish Tacos. I would also invite Ernest Hemingway and serve him a Whiskey and Smoked Marlin Dish. Last but not least, Bob Marley who would enjoy a glass of our Rum Punch while trying a plate of our Jerk Chicken with rice and peas.

1. What made you first fall in love with Carnival?

I first fell in love with Carnival when I went away to study. Soca music would start to play out of the blue, and it was as if I could smell St. Maarten; it made me feel at home. I visited the Dutch version of Carnival, but it was not the same; so every time I came back home, I would try to get into Carnival again.

2. As the new president of St. Maarten Carnival Development Foundation (SCDF), how do you physically handle the fact that you have to eat sleep and breathe Carnival?

Physically, I have a very strict regimen of vitamins that I take; vitamins like Black Label Whiskey, Dewar’s White Label and all of the other supplements that keep me going.

3. How does being SCDF president differ from being a board member?

There’s a lot more stress. The enormity of it is very distracting to your personal life as well as your professional life, especially if you have your business, which I do. You have to find balance and you have to find it quickly, or else something is going to fail. Some days I knock it out of the park; and other days the position beats me up, but I’m not a quitter, so I took the challenge head on.

4. What are three things you want to achieve during your time in office?

(1) I want to continue to professionalize the Foundation (SCDF) and move toward achieving a fully-staffed office. We’ve had great successes with the implementation of the post of Carnival Director, but we need that director to be supported by staff, i.e., an office manager, people who deal with sponsorship, people who deal with banking as well as full-time press people. We need to be more efficient and modern with what is happening with Carnival this year.

(2) We need to become more open to the international arena. I would really like for St. Maarten to be featured by Uber Soca Cruise, Soul Beach, South by South West in the States, Coachella, and the West Indian Day Parade. I would really like us to get branding and to be featured out there and I’m sure the Tourist Office would be willing to work with us on that.

(3) I would really like us to achieve that status of being one of the best music, food and cultural festivals in the World, or at least in the Caribbean. It would be great even to be ranked under Trinidad and Barbados as one of the best Carnivals.

5. The public has seen a lot of change this year, which one are you most proud of?

I’m most proud of some of the cultural elements we’re adding to Carnival this year. Culture Night is one of them as well as the opening and closing nights of the village; they will be very symbolic and I want everyone to come out to that. Then there’s the drink competition called “Village Cock Up”, which is sure to be exciting. My prouder moments aren’t grand ones, but just the fact that we’re doing Carnival great and it’s all going to get better moving forward.

6. You recently had the opportunity to visit Trinidad for Carnival. What was something you discovered there that you would want to bring to St. Maarten Carnival?

Due to other unforeseen circumstances, I actually wasn’t able to make it to Trinidad for Carnival this year. However, my vice president did go and brought back a lot of tips for how we can improve Parade Day and other logistics that we can use. I think it’s best not to do too much travelling in my first year; otherwise I wouldn’t get anything done here. I was able to visit French side Carnival and I saw some interesting tips about judging points we’ll be using. So expect one judging point with a lot of cameras and drones in the air, confetti and better choreography.

7. I know the One Love Reggae Concert is one of your passion projects; can you tell us a bit about the process?

This was a show that fell into our laps at the last minute during last year’s Carnival and we managed to pull it off successfully. We love the vibe we bring with it. We try to have a proper mixture of roots reggae, plus popular artists, a bit of dancehall and even an oldie-goldie who can take the crowd back, and this year we’ve succeeded again with much thanks to our sponsors.

The process of getting international artists and putting on a show is days and days of non-stop work and all-day manpower especially when they’re here. We have to pick them up at the airport, take them to do radio interviews and promo, then sound check, and get them ready for the concert. We stop for 10 minutes during the concert then it’s back to getting them to the airport for their flights. And this happens for multiple people over consecutive days, because it’s not just one night of shows. It’s a lot of work, but the reward is worth it. People loved the One Love Reggae Concert last year, and it will be the same reaction, if not better this year.

8. When you’re not the centre of the party, how do you unwind?

The easiest way to unwind in a way that changes my mood is to take a drive with my loved ones, my wife and my kids. If some friends want to join, we’ll stop along the way and have some drinks and just enjoy St. Maarten, the Paradise, and the sun going down. I’d say Grand Case is one of my favourite places on the island where I can chill out and let go of all the stress.

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