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Tag Archives: Jamaica

Socially conscious singers hit version of Young, Gifted and Black reached No 5 in the UK charts with duo Bob and Marcia

Bob Andy, the reggae vocalist who performed a hit version of Young, Gifted and Black as part of the duo Bob and Marcia, has died aged 75 after a short illness.

His death was confirmed by his collaborator on that song, Marcia Griffiths, who told the Jamaica Observer he died at 8am on Friday 27 March.

Bob & Marcia reached No 5 in the UK in 1970 with Young, Gifted and Black, an uptempo recording of the Nina Simone original. They also reached No 11 in 1971 with Pied Piper, which spent 13 weeks in the charts.

Andy was born Keith Anderson in Kingston, Jamaica, and began his career in the groups the Binders and the Paragons before going solo in the mid-1960s. Recording in the legendary Studio One under producer Coxsone Dodd, he cut songs that would become reggae standards, such as Ive Got to Go Back Home and Too Experienced.

He also wrote songs that would be recorded by reggae stars including Gregory Isaacs, Ken Boothe and Delroy Wilson, along with solo numbers for Griffiths, although their partnership ended when she joined the I Threes, Bob Marleys group of backing vocalists.

Young, Gifted and Black was just one of his socially conscious songs. Others, such as Fire Burning and Check It Out, castigated capitalism and the ruling classes. But he suffered from health issues, including migraines, and put music to one side for a number of years from the late 1970s onwards, broadening into acting. He also became an A&R for Tuff Gong records, the label founded by Marley.

As his health improved, Andy returned to music in the 1990s. In 2006, he was awarded Order of Distinction by the Jamaican government for his services to music.

Reggae DJ David Rodigan was among those paying tribute, writing on Twitter: We all loved you Bob Andy and we know how much you loved us, your legions of fans all over the world. At least you are at peace now; youve left us a truly remarkable repertoire of songs which we will all treasure for ever.

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The reggae musician, best known for his song Night Nurse, passed away at his London home after a long illness

Reggae musician Gregory Isaacs has died aged 59. The Jamaican singer passed away at his London home this morning (25 October) following a long illness.

Isaacs is best known for his 1982 album, Night Nurse, particularly the title track. A prolific artist, he released over 500 albums and collaborated with some of the biggest names in reggae and dancehall, including producer Sugar Minott, who also died this year.

“Gregory was well-loved by everyone, his fans and his family,” said his wife Linda. “He worked really hard to make sure he delivered the music they loved and enjoyed.”

Isaacs was diagnosed with lung cancer last year.

A full obituary will be available at later today.

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The fraud is believed to have been worth an estimated $1bn each year, overtaking the drugs trade in terms of illicit contributions to the economy

Shirley thought she had made a new friend. The elderly Maine resident would don a dress and jewels and wait at the back door for the charming young Jamaican man she had met over the phone.

The couple had developed a long-distance relationship after he called to say she had won $24m US and a new car in a lottery. He appeared untroubled by Shirleys dementia and asked for a picture of her.

But he never appeared. Instead, he harassed Shirley and her family with hundreds, perhaps thousands, of phone calls in a complicated scam that eventually led her to lose more than $200,000 and her home.

She would stand by the back door in her jewels, waiting for him to give her her new car or take her to dinner or to show her the house he was building for her, said Shirleys niece, Sandra Raymond.

Shirley is just one of countless Americans most of them elderly and vulnerable who have fallen victim to Jamaicas lottery scam, a criminal cottage industry that is estimated to involve at least 30,000 people. Over the past 20 years, the fraud is believed to have been worth an estimated $1bn each year, overtaking the drugs trade in terms of illicit contributions to Jamaicas economy.

Last week, the justice minister, Delroy Chuck, signed extradition orders for eight people over a complex scam that defrauded 10 elderly Americans of hundreds of thousands of dollars, according to court documents.

But Clare Hochhalter, a North Dakota assistant US attorney involved in the case, said that the fight against the scammers is just beginning. Theres much more to do. More offences need to be aggressively prosecuted and offenders need to be held accountable, both in Jamaica and in the US, Hochhalter added.

Scammers find their victims by obtaining contact details from hotels or call centres, or even online. Like Nigerias 419 scammers, they promise a large payout often a lottery prize but then tell the victim that a fee is needed to process the cash.

Victims are told to wire the money to Jamaica, or even send it by mail.

Fraudsters have amassed large fortunes by manipulating their victims, some earning up to $100,000 US a week. That kind of money makes the scam stubbornly hard to eradicate.

A large part of the problem is the shape-shifting nature of the crime. To evade controls on money transfers, fraudsters have recently started shipping their earning back to Jamaica in cash. So far this year, five cash-carrying mules have been arrested at Montego Bays Sangster airport compared with none last year.

Fraudsters have amassed large fortunes by manipulating their victims, some earning up to $100,000 a week. Photograph: Mario Anzuoni/Reuters

These criminals are remarkably adaptable, says Luis Moreno, US ambassador to Jamaica. Its like a balloon; you squeeze it in one place and it pops up in another.

Another problem for law enforcement is the perception that unlike robbery or drug dealing scamming is a non-violent, even victimless, crime. In 2012 the popular dancehall artist Vybz Kartel, who is serving life in prison for murder, released a track called Reparation that argued the crime was a form of payback for the damage done by colonial rule. Nuh rob Jamaican, dont buy gun fi kill man / Foreign exchange is good fi di country, he sang. Dem call it scam / Mi call it reparation.

But the scams vast profits have themselves helped fuel violence in Jamaica: up to 50% of murders in western Jamaica can be traced back to clashes over the proceeds of scamming, said former minister of national security and current federal politician Peter Bunting.

We have had so much violence driven by this, although I dont know if people connect the dots, Bunting said.

Corruption is also a factor: police officers are often bribed to turn a blind eye or tip off scammers when raids are planned.

They get corrupted by the amount of luxury and the lifestyle they see, said one officer who asked not to be named. The scammers try to buy them out and shower them with gifts.

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He won a historic triple treble at Rio, and plans to retire next year. What next for the fastest man alive? He talks doping, partying and his plans to settle down

To run faster than any other human being in history is such an extraordinary concept that you have to wonder what it would do to your sense of self. I wondered a lot about it on my way to Jamaica, and the first glimpse of Usain Bolt appears to confirm my worst fears. He arrives at Kingstons empty National Stadium in blazing Caribbean sunshine, impossibly tall and lean, and approaches with the body language of a man who would rather be anywhere else.

Just 10 days earlier, the sprinter had achieved the unprecedented feat of a third consecutive triple Olympic gold in the 100m, 200m and 4x100m relay, watched by hundreds of millions of adoring global fans. Photos of his post-victory celebrations in a Rio nightclub, followed by a night in a young Brazilian womans bed, were splashed across front pages all over the world, and the party had carried on to London. For more than a week, minibuses shuttled sparkly clubbers in high heels from Mayfair nightspots to his hotel, the paparazzi scarcely able to believe their luck.

The line between self-belief and arrogance is a fine one, and who could blame Bolt if he crossed it? The last time he had to introduce himself with, Hello, Im Usain Bolt, the prime minister was Gordon Brown and we hadnt heard of Netflix. Bolt hopes he will never need to say the words again, because I want my legend to live on. So assured is he of his supremacy that the iconic image from Rio was of the sprinter turning, mid-race, to smile for a camera in the 100m semi-final. Typical Bolt quotes range from, I never doubt myself to, I told you all I was going to be number one, and I did just that or simply, I am a legend. So, after we greet, I ask a question that feels a bit like an experiment, and unlikely to elicit an answer. What is he insecure about?

Usain Bolt and President Obama in Jamaica in 2015. Photograph: DDP USA/Rex/Shutterstock

What dont I like about myself? He looks momentarily surprised, and thinks. Honestly? My hair. My hairline. His hairline? Yes, I dont know where its going! He rubs his head ruefully. Thats why I always wear my hair high, mohawk, so it doesnt show it that much. Every Olympics, I always cut my hair, but then I grow it again. I might try growing a beard, too, to see if that helps.

And from that moment on he is an utter delight: engaging, funny, thoughtful and surprisingly forthcoming. When we leave the stadium, his best friend, NJ, takes us on a drive around Kingston while Bolt talks about doping, DJing, making money and wanting to play for Manchester United. We end up at his own restaurant, Tracks & Records, and by the time we sit down for lunch, he is cheerfully talking about oral sex.

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