The potency of Jamaica’s musical and culinary culture was on full display as the curtains came down on the 18th Caribbean Shipping Associations (CSA) Executive Conference with a smashing party, Jamaica to the World hosted by Kingston Wharves Limited (KWL) and held at the East Lawn of Devon House.
Brilliant performances by Beenie Man, Christopher Martin and Fab Five joined by Gem Myers, made the evening unforgettable.
Kingston Wharves hosted the final event in the recent three-day conference, as an ode to all things Jamaican; to highlight how Jamaica’s culture continues to break down barriers and bridge gaps globally, reaching people from all nations and languages.
In welcoming the guests to the event, KWL’s CEO and CSA Past President Grantley Stephenson expressed the Company’s delight in hosting the over 200 local and international shipping officials, noting that the event was designed to give guests a uniquely Jamaican experience. Declaring the event officially open and urging the delegates to enjoy, he told the audience that they could expect nothing less from the cultural capital of the world. He was joined on stage by CSA President Juan Carlos Croston who hails from Panama, and who added his voice of welcome.
Formalities out of the way, the guests moved quickly to unwind and soak up the cultural treats of Jamaican reggae and dancehall artistes, and indulged in a cacophony of local dishes and drinks, all set against the backdrop of one of Jamaica’s most historical landmarks, elegantly draped in black, green and gold.
From openers Fab Five took to the stage, the mood in the audience was one of excitement and high spirits. The veteran local band delivered a high-energy performance of local favorites, including Bob Marley’s Buffalo Soldier, and international tunes such UB40’s Red Red Wine to Pharrell William’s Happy, as the guests rocked and danced the night away.
Later, the band was joined by seasoned crooner Gem Myers. Her rendition of the late Whitney Houston’s I Have Nothing demonstrated her strong and powerful vocal range, bringing the audience to its feet with loud applause. Several men entranced by her performance, plucked the yellow roses from the evening’s décor to present to Gem on stage.
Christopher Martin and Beenie Man did not disappoint, demonstrating their superior stagecraft and the universality of their music. Both upped the ante taking the energy to another level, keeping the guests on their feet.
In the week following the announcement of his album debuting on the Billboard Reggae Chart at number one, Chris Martin underscored that he is a global act, as the foreigners sang along with enthusiasm. He rolled off his list of hits including Cheaters Prayer, Let Her Go and I am a Big Deal, also teasing the audience with a taste of some international favorites and engaging them as he entertained.
Beenie Man brought the house down with his wide repertoire that has endured over many decades, including Romie, King of the Dancehall, the Girls Dem Sugar and a host of others. Both women and men from Jamaica and overseas rushed to the front of the stage, phones high in the air as they captured the once-in-a-lifetime moment.
Visitors were in awe and some were heard marveling that they got to witness a live performance by the Jamaican cultural ambassadors Beenie Man and Chris Martin.
DJ Kurt Riley rounded out the night with popular, soca, dancehall and other selections that brought the party to a crescendo. Food and drinks also flowed, with tasty local dishes and international cuisine with a local flavor prepared by acclaimed caterer Patsy Lyn and Chef Extraordinaire Oji JaJa. Broadcaster Paula Anne Porter proved an engaging emcee, bringing her usual flair and poise to the evening’s activities.