Lisa Hanna to deliver Keynote Speech at AJA Jamaican 60th Independence Ball

Lisa Hanna

The Atlanta Jamaican Association (AJA) in collaboration with AJ Cultural and Educational Fund (AJCEF), will hold its annual Independence Gala and Scholarship Awards at the Atlanta Airport Marriott Gateway Hotel on Saturday, August 13, 2022.

The evening’s keynote speaker will be Lisa Hanna, MP, and Shadow Minister, Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Live entertainment will be provided by the famous Fab Five Band alongside DJ Mikey Sparkle. The event will also feature emcees, Sharon Lawson, Emmy Award winning Anchor of Good Day Atlanta, and Dr. Chris Parker.

Hanna, in addition to being MP for Southeast St. Ann is the Shadow Minister, Foreign Affairs and Trade. She is also a mother, Wife, Politician, Senior Member of Parliament, Advocate, Entrepreneur, Columnist, Communications Specialist and Crisis Manager.

In 1993 Hanna won the Miss World beauty contest representing Jamaica. She was the third Jamaican to claim the coveted crown.

This year the AJA will award fifteen scholarships to college bound students from metro Atlanta and Jamaica.

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Dervan Malcolm discusses the book, the Hero of Fern Gully and other Jamaican Stories

with Glen Laman on Diaspora Live – Power 106FM December 11, 2021

Press play above to listen:

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Old Time Christmas in Woodside

We have an early Christmas present for you.

Please enjoy the audio version of Old Time Christmas in Woodside:

Click below to listen:

Old Time Christmas in Woodside is one of 15 short stories in the book, The Hero of Fern Gully and Other Jamaican Short Stories by Basil Kong and Glen Laman.

Please consider giving this book as a present. It will evoke pleasant memories of a bygone era as you enjoy this treasure trove of stories, celebrating ordinary happenings around ordinary people with an extraordinary legacy.

The Hero of Fern Gully is available as audiobook, hardcover, paperback and Kindle on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and wherever eBooks are sold.



Barnes & Noble


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Waine’s World: Five years of Dr. Kong’s Weekly Columns

Basil Waine Kong’s book, Waine’s World is an eclectic compilation of his weekly articles published in the Upson Beacon that will make you laugh, make you wonder, and make you think.

While the author divulges life-changing advice and food-for-thought on a wide range of topics, he also extols the virtues of his adopted City of Thomaston in Georgia. Underpinning his writings are his core beliefs in faith, fairness, family, and friends. He draws from his life and his travels to tap into universal truths that are essential to our very existence as human beings and the survival of our planet.

The author’s inspirational outlook is best summed up by the quote from Abraham Lincoln: We can complain because rose bushes have thorns or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses. In this book, you will learn to dwell on the ‘roses’ of your life and count your blessings, not your woes.

Dr. Kong is author/co-author of more than 50 publications including several books, most notably “The Hero of Fern Gully and Other Jamaican Short Stories” which he co-authored with Glen Laman in 2021, and “Bad Boy from Jamaica.”

Dr. Kong is a former Atlanta Jamaican and the retired CEO of the Association of Black Cardiologists. In 2019, he received the Spirit of the Heart Legacy Award from the Association honoring his 25 years of service.

He now lives with his wife Stephanie who is the CEO of Zoe Pediatrics in Thomaston, GA.

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Dr. D. Terrence  Foster  Publishes Book on Stress

Are you experiencing so much stress in your life that it is so overwhelming that you feel your life is over? Or are you trying desperately to avoid that condition? Well, look no further!

This book takes a comprehensive approach to stress management and how modifying your lifestyle and taking practical steps can significantly reduce the level of stress you are experiencing. More than forty different approaches to stress reduction management and prevention are covered in this book, giving you an in-depth framework applicable to most lives and circumstances.

​For example, it helps people struggling with self-destructive behavior, stressful job, having difficulty intentionally making decisions, struggling with toxic relationships,  and many other challenging situation

You will also be introduced to a “new relationship mental disorder called Abstract Kidnapping Disorder – A.K.D.” 

​This book also provides you with many opportunities to simplify the management of stress by using the acronym S.T.R.E.S.S. and incorporating any of the forty-plus actions included. In addition, you are provided with practical ideas, solutions, or options that, when applied, are likely to result in the reduction or prevention of your stress. This book is intended to significantly improve people’s lives at any level of society who may be experiencing stress in their personal, business, or professional lives, allowing them to get back to enjoying their lives.

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Atlanta to get Jamaican Museum and Cultural Center

Fundraising is underway for the Jamaican Museum and Cultural Center to be located in Atlanta, Georgia.  These funds are needed for the acquisition and maintenance of the physical museum and to accommodate cultural programs, meeting space, social events, and other activities by Jamaicans and the wider community in the diaspora.

The museum and cultural center will be located in metro Atlanta, a city with a rich civil rights legacy; the principal trade and transportation center for the Southeastern United States; a mecca for immigrants from all over the Caribbean and African diaspora; a major higher educational center; and home to more than 25 Fortune 500 and 1000 corporations and more than 5 of the top 20 national nonprofit organizations.

The Jamaican Museum and Cultural Center, Inc. (JMCC) a nonprofit 501(c)(3) tax exempt organization, was established in Atlanta, GA in 2019, by a group of Jamaicans with a goal of documenting and showcasing the outsized international contributions and influence of Jamaican culture and history.

The volunteer board of directors is led by Dr. Apollone Reid. Other board members are Raymond Brooks, Dr. D. Terrence Foster, Dr. Clover Hall, Christine Marzouca, Dr. David Panton, Winnie Starke, Basil Watson, O.D,  and Carol Williams.

The board is exploring opportunities for partnerships, collaborations, funding, in-kind and other support with philanthropic organizations and individuals; academic institutions; Jamaican organizations in metro Atlanta and the diaspora, the Jamaican government, cultural institutions and corporations; the City of Atlanta; and other entities.

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International Festival Song Competition Finals Set

Twelve finalists vie for the US$8,000 top prize in the USA-based Jamaica International Independence Festival Song Competition (JIIFSC).

There are ten finalists from the United States, one from Canada and one from Germany, they are:

Ragga Lox – “Reggae Island”

Andrew Clarke – “I Believe”

Lavie Lujah – “Certified Yardie”

Tarick – “Feel Dah Riddim”

Lemi – “Jamerican”

Ras Fraser – “Nuh Weh Like Yard”

King I Noah – “Sweet Sweet Jamaica”

Desmond – “Jamaicans Be Like”

Dutch Rocka – “Zoom Festival 59”

Anthony Mattal – “Paradise”

Phil Watkis – “Hustlers Anthem”

Keisha Dickenson – “Promise Land”

Listen to the finalists at:

Atlanta-Jamaican Garfield McCook was inspired to create the competition by a desire to provide overseas Jamaicans, who may not be eligible for local events in Jamaica, with more opportunities to participate in cultural events.

“The aim of this competition is to provide Jamaican artistes residing overseas, who still have a love for the culture and the music, with a platform that allows them to showcase their talents. Part proceeds from any profits received will go towards the enhancement of the cultural activities in Jamaica,” he stated.

Top participants can expect grand incentives, with the first, second and third prizes being US $8,000, US $4,000 and US $1,000 respectively. The top 5 will be announced on July 2, while the top 3 will be revealed at the finals on July 31, which will be broadcasted virtually from 7pm to 10pm EST. There will be a limited live audience, including guest appearances, judges and promoters, at the venue, which is Caribbean Life TV Studios (CLTV Studios) in Stone Mountain, Georgia.

All finalists will be posted on the JIIFSC social media platforms and songs uploaded to YouTube. Keep up with the competition on Instagram and Twitter, @jiifsc, and Facebook,

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The Hero of Fern Gully and other Jamaican Stories – Glen Laman and Basil Kong collaborate on new book

Foreword by Debra Ehrhardt:

Basil Kong and Glen Laman have written 15 charming stories that capture the essence of several typical Jamaican situations in their memorable book, The Hero of Fern Gully and Other Jamaican Short Stories.

Jamaica is an island known for friendly and hospitable people, rum, reggae, beautiful white sand beaches, and radiant sunshine. Numerous luminaries have made an impact on the world stage. These include Bob Marley, Toots and the Maytals, Grace Jones, Shelly Ann Fraser-Pryce, Mary Seacole and Usain Bolt, but still left to be told are the enchanting vault of stories around the life of the ordinary Jamaican man, woman, and child.

The book delivers a fascinating glimpse of another side of Jamaican island life. You will be transported to historic Fern Gully, in the parish of St. Ann, and the leafy, meandering hills that shoulder Lovers Leap in Southfield, St. Elizabeth. You will celebrate Christmas in the rustic countryside of Woodside: feel Mattie’s struggles in her quest to build her dream home, be drawn to the treats, the delights of Miss Bailey’s Cold Supper Shop, and see tourists through the eyes of an innkeeper.

Adults and teens will enjoy reading this treasure trove of stories celebrating ordinary happenings around ordinary people with an extraordinary legacy.

I am highly recommending this great read where you will discover, or rediscover, what life is like where the “sun shines daily on the mountain top” and “the ackee, rice n’ saltfish nice so till” as these island people pursue “one love” and try to “feel alright.” Pull up yu chair, cock up yu foot and make space to experience precious, simple, but very colourful memories.

—- Debra Ehrhardt
Debra Ehrhardt is an award-winning actress and playwright.
She is best known for the highly acclaimed play
and soon to be motion picture, Jamaica Farewell

To purchase click here



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The Jamaica International Independence Festival Song Competition (JIIFSC)

Reprinted from the KC Times

Garfield McCook

A festival song competition for Jamaicans in the Diaspora was launched on December 18, 2020 by Atlanta KC Old Boy Garfield (Gary) McCook.

It employs a five Judge Panel, and it will be a virtual affair. The competition’s motto is, “Loving You From Afar.”

The competition’s theme song, GIMME JAMAICA has been released on all platforms.

McCook feels that the Jamaican Diaspora has a wealth of talent to share and this competition will help to expose that talent.

The Premiere Event will be on July 31st 2021.

Thirty-four years ago, McCook left Jamaica to seek opportunities in the USA. His experience and development since has been a great one. He got married, completed a degree, and now has a beautiful family.

He is a Real Estate Broker/Owner of Georgia Dream Homes/New York Dream Homes Realty, licensed in Georgia and New York. He and his wife own a Personal Care Home, which they view as a way of giving back to their community.

McCook was moved by Jamaica’s success in Rio to release his first song, “Rio was good to me” in 2017. This Song was a tribute to Usain Bolt on his accomplishment at the Rio Olympics.

He traveled to China to record his second song, “A Lang Time Missa Chin A Run Tings” was released in 2018. The motivation for this song, was on a visit to Jamaica travelling on the North South Highway built by the Chinese. As a young man growing up in Jamaica, He remembered the Chinese being a major factor the island’s commerce and now they were again dominating our transportation sector.

His third song, “CELLELLA” was released in 2019. Cell phones have consumed our lives, we cannot live without them, and the song accentuates this fact.

The fourth song, ”Gimme Jamaica”, released in 2020 is the theme song for the JIIFSC.

You may contact McCook by phone at 678-778-6335 or by mail, JIIFSC@GMAIL.COM.

Visit him on Facebook, Jamaica International Independence Festival Song Competition, and IG, JIIFSC.

The following link will provide more information.

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Former owner of the Starapple Grill in Atlanta ventures into Jamaican Transportation with ARYVVE Ridesharing Service

Ray Lee

Ray Lee, the former owner of the Starapple Grill in Atlanta, has embarked on a new venture in Jamaica with the formation of his new company ARYVVE Technologies LLC.

This is Jamaica’s first and only true rideshare company.

ARYVVE has developed a Transfer Facilitator platform which streamlines car and bus transfers across the island of Jamaica. Clients and residents will be able to move around the island in comfort and confidence by using certified and licensed operators.

Ray previously worked for Sandals Resorts as a business development manager. Prior to that he worked in hotel management and restaurant management. He was the owner of the Starapple Grill in Atlanta in the early 2000’s.

Customers can access this service by simply downloading the Arryvve app on their smart phones or going to the company’s website

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