Brianna Brochu, accused of contaminating her black roommate's belongings at the University of Hartford, addresses the court during a hearing, Tuesday. (PHOTO: AP)

A former Connecticut college student accused of smearing body fluids on her black Jamaican-American roommate's belongings, admitted to committing the dastardly act but denied that she's racist. The lawyer for the accusedformer University of Hartford student, Brianna Brochu,said Tuesday that he doesn't expect authorities to file hate crime charges. Attorney Tom Stevens' comments came after Brochu appeared before a state judge in Hartford. The 18-year-old Harwinton resident is charged with misdemeanor criminal mischief and breach of peace. Brochu, who is white, wrote on Instagram about rubbing used tampons on her black roommate's backpack and putting her roommate's toothbrush "where the sun doesn't shine," according to West Hartford police. She also called her roommate "Jamaican Barbie," and wrote that she put moldy clam dip in her roommate's lotions and spit in her coconut oil. Chennel Rowe The roommate, Chennel Rowe, said she developed severe throat pain. NAACP members rallied outside the courthouse Tuesday and repeated their demand that prosecutors file felony hate crime charges. Hartford State's Attorney Gail Hardy said Tuesday that investigators are reviewing additional information at the request of Rowe's lawyer. She would not elaborate. She said any decision on adding charges will be based on evidence and the law. Brochu recently told the Republican-American newspaper that she acted foolishly but isn't racist. Stevens said Brochu regrets her actions. "I think that when it's all said and done, what you're going to see is that there was nothing racist that motivated this," he said outside the courthouse. "These were two students who were placed together ... who didn't like each other ... and it escalated." Brochu told police that she did put tampon blood on Rowe's backpack and licked Rowe's plate, fork and spoon, but denied doing anything else, authorities said. Brochu said she lied in the Instagram post in an attempt to "appear funny," a police report said. She said her actions were in retaliation for Rowe's "rude behavior" and Rowe posting videos of her sleeping and making fun of her snoring. University of Hartford officials said Brochu is no longer a student at the school, but did not elaborate. Her court case was continued to December18.


Veteran dancehall deejay, Ninjaman, born Desmond Ballentine, and two co-accused, including the entertainer’s son, Janeil, were on Monday found guilty of the 2009 murder of Ricardo Johnson, also known as ‘Trooper’, in Olympic Garden, St Andrew. The verdict came in from a seven-member jury which was comprised of four men and three women, in the Home Circuit Court in downtown Kingston, following deliberations for over three hours. The Ballentynes and Dennis Clayton were tried for the murder of Johnson in the Marl Road area of Olympic Gardens. The lasted for over a month, during which the artiste fell ill, reportedly due to an emerging heart-related condition. In response to the verdict, Ninjaman simply said, "A suh it go man," on exiting the courtroom. The trial involved some seven witnesses, including one who testified that a group of men, led by Ninjaman with a gun, entered a yard on the day in question, and the deejay fired two shots at him while he fled the premises. However, Johnson, who was at the premises, was hit and later died from his injuries. The case had all of 17 missed trial dates and 23 mention dates over an eight-year span, and the trial finally got under way last month when Justice Martin Gayle revoked Ninjaman’s bail and ordered an immediate start to the proceedings. More details to come late.

(left) Alva Stuart, Co-Director of Andrew. T. Cleckley Funeral Services Inc.

Only 29-years-old but Alva Stuart is already making big moves in the funeral service business abroad. The Barbadian born national owns and operates a funeral home, Andrew T. Cleckley, in Brooklyn,New York alongside her American husband. Loop News spoke with Alva where she explained just how she got into the funeral business. She shared a comical anecdote on how she quelled her curiosity about what goes on behind the doors of a funeral home following the death of her grandmother. She said as a young girshe would pass a funeral home on her way from school on evenings and she could not pass up the opportunity to peep inside. “I would ask them to go to the bathroom and then I would go and look around the funeral home and my friends used to laugh at me. I even told them to come with me and none of them would be brave.” From there Alva made her mind up and moved on to study Mortuary Services in New York beforecomingback to Barbados where she worked briefly at Downes and Wilson Funeral Home in St. Michael. It wasn't enough. Alva said her drive and ambition saw her return to the US to start her own business. Andrew T. Checkley, opened in 2015 andinitially serviced other funeral homes in transporting the deceased from the place of death to other funeral homes but from 2017 the decision was made to transform into full funeral services including burial, cremation and international shipping. Alva said from the time she entered school up to nowshe has felt the need to work extra hard to excel in her studies and make the business successfulconsidering that she is a young, black female from the Caribbean. “I really wanted to prove that a little person from the Caribbean can come up here and do very well.” Despite her age and the fact that the business is still relatively young, Alva said she believes she has an advantage over her competitors who have been in the business for a while, in that she capitalises on the use of technology to advertise and communicate with clients. She added many are quite surprised that a young woman would be in this type of career. “Everybody always comments and says, ‘You are a beautiful girl, how did you get into this?’ or ‘Why would you want to do that?’ and they always say, ‘You don’t look like a Funeral Director’.” But she said she presses on fervently to show these persons that females can thrive as the Head of a funeral home. She said she even carries out tasks such as lifting the casket. Alva went onto explain the funeral service business in New York is vastly different to that in Barbados. She said competition in Barbados is tight as there are quite a number of funeral homes with a small population, whereas in New York the population is larger. Another difference she pointed out is the fact that in New York funerals are usually scheduled for the evening time to give relatives and friends the opportunity to be part of the service without having to take time off of work. She also said in New York, the wake is always more a party than a solemn gathering as what happens in Barbados. She even suggested that Barbadians start to push more towards night and evening funerals as a way of limiting disruption to persons’ job hours. Going forward Alva said her goal is to focus on nurturing relationships with new and existing clients. She said the business is based heavily on referrals and reviews. “So we are hoping that by nurturing this small community that word can get around and it will be good to see the business grow.” With many of the youth on island here facing the challenge of unemployment, her tidbit of wisdom for young Barbadians who may have considered but are skeptical about moving abroad to start a career, was: “You have to take a risk. I packed up my bags and I left Barbados. I came here alone and I didn’t know what I was coming to. Some people told me that I shouldn’t do it, that over here is hard, but I took a risk and I do not regret it.”

The Paradise Papers have catapulted the Cayman Islands - a mere 22 miles long - into the global spotlight as island of the rich andglamorous. However, a Senior City Correspondent for the London Evening Standard, Simon English, in article published last week said that papers have painted an image of the British Overseas territory which is “shy of the reality”. Are the Cayman Islands overhyped? According to English, who boasts that he once ditched his tedious job to find adventure and intrigue in the Cayman Islands, Cayman is a quiet place with nothing much going on. “Perhaps the words Grand Cayman conjure an image of glamour and excess. Of scheming bankers, cutting fiendish deals on yachts, surrounded by the most fantastically good looking people on earth. Of James Bond-alike liaisons, with guns, fast cars and passports spread over hotel beds,” read English’s article. English argues that the image of Grand Cayman as place of excess is false. He notes that with the exception of a few perks, which he defined as great diving, good golfing and a nice beach, the island is very tiny with not much going on. In emphasizing his point, English noted that “If you rocked up to the right cocktail bar on Friday evening, you could see the prime minister enjoying a game of dominoes. Buy him a drink, you could join in. And that’s about it.” (Note the Cayman Islands does not have a Prime Minister but a Premier) English further noted that the social climate of the place is also very quiet and insular. “The locals are certainly shy of criticism, and the authorities perhaps don’t engage as well as they might to explain their position. It’s an insular place that doesn’t encourage sarcasm; just writing this piece makes me feel disloyal,” wrote English. According to English, there is far more “skulduggery” on Wall Street and as for money laundering, English said the Isle of Man and Guernsey have greater cases to answer. English writes that the 350 million the island makes per year in charging companies fees to register and get work permits isn’t very much. “Grand Cayman is a tax haven — it prefers the term tax neutral — but you can hardly blame it for that. It’s far from obvious what else it would do to make a living, aside from tourism, “read English’s article. Do you agree have the Paradise Papers overhyped the Island?

Recently a friend of mine expressed shock (and some amusement) with the tone/types of emails she received from one of her employees. Instead of being addressed as “Mrs. X” when she received e-mails from her team member, or even being addressed by her first name, her employee addressed her by an abbreviated version of her first name...(think of me being called ‘Mal’ instead of Malaika). Added to the name issue, emails included slangs like “ty” instead of “Thank You” and “LOL” for whatever was deemed amusing. My friend was confused about why her employee thought it appropriate to communicate with her like that, as she didn’t think it was acceptable, and she certainly wouldn’t communicate like that with her boss. After sharing the occurrence with me, my first question was to ask how old her employee was, and as I suspected she was a young woman in her early 20s, a member of what is popularly dubbed the ‘Millennial’ or ‘Gen Y’ generation. My friend on the other hand was older- a member of the ‘Gen X’ group. As we have all experienced, at some time or another- communication across different generations can bring with it interesting challenges. Whether we are new to the workforce, at the midpoint of our career or closer to retirement, we all have different ways of communicating with each other, and varying beliefs about what is “appropriate” communication. Often times however these beliefs conflict, and can lead to misunderstanding and annoyance. But it really doesn't have to be this way. The reality is that we have an increasing number of persons from different age groups working together, and we will therefore interact across different generational groups at work. The key is to ensure that we communicate well and get our message across successfully. The tips below should help us all to communicate effectively, whether we are Millennials, Baby Boomers or somewhere in between: - Set Guidelines: in your department, or on your respective teams establish what is “acceptable.” If you work in an informal environment and it is acceptable to use slangs and “broken English” then you may communicate in this manner. If however, you operate in a more formal environment, then ensure that you adhere to more formal communication guidelines. What is important is to ensure that communication guidelines are established, and to stick to them. - Use Different Methods of Communication: thanks to advances in technology, there are different ways to communicate…we can email, send a text message, use WhatsApp etc. With these options available, it’s ok to use any of these different methods of communication. Be guided however by organizational culture. If you work in a very formal culture, it may not be acceptable to send your boss a WhatsApp message- if this is the case, an email may be more appropriate. - Different Methods for Different Colleagues: In your department, you may have a team member who only communicates via email. Another colleague, might rely on Instant Messages, while you may actually find it easier to have a quick conversation face-to-face or by telephone. In situations like these, it may simply be easier to adjust your communication style for different team members. Changing your style to suit the recipient can feel burdensome, but if you can make adjustments for them (and they make adjustments for you) communication in the office may just get easier... Also, you may find that you get a response from your colleagues much sooner via instant messaging than email, and in our fast paced world, this is quite good! - Be Flexible…and speak up: if you do not like the communication method used by your colleague, try not to be annoyed (…yes, they could have just sent a message, and really didn’t have to call)…but, be flexible, your colleague is merely doing what s/he feel is appropriate. If you really don’t like it however, tell them and ask them to communicate with you using your preferred method. Good communication can make a big difference in how well we operate at work- it may serve us well therefore to get comfortable using different tools. What communication techniques do you use? Malaika T. Edwards is a Human Resources consultant and provides advisory services to individuals and business clients. She is also a PhD scholar at the Louisiana State University (LSU) where she specializes in Human Resources and Workforce Development. You can contact her at, or on LinkedIn at

In recognition of World Diabetes Day, free health screenings will be offered in the atrium of the Cayman Islands Hospital in George Town on Tuesday from 8:00 am- 2:00pm The screenings are offered as a result of a partnership between the Health Services Authority and the Lions Club of Tropical Gardens. Minister of Health, Dwayne Seymour, in showing his support for the initiative, urged Caymanians to pay attention to the information received from their healthcare professionals on the subject ofdiabetesand ways in which the serious illness can be prevented and controlled. “Whilediabetesis widespread amongst men in our community, I am pleased to have the spotlight shone on women for this particular occasion,” said Seymour. This year’s theme, “Women anddiabetes- Our right to a healthy future”, was chosen by the InternationalDiabetesFederation. “Diabetesis a widespread problem in the Caribbean, including here in the Cayman Islands, where the condition is often referred to as “sugar”,” added Seymour. Seymour noted that if left untreated, diabetes can cause serious complications such asblindness, cardiovascular disease, kidney failure leading to dialysis, and lower-limb amputation. Globally,diabetesis the ninth leading cause of death in women, causing 2.1 million deaths each year. One in 10 women are living with disease. Women withdiabeteshave more difficulty conceiving and may have poor pregnancy outcomes. Without pre-conception planning, type 1 and type 2diabetescan result in a significantly higher risk of maternal and child mortality and morbidity. “In light of this knowledge, all residents, women and men, are encouraged to be proactive and take advantage of the many health checks that are offered on the islands through health fairs and other community related activities,” said Seymour. “Each of us can also take steps to avoid developing diabetes, or to help control it if we already have the condition. Simple measures such as eating a healthy and balanced diet, as well as taking regular exercise, can make a big difference. It is also important to avoid tobacco products, alcohol and illegal drugs, “ added Seymour. Seymour further added that, “ I n years gone by, children in the Cayman Islands had very active lifestyles, but these days it is all too common to see them occupied on their phones, tablets or computer games.” Seymour used the opportunity to urge parents to ensure their sons and daughters incorporate physical activities into their play times, and take part in sports in their teenage years. “So while we focus on “sugar” for World Diabetes Day, let us remember that this is a condition we must be aware of all year round. Let’s focus on education, treatment and care for all,” Seymour added. A public education session on the topic of women anddiabetesin the Hibiscus Conference Room at the hospital, from 5.30 p.m. to 7.30 p.m. The scheduled speakers are consultant obstetrician, Dr. Gillian Evans-Belfonte,and pharmacist/diabeteseducator, Winsome Jefferson.


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