Two of the eight men who escaped from the Golden Grove Prison in Arouca remain fugitives of the law. Michael Findley and Olantungi Denbow have managed to elude police capture for the past nine days. [related node_id='36bb62f2-82ff-4969-8f89-8e85297cd63e'] The men are charged with the double murders of Andre La Touche and Abiola Noel who were killed at their Laventille home in February 2016. Police say the men are to be considered armed and dangerous and should not be approached for any reason. Anyone with information on the whereabouts of these men is urged to contact the police on 555, 999, or anonymously on 800-TIPS(8477),or any police station or text/WhatsApp 482-GARY. A $50,000 reward has been offered for information leading to Findley and Denbow's recapture.

Police destroy $14M in marijuana in Biche. Photo courtesy The Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS).

Police have continued with marijuana eradication exercises in Biche. Officersof the Eastern Division found and destroyed marijuana trees and dried marijuana worth an estimated $14,649,000. The exercise, which was coordinated by Snr. Supt. (Ag.) Andy Belfon and included officers of the Organised Crime and Intelligence Unit and the Air Support Unit, was conducted between 7:30 am and 2:00 pmon Friday. The officers discovered four marijuana fields on approximately nine lots of land, which contained a total of 14,300 fully grown marijuana trees. The officers also found 34.09 kilogrammes of dried marijuana. The trees and dried marijuana were subsequently destroyed. Investigations are ongoing.


Hip Hop artiste Chromatics will be the featured act on the next installment of Drop the Mic on June 1 at the Skyy View Lounge in San Fernando

Trinidad and Tobago has an abundance ofcreativetalent that is often overshadowed by Carnival. In recognition of this, we are launching the Too Much Talent campaign (#TMT) that will shed a spotlight on some of the talents we have in this country. To do so, we are partnering with Drop the Mic, an open mic series that takes place every month, to showcase some of the artistes you need to keep an eye on. Drop the Mic launched its 2019 season this month and on June 1, the second installment will take place. We invited Drop the Mic founder Tracey Tuitt and Denith McNicolls to the Lounge to give you some insight into who they are and how the platform they created is working to help our local artistes.

The life of Rawlston Charles is the subject of a documentary by his daughter WNBA star Tina Charles.

The life and times of Rawlston Charles was the subject of a documentary that recently premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival. The film was produced by his daughter, former WNBA player Tina Charles and features interviews with many famous calypsonians as well as Dr Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley. But, who is Rawlston Charles and why is his life such interesting fodder for a documentary? Charles is the owner of the legendary Charlies Calypso City on Fulton Avenue, Brooklyn, New York and founder of Charlie’s Records, the label under which he produced for some of the greatest names in Calypso among them Superblue, Calypso Rose, Scrunter, Kitchener, Shadow, Sparrow, Ras Shorty and Explainer. He is also the main sponsor of the band Charlie’s Roots which is named after him and which gave birth to calypsonians such as David Rudder and Chris ‘Tambu’ Herbert. He was also very instrumental in getting calypso music accepted in New York and his contribution to the Caribbean culture in New Yorkis recognised in a display at theSmithsonian NationalMuseumofAfrican American HistoryandCulture in Washington, DC. Originally from Delaford, Tobago, Charles moved to Trinidad as a teen and later migrated to the United States. “I arrived in Brooklyn on the 17th of December 1967 with a Lord Kitchener album in my hand. Why? Maybe I was on a mission I didn’t even know,” he told Loop, revealing that Kitchener was his favourite calypsonian. At first, Charles worked in the automotive industry. Growing up as an acolyte in church, Charles loved to sing but wasn’t good at it. His lack of vocal talent didn’t stop him from indulging in music. After three years of working in the car industry, Charles branched off into DJing. His choice of music: calypso. “In Trinidad and Tobago back then we were more into foreign music because they pulled the plug on Carnival songs on Ash Wednesday, so we were tuning into Country and Western, Percy Sledge, love songs,” he recalled. But, as a migrant, he wanted to keep his culture alive despite the perception people had of the music. “Back then some of us came and brought the culture but it was a job bringing the music to the people. People asked what I was doing, they saw calypso like old people thing. People asked why as a young guy you playing calypso. It was hard, extremely hard. In our parties here you didn’t hear calypsos. If you heard calypso it was a sign that the party ended,” he said. “I had a slogan. I told DJsthis music has to be the life of the party, not the end, we got to change this and that was a part of my job, going around to DJs, making sure they played the music. Some people came into the world and was given an assignment to do certain things. I asked myself why you want to do this?Many places you go they insult you and say don’t bring no calypso here.” Charles said it bothered him when he heard reggae music but not calypso. “Those Jamaicans were instrumental in what I did. I saw how they fought for their music. I wanted to do that too,” he said. And fought he did. Charles said he became a thorn in the side of DJs and radio announcers who he fought with to have calypso music played. He was arrested twice as he doggedly pursued his mission. The first time he was arrested after he got into an altercation at a party for trying to get the DJs to play calypso. The second time was when he blasted calypso music loudly from his store attracting the attention of a police officer who told him to turn down the volume. “He said low it down and I did but he came back and said take it off. I almost got arrested a third time when WLIB stopped playing the music and I started a demonstration there whole day Sunday raising hell with a placard. Next day they told me I had to have a permit to demonstrate on the street or I would be arrested. I didn't want to be arrested again.But after fighting they put back the programme on the radio,” he recalled. Charles also fought for the music at home. Jamaican bandByron Lee and theDragonaires was dominating the T&T Carnival scene much to Charles’ annoyance. “For two years he used to beat up on us with the sound that he had. I couldn’t stand to see this guy coming and dominating the parties with his sound. And the second year I hear it I said I not going back to Trinidad and see the abuse by Byron Lee down there,” he said. Ellis Chow Lin On, manager of Charile’s Roots, said the Pelham Goddard-led band was struggling and Charles donated US$17,000 for the band to get equipment comparable to Byron Lee’s band. “They changed the name from Sensational to Charlie’s Roots and they became one of the household names in Trinidad. I also donated TT$10,000 to the Carnival committee every year,” he revealed. While he was fighting to get calypso played in the parties and on radio, Charles ensured calypso lovers could get their hands on the latest releases through his store which he opened on July 4, 1972. And though he had no experience in the recording industry, he began working as an executive producer and became known as the man with an ear for the hits. He rejected the Art de Couteau production for Rose’ 'Gimme More Tempo', choosing instead to work with Goddard to create what he was hearing in his head. That song went on to earn Rose the Road March title, the first woman to ever capture it. When Goddard sent him Blueboy’s ‘Soca Baptist’, he roped in musician Ed Watson to provide the claps and noise. He shopped the song around to tent owners who rejected it but Shadow, who operated his own tent, the Master's Den,took a chance on the then-unknown Blueboy who went on to win the Road March with the song and changed the soca game forever. Charles went on to produce many of the legend’s hits and even toured with him. “When I hear a song I study it. I think about what you have to put in itto enhance what you have. You have to enhance the song, you got to work on the song,” he said. Though he is no longer producing, Charles’ studio is still attracting top talent such as soca king Machel Montano who recorded 'We now start to Party'with Superblue for Carnival 2019.


Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro poses for photos with a statue of Our Lady of Fatima,during a Catholic ceremony at which he dedicated his nation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary at Planalto presidential palace in Brasilia, Brazil, Tuesday, May 21, 2019. (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres)

A majority in Brazil's supreme court has voted to make homophobia and transphobia crimes like racism, a decision coming amid fears the country's far-right president will roll back LGBT social gains. Six of the Supreme Federal Tribunal's 11 judges have voted in favor of the measure. The five other judges will vote in a court session on June 5, but the result will not be modified. The measure will take effect after all the justices have voted. Racism was made a crime in Brazil in 1989 with prison sentences of up to five years. The court's judges ruled that homophobia should be framed within the racism law until the country's congress approves legislation specifically dealing with LGBT discrimination. Brazil's Senate is dealing with a bill to criminalize discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender with sentences of up to five years. "Racism is a crime against flesh and blood, whether it is a member of the LGBT community, a Jew or an Afro-descendant," justice Luiz Fux said Thursday. The court's judges said the ruling was to address an omission that had left the LGBT community legally unprotected. While same-sex marriage is legal in Brazil, it is still a dangerous country for members of the LGBT community and has a large evangelical movement often critical of gay rights. According to the rights group the Grupo Gay da Bahia, 420 LGBT people were killed across Brazil in 2018, while at least 141 have been killed so far this year. President Jair Bolsonaro, a former army captain who assumed office on Jan. 1, has a history of offensive comments about gays, blacks and other minorities, openly acknowledging he is a homophobe. He has said he would rather have a dead son than a gay son. The ruling "comes at a very good moment, when we have a head of state who is LGBT-phobic," said Bruna Benevides, president of the Niteroi Diversity group. "The Supreme Court assumed the responsibility to protect us."

Two same-sex couples seal their legal marriage with a kiss at the registration office in Xingyi District in Taipei, Taiwan, Friday, May 24, 2019. Hundreds of same-sex couples in Taiwan are rushing to the household registration office on the first day that a landmark decision to legalize same-sex marriage has taken effect. (AP Photo/Johnson Lai)

Hundreds of same-sex couples in Taiwan rushed to get married Friday, the first day a landmark decision that legalized same-sex marriage took effect. Taiwan became the first place in Asia to allow same-sex marriage last week in a legislative vote on a cause that the island's LGBT rights activists have championed for two decades. A household registration office in central Taipei was packed as couples seized the earliest opportunity to tie the knot. Jubilant couples held flower bouquets and posed for photos, smiling and kissing. "The legalization of marriage is only the first step," said a 48-year-old novelist who writes under the pen name Chen Hsue. "In the future, through this legalization, I hope LGBT people could be accepted as ordinary people by Taiwanese society," said Chen, who has lived with her partner for more than 10 years. Taiwan's Ministry of the Interior said 500 same-sex couples registered their marriages across the island on Friday. A Taipei resident who identified himself only by a nickname said tearfully that he and his partner feel lucky that they are able to announce in front of everyone that they are gay and have gotten married. The two men wore matching pastel pink suits and stood in front of a rainbow display featuring messages blessing the newlyweds. Several couples requested that their real names not be made public because they fear the stigma that persists around being gay in Taiwan. Kristin Huan, a YouTube blogger, said she and her partner Amber can strengthen other people's faith and hope by sharing their story online. "Coming out of the closet is a very difficult process for every gay person," Huan said. Taiwan split from mainland China amid civil war in 1949, though China's ruling Communist Party claims the island as part of its own territory. Same-sex marriage is not legal in mainland China, and while LGBT rights advocates have made progress over the years in raising awareness and promoting tolerance, depictions of same-sex relationships are still regularly censored on Chinese TV and social media.