Known globally for its sun, sea, sand and style, the Caribbean is full to bursting with talented creatives who are taking the world by storm. Game Changers is a series meant to shine a light on some of these remarkable individuals and the power moves they continue to make in their respective fields. Next stop on the regional tour, the land of steelpan and soca where we’ll meet Janine Browne. Janine is a passionate designer, writer and journalist who was born and raised in Trinidad and Tobago. It was while pursuing a degree in Communication at the University of the West Indies, she realised that she could monetise her passion for fashion. Her brand, VENA- The Goddess Experience, is a Caribbean powered accessory brand designed for the divine woman. This is Janine’s story.

[Instructor Deb Eastwood teaches children in Grenada how to swim under the Get Grenada Swimming Initiative]

Imagine living on an island surrounded by water and being unable to swim. That is the dilemma of many Caribbean citizens as we love to visit the beach or river but cannot swim to save ourselves or another life. In Grenada, one Foundation since 2017 has been aiming to teach 8,000 children to swim by 2021, free of charge. TheGet Grenada Swimminginitiative is the brainchild of Grenada Youth Adventurers Director Deb Eastwood, who is a certified Red Cross Lifeguard trainer. “In 2016, we formed the non-profitorganisationto focus on getting kids to swim and set a goal in 2017 to teach 8,000 kids to swim by 2021. At the end of 2019 we taught 5,600 kids how to swim, that’s 1,600 kids a year we got in the water.” she told Loop News. But how did this manage to get off the ground? [Swim instructor Deb Eastwood teachinga student] Deb, as she is fondly called by her peers,says throughayouth group while taking children around the islandto visit various places, sherealisedmany did not know how to swim. “I was like this is crazy and I taught them to swim and formed the non-profit foundation and it just grew. We have nine locations on the island now.” Deb says when the initiative started it was estimated that 95 percent of Grenadians did not know how to swim, but over the years through the lessons given it may have dropped to 85 percent. “A lot of indigenous Grenadians do not know how to swim. There are 16,000 children in Grenada between five and 14 years old. If we teach half of the children to swim, they will teach their siblings, the moms and their own kids in the future. Grenada can be the first Caribbean island where everyone knows how to swim,” Loop News was told. [Participants in the Get Grenada Swimming Initiative] In fact, Deb says many mothers were encouraged to participate while waiting for their kids. The Get Grenada Swimming Initiative is a five-yearprogrammeand Deb believes the target will be met and possibly overshot. However, she believes Caribbean nations should seriously consider swimming as a skill that citizens should learn. “It’s a life skillandI think everyone who lives on an island shouldlearn to swimnot only fortheirsafety but fortheir enjoyment,” says Deb. Theorganisationwas planning an April swim week but that has since been cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.


Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp (left) and  Philippe Coutinho.

Philippe Coutinho's transfer from Liverpool to Barcelona was "difficult" but "fair" for the player, says Reds boss Jurgen Klopp. Brazil midfielder Coutinho swapped Anfield for Camp Nou in January 2018 in a deal reportedly worth over £100million after protracted negotiations. Klopp explained how Liverpool had initially held firm against a sale due to an injury to Adam Lallana, but relented at a time when the move made sense for all parties. "I really respected Phil's switch from the first second," he told the Pure Football Podcast. "Not that I do that all the time but it felt 'oh wow that could be difficult'. "So it's not about yes we signed a new contract so many weeks before that but it was really clear he would not have asked me for any other club but for this club, there was no chance. "Then we had to be hard in the summer because we had no other solution. We lost Adam Lallana in that time as well, we would have lost two players. "That's not possible, you cannot solve that on the transfer market. "He was open to that [staying] and that was really cool. Then you have to be fair in the window and say we can do it, we don't like it but we can do it." Coutinho struggled to adjust at Barca and was shipped out on loan to Bayern Munich for the 2019-2020 season, which is suspended as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Bayern are not thought to be keen on making the move permanent, but Barca appear certain to sanction a sale elsewhere if they can recoup a large sum of the outlay they stumped up to Liverpool. The Reds had been linked with a move themselves, although reports say they will not be in the market for their former midfielder, and Klopp wants the best for Coutinho wherever he ends up. "Phil was our boy for a long time," he added. "We respect him a lot and wish him all the best. "That's how football should be. That's the most important thing the club showed in that moment."

LaLiga president Javier Tebas.

LaLiga's 2019-20 season will not be cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic because to do so would incur accumulative losses of €1billion, according to the competition's president Javier Tebas. Spain's top-flight, much like most of Europe's elite leagues, has been suspended indefinitely due to COVID-19, which has killed almost 14,000 people in the country. The timing of the hiatus – so close to the end of the season – has led to a significant debate as to what happens next when the threat has passed, with some suggesting the season is started over, while others insist it should be resumed where it finished. Tebas is under no illusions that the season in Spain must not be voided because of the financial consequences, while he also confirmed LaLiga has identified May 28 – or the first weekend of June – as a working date for resuming domestic action, with UEFA competitions potentially set to continue in July. "We are considering the idea of ​​playing again, in Spain and other European countries, on May 29 or, alternatively, on June 6 or June 28. If we start LaLiga on May 28, the Champions League would be in July; if we start on June 6, all the competitions would be played together until July 31," Tebas told reporters in a teleconference on Tuesday. "And if we start on June 28, July would be for LaLiga and August for the Champions League. With these dates, obviously, there is time to start training again, respecting the activity resumption protocol that we have designed for LaLiga. "By the end of the season we would not want to go beyond the month of August, and it is obvious that all this will affect the schedule for the next season. "No, not mentioned at all at the moment," he continued when asked if cancelling the season was an option. "It is a hypothesis that we do not contemplate. We want to end it, probably behind closed doors. "And it is curious, by chance, that the clubs that want to end the season here are the ones from the bottom of the League, the ones that are fighting not to be relegated. "I can assure you that no major nor mid-season championships intend to cancel the season, whoever talks about this does so for personal interests. "Not finishing the 2019-20 season would bring a measurable loss of €1bn. If we finish behind closed doors, the economic damage will be €350million. "If we could play with the public, the losses would still be €150m. As for TV rights in the League, we raised 90 per cent of the total. If we no longer have to play, in addition to giving up the remaining 10 per cent, we would have to return 18 per cent of what we have already raised."


Tripadvisor, the world's largest travel platform, today launched the first of several initiatives to provide to assist restaurants, bars, cafes and others in the hospitality industry financially impacted by COVID-19. There are fivemillion hospitality businesses on Tripadvisor that need help, the company said in a press release. One way to assist is through the purchase of gift cards, whichserve as much needed microloans to help operators pay their rent, continue to pay employees and fund benefits like healthcare, as well as fund other critical expenses. Tripadvisor is making it easier to purchase gift cards and identity restaurants that are still open for takeout and delivery. Tripadvisor is also calling on members to write reviews and create guides that highlight favourite restaurants, bars and cafes. These small gestures of support make a meaningful business impact. Therankof a business on Tripadvisor is based on the quantity, quality and recency of reviews, with a recentCornell Studyfinding that as the number of reviews increases, the ratings in these reviews tend to be more positive. The Tripadvisor Foundation is also committing onemillion dollars to support organisations serving the most vulnerable populations around the world in response to COVID-19. Initially, within the hospitality sector, the Foundation will contribute one dollarup to US$150,000for each Tripadvisor review posted or shares of the #LoveYourLocal hashtag on public Twitter, Facebook or Instagram accounts. Proceeds will go to two organisations helping impacted restaurant and front line workers: World Central Kitchen and The Restaurant Workers' Community Foundation. "With guidance from governments being updated frequently, there is a risk that customers won't be able to keep up with the right information about which businesses are open for delivery. That is why we're rolling out these features -for free -to make it easier for restaurant owners and operators to highlight the latest information about their business, the options they can still provide to their customers, and encourage gift card purchases," saidBertrand Jelensperger, Senior Vice President, Restaurants at TripAdvisor and CEO of TheFork. "If everyone who can afford it ordered one gift card or a meal for delivery, that income could make all the difference in helping the local restaurant they love to pay its bills and its staff during this period." Restaurants interested in learning more about how to feature gift cards, take-out or delivery capabilities can visithttps://www.tripadvisor.com/ForRestaurants/covid19for more information. Helping Impacted Front Line and Hourly Workers As part of an initial one million dollar donation to support urgent COVID-19 response needs, the Tripadvisor Foundation will contribute one dollar(up to a total of US$150,000) each time a customer does one of the following actions and shares the #LoveYourLocal hashtag on public Twitter, Facebook or Instagram accounts, including posting: An image of a gift card receipt from a restaurant you love anywhere in the world A link to a Tripadvisor review of your favourite dining experience Your favourite dish at your favourite local restaurant linking to aTripadvisor business listing A tribute to your favourite chef or culinary experience linking to aTripadvisor business listing A list of your local favourites using Tripadvisor's "Saves" feature by clicking on the heart icon on anyTripadvisor restaurantlisting These donations will be equally distributed betweenWorld Central Kitchen, a nonprofit organisation that mobilises urgently to provide meals in the wake of natural disasters and crises, and theRestaurant Workers' Community Foundationdedicated to making the restaurant industry more hospitable and providing support to those in the restaurant industry impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. While the immediate needs are focused on supporting the restaurant industry, the partnership with these two organisations will evolve to support impacted small businesses across the tourism and hospitality sector.

David Lea, owner of Hilltop Coffee House going through some of the photographs on the wall of his mini museum. Photo: Laura Dowrich-Phillips

Nestled in the green pillows of Fogarthy Hill, St Peter, Montserrat, the Hilltop Coffee House is an idyllic spot for waffles and a range of morning brews. It also serves as a serene and casual space for experiencing tangible records of the island’s history. Displaying artefacts from the city of Plymouth which is now in an exclusive zone since the Soufriere Hills volcano erupted 25 years ago to records of famous artists who recorded their music at Air Records studio in Montserrat, the coffee house serves as a museum and multi-purpose facility. Founded onOctober 12, 2012, Hilltop Coffee House has an eight-member management team of David Lea and his wife Clover, Eugene Skerritt, Kristina Lea, Jennifer Bouyea, Coral and Kyla Siddell and Opal Skerritt. The founders of this national gem are a group with extensive backgrounds in youth, children’s, women's and prison ministries. As a result, the café creates space for personal development for a range of disciplines. Lea told Loop he and his family wanted to create a space through which they could give back to the community. “A nice, relaxing space where anyone and everyone is welcome.” The space serves as a community and youth centre. Meeting spaces are also available for organisations seeking a natural and open space for meetings. “No one gets paid. We will ask only for a donation. Donations go toward the upkeep of the facility. At the end of the year, if we have extra finance, it is donated to another organisation of a worthy cause. Hilltop also displays art from local children. Leasaid there have been instances where funds are donated to families or individuals in need of varying causes. The café once served as a hangout for music’s top stars who came to the tiny island to record. Though the studio no longer sees the likes of Elton John and Stevie Wonder as often as it once did, it has maintained remnants of its rich history with album covers, photographs and other paraphernalia, pulling people back to Montserrat time and time again. Lea said one of his most fond memories since its opening in 2012 are the visits from legendary producer of The Beatles, Sir George Martin and his wife Judy. Martin founded AIR (Associated Independent Recording Studio) in 1979 but it has remained closed since Hurricane Hugo destroyed parts of it. “Having them visit was always a pleasure. This is where their studio was, where many artistes would come to record including Stevie Wonder, Elton John, Duran Duran, Marvin Gaye, the Rolling Stones and Black Sabbath to name a few.” Host and co-producer of the 90s TV series Caribbean Crossroads which started in 1989, Lea and his wife have been living in Montserrat for 40 years. US natives from Ohio and Virginia respectively, the couple raised their four children in Montserrat after moving from the US when their eldest was only a year old. Their daughters are no longer living on the island, but both sons still reside there. Lea told Loop, “Our son Sunny is actually the guy behind Montserrat Island Tours. It has become the go-to tour company for visitors coming to Montserrat.” “We also have many years’ experience in counselling, multi-media production, video, the arts and dance.” This is evident in the records held by Lea from events such as the 1995 Soufriere Hills volcano, which until then was dormant. The eruption buried the capital, Plymouth, under more than 12 metres of mud. “We have a lot of footage and artefacts from the burnt city along with other artefacts from other events of Montserrat’s history.” Montserrat’s home of Waffle Saturdays, where visitors can enjoy Belgian waffles and an assortment of toppings, also provides the educational and fun experiences of a family centre. Hilltop Coffee House contains memorabilia from the days of Air Recording Studio where numerous artistes recorded The non-profit has received rave reviews on their Facebook page. One visitor in a post to Hilltop's Facebook page said, “It’s a must-see. A museum with the rich history of Plymouth, filled with good vibes and great tasting art.” Another visitor said, “Loved the history. The coffee was fabulous and the host was wonderful. Can’t wait to go back!” Among the many encouraging reviews from locals and tourists are bound to inspire any wanderer to visit is a comment by a mother who said, “Our family visited the Hilltop just to stop by and say hello and look around.” She said, “We had already had breakfast and did not expect to stay very long. An hour later, we had finished with our double order of waffles and had a quick tour from David on the collections of images and memorabilia from the time when Sting, Eric Clapton, Duran Duran and many of the other great bands of the 80s recorded in Montserrat.” Lea said anyone visiting Montserrat is welcome to visit Hilltop. “Next year we may change one of the signs to indicate outright that everyone is welcome.”