Share with us your first memory of Jamaica
I first arrived to Jamaica in 1998. I was lucky enough to be able to stay with Jamaican friends, in their home. It was a true local experience, very hospitable. I fell in love with Jamaica during that trip and moved from London to Kingston three years later.
What places would you recommend as must-visit locations to a first-time visitor to Jamaica?
I always recommend that people go into the Blue Mountains. People think of Jamaica as a beach paradise, which of course it is. So going into the Blue Mountains is always such a surprise for people. It shows the diversity of Jamaica: the cooler temperature, the absolute tranquility and of course the beauty of the landscape. Not many people know that the best coffee in the world grows in the Blue Mountains, another reason to visit. I also always take first-time visitors to Blue Hole in Port Antonio and I often recommend Jake's at Treasure Beach.
Where would you encourage a first-time visitor to go for a meal and why?
I have not been here for a while, but a few years back, on the road to Port Antonio there was this one jerk shack that still served meat that was cooked for hours in a hole in the ground, layered with charcoal and covered with banana leaves. The meat would fall of the bone and had a taste that no fancy Michelin star-restaurant could ever replicate. I would encourage anyone visiting Jamaica, who has the chance, to try that jerk.
What is your beverage of choice?
I have been travelling to China a lot recently and have gotten hooked into the tea culture. I have brought back copious amounts of exotic teas and I am reading a lot on the subject. The time and effort people put into making a simple pot of tea is what intrigued me to begin with. I also like the health benefits green and natural teas offer. That is until one night I was taken out to a bar where the popular beverage — believe it or not — was Jack Daniel's with Iced Green Tea. As unlikely as it sounds, it actually tastes very good.
What cologne are you splashing?
My wife gave me a bottle of Armani Code years ago and I have been splashing it ever since.
Share the title of the last book you read.
The Penguin History of Modern China: The Fall and Rise of a Great Power, 1850-2009 by Jonathan Fenby.
What was the last bit of music you listened to that you really enjoyed?
This just happened last night: Our friends from the Jamaica cricket team, my business partner: Locky Mulholland from New Zealand and myself were at the bar at The Pegasus. You should know that Locky travels all over the world with a speaker system in his suitcase. He brought it to the bar and played music from his iPod. At one point one of the players asked Locky "Do you have Blurred Lines by Robin Thicke, TI and Pharrell? It is our theme song!" Locky played it, turned the volume up and everyone in the bar started dancing, on chairs and tables and singing along. It was such a great vibe! I have not been able to get that tune out of my head and I just bought it on iTunes.
Share a few places in your travel book...
I am from The Netherlands so I try to go there regularly. It was only after I left Holland that I started to realise what a great city Amsterdam is. I recommend anyone who visits to rent a bicycle. Jamaicans might be surprised how many times they will see Bob Marley portraits on shop windows. Of course, these are the famous coffee shops and everything you have heard about them is true...
I love big cosmopolitan cities: Hong Kong, New York, London. Of all the places I lived in the world — and I lived in many — I think London is my favourite.
Where's the one place you head to when you need to escape it all?
Perhaps because of all the travel I do, I am happiest when I am at home with my wife.
Who inspires you?
Muhammad Ali, my childhood hero. I actually used to box for several years; was not very good at it, but enjoyed it immensely. So of course, when Lennox Lewis fought Mike Tyson in Memphis in June 2002 I went to the match to cheer him on, as part of the Jamaica delegation.
What made you decide to enter the telecoms industry?
The truth is, I first and foremost made the decision to come and live in Jamaica. Telecoms came as a result of that decision. This was 2001.
And your decision to sponsor the Caribbean Premier League?
Jamaicans love cricket, Jamaicans love mobile phones and Jamaicans love to talk. So it made a lot of sense for us. But besides commercial reasons there was also the genuine aspiration to be part of something that is important to a lot of people. It's an opportunity we are very thankful for.
What should Jamaica expect from XOX Mobile?
At this time we want to get our name out there and create a buzz. Already people are asking, What is XOX Mobile? XOX is a new brand of mobile phones and we will be revealing more details very soon.
Any word on an official launch date?
We are looking to launch in the fourth quarter of this year in the Caribbean.
Where do you see the company going in the next five years?
We are looking to build a global lifestyle brand.
What new projects are you working on?
A charity in Haiti for single mothers, living in tent camps, unable to support themselves or their children. We raise funds for basic living necessities and aim to help build self-sufficiency over time.
Finally, what is your life philosophy?
Simple: Do good! which is perhaps best illustrated by this quote "It is impossible to build one's own happiness on the unhappiness of others"... I try to think of that in everything I do.