Heastie…appointed chair of NY task force New York State Assembly Speaker, Carl Heastie, has been appointed by Haitian- American Assemblywoman Michaelle Solages as chair of the Legislative Task Force on New Americans. Founded in 2001, the entity focuses on researching and advocating for policies and programs that have a direct impact on the immigrant community throughout the state of New York.Solages, 31, who represents the 22nd district in the New York State Assembly, since 2013, is the first Haitian-American elected to the New York State legislature. “The foreign-born population has a substantial impact on New York, especially in suburban communities. They contribute to economic output, tax revenues, and play a significant role in creating small businesses. Rather than waste government resources on raids and walls, we should invest in our communities and crumbling infrastructure.” Solages said.“As a daughter of an [Haitian] immigrant …and chair of this Task Force, I will celebrate the diversity of our state and push back against the rise of ‘extreme anti-immigration rhetoric,’” she added.
Female accompliceHe is said to have a female accomplice who also makes calls on his behalf.The potential victim is invited to meet him, sometimes at a guest house, after which he takes them elsewhere and forces himself on them.“He introduces himself as ‘Junior’, a hotel Supervisor, and it says something about the females he has been able to fool – that they are desperate for employment. If you know you did not apply for a job, why go for an interview?” One source asserted. An alleged serial rapist is on the loose in St Lucia luring females with promises of hotel employment.Law enforcement officials are on the hunt for the man who has been described as fair skinned, sporting multiple tattoos and being in his thirties.The man apparently calls telephone numbers randomly and once a female answers, claims to represent any one of several hotels on the Island and makes a job offer. Victims ashamed, refusing to come forwardIt has been reported that most of the women who have been raped have refused to come forward out of shame, but others have been speaking up.The alleged rapist is reportedly well known to the police.He is said to have been shot some time ago by lawmen in a separate incident some time ago.The man’s latest alleged rape occurred this week at a remote area in Soufriere after he is reported to have promised a woman a job as a cook and cleaner at a well-known resort in the North of the Island.The woman was reportedly picked up and driven to a house where she was violated but later managed to escape, despite being threatened with physical violence.
Just a few weeks ago, Jamaican-American Singer Ruffi released his new single “Holiday” that quickly resonated with fans and led to a rise in the artist’s fanbase.The catchy, new single has particularly appealed to West Indian fans as it talks about the various fun and adventurous times one can and should have away from home. Ruffi has noted that Jamaicans, especially, have always gravitated to his work, and “Holiday” is no different. The fun-loving song, heavily influenced by Jamaican culture, has found its way to DJ sets at parties, dances and private vacations with family and friends. Jamaican culture has always been a source of inspiration for the Singer. Even though he currently resides in Florida, Ruffi was born in Haddo in the parish of Westmoreland, Jamaica. In several interviews, he has confirmed that he was inspired to create and echo music through the hearts of people from a very young age. His idols, when asked, are quite often reported to include personalities like Reggae Superstar Bounty Killer, 50 Cent and P. Diddy. Obviously, some influences of these superstars on Ruffi’s music can be found despite the prevalent originality and finesse of his work.Popular Jamaican producer Richie Loops, when asked about Ruffi, stated that “he’ a talented fellow and one of the best I’ve had the personal experience of working with.” Loops also said that while music taste is subjective, he would absolutely recommend Ruffi’s music to his friends “for a quick listen and addition to their respective playlists”.It is this kind of cosign why Ruffi’s music has quickly gained popularity on all the major music streaming platforms and on the radio. His music along with his popular personality is the reason why his shows have started to attract massive crowds. He has often shared the stage with Dancehall artists like Charlie Blacks, General Degree, Ravon, Dovey Magnum among others, but Ruffi undoubtedly pulls his own weight. With soul, passion and lyrics inspired by the culture of Jamaica and its people, fans worldwide are and will continue to show up for Ruffi.
West Palm Beach, FL – On Tuesday, May 28, 2019, Mayor Keith A. James and representatives from the City of West Palm Beach Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) held a press conference to release the official results of the 2019 Point-In-Time (PIT) Count, which shows a significant 24 percent decline in on-street homelessness in the City of West Palm Beach.On Thursday, January 24, 2019, Palm Beach County conducted their annual PIT Count. This is an unduplicated count of the people in a community who are experiencing homelessness. During the PIT count, outreach workers and volunteers are organized to canvas communities and unsheltered persons including individuals, members of a family unit, and unaccompanied minors under the age of 18. They also identify if a person is chronically homeless, indicating long-term or repeated homelessness and the presence of a disability.Second consecutive yearFor the second consecutive year, the City of West Palm Beach has seen a reduction of its on-street homeless. In 2018, the Palm Beach County PIT count identified 462 unsheltered residents, a decrease of 98 total persons from the count conducted in January 2017. In January 2019 a total of 354 unsheltered individuals were identified in West Palm Beach showing a 24% decrease from the previous year.“Public safety and addressing the issues of homelessness are top priorities for my administration, and I am very pleased with the strides our city is making to address the issue. The road will not be easy, but I am focused on listening to our community, working with our community partners, and ensuring that we do everything we can to address the issue and create a community of opportunity for all,” said Mayor James.City programsThrough HCD, particularly its Community Services and Vickers House Division, the City provides funding and direct services and programs for the homeless. These programs include permanent housing, supportive housing, rapid rehousing, food assistance, relocation assistance, assessment and referral services to the Senator Philip D. Lewis Homeless Center, and job placement assistance.“This City has made tremendous strides toward addressing homelessness and will continue to provide assistance to the homeless with the goal of finding them transitional or permanent housing while providing the support services that they need,” said Jennifer Ferriol, Director of Housing and Community Development.The City’s Police Department and law enforcement professionals further support the City’s efforts by providing direct outreach to homeless individuals, building partnerships with a wide range of service providers, and encouraging its officers to be resourceful and show compassion for homeless persons. The Police Department has dedicated one full-time officer who primarily focuses on homelessness issues and, also, Community Engagement Officers who also support the homelessness prevention efforts through working with the City’s Peer Outreach Team, Vickers House staff and area faith-based organizations.The City will continue to leverage resources with non-profit and private sector organizations. Homeless assistance programs and activities that are supported and/or delivered by the City include:Engagement Team & Peer Outreach ProgramHomeward BoundVita NovaMobile Health ClinicTenant Based Rental Assistance and Supportive HousingTenant Based Rental AssistanceRental Deposit AssistanceNew Construction of Rental Supportive HousingTransitional and supportive Housing
WASHINGTON, CMC – The United States says it is pursuing efforts aimed at advancing its interests in areas of security, diplomacy, prosperity, energy, education, and health with the Caribbean.In its “Report to Congress on Progress of Public Law (P.L.) 114-291: Efforts to Implement the Strategy for U.S. Engagement with the Caribbean Region,” the State Department said along with the US Agency for International Development (USAID) they are “at the forefront of efforts” across the government to advance US interests by engaging with the Caribbean.It said that the Report, which was presented to the US Congress earlier this month, describes these successes and reflects “the United States government’s deepening engagement with the region over the last two years”.The State Department said activities occurred under the US-Caribbean 2020 Engagement Strategy and the US-Caribbean Strategic Engagement Act.“The Overseas Private Investment Corporation’s work to identify private sector investment opportunities, the State Department’s increase in Fulbright scholarships and educational exchanges, USAID’s prevention of youth crime and violence, and PEPFAR’s technical assistance to improve access to HIV therapies represent the breadth of U.S. government engagement.”Additionally, the State Department said it launched the US-Caribbean Resilience Partnership in April 2019 “to work with our neighbours in the region to build regional capacity to confront natural disasters through risk reduction, building resilient communities and improving disaster response.”In the midst of the Venezuelan humanitarian crisis, the State Department said the hospital ship USNS Comfort is “currently en route to several islands to supply medical services.”The report includes a list of US government activities and programmes that highlights engagement in the region, the State Department said.In the “Caribbean 2020: A Multi-Year Strategy To Increase the Security, Prosperity, and Well-Being of the People of the United States and the Caribbean,” the State Department noted that the Caribbean region is the United States’ “third border,” characterized by “common interests and societal ties that yield daily, tangible benefits for U.S. citizens.”The report notes that the United States is the primary trading partner for the Caribbean, representing a “vibrant economic partnership that in 2016 saw a US$4.6 billion trade surplus for the United States, 14 million US tourist visits, and 11,042 Caribbean students studying in the United States.“We also face many common threats across the region,” it adds, stating that “small but significant, numbers of violent extremists from the region have joined ISIS,” the terrorist group seeking to establish a foothold in Syria and the Middle East.The report says that Caribbean countries have “some of the highest murder rates in the world,” pointing out that “rising crime and endemic corruption threaten governments’ ability to provide security and good governance.”“They also drive irregular migration to the United States. As the United States works to secure its southern border, we should prepare for transnational criminal organizations to shift more of their operations to the Caribbean as a transit point for drugs, migrants, weapons, and other illicit activity.”The report states that this strategy, coordinated with the interagency, identifies the Department of State and USAID’s priorities for United States’ engagement with the Caribbean region in the areas of security, diplomacy, prosperity, energy, education and health.On security, the report notes “we will work with our Caribbean partners to ensure ISIS is denied a foothold in the region, dismantle illicit trafficking networks, enhance maritime security, confront violent and organized crime, and increase the sharing of threat information among countries.”It said the US diplomacy will “both raise the political level of our dialogue with the Caribbean and focus it more tightly on this strategy’s six priorities.“We will increase our own and our neighbours’ prosperity by promoting sustainable growth, open markets for US exports, and private sector-led investment and development.”On energy, Washington noted that exports of US natural gas and the use of US renewable energy technologies “will provide cleaner, cheaper alternatives to heavy fuel oil and lessen reliance on Venezuela.”Regarding education, the report notes “we will focus our resources on exchanges and programs for students, scholars, teachers, and other professionals that provide mutual benefits to US and Caribbean communities and promote economic development and entrepreneurship”.In the area of health, it says the US will continue to partner with countries in the region in the fight against infectious diseases, like HIV/AIDS and Zika, “recognizing deadly pathogens are threats that know no borders.”In partnership with Caribbean governments, the report says the US will strengthen “our mutual national security and advance the safety of our citizens by pursuing programs to dismantle transnational criminal and terrorist organizations, curb the trafficking and smuggling of illicit goods and people, strengthen the rule of law, improve citizen security, and counter vulnerability to terrorist threats.”
KINGSTON, Jamaica, CMC – Jamaica’s former Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Dr. Kenneth Baugh, has been accorded an official funeral by the Government of Jamaica.Earlier this week, the Cabinet, in recognition of Baugh’s significant contribution to the Government and people of Jamaica, approved official funeral arrangements for the former Cabinet Minister and Health Minister.The official funeral service will be held on September 19, at the University of the West Indies Mona Chapel.Dr. Baugh died on Sunday, September 1, at the age of 78.In addition to his roles in Government, he served as former Chairman and former General Secretary of the governing Jamaica Labour Party.The former Deputy Prime Minister was born in the western city of Montego Bay on February 24, 1941.Baugh, who was a medical doctor and politician had a distinguished political career, in which he served as Member of Parliament for the constituency of North West St. James, as a Senator and then as Member of Parliament for West Central St. Catherine from 2007 until his retirement in 2016.Dr. Baugh has been described as a soft-spoken politician and commanded the respect of his colleagues on both sides of the divide.“His manner was always conciliatory and solution-oriented. He was an honest man, a sincere man; a decent man. His conduct gave him stature elevated above politics. He was a true statesman, we will miss his guidance and steady hand. He was a friend and someone who was willing to give of himself in service to Jamaica. He was indeed a true gentleman of Jamaican Politics,” said Prime Minister Andrew Holness.
KINGSTON, Jamaica – Jamaica’s official motto is “Out of Many One People” but there’s a more popular motto – “Jamaica, no problem man.” The latter is very characteristic of the Jamaican people, as no issue seems to trouble them, at least not for too long periods. This “no problem” way-of-life was displayed last week when a massive 7.7 magnitude earthquake struck several miles off Jamaica’s northwest coast, sending tremors across the island.Moments after the earthquake, which could have caused unsurmountable devastation if its epicenter was on the island, Jamaicans were posting hilarious comments on social media related to the earthquake which thankfully spared them.There is lore among Jamaicans that because the country is one with numerous churches, and in which religious-minded people pray unceasingly for God’s mercies and protection from man-made and natural disasters, the country has been spared year after year from major natural disasters.Jamaica was last hit by a major hurricane in 1988 when Hurricane Gilbert, a Category 5 storm. Although the storm created island-wide damage, and extensive and long-lasting power outages, it spawned a popular reggae song entitled “Wild, Wild Gilbert” which made fun of Jamaicans having to overindulge on a diet of corned beef (bully beef) not having electricity to power refrigerators for meat storage.Since Gilbert, several hurricanes although seemingly on paths to Jamaica, miraculously turned away from impacting the island directly at the last moment. Again, when this phenomenon happens some Jamaicans boast that “Hurricanes afraid of Jamaica” so they turn away. Others say, “Jamaica is too blessed for hurricanes to hit us.”The last time Jamaica had a real serious earthquake causing major destruction and loss of life was in 1907 when a 6.5 magnitude severely destroyed Kingston. Since then, the island which is positioned close to fault lines in the Caribbean has had numerous earthquakes, which have created some panic and relatively light structural damage to buildings, but none like the 1907 earthquake.There are thousands of Jamaicans, mostly of the younger generation, who have never experienced a serious hurricane or earthquake in Jamaica. As a result, people have tended to feel a dangerous sense of invincibility to, and are unprepared for, any such disaster.It’s foolhardy and irresponsible for any Jamaican, or Caribbean resident, to regard their country as invincible to these natural disasters. The Caribbean region is one that is particularly susceptible to the dangers of climate change. The waters of the Caribbean Sea have grown warmer, spawning stronger storms. Evidence of this was seen in recent years as unusually massive Category 5 Hurricanes severely impacted Dominica, Antigua and Barbuda, the Virgin Islands, Haiti and Puerto Rico.Moreover, over the last year seismic or earthquake activity in the Caribbean region has significantly intensified, with hundreds of earthquakes rocking the region. Last month, in addition to the 7.7 magnitude earthquake off Jamaica’s coast, Puerto Rico was hit by two massive 5.9 and 6.4 Magnitude quakes and several strong aftershocks. Also last month Haiti commemorated the 10-year anniversary of the massive 7.0 quake that killed thousands and left thousands more homeless.Sadly, the Caribbean is one of the most beautiful regions on Earth, but it’s also a region that’s vulnerable to natural disasters. It is wise that the people take steps to secure themselves against these disasters which can strike anytime.In 2017 as Jamaican commemorated the 110th anniversary of the great 1907 earthquake, Director General Major Clive Davis, head of Jamaica’s Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM) expressed concerns about Jamaican builders adhering to required building codes. He went as far as recommending criminal sanctions for people who violate building regulations.There are increasing concerns as a building boom continues in Jamaica, especially in Kingston and St, Andrew, with several dwelling homes being converted into multi-story apartments and condos, that builders are not adhering to the required codes to protect against natural disasters.Returning to Jamaica from a relief and response mission to The Bahamas following the devastating impact of Hurricane Dorian last year, the acting commander of the Jamaica Defense Force (JDF) Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) called for the synthesization and updating of building codes across the Caribbean to ensure robust infrastructure that can withstand destruction in the event of catastrophic natural disasters.Every effort must be made by the respective authorities in the Caribbean to ensure these recommendations are heeded.Coincidentally, and positively, days before the 7.7 quake struck close to Jamaica, the Jamaican government announced plans to establish a National Earthquake Readiness Committee to better prepare the island for a major earthquake.Jamaica and the entire Caribbean must act proactively towards possible natural disasters. This is the surest way of saving life and property. Fun is fun, but natural disasters can be a serious problem, man.
BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (CMC) — A senior official of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) says Latin America and Caribbean countries (LAC) will suffer disruptions to their supply chains as Chinese production of goods has come as a result of the coronavirus (2019-nCoV) outbreak that has killed more than 600 people in the Asian country.“Notably, today the Chinese government announced that it will delay reporting its January trade data. Commodity prices will also likely be impacted by a slowdown of the Chinese economy. Chinese oil demand, for example, is already being reported to have dropped by 20 per cent by some news outlets,” said Luis F Lopez-Calva, the UNDP Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean.Lopez-Calva, who is also the UN Assistant Secretary-General, said that resilience is one of the main pillars of UNDP’s regional and Caribbean narrative and key foundation to promoting sustainable development in the region.“History demonstrates that in the region volatility is the norm and not the exception, and that the development trajectories of countries are not monotonic. Resilience is the ability to return to a predetermined path of development in the shortest possible time after suffering from an adverse shock.”He said that a new source of potential volatility has emerged and while it is too early to fully grasp its impact, a recent threat to the macroeconomic stability of the region is the 2019-nCoV.“How strong will the impact of the virus be on Chinese growth, how it will translate to a slowdown in the region, and how prepared is the region to weather these impacts, are all questions to be determined,” he said, noting that “what we know so far is that the coronavirus is spreading at a rapid pace and has resulted in a halt of economic activity in China, as the government limits the mobility in and out of the country”.He said while more than 31,000 have been infected, over 600 casualties and cases reported in 28 countries, “it is very likely that the impact of the virus on Chinese growth and commodity prices will represent a shock to the region”.Lopez-Calva said Latin America and the Caribbean is significantly exposed to China, as economic relations between the two have soared in the past decades, particularly through trade and FDI and lending.He said trade between China and LAC increased from US$12 billion in 2000 to US$306 billion in 2018 and is indeed Latin America’s second-largest trading partner.He said three years ago China represented already nine per cent of Latin America’s total exports and 18.4 per cent of total imports.Similarly, foreign direct investment (FDI) and lending from China have surged in Latin America and the Caribbean over the past decade.Between 2005 and 2017, China’s investment in the region represented five per cent of total FDI, more than US$90 billion.According to Inter-American Dialogue, China has positioned over US$141 billion in loans into the region since 2005, which represents more than the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the CAF Development Bank of Latin America combined.“The full extent of the impact of the coronavirus will ultimately depend on how well the outbreak is contained, but it is expected that Chinese growth in the first quarter of the year to fall sharply and rebound later in the year,” Lopez-Calva said.
KINGSTON, Jamaica – Jamaica’s Health Minister, Dr. Christopher Tufton today confirmed an additional six cases of the coronavirus in Jamaica.He says all six patients are from the community of Corn Piece in Clarendon which is now under quarantine. This has pushed the COVID-19 numbers in Jamaica to 44. All six patients are linked to the island’s first COVID-19 death, a 79-year-old male from Clarendon.The minister also reported two additional deaths related to COVID-19, one last night and another this afternoon.The second death, reported on March 31, was a patient who was infected with the coronavirus and was believed to be recovering. The ministry reported that he was later found unresponsive and subsequently died from cardiac arrest. Due to the nature of his death, having died from a heart attack, the ministry is still consulting on whether or not they should treat it as a COVID-19 death. The patient was a 56-year-old man who also had dementia.The third death, announced today at a press conference, is a 41-year-old man with UK travel history. He suffered from some underlying conditions and later developed renal failure and passed away.The ministry of health has repeatedly said that the biggest threat to Jamaicans relating to COVID-19 is the tourists that entered the island in March and have not observed the quarantine orders.According to Prime Minister Andrew Holness, approximately 7000 people entered Jamaica between March 18 and 23rd. Of that number about 1500 left the Island. This leaves 5500 persons, and of that number only about 400 have reported to the Ministry of Health and Wellness.The ministry has urged that those who returned from overseas between March 18 and 23, identify themselves to the Ministry of Health and Wellness by utilizing the website, http://Jamcovid19.moh.gov.jm or call the Ministry’s hotline which is 888- One Love (663-5683).
“We are examining very carefully all our options and what possibilities exist for us to give our students the best opportunity to engage the process having come out of a very challenging few months,” Samuda said. In most countries, the exams are a way for high schoolers to matriculate to local and regional universities, much like how the SATs function in America. High schools students across Jamaica and the wider Caribbean are currently on-edge following the Caribbean Examination Council’s (CXC) decision to have regional examinations in July. But students across the region, local educational bodies and governments have disagreed with the decision. Schools on the island have been closed since March 13 and have transferred to online learning to allow students to finish the school year. But the new system of learning has been an overwhelming challenge for the ministry of education, students and parents. At the time when the government announced the closure of schools, provisions had not yet been made for all students to successfully transfer to online learning. Thus many students, especially those who live in rural areas where internet access in scare, were at a disadvantage. The exams are usually held in May and June each year, but the COVID-19 pandemic forced the closures of virtually all high schools in the region in March, and significantly delayed students’ preparation for exams. In April, Samuda had said that there were some 31,000 students on the island without access to the internet and that provisions were being made through companies like ReadyTV, Digicel, Flow, to provide wider access to internet services and discounted data plans. Other companies have also been helping to distribute tablets and laptops. And although these provisions have helped students, Samuda says July examinations are still not feasible. In Jamaica, the Minister of Education, Karl Samuda, said that the Jamaican government could not endorse the decision because of the impact that COVID-19 has had on the education sector. The island has been the hardest hit by COVID-19 of all the CARICOM islands, and where other countries could allow students to physically allow to the exams, the risk in Jamaica is far greater. “The challenges are much greater [in Jamaica] and we don’t feel that we could make a commitment to hold those exams in July under the circumstances. Since the announcement of the new exam date, CXC officials and the Jamaican government have participated in discussions to come up with a solution for the island. In late April, CXC announced that it would offer online and paper-bases options for the 2020 examinations, for countries that cannot have students sit exams in-person. The exams will be administered in July, with the results to be made available by early September. The Barbados government blasted CXC, saying that their decision was not in the best interest of the students, and requested that the exams be suspended. But if Jamaica, the largest CARICOM island, is excluded from July’s examinations, it means that almost half of the students registered for the CSEC exams will not sit the exams in July. In 2019, of the 125,000 students that were registered for the exams, more than 61,000 or 49% were Jamaicans.