Several Caribbean immigrants arrested in NY operation

first_imgThe United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency says officers from its Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) have arrested a number of Caribbean immigrants. The arrests involved 114 foreign nationals during an 11-day operation in New York City targeting at-large criminal immigrants, illegal re-entrants and immigration fugitives.From 35 countriesOn Wednesday the arrestees, 104 men and 10 women, included nationals from 35 countries. Of those arrested one person was from Barbados, 15 from the Dominica Republic, one from Grenada, five from Haiti, eight from Jamaica and three from Trinidad and Tobago.Prior ConvictionsDuring the enforcement action, which ended Saturday, 82 were discovered to have criminal histories. These included prior convictions for sex crimes, drug offenses and fraud. Fifteen have pending criminal charges, including assault, larceny and sexual exploitation of a minor. Thirty-seven individuals have been issued with final orders of removal.Others taken into custody during the operation included an unidentified Jamaican national arrested in the Queens section of New York with a prior conviction of forcible touching, robbery in the first degree and act in manner to injure a child less than 17.Public safety threatICE said the operation “targeted criminal aliens who pose a public safety threat and individuals who have violated our nation’s immigration laws. This include individuals who re-entered the country after being deported and immigration fugitives ordered removed by federal immigration judges.”ICE said while Queens and Manhattan accounted for the largest number of arrests during the operation, ERO personnel conducted enforcement actions in a total of 12 New York communities.last_img read more

Black Film Lounge Series in Overtown a Black History Month highlight

first_imgThe rich history of music and entertainment in Overtown, makes it a perfect backdrop for the Black Lounge Film Series (BLFS) set to kick off on February 16th, 2018 for Black History Month at the Overtown Performing Arts Center (1074 N.W. 3rd Avenue, Miami, Florida,33136). The film presented will be PBS American Masters film “Sammy Davis Jr.: I’ve Gotta Be Me directed by Sam Pollard.” The documentary is the first significant film documentary to examine Davis’ immense talent and his journey for identity through the shifting tides of civil rights and racial progress in 20th-century America. The creator behind BLFS is Haitian American filmmaker, Rachelle Salnave, the 2016 Knight Arts challenge recipient. Her BLFS platform is committed to investing in Overtown, by activating venues in this historical black neighborhood using the platform of cinema. The Knight Arts Challenge funds the best ideas for engaging and enriching communities through the art. The BLFS showcase will be held monthly, and also include free quarterly outdoor screenings at Gibson Park and a Speaker Series at Culmer Library, both located in Historic Overtown. The series is made possible with the support of the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs and the Cultural Affairs Council, the Miami-Dade County Mayor, Board of County Commissioners and the Knight Foundation.“In the 1960’s Overtown was often referred to as the “Harlem of the South,” with many Black musicians and artists using it a creative and restorative pit stop during their journey across the USA, states Rachelle Salnave, Creator of the Black Lounge Series. “By anchoring this new film series in Overtown, we can hearken back to these storied days while ensuring that a legacy of Black creative excellence is restored to this community and not displaced.”last_img read more

Jamaica to repeal outdated laws

first_imgThe Jamaican government is moving to repeal outdated laws in a major push to impose tougher fines and penalties for breaches.Justice Minister Delroy Chuck disclosed that the Legal Reform Department of the Justice Ministry is reviewing more than 800 laws as part of the overhaul.  “Members will recall that there was a certain person from St. Catherine, who when he had (an) immigration charge and was convicted for an immigration offence, he was only charged J$100 because that was the maximum penalty,” Chuck recalled.  “What the legal reform of the Parliament has done, members, is to take these, all the laws of Jamaica, 850 that had penalties in them, we’re putting 14 matrices for the ministries. So every ministry have will now have to look at the penalties that now exist…and to make recommendations as to what the penalty should be,” he revealed. Chuck, who made the announcement in Parliament on Tuesday, said the move will begin in his ministry with the hope that “other ministries will follow suit.” He added that the new legislation will be tabled in Parliament this fiscal year.last_img read more

New citizenship rule affects children born abroad to U.S. citizen mothers

first_imgIn accordance with a recent Supreme Court ruling, the USCIS has updated its policy requirements to restrict automatic citizenship for certain children born abroad to unwed U.S. Citizen mothers.The new restriction provides that children born abroad to an unwed U.S. Citizen mother, can only acquire U.S. Citizenship automatically if the U.S. Citizen mother, prior to the child’s birth, had lived in the U.S. for at least five years, two years of which must have been after the age of 14. This rule has been in effect for married couples and unwed U.S. Citizen fathers for some time. Under the prior rule, the law gave preferential treatment to a child born to an unwed U.S. Citizen mother, requiring only that she had lived in the U.S. for at least one continuous year before the child’s birth.In the recent Supreme Court case which changed the law, Sessions v. Morales-Santana, the court ruled that giving preferential treatment to U.S. Citizen mothers is unconstitutional and that the preferential treatment would end on June 12, 2017. As a result,  children born outside the U.S. to unwed U.S. Citizen mothers on or after June 12, 2017 will only obtain automatic U.S. Citizenship if the U.S. Citizen mother, prior to the child’s birth, had lived in the U.S. for at least five years, two years of which must have been after the age of 14.The new USCIS policy also clarifies requirements for unwed U.S. Citizen fathers, providing that  in order for their children born abroad to be eligible to obtain automatic U.S. Citizenship, they must provide proof that they agreed in writing to provide financial support to the child before the child’s 18th birthday.last_img read more

Haitian government collapses

first_imgPORT AU PRINCE, Haiti, CMC – Six months after he was sworn into office, the government of Prime Minister Jean-Henry Céant was forced out of office on Monday after the Lower Chamber of Deputies voted overwhelming to remove it from office.The move came as Prime Minister Céant had gone to the Senate for a meeting only to find 13 Senators present.The Senate, citing the recent arrest of five armed Americans last month and their subsequent release with the help of the State Department, had summoned both Céant and his justice minister to its chamber on Monday.Senate President Carl Murat Cantave tweeted that due to the lack of a quorum, the prime minister’s session is being rescheduled for WednesdayHowever, in the Lower Chamber of Deputies, where 104 Deputies, were present, they voted by a wide margin to censure the Prime Minister.The agenda of the session was adopted by 88 deputies, 12 against and 4 abstentions and without the prime minister present, the Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies announced the continuation of the interpellation.“The results of the session will be communicated to him,” said Deputy Gary Bodeau.In the vote to remove the government, 93 law makers voted in favor of the motion, six against and three abstained.Moise instructed to appoint new PMA letter will be sent to the President Jovenel Moise regarding the appointment of a a new prime minister.“The Government of Jean Henry Céant received a motion of censure from the Chamber of Deputies with 93 votes in favor, 6 against and 3 abstentions,” the Chamber of Deputies announced just after midday on Monday.“It was illegal. It was unconstitutional,” said Deputy Sinal Betrand, who was among the six who voted against the government’s censure.Political observers said  in the absence of a quorum in the Senate on Monday morning, Prime Minister Céant could not benefit from a six month stay by way of a vote of confidence.Claims decision is illegal Céant later told the Miami Herald newspaper “the decision is illegal and was outside of the constitution, It is unacceptable.”He said that the justice system needs to shed light.Céant and his 21-member cabinet will remain in office as caretakers until a new prime minister is named by President  Moïse.Under Haitian law, a caretaker prime minister and government can only oversee the country’s day-to-day affairs, and cannot enter into any new contracts.Céant, a lawyer had replaced Jack Guy Lafontant, as prime minister following a series of street demonstrations over fuel increases.Last month, CARICOM leaders at their inter-sessional summit in St. Kitts-Nevis “expressed deep concern about the situation prevailing in Haiti during the past three weeks characterized by violent protests jeopardizing the political, economic and social stability of the country’.“Heads of Government call upon all stakeholders to prioritise dialogue as a means to address peacefully and meaningfully all relevant issues and to create the conditions for lasting political stability essential to the sustainable economic and social development of Haiti.”last_img read more

ICS Welcomes US Supreme Court Ruling Against US Census Citizenship Question

first_imgWASHINGTON DC, United States, CMC – The Washington-based Institute for Caribbean Studies (ICS) has welcomed a ruling by the United States Supreme Court that the Trump administration presented insufficient reason for adding a citizenship question to the 2020 census.The ruling blocks the question being asked, at least, for the time being.Would have caused fear and undercountingICS said that the ruling has reinforced that separation of census count from matters of immigration status. “More importantly, the Supreme Court’s ruling provides an opportunity to ensure that the census reflects our country in full,” it said, noting the addition of a citizenship question would have injected fear into vulnerable and traditionally undercounted communities, “making them even more vulnerable and undercounted.“We at ICS hope that this ruling is the end of it. All Caribbean American community organizations are asked to get on board the census initiative to help ensure that every person in every community is counted as our democracy and the law demand.”Supports outreach and staffingICS, whose founder and president is Jamaican-born Dr. Claire A. Nelson, said it will continue to advocate for legislation and funding to guarantee the 2020 census is “fair and accurate, through support for outreach and staffing to secure maximum participation and inclusion.“The census is a constitutional responsibility, and we must continue to be engaged as citizens and residents,” Dr. Nelson said.“In doing so, we must work hard to ensure that the census does not become a political football and that we can continue to have faith in the future of the American dream and the census as a critical part of the American democratic process,” she added.In rejecting the Trump administration’s reason for adding a question on citizenship to the census, the US Supreme Court left in doubt whether the question would still appear on census forms that are dispatched to every US household next year.Appears contrivedWriting for the majority and joining the court’s liberal wing, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. said the explanation given by the Trump administration for adding the question “appears to have been contrived.“The decision to reinstate a citizenship question cannot be adequately explained in terms of DOJ’s (the Department of Justice’) request for improved citizenship data to better enforce the VRA (Voting Rights Act),” he said.“Several points, considered together, reveal a significant mismatch between the decision (US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross) made and the rationale he provided.”Justice Roberts said that Ross, whose department overlooks the census, sought to include a citizenship question on the census “about a week into his tenure, but it contains no hint that he was considering VRA enforcement in connection with that project”.New York Attorney General Letitia James, whose state was in the vanguard of the lawsuit before the US Supreme Court, hailed Thursday’s ruling.“The census will remain a tool for delivering on our government’s promise of fairness and equity,” she said in a statement, adding that states, such as New York, “will not be short-changed out of critical resources or political representation.”“Our democracy withstood this challenge,” noted the first Black woman to become New York Attorney General.“But make no mistake, many threats continue to lie ahead from the Trump administration, and we will not stop fighting. Now, more than ever, the marginalized, the disenfranchised, and everyday people need us to stand firm in our fight for justice,” James said.President Trump described the court’s ruling as “ridiculous”.last_img read more

Lauderhill CARES Program – One-On-One in Person Assistance

first_imgThe Lauderhill CARES Program is here if COVID-19 has affected your ability to pay Rent, Mortgage, or Water Bill! The CARES Program is offering One-On-One in Person Assistance on Tuesdays & Thursdays (July 21st, 23rd, 28th, and 30th) from 10:00 am – 2:00 pm. The in person assistance is available behind City Hall (5581 W. Oakland Park Blvd., Lauderhill, FL 33313). For more information, call 954-714-2181, e-mail [email protected], or go to your eNotification preference. Attention Renters, Homeowners, and Business Owners!last_img

Florida’s Tax-Free Weekend is August 7-9, 2020

first_img·         purchases of clothing, footwear and certain accessories selling for $60 or less per item The tax-free school supplies include the following: binders, calculators, colored pencils, crayons, pens, construction paper, lunch boxes, notebook filler paper, glue, poster paper, rulers, staplers, scissors and more. During this sales tax holiday period, Florida law requires that no sales tax or local option tax (also known as discretionary sales surtax) be collected on: Florida shoppers once again will have a three-day, tax-free holiday weekend ahead of the new school year. This year’s sales tax holiday begins at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, August 7 and ends at 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, August 9, 2020. Whether students will begin the 2020-2021 school year online or in person, savings on school supplies are available through the annual back-to-school sales tax holiday. ·         the first $1,000 of the sales price of personal computers and certain computer-related accessories, when purchased for noncommercial home or personal use. ·         purchases of certain school supplies selling for $15 or less per item Examples of school supplies that do not qualify for the tax exemption are books not otherwise exempt, correction tape-fluid-pens, masking tape, and printer and computer paper. For more information and a complete list of qualifying items, please visit the Florida Department of Revenue’s site here.last_img read more

Full Time to Change Public Corruption in Jamaica

first_imgIt’s of significant concern that most Jamaicans seem to be taking public corruption as normal and acceptable. There are reports of a recent Jamaican poll that revealed the majority of people don’t care about corruption. This is despite the TI Global Corruption Barometer finding some 85 percent of Jamaicans regard the two major political parties as corrupt, and over 70 percent are currently more aware of corruption.   Analysis of corruption tends to agree corruption is born out of poverty, and greed among public officials and the already wealthy. While the Jamaican government and Jamaicans generally deserve commendation for the great job in controlling the COVID-19 pandemic in that country, they are failing to control another devastating virus – public corruption. Another worrisome data is the Transparency International (TI) Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) has ranked Jamaica highly among the more corrupt Caribbean countries in recent years. In 2018, Jamaica was ranked 70 worst corrupt country globally, and 8th in the Caribbean.  Barbados was ranked as the least corrupt Caribbean nation. But what’s most needed is a government who places elimination of public corruption at the forefront of its priorities. Unless government ministers, members of parliament and public officials are swiftly, aggressively penalized, including stiff prison sentences, for misusing public funds, the general public will continue taking corruption as a way of life. In 2019 as Jamaica became embroiled in the Petrojam scandal it’s rank worsened to 74 out of 198 nations. Since than incidences of public corruption has widened involving the dismissal of a cabinet minister and public officials involved with corruption at the Caribbean Maritime University, and more recently the removal of portfolio responsibilities of another government minister involved in a scandal related to lands owned by the Ministry of Agriculture. Another minister, usually commended for his ministerial responsibilities, came under scrutiny last week for alleged corruption in his ministry. Also making the news for alleged corruption was a popular ranking member of the opposition People’s National Party (PNP). The practice of corruption worsens when those elected by the people to effectively manage public funds deliberately use these funds to brazenly compensate their romantic partners, family members, and close associates. The answer seems to be through money acquired by corrupt means. Some Jamaicans tend to take it for granted “that everything in Jamaica has a price.” This price includes paying insiders within government agencies  special “under-the counter fees” for a variety services including getting licenses, documents, loans, jobs, contracts, placement in choice schools, and even bribing   police officers not to issue tickets for traffic violations.   Public corruption is a very close relative to crime. If the incumbent, or succeeding Jamaican governments, doesn’t take aggressive measures to eliminate public corruption, how can they succeed in controlling crime? If Barbados, The Bahamas and St. Vincent and the Grenadines can rank high among Caribbean countries with the least public corruption, why can’t Jamaica? It’s full time for a change. This corruption cannot be allowed to prevail. Jamaica does have a public body – The Integrity Commission charged with calling out and reducing public corruption. Obviously, the terms of the commission needs to be strengthened to enable it to be more effective in its role. Visitors to Jamaica, for example, in recent times, have returned and heard to comment on the boom of expensive residential houses, apartment and condominiums in Jamaica, and the number of high-end automobiles being driven by some people. These comments are usually accompanied by the question. “How can Jamaicans afford these residences and these vehicles?” The wealthy in developing countries, seem to be persistent in ascending on the social-economic ladder competing with members of their class for bigger, more luxurious homes in choice neighborhoods, and drive the latest model expensive automobiles. Of course, public corruption is not peculiar to Jamaica or other Caribbean counties. It’s a pandemic-like international problem affecting many global communities and economies, but it seems more prevalent in developing countries, especially some African countries. In recent weeks, news from Jamaica has reported acts of corruption mostly based on nepotism and cronyism, involving senior government ministers, parish councilors, mayors, government and opposition members of parliament, members of government appointed boards, and executives of government agencies.   A recent report indicated the cost of corruption to the Jamaican economy is costing the economy 5 percent of GDP or an estimated US$738 million annually. The poor, most struggling to provide for their household, tend to be willing to accept money for serving others corruptly, or willing, paradoxically, to pay corruptly charged fees for special privileges and benefits for their family members. Most of these corrupt practices involved offering jobs and/or plush government contracts to close and often underqualified relatives, paramours, friends; and party political supporters. Several contracts have been offered outside of the protocols established for offering government contracts. A recent report from the Jamaican auditor general indicated contracts offered to build a classroom at the Caribbean Maritime University offered to a Florida based company owned and operated by member of the Jamaican diaspora who did not tender a bid for the said contract within the set deadline.last_img read more

Bahamas Announces Another National Lockdown After COVID-19 Spike

first_imgIn a national address this afternoon, Dr. Minnis said that, “this battle against COVID-19 has been a terrible strain on our country.” After recording their first COVID-19 case in March, a nationwide 24-hour curfew and border shutdown were subsequently announced to curb the spread of the virus. During the national lockdown, the National Food Distribution Task Force will continue to operate. There will only be food distribution on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays depending on your zone. An assessment will be made of Grand Bahama when its lockdown ends on Friday. A determine will be made whether an extension is necessary on Grand Bahama. Ironically, Minnis also said that there is no change in the travel policy. The Bahamas reversed course on closing its border to U.S. travelers. The government last week announced that ALL tourists, including those coming from America, are now expected to quarantine for 14 days, with the option to spend their two-week quarantine in a private residence or rented accommodation, such as an Airbnb, where it’s possible to isolate in a bedroom with a connected bathroom. Travelers can also quarantine in a hotel room with a connected bathroom or on a private boat. Guests that choose to quarantine at a hotel will be able to use the hotel’s facilities, though casinos and nightclubs will be closed. In the following weeks, the island saw over 550 additional cases (679 confirmed cases and 14 deaths as of August 3rd). Many of the island’s tourists came from Florida, which now has almost half a million cases. Minnis said health officials have seen indicators that point to the need for a national lockdown. He also said that ICU beds throughout the islands are at capacity and that non-critical care beds are approaching capacity. But shortly after allowing non-essential travel to the island on July 1, The Bahamas almost immediately saw an increase in cases. As of July 10, the island had confirmed 108 cases and 11 deaths.center_img Live streaming for religious services will be allowed to continue during the lockdown and funerals will be permitted. Exercise will also be permitted from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. Bahamian Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis has announced another national lockdown starting August 4 at 10 PM as a means of attempting to slow the second wave of COVID-19 cases. During the lockdown food stores, water depots, pharmacies (for curbside or takeout) and gas stations (for external usage only) will only be open for three days out of the week: Monday, Wednesday and Friday. There will be no curbside dining or takeaway retail. In addition to the mandatory quarantine period, travelers must also apply for a Bahamas health visa and have a negative COVID-19 PCR test result from an accredited lab that was taken within 10 days. “The national lockdown will be for a minimum of two weeks. At the end of the two weeks, we will examine the data and determine whether an extension is necessary,” Minnis said. During the lockdown, health officials on the island will also commence enhanced contact tracing, with cases expecting to rise as a result. After the 14-day quarantine, travelers will need to test negative on another COVID-19 test in order to leave quarantine. People who want to leave the country before the quarantine period ends can do so any time, without taking a COVID-19 test.last_img read more