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HAITI, J’A MAX VISAS
Inquiry into police shootings By Bert Wilkinson The Guyanese commission of inquiry into the July 18 fatal police shooting of three opposition supporters and injury to more than 20 in the bauxite mining community of Linden began in earnest this week with chief cop Leroy Brummel swearing that he never ordered officers to use live rounds on citizens and that the action of his ranks amounted to an unnecessary overkill to peaceful protestors. Testifying before the commission that comprises retired Jamaican Chief Justice Leslie Wolfe, former Jamaican Foreign Minister and Senior Counsel K. D. Knight, Trinidad Law Professor Dana Seetahal and two Guyanese jurists, Brummel said live fire was uncalled for but he is aware that National Security Minister Clement Rohee had long developed the habit of calling junior officers directly and in doing so bypassing his authority. He, however, denied directly knowing whether Rohee did in fact call Supt. Clifton Hicken, the interior commander, or Asst. Continued on Page 4
Ineligible for the 2014 Round Groundbreaking Apollo Music Series Amanda ‘Diva’ Seales from MTV’s Hip Hop POS will host the opening night concert Oct. 3 in Apollo Theater’s highly-anticipated third showcase of creative underground artists. Photo courtesy Apollo Theater. See Page 3
By Nelson A. King The United States says Haitians and Jamaicans are among nationals not eligible to apply for the 2014 Diversity Visa (DV) Program. The U.S. Department of State said those nationals are ineligible because their countries “sent more than 50,000 immigrants to
the United States in the previous five years.” Other countries ineligible are: Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, China (mainland-born), Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, India, Mexico, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, South Korea, Continued on Page 4
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Sept. 28–Oct. 4, 2012 • Caribbean Life • Brooklyn/Staten Island • Page 2
CARIBBEAN ROUNDUP Updated daily at www.caribbeanlifenews.com
TH E N E WS FROM BACK H O M E Antigua tigua The government of Antigua and Barbuda is likely to follow Belize and allow for a debate on the decriminalization of marijuana. Speaking on a local radio program, National Security Minister Dr. Errol Cort said there were strong arguments in favor of changing the existing laws and would welcome a debate. “I am aware, however, there is a push in various quarters to decriminalize marijuana. Persons have made the argument that there is medicinal usage from marijuana and others have said marijuana is part of a whole religious entity especially from the Rastafarian movement,” he said. He said another set of arguments indicate that, notwithstanding the facts about marijuana, the illegal drugs trade continues to flourish. But he warned that any change to the existing laws would only come following widespread public consultation.
earnings grew by 9.2 9 2 percent totaling US$592.1 million. In addition, the bauxite sector recorded an increase of 41.9 percent, earning US$79.4 million and production in the rice industry expanded by 1.4 percent to 210,395 tons earning US$84.6 million.
Cuba’s sugar rebirth In this Sept. 8, 2012 photo, a man rides in a horse-drawn carriage outside the sugar processing plant "Brasil" in Jaronu, Cuba. Just two years ago, Cuba’s sugar industry was on its knees after the worst harvest in more than a century. Now Cuba’s signature industry is showing signs of life. Hulking processing plants are coming back online, and the harvest is growing by AP Photo/Franklin Reyes double digits each year, a boon to rural towns like Jaronu. See page 8.
Bahamas A 44-year-old man from the Dominican Republic was jailed for four years by a magistrate in the Bahamas court for having $2.5 million worth of cocaine. Police charged Jose Cabrera, of Santo Domingo, on suspicion of drug smuggling at North West Cay, of Great Inaugua, on Aug. 30, 2012. Law enforcement officers dug up six crocus bags containing l40 kilos of cocaine after Cabrera showed them the hiding spot on the cay. The court heard that Cabrera and others buried the drugs on the Cay several months ago when they encountered bad weather. Cabrera said that he did not know he was in Bahamian territory because he was lost. Cabrera said his boss sent him to retrieve the drugs when he was arrested, the court was told. He pleaded guilty to the charges of conspiracy to possess drugs with the intent to supply and cocaine possession when he appeared before Chief Magistrate Carolita Bethell on Sept. 4, 2012. Sean Pratt, 41, the second defendant in the case, faces charg-
es of cocaine possession with the intent to supply and conspiracy to possess cocaine with intent to supply. Pratt, of the Turks and Caicos Islands, has pleaded not guilty to the charges. He was denied bail and remanded in custody until April 25, 2013.
Barbados Cuban Raul Garcia, who remained in jail despite having completed a 20-year jail sentence on drug-related charges in Barbados is to be released and placed in a safe house “under the auspices of the Barbados Defense Force,” the Nation newspaper reported. Recently, Prime Minister Freundel Stuart said the government is considering two options with respect to the future of Garcia, telling reporters that the options have to be carefully examined given the national security concerns of the island. Garcia has remained incarcerated because of complications associated with his immigration status.
Stuart said “the nature of the offence for which he was convicted is an offence that has grave implications. Or would had have grave implications for Barbados had he not been nabbed and prosecuted.” Garcia was arrested on Sept. 28, l994 on drug charges. He was sentenced to life imprisonment, along with a US$500,000 fine. But he successfully appealed the sentence and five years later he was given a 20-year term.
Cayman Islands Premier McKeeva Bush, who is also minister of Finance, has announced that JetBlue Airlines will soon begin service to the Cayman Islands. JetBlue is expected to serve Grand Cayman’s Owen Roberts International Airport with three times weekly service on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays from New York JFK Airport beginning November 15, 2012. The airline will also include a Saturday-only service to the Cayman Islands from Boston’s Logan International Airport, which it
plans to start from Nov. 17. Bush said this development has been part of his government’s undertaking to expand the catchment area of the tourist market. “We are prepared to work with the air carriers through the Cayman Islands Airports Authority,” he said.
Guyana The Guyana economy grew by 2.8 percent during the first six months of this year, Finance Minister Dr. Ashni Singh said. In a review of the country’s mid-year performance, Singh said that “this growth reflects continued progress on the diversification of the productive sector where we have now arrived at a point where we are no longer as we were l0 years ago, entirely dependent on one, two or three dominant sectors.” He said there had been significant strides in diversifying the economy resulting in the 2.8 percent growth even though there had been a contraction in sugar production. Singh said that total export
A 27-year-old Jamaican has appeared in court in connection with a highly-publicized case in which nude pictures of hundreds of women were posted on local websites. Ronald Oates was recently arrested and slapped with several charges under the Cyber Crime Act and the Larceny Act, including unauthorized access, unauthorized obstruction, unlawfully making available data for the commission of an offence and obscene publication. He is also charged with conspiracy to extort, extortion under the Larceny Act. The crime, which was first brought to the attention of the police last March, is said to involve 25 victims. Police say the accused would hack into the email accounts of his victims, gaining access to their nude photographs. He would then contact the women threatening to upload the photographs to a local website if he is not paid a certain sum of money, or he would upload the photos and then demand money for them to be removed from the website. According to the police, he often demanded between J$10,000 and J$20,000 from his victims. Police say those targeted were mainly from Kingston and St. Andrew and St. Catherine, but the crime also stretched as far as Manchester. Oates will re-appear in court next month.
Jamaica Undaunted by the operating woes of Air Jamaica and the recent demise of Barbados-based RedJet, the investors behind Fly Jamaica Airways are pushing ahead with their plans to be fully operational before the start of the tourist high season in December. Continued on Page 16
Architecturally interesting public school buildings
Photo courtesy Apollo Theater.
Groundbreaking Music Series -- Apollo Theater’s third Café season The Apollo Theater announced the highly anticipated line-up for the third season of its groundbreaking Apollo Music Café series showcasing creative underground artists in a series of diverse performances across genres, including R&B, hip hop, soul, jazz, pop, funk and rock. Presented in the Theater’s intimate Soundstage, the series continues the Apollo’s longstanding commitment to presenting innovative artistic voices. Since its debut, in February 2011, the series has become a favorite destination for music lovers of all kinds – from Harlem tastemakers to tourists to the downtown hipster set. This season Apollo Music Café audiences will experience innovative performances by vocalists, spoken word artists and masterful DJs. The opening weekend features a three-night event beginning with Tre Williams and the Revelations on Oct. 12, Mateo on Oct. 13 and The New Class featuring Cuz I’m Dope, PJay Johnson, Sene, Mike Hurtt, Justine Sky, The Cranberry Show and Rich P with host Amanda Seales, on
Oct. 15. Apollo Music Café will run monthly through June 2013. “The response to the first season of Apollo Music Café was so overwhelmingly enthusiastic and demonstrated that, as the Harlem community continues to grow, so does the need for diverse artistic offerings in the neighborhood,” said Apollo Executive Producer Mikki Shepard. “All of the artists featured in the series are at the top of the underground music scene. Each has a very distinctive style and pushes the envelope to produce a sound that is uniquely their own,” “Music Café takes a creative approach in connecting with the pulse of the underground music scene and is designed to spotlight emerging artists while cultivating unique experiences for audiences.” “Since its inception, the Apollo has been a catalyst for artistic brilliance, acting as a platform for diverse talents to develop their craft and connect with audiences. Music Café is a natural extension of the legendary Apollo Experience,” said Apollo President and CEO Jonelle Procope.
Throughout autumn, the New York Landmarks Conservancy celebrates the beginning of the new academic year and explores New York City’s historic public schools. To better appreciate New York City’s extraordinarily rich architectural heritage, the Landmarks Conservancy urges New Yorkers and tourists alike to take a walk past these New York City treasures, and visit www.nylandmarks.org for a two minute vacation on your computer, iPad, iPhone or smartboard as a “Tourist in Your Own Town” and guess the “Mystery Landmark,” both focused on public schools. In Brooklyn, walk by Erasmus Hall High School at 899 Flatbush Avenue. Founded in 1786 as a private academy, Erasmus Hall High School became the first secondary school chartered by the State of New York. At the turn of the 20th century, the need for a larger school was met
Erasmus Hall High School. Photo Courtesy New Yorl Landmarks Conservancy
with an architectural design by Charles B. J. Snyder to build a series of Collegiate Gothic style buildings surrounding the original federal style building to form a quadrangle. Both the Federal and Gothic buildings were landmarked by the City in 1966 and the original building was also listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1975. With more than 1,700
schools and 1.1 million students, the NYC Department of Education is the nation’s largest and one of the oldest school systems. The Conservancy has long championed the preservation of New York’s historic schools with a special emphasis on those by the legendary C.B.J. Snyder, Superintendent of School Buildings from 1891 to 1922. He believed that schools should be “civic monuments
for a better society” and oversaw the construction of more than 350 “Snyder” schools during his tenure, many of which he designed. They offered light, air, beauty and dignity at a time when waves of immigrant children poured into the school system. Today, many of these buildings remain vibrant places of discovery and learning, others have been converted to new uses, and some await restoration. Through the Landmarks Conservancy’s monthly series of “Mystery Landmarks” and “Tourist in Your Own Town” videos at www. nylandmarks.org, visitors to the website will discover many architecturally interesting public school buildings. The Conservancy will create a Facebook album with some historic school photos from its archives. Please feel free to send in favorite school pictures, and they will be posted too.
The Marty & Bruce Show Boro’s biggest stage opens downtown Vinette K. Pryce “Brooklyn has arrived as a center of entertainment and sports,” Mayor Michael Bloomberg told a VIP crowd at the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Barclays Center on Friday. “Today is a great day for Brooklyn,” he added. The No 1 citizen of New York City rode the subway from Manhattan in order to join Borough President Marty Markowitz, NY Nets co-owner Bruce Ratner, New York Police Department Commissioner Ray Kelly, MTA Chairman Joseph J. Lhota, politicians, sponsors, attorneys, civic and social leaders, clergy and myriad international and local media anxious to see the city’s newest and most celebrated landmark. “I am here to celebrate Brooklyn,” Bloombertg said. The mayor could not
resist resorting to a surewinning line by first asking: “Is Brooklyn in the house.” The deafening response which followed voiced by formerly-defected, reconverted, authentic and Brooklyn-born natives proudly boasted the occasion and
the celebrated borough. Positioned two-tiers from the floor, beneath a digitally repeating message reading: “September is just the Beginning” the mayor heaped accolades on the 840 workers who allegedly reported to the construc-
tion site everyday in order to make the Sept 21 deadline. He said construction of the structure attributed to reclamation of jobs lost during the recession and contributed to the 200 percent recuperation figure the city has experienced.
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Mystery New York landmarks
Sept. 28–Oct. 4, 2012 • Caribbean Life • Brooklyn/Staten Island • Page 4
Haiti and Jamaica max visas Continued from cover
United Kingdom (except Northern Ireland) and its dependent territories, and Vietnam. It was also announced that natives of Guatemala are now eligible to enter the program. The 2014 Diversity Visa Program (DV-2014) opened at noon, Eastern Daylight Time, on Oct. 2 and will close at noon on Nov. 3. Applicants must submit entries electronically during the registration period using the electronic DV entry form (E-DV) at www.dvlottery.state.gov. Paper entries will not be accepted. “We strongly encourage applicants not to wait until the last week of the registration period to enter,” the State Department cautioned, adding: “Heavy demand may result in Web site delays.” It also warned that: “No entries will be accepted after noon, EDT, on Nov. 3, 2012.” The congressionally-mandated Diversity Immigrant Visa Program is administered on an annual basis by the Department of State and conducted under the terms of Section 203(c) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). Section 131 of the Immigration Act of 1990, amended INA 203,
provides for a class of immigrants known as “diversity immigrants.” Section 203(c) of the INA provides a maximum of 55,000 Diversity Visas each fiscal year to be made available to persons from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States, the State Department said. It said 55, 000 immigrant visas are set aside for DV immigrants. However, since DV-1999, the U.S. Congress has reserved 5,000 visas from this annual allocation to be made available for use under the Nicaraguan and Central American Relief Act (NACARA). “The annual DV program makes visas available to persons meeting the simple, but strict, eligibility requirements,” the State Department said. “A computer-generated, random drawing chooses selectees for Diversity Visas,” it added. The visas are distributed among six geographic regions, with a greater number of visas going to regions with lower rates of immigration, and with no visas going to nationals of countries sending more than 50,000 immigrants to the United States over the past five years. “No single country may receive more than seven percent of the
available Diversity Visas in any one year,” the State Department said, adding that it implemented the electronic registration system, beginning with DV-2005, “in order to make the Diversity Visa process more efficient and secure. “We utilize special technology and other means to identify those who commit fraud for the purposes of illegal immigration or those who submit multiple entries,” it said. For DV-2014, the Department of State said it will once again implement an online process to notify entrants of their selection, and to provide information about the immigrant visa application and interview. Beginning May 1, 2013, the department said DV-2014 entrants will be able to use their “unique confirmation number” provided at registration to check online through Entry Status Check at http://www.dvlottery.state.gov to see if their entry was selected. It said successful entrants will receive instructions for how to apply for immigrant visas for themselves and their eligible family members. Confirmation of visa interview appointments will also be made through Entry Status Check.
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