Central Americans Slapped With Immigration Violations

August 21, 2014

News Americas, HARRISBURG, PA, Fri. Aug. 22, 2014: Three Central American migrants have been slapped with immigration violation charges  following an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) in Philadelphia.

Baltazar Lua-Garcia aka Ruben Garcia-Rodriguez, 52, a citizen of Mexico, living in the United States illegally, was charged in a one-count indictment by a federal grand jury in Harrisburg.

The indictment alleges that Lua-Garcia, an immigrant who was convicted April 1, 1994, of delivery of cocaine, and had been previously arrested and deported from the country Oct. 10, 2003, illegally re-entered. He was apprehended by ERO officers in York County.

If convicted, Lua-Garcia faces up to 20 years of in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Oscar Perez-Chavez, 46, a citizen of Guatemala, living in the country illegally was charged with entering illegally. He was found in Franklin County after eluding examination or inspection by immigration officers.

Agustin Hernandez-Rojas, 40, a citizen of Mexico was also charged with entering illegally. He was found in Franklin County.

If convicted, both face up to six months in prison and a $5,000 fine.


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Cocaine Found In Rocking Horses

August 21, 2014

rocking-horse-cocaine-bustNews Americas, IMPERIAL VALLEY, CA, Fri. Aug. 22, 2014: Twenty-nine pounds of cocaine hidden in two wooden rocking horses with an estimated street value of $377,000 was this week busted by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers.

Officers detected anomalies inside the wooden structures of the horses being carried by a 28-year-old male at the Calexico downtown port in California.  The officers continued their search by drilling into the wood, ultimately discovering 10 packages hidden inside.

The packages field-tested positive as cocaine and yielded a total weight of more than 29 pounds.


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West Indian American Carnival Turns 47

August 20, 2014

Westindiancarnival2013News Americas, BROOKLYN, NY, Thurs. Aug. 21, 2014: The count-down has begun to North America’s largest carnival, the West Indian American Day Carnival, which celebrates its 47th birthday next weekend. It will be a five day celebration of Caribbean culture including a stellar line-up of Caribbean artists, outdoor dance concerts, cuisine, colorful Carnival costumes and competitions – culminating in WIADCA’s annual New York Caribbean Carnival Parade , dubbed, “Brooklyn’s Greatest Show!”

Founded by Trinidad-immigrant Carlos Lezama in 1967, the West Indian-American Day Carnival Association, (WIADCA), will again take over the neighborhood of Crown Heights, Brooklyn, from Eastern Parkway and Schenectady Avenue to 200 Eastern Parkway & Washington Avenue.

The West Indian American Day Carnival will kick-off on the grounds of the Brooklyn Museum at 200 Eastern Pkwy Brooklyn, on Thursday, August 28th, with ‘Caribbean Woodstock: A Celebration of Light.’ It will end of Labor Day Monday, September 1st with a kick-off breakfast at Lincoln Terrace Park at Eastern Parkway and Schenectady Avenue and the annual parade of costume bands, masqueraders, moko jumbies and floats as well as vendors selling delicious Caribbean cuisine and art from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

jouvert 2011 This year’s carnival grand marshals are Governor Andrew Cuomo, New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio and Brooklyn District Attorney Kenneth Thompson.

Organizers say the multi-event celebration of West Indian culture costs $1,000,000 to present but the economic impact is staggering. A 2003 study by The Lugano Group found that the total economic impact of the Carnival was $154,800,000, though organizers claim the figure is closer to $200 million.

Still annually, WIADCA says 47 years later, it continues to be a hassle to raise the sponsorship dollars and funds needed to keep the mega-event on the Eastern Parkway stage in Brooklyn New York, the heart of the Caribbean Diaspora in the United States. This year, support has come from Con Edison, Delta Airlines, Emblem Health, MoneyGram, Brooklyn Museum, NYSCA, WBLS 107.5FM, Healthfirst, Transport Workers Union, Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, Caribbean Life, UFT, Irie Jam Media, Daily News, MCU, Bacardi USA, Guinness, Heineken USA, DYCD, McDonald’s, Bartenura, Hot 97FM and AllCar Rent A Car/Carpingo Carshare.

Laborday 2011 “We are delighted to have the support of all our returning and new partners for the 47th Annual New York Caribbean Carnival festivities. These relationships help to strengthen our presence and commitment to the community. WIADCA’s contributions over the years have proven to be a dependable and successful annual economic stimulus, generating over $100 million in revenue and profitable opportunities to local businesses throughout Brooklyn, the City and State of New York”, says Jean P. Alexander, WIADCA’s Director of Marketing and Public Relations.

The full schedule of activities of the West Indian American Day Carnival follows:

Caribbean Woodstock: A Celebration of Light
Doors Open: 6 p.m.; Showtime: 7 p.m. – 1 a.m.
Performance by popular artists from the Caribbean including featuring some of the best Caribbean talent to include Skinny Banton (Grenada) singing his hit single Saltfish, Adrian Dutchin (Guyana), Problem Child (St. Vincent) singing his Vincy Ragga Soca tune Obsession, Ricardo Drue (Antigua) the Jumpy Soca Monarch, Surette Bon Bon (Haiti), Mickey (Barbados), Statement (Barbados) singing I Come Out to Party fresh from Crop Over 2014, Zouk & the Gang (Guadeloupe), Mr. Famous (Trinidad) known for the popular hit Play More Local, and Jamaica’s own Reggae superstar Tarrus Riley singing tunes She’s Royal and more from his latest album entitled Love Situation along with traditional Ole’ Mas and individual costume competitions.

carnivalmaidsallinarow Stay In School—Youth Fest/College Fair
Friday, August 29th – 11 a.m.
The Stay in School Youth Fest, a free program, presents an opportunity for young people to showcase their artistic talents on stage to approximately 3,000 attendees. It also highlights the values of our immigrant community which encourages our youth to pursue their education.

Brass Fest 2014
Friday, August 29th – Doors Open: 6 p.m.; Showtime: 8 p.m. – 3 a.m.
Brass Fest will feature the finest Caribbean musicians/acts all in one outdoor party that will include for the first time from Ghana, Blakk Rasta (Barak Obama) and from the Caribbean, Teddyson John and the TJ Project, Red Fyah Band, Skinny Fabulous (Behavin’ de Worse), Lyrikal (Conquer Meh), Patrice Roberts, Farmer Nappy (Big People Party), Rayzor (Sponsor Meh), Da Big Show, Mr. Killa (Rolly Polly) and headliner Machel Montano HD (EPIC, Ministry of Road).

carnivalmanKiddies Carnival Parade
Saturday, August 30th – begins at Kingston Avenue and St. John’s Place and continues to Franklin Avenue and President street ending at Brooklyn Museum from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.
The annual Kiddies Carnival parade will wind through the heart of Crown Heights and ending at the Brooklyn Museum grounds and put the spotlight on the next generation of Caribbean Americans.

Panorama 2014
Saturday, August 30th – Doors Open: 6 pm; Showtime: 8 p.m. – 3 a.m.
The rhythms of sweet steelband music will take over the grounds of the Brooklyn Museum as the finest steel orchestras in NY gather to present a competitive steelband show down to win the 2014 Panorama Championship crown.

Dimanche Gras: The Legends Are Coming!
Sunday, August 31st – Doors Open: 6 p.m.; Showtime: 7 p.m. – 1a.m.
WIADCA will present the final concert, Dimanche Gras that will feature the King and Queen of the Bands competition, winners from previous nights, and featured performances from Caribbean living legends, The Mighty Sparrow, King David Rudder and Lord Nelson along with Lima Calbio, Leon Coldero, Lennox Picou, Jeromy Rodriguez, T&T’s Junior Soca Monarch 2014, Something Positive Dance Troupe and the Sunshine Band

thesnakesofcarnival2013New York Caribbean Carnival: Labor Day Parade 2014
Mon 1st September, 2014 – Eastern Parkway and Schenectady Avenue to Flatbush Ext.
The crown jewel of NY Caribbean Carnival week will culminate with a fascinating display of carnival costume bands, masqueraders, moko jumbies, floats, delicious Caribbean cuisine and much more.

For more information on the 2014 West Indian American Day carnival or its organizers, to volunteer, purchase event tickets, or register as a vendor log on here  to wiadcacarnival.org/ or call 718-467-1797.




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Guyanese Travelers Face Another Nightmare With A New Airline

August 19, 2014

dynamic-airwaysNews Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Weds. Aug. 20, 2014: Guyanese travelers from New York to Guyana can’t seem to catch a break when it comes to air travel.

The latest debacle involves passengers choosing to book on new airline Dynamic Airways. They have been again left in the lurch. The carrier failed to honor its August 8th return direct flights between the Cheddi Jagan International Airport in Guyana and JFK Airport in New York, leaving passengers grounded.

On the airline’s website, a notice to passengers seeking to book flights from JFK to Georgetown was posted under the heading “Coming This Fall.” It urged that interested persons “check back frequently for new announcements!”

“More good news to come soon,” the notice added.

In Guyana, local representative Captain Gerald Gouveia, told local media that the airline remains unsure on an exact date for the return of GEO –JFK flights. But he said Dynamic Airways was regrouping and reorganizing and could be back on track for Christmas 2014.

The latest suspension comes on the heels of a flight snafu during the carrier’s inaugural flight to New York on June 27th. Issues with ground handlers caused hours of delay then.

On July 8, approximately two weeks after Dynamic Airways commenced operations, flights were again suspended due to operational difficulties the airline encountered while trying to secure time slots at JFK.

Dynamic Airways , on its Facebook page, says its a “Worldwide Boeing 767 Air Carrier based in Greensboro, NC.”  In the past, Dynamic Airways operated mostly for other carriers and tour operators under the wet lease agreements  operating a fleet of Boeing 767-200ER aircraft.

Guyanese travelers between New York and Guyana continue to face tremendous hardships. Caribbean Airlines and Fly Jamaica, which both serve the route, are unable to only offer non-stop flights from Guyana to J.F.K. Passengers must endure at times lengthy and stressful stop-overs in Port-of-Spain and Kingston on flights out of Guyana to New York.

Travel Span, through its partnership with Vision Air, has resumed some direct flights to Guyana but they too have been hampered in the past by issues that have left passengers stranded.

Delta last year ended its non-stop service all together to Guyana while E-ZJet, which was offering a low cost non-stop service, went belly-up in the midst of fraud charges placed on their Guyana-born founder and CEO, Sonny Ramdeo.

Universal Airlines, which was also serving the market in the past, went bankrupt, while North American airlines also ended its service to the route choosing instead to operate as a private charter.



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Puerto-Rico-Based Journalist John Collins Dead At 80

August 19, 2014

News Americas, MIAMI, FL, Weds. Aug.20, 2014: A Missouri man who adopted the Caribbean as his home and served as a journalist and contributor to the former Hardbeatnews for many years, has passed away at the age of 80 in Puerto Rico.

John Collins, according to the Sun Sentinel, died on Aug. 11th following complications from hip replacement surgery at the Veterans Affairs hospital in San Juan.  He had spent  the latter years of his life in a nursing home in Puerto Rico.

Collins began in Caribbean journalism as a correspondent for United Press International from 1978 to 1983. He then worked with Caribbean Business weekly in Puerto Rico, first on staff and later as a contributor.

His work as a journalist earned him four Overseas Press Club awards in Puerto Rico.

“Puerto Rico will never realize how much we owe to John Collins,” Antonio Colorado, the island’s former secretary of state and its former representative to U.S. Congress told the Sentinel. “Our relations with the Caribbean and everything we were able to accomplish in the 80s and early 90s was due in a very important part to what John did.”

Collins earned four Overseas Press Club awards in Puerto Rico. He travelled across the region covering several conferences and advised the Dominican Republic administrations of Presidents Joaquin Balaguer and Leonel Fernandez.

Felicia Persaud, founder of Hardbeatnews, now News Americas Now, expressed sadness at the passing of Collins, noting he was definitely a man who had a depth of knowledge of the Caribbean. “John’s wit and charm will surely be missed,” said Persaud. “It is indeed sad to hear that he spent his latter days so alone.”

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U.S.V.I.-Born Former Ambassador Passes On

August 19, 2014

Former Ambassador Terence A. Todman

The late Ambassador Terence A. Todman.

News Americas, WASHINGTON, DC, Tues. Aug. 19, 2014: St. Thomas-U.S.V.I.-born former ambassador and career diplomat Terence A. Todman is dead. Todman passed away last Wednesday, August 13th at age 88.

Todman served the U.S. across the globe for almost 50 years. He began his distinguished career with service in the U.S. Army from 1945 to 1949, including a tour as a Commissioned Officer in Japan. He went on to diplomatic service as a Desk Officer for India-Ceylon-Nepal Affairs in 1952 and as a U.S. Government Intern on the United Nations Secretariat in 1954.

From 1954 to 1957, he served as an advisor to U.S. Delegations to the United Nations General Assembly and U.S. Representative on various Trusteeship Council committees. He ended the decade of the 1950s as a Political Officer in New Delhi from 1957 to 1959.

He was fluent in many languages and served as the Arabic Language and Area Specialist in Beirut from 1960 to 1961. From 1961 to 1964, he served as the Political Officer in Tunis, from 1965 to 1968 as the Deputy Chief of Mission and Charge d’Affaires in Togo and as the Country Director for East African Affairs from 1961 to 1969.

As United States Ambassador, Todman served in Chad from 1969 to 1972, in Guinea from 1972 to 1975, in Costa Rica from 1957 to 1971, in Spain from 1978 to 1983, in Denmark from 1983 to 1989, and finally in Argentina from 1989 to 1993.

Although he was retired since 1993, Ambassador Todman has remained active serving on corporate and community boards from Argentina to the U.S. Virgin Islands.

His accolades and public service record is extensive, to include receiving the Presidential Distinguished Service Award, the National Public Service Award, the Department of State’s Superior Service Honor Award and the Secretary of State’s Distinguished Service Award. Ambassador Todman has been decorated by the governments of Argentina, Denmark, Spain, Chad and the U.S. Virgin Islands. In 1997, he received the U.S. Department of State’s Director General’s Cup.

U.S.V.I. Congresswoman, Donna M. Christensen, expressed her condolences to the family of Todman while calling him “a trailblazer (who) has opened the doors for young people who aspire to his level of excellence and dedication to our country.”

Amb. Todman’s funeral will take place on Saturday, August 23rd at 10:30 am at All Saints Cathedral in St. Thomas, VI. A Washington DC memorial service will be held on Thursday, August 28th from10 AM to 12 PM in the Marshall Auditorium at the US Department of State.

Messages of condolence may be sent to: Mrs. Doris Todman and Family, P.O. Box 6334, St Thomas, Virgin Islands 00804, USA or AmbTodmanTributes@yahoo.com.

The Todman family requests that in lieu of flowers donations may be made to the following:

1. The University of the Virgin Islands Professorship in International Diplomacy

2. The NAACP Legal Fund

3. The United Negro College Fund

4. The Ambassador Terence A. Todman Foundation, PO Box 1558, St. Thomas, VI   00804.

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Caribbean Chikungunya Death Toll Put At 34

August 18, 2014

bugs-WHONews Americas, LONDON, England, Tues. Aug. 19, 2014: The death toll from chikungunya, the mosquitoe borne virus infection across the Caribbean, rose by two in the past two weeks to now stand at 34.

That’s according to the latest update from the European Center for Disease Prevention & Control, which has been monitoring the virus.

The report comes as scientists in the U.S. have taken the first steps to developing a vaccine for the virus that has infected more than a half million people in the Western Hemisphere this year. About 600 Americans have brought the virus to 43 states.

The study was small. Only 25 people were given the experimental vaccine. But the findings are promising and demonstrate that the vaccine is safe and that it triggers a strong response from the immune system, scientists reported in the Lancet journal.

Meanwhile, there are reportedly more than 580 000 probable and confirmed cases in the Caribbean region alone. That number has increased from last week by 12 percent.

The Dominican Republic saw the highest increase, with more then 60,000 new cases reported.

An outbreak of chikungunya in the Caribbean region was reported from the French part of the island of Saint Martin on December 6, 2013. Since then, autochthonous transmission of chikungunya has been reported from several islands in the Caribbean and recently for the first time in South America (French Guiana).

The virus has since spread to North, Central and South America and several EU countries are also reporting imported cases from the affected areas.

Chikungunya causes symptoms such as fever, joint pain, muscle pain, headache and nose and gum bleeding.

The disease can be prevented by avoiding mosquito bites and:

  • Wearing clothing that acts as a barrier to exposure to bites
  • Using mechanisms to keep vectors out of houses such as screens on doors, windows, and eaves
  • Reducing breeding sites near houses or in communities by:
  • Covering water storage containers,
  • Eliminating puddles and drainage of places where water accumulates,
  • Eliminating unusable containers where water pools, and
  • Controlling garbage in yards and gardens.
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Malala Visits The U.N.

August 18, 2014

Malala-visitsthe-UN-aug18,2014-haydenrogercelestin Malala-visitsthe-UN-aug18,2014-haydenrogercelestin Malala-visitsthe-UN-aug18,2014-haydenrogercelestinNews Americas, UNITED NATIONS, New York, Tues. Aug. 19, 2014: Fourteen-year-old Malala Yousafzai who survived an assassination attempt on her way home from school in Pakistan in 2012, on Monday visited the United Nations and got to meet some 500 young people.

They were all gathered at UN Headquarters to join in on a conversation about the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) as a part of the UN’s 500 days of action in New York City. Also joining Malala on the panel were UN Secretary General Ban Ki moon and Amy Robach, News Anchor with ABC’s Good Morning.  


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Seaborne Airlines Makes Traveling Throughout the Caribbean Easier

August 18, 2014

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico, Aug. 18, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — Now, it will be easier than ever to make your dream of traveling the Caribbean come true. Seaborne Airlines, the fastest growing airline in the Caribbean, announced that they will be launching the “Fly Anywhere you like for as many times as you like” promotion for $699*.  This promotion offers a customer the option to book as many trips as they like, to travel as often as they like, between September 3rd, 2014 and November 17th, 2014. To take advantage of this unprecedented offer, customers must call Reservations to book or to even buy the offer for another individual as a sweet gift **.

“We wanted to give our customers an excuse to see the beauty of the Caribbean by taking multiple trips for one low price.  With just two trips, this can pay for itself.  Whether to sightsee or visit friends and relatives, we hope that many will experience Seaborne’s exemplary service under this promotion.” said Gary D. Foss, president and chief executive officer of Seaborne Airlines.

Reservations can be made by calling: 1-866-359-8784 or 787-946-7800.

With service to 15 airports throughout the Caribbean; connecting service to American, Jet Blue and Delta at San Juan, Puerto Rico; two pilots on every flight; a flight attendant on our new Saab 340 aircraft and the outstanding dependability, Seaborne is becoming the preferred regional airline in the Caribbean.

*Taxes / fees still apply per booking. Certain conditions and restrictions may apply. Passenger cannot have more than two (2) outstanding reservations at a time.

** Must have passport information for international bookings.

About Seaborne Airlines
Seaborne Airlines has been operating in the Caribbean for over 21 years, carrying over two and a half million customers safely.  Seaborne operates over 2,100 monthly departures throughout the Caribbean to San Juan, St. Thomas, St. Thomas Seaplane, St. Croix, St. Croix Seaplane, Dominica, Fort de France, Martinique, Point a Pitre, Guadeloupe, La Romana, DR, Punta Cana, DR, Santo Domingo, DR, St. Maarten, St. Kitts and Nevis.

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