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Cricket is big in Montserrat

Cricket is still popular in the West Indies, Caribbean, and in fact, stressed by Vernon Springer, Director of Cricket Operations in the Leeward Islands, “the only sport that provides a living for participants in the cricketing region”.

Although over several years crowd participation has dwindled particularly for the longer and traditional version of cricket (test cricket, not so much and 3-4 day territorial matches as they were called). So, the result is that what became popular and retained good viewership are the 50-over matches and T-20 games, with smaller attendance for the local settings.

 

This may now work to good advantage for Montserrat who received great accolades for hosting the just-concluded Under17 and Under19 Leeward Islands competition.

With the effort and support from a growing interest in the promotion of cricket, Springer reports that he is very satisfied and pleased that he did respond to local authorities and brought the Under17 and 19 cricket competitions to Montserrat, which took place at the two cricketing venues (Little Bay playing field and Salem Park) here between June 20 – July 3. The games were immediately followed by the selection and announcement (at a prize giving event) of the Under17 team that went on to play preparation matches at Salem Park – the new team vs the MNI Under19 team.

The team them moved on immediately to compete in the regional tournament in Trinidad, where as of today they were leading the points table after round 3.

A report from DiscoverMNI gives an overview of the competitions ending with the prize giving ceremony at Little Bay –

Montserrat wrapped up two weeks of wonderful cricket on Monday evening with a park full of sports lovers.

The government granted half -day to civil servants to allow them to go out to the Little Bay Park to support the local Under 19 team which had so far been on a winning streak. They were up against Antigua & Barbuda for the coveted LICB trophy.

This was the first time Montserrat hosted the tournament and LICB representative Vernon Springer said the competition for 2018 would not have happened if the government and people had not stepped up.

Springer commended the work of Adrian Edgecombe of Live Island Events who streamed the matches from the Little Bay Park. ZJB and local sports enthusiasts provided commentary, (which reports say provided hundred thousands of views.)

Hon. Premier Donaldson Romeo was on hand for the closing. He said he was proud at the success of the tournament and thanked those who worked in front and behind the scenes to make it happen. He acknowledged the work of the Minister of Sports, the cricket association and the sponsors. He thanked the cricketers who made the historic event happen and lifted the spirits of the people of Montserrat.

Hon. Parliamentary Secretary Gregory Willock said the island hosted two well organised tournaments. He extended greetings on behalf of His Excellency Governor Andrew ‘Andy’ Pearce, who extended his congratulations to all.

Hon. Min of Sports Delmaude Ryan added similar well wishes for the athletes.

The Cricket Operations Director Springer sent in the following:

“Let me on behalf of the Leeward Islands Cricket Board say thanks to the entire Montserrat Media for your support first in the U-17 and also the U-19.”

Before leaving the Island this weekend, Springer hinted that subject to approval – the senior L Is tournament will come to Montserrat in September.

Here are some Results first for the U-19 Closing Ceremony.”

The Omari Banks MVP for Anguila U-19 Demari Benta.

The Ralston Otto MVP for Antigua & Barbuda U-19 Uri Smith.

The Edgar Gilbert/Cyril Puntan Webster MVP for St Kitts U-19 Mikyle Louis.

The Derick Parry MVP for Nevis U-19 Kian Pemberton.

The Lowell Mason MVP for Montserrat U-19 Zawandi White.

The Jim Allen Most Valuable Player of The LICB U-19 2018 Uri Smith (Antigua & Barbuda)

The Alford Corriette Batsman with the Most Runs LICB U-19 Mikyle Louis (St.Kitts)

The Lionel Baker Best Fast Bowler Award LICB U-19 Kian Pemberton (Nevis)

The Austin White Bowler with the Most Wickets LICB U-19 Kian Pemberton (Nevis)

The Kelvin Duberry Bowler with The Best Bowling Figures Jemuel Cabey (Montserrat)

The Auckland Hector Best Wicket-Keeper LICB U-19 Joshua Grant (Montserrat)

The Basil Morgan Best Umpire Award LICB U-19 (Donald Shekels) Antigua & Barbuda.

The Robert Jeffers Most Discipline LICB U-19 (Anguilla U-19)

Players Who Scored Centuries During The Leeward Islands U-19 2018

Mikyle Louis (St.KItts) 157 vs Anguilla.

Paul Miller (Antigua & Barbuda) 118 not out vs Nevis.

Joshua Grant (Montserrat) 110 not out vs Anguilla

Zawandi White (Montserrat) 102 vs Nevis.

Final Placing In The Leeward Islands U-19 2018 Championship 

Champion (Antigua & Barbuda)

LICB 2nd Place (Montserrat)

LICB 3rd Place (Nevis)

Posted in Entertainment, International, International Sports, Kids, Local, Local Sports, News, OECS, Regional, Regional Sports, Sports, Youth0 Comments

youg footballers at FIFA f4f-media-1

Young Montserratians participated in Football For Friendship

Two young Montserratians returned home and after participating in the Football for Friendship Children’s Forum and Games in Moscow, Russia.  This was the Sixth Season of the Gazprom International Children’s social programme Football for Friendship.

The programme is supported by FIFA, UEFA, the UN, heads of the national football federations, as well as by the representatives of the government institutions. Over 300 journalists of the leading international media will arrive to Moscow for covering the final events of the programme.

Young footballer Vashirn Roach and Hayley-Shai Kassie attended with chaperones and officials from the Montserrat Football Association.

The Sixth Season of the programme was unique in its scale, as this year, 211 countries and regions worldwide participated in the event, representing 6 global continents: Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia and Oceania, North America and South America.

1,500 children and their caregivers from around the world took part in the Forum. The total number of participants and guests topped 5,000. The Forum was attended by boys and girls including with disabilities as Young Players, Young Journalists and Young Coaches. All of them were united by a single common mission: the promotion of human values, such as friendship, equality, fairness, health, peace, devotion, victory, traditions, honour.

Kassie said being a Young Journalist at the international event “was a very enriching experience. I got to meet people of different cultural backgrounds from all over the world and despite the language barrier for some of them, we were able to become good friends and I still talk to some of them on a daily basis. I’m honoured to represent Montserrat and I am thankful for the company of Vashirn Roach, who looked out for me like a big brother. I just want to say thank you to the Montserrat Football Association for this wonderful opportunity.”

Based on the results of the Open Draw, 32 International Football Teams of Friendship were formed and named after rare and endangered animals, along with the positions of each Young Footballer (goalkeeper, back, halfback and forward) from 211 countries and regions. The teams formed under the «football for friendship» principle helped the children of various nationalities and cultures to find common ground and make compromises in the name of common victory.

Roach was randomly selected to be a Young Coach and ably led Team Lemur although they did not advance in the friendly matches.

All the football events of the Sixth Season of the Football for Friendship programme were also covered by the Young Journalists from the International Children’s Press Center. They had a chance not only to work as correspondents taking part in a live sports broadcasts, but also to learn from the well-known journalists representing the leading Russian sports media outlets as a part of their workshops.
The Young Journalists prepared the news together for the most important international media, published daily issues of the children’s Football for Friendship newspaper, wrote diaries, and posted on social media. The materials were prepared in 62 languages.

All the young participants of the Sixth Season of the Football for Friendship programme visited the Opening ceremony and the first match of 2018 FIFA World Cup 2018.

Posted in International, International Sports, Kids, Local, Local Sports, News, Regional, Regional Sports, Sports, Youth0 Comments

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Case that never should be

Claude Gerald and Attorney-at-Law Warren Cassell

We concur ZJB’s lead reporting that “Agricultural Science teacher Claude Gerald is a free man”.

This is after a nine-member (mixed) jury of men and women, returned a not guilty verdict for indecent assault of a number of schoolgirls, at the Montserrat Secondary School (MSS) only this afternoon.

ZJB accurately reports: “The incident arose out of New Year’s greetings up to start of the school year on an open field around the midday on January 10 at the compound of the Montserrat Secondary School.

“Many students were said to be present at that time when the assault allegedly occurred and the teacher was arrested and charged after a three-week investigation.”

Gerald faced six counts, one each of six girls at the start of a two-week trial.

“Indecent assault carries a five-year jail sentence for each count Gerald’s defense team led by Attorney Warren Cassell was able to twiddle the charges down to four in a no case submission argument before the court on Tuesday.”

The no-case submission was an expected one and based on a ruling issued by Justice Morley who presided on the case, and who refused the press (especially Bennette Roach) from witnessing the trial when the evidence began, he ruled, “and so there is no case to answer as pleaded on counts 2 and 6. Accordingly, the trial shall proceed on counts 1, 3, 4, and 5, and the jury shall be directed to return a verdict of not guilty on counts 2 and 6 as pleaded…”

It was no surprise as ZJB reported: “after the acquittal defense attorney Warren Cassell says the not guilty verdict was expected.”.

Cassell said: “I am not at all surprised by the verdict and – there were six counts of indecent assault. Indecent assault is specifically defined in Montserrat’s law as ‘an assault accompanied by words or circumstances of indecency’.

“All of the accusers agreed that Mr. Gerald said nothing to them when he hugged them, therefore there were no words. And I said to the jury look where are the circumstances of indecency? This thing took place in the open, on the field of the of the M.S.S. campus. Where are the circumstances of indecency? No such thing existed. It cannot be that just by virtue of hugging, just by hugging a child and even kissing the child on the cheek. That is not indecent assault, or else fathers and brothers siblings would be guilty of it every single day – it happens every single day. Is it wise for a teacher to do it to a student, maybe not, but it doesn’t make it an indecent assault.

Attorney Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Oris Sullivan meanwhile, did not address the charges. But, while accepting the jury’s decision commended the witnesses and victims for courage to come forward and testify.

“Our system as I said on numerous occasions provides for trial by a jury of one peers. We accept the verdict of the jury of course, but we are still commending the witnesses and the victims for coming forward. This should not be a deterrent to other victims and other persons who are aggrieved who have been assaulted or sexually molested. We want to still encourage everybody who have been the victim of offences to come forward. It is the jury’s decision but that is not to say that every case will result in the same decision. We have seen our Jury at work and we’ve seen our jury convicted on prior occasions high profile cases, but today the prosecution was unsuccessful, but we still respect the Jury’s decision.”

TMR will present a more comprehensive report in a future issue, as there is much to reveal about the investigation, trial, its origin and the matters of child abuse and molestation, protocols and prosecution.

Posted in Court, Crime, Featured, Local, News, Youth0 Comments

Associated Press

4 rescued from Thai cave in risky operation; 9 remain inside

Associated Press

MAE SAI, Thailand (AP) — Expert divers Sunday rescued four of 12 boys from a flooded cave in northern Thailand where they were trapped with their soccer coach for more than two weeks, as a dangerous and complicated plan unfolded amid heavy rain and the threat of rising water underground.

Eight of boys and the coach remained inside the Tham Luang Nang Non cave complex as authorities paused the international effort until Monday to replenish air tanks along the treacherous exit route.

But the success of the initial evacuation raised hopes that all will be out soon, although officials said could it take up to four days to complete.

“The operation went much better than expected,” said Chiang Rai acting Gov. Narongsak Osatanakorn, who is overseeing the mission.

He told reporters that four boys were brought out and taken to the hospital in the town of Chiang Rai, the provincial capital, for evaluation, and the next phase of the operation will resume after about 10-20 hours.

The names of the rescued boys were not released.

His announcement, at a news conference more than an hour after helicopters and ambulances were seen rushing from the cave area, drew cheers and applause.

Narongsak had dubbed Sunday to be “D-day” as the complicated effort was launched in the morning.

He said 13 foreign divers and five Thai navy SEALs were taking part in the key leg of the rescue: taking the boys from where they have been sheltering and through dark, tight and twisting passageways filled with muddy water and strong currents.

Two divers were to accompany each of the boys, all of whom have been learning to dive only since July 2, when the first searchers found them.

Cave rescue experts consider an underwater escape to be a last resort, especially with people untrained in diving.

But Narongsak said earlier that mild weather and falling water levels in recent days had created optimal conditions for an underwater evacuation. Those conditions won’t last if the rain resumes, he said.

After the four boys were removed from the cave, heavy rain started falling.

Authorities have said the monsoons could cause water to rise in the cave. That along with dwindling oxygen levels, added to the urgency of getting the team out. Earlier efforts to pump water out of the cave have been set back by heavy downpours.

Narongsak said Saturday that experts told him new rain could shrink the unflooded space where the boys are sheltering to just 10 square meters (108 square feet).

The next phase of the operation would start Monday after rescue teams replenish the supply of oxygen tanks along the route to ensure the safety of the journey, which takes several hours.

On Sunday night, Thai navy SEALs posted a celebratory note on their Facebook page, saying: “Have sweet dreams everyone. Good night. Hooyah.”

The boys and their coach, whose team is known as the Wild Boars, became stranded when they were exploring the cave after a practice game on June 23.

Monsoon flooding cut off their escape route and prevented rescuers from finding them for almost 10 days.

The ordeal has riveted Thailand and captured the world’s attention. The search and rescue operation has involved dozens of international experts and rescuers, including a U.S. military team.

President Donald Trump tweeted Sunday: “The U.S. is working very closely with the Government of Thailand to help get all of the children out of the cave and to safety. Very brave and talented people!”

To ensure a clear path for getting evacuees to the hospital and to safeguard their privacy, authorities ordered the media to move away from the cave before the boys came out.

The boys sounded calm and reassuring in handwritten notes to their families that were made public Saturday. The notes were sent out with divers who made an 11-hour, back-and-forth journey.

One of the boys, identified as Tun, wrote: “Mom and Dad, please don’t worry, I am fine. I’ve told Yod to get ready to take me out for fried chicken. With love.”

“Don’t be worried,” wrote another boy, Mick. “I miss everyone. Grandpa, Uncle, Mom, Dad and siblings, I love you all. I’m happy being here inside, the navy SEALS have taken good care. Love you all.”

One particularly touching note from another boy said: “I’m doing fine, but the air is a little cold, but don’t worry. Although, don’t forget to set up my birthday party.”

In a letter of his own, coach Ekapol Chanthawong apologized to the boys’ parents for the ordeal.

“To the parents of all the kids, right now the kids are all fine, the crew are taking good care. I promise I will care for the kids as best as possible. I want to say thanks for all the support and I want to apologize to the parents,” he wrote.

One of two ambulances leave the cave in northern Thailand hours after operation began to rescue the trapped youth soccer players and their coach, in Mae Sai, Chiang Rai province, in northern Thailand, Sunday, July 8, 2018. Chiang Rai province acting Gov. Narongsak Osatanakorn, who is heading the operation, said earlier Sunday that 13 foreign and five Thai divers were taking part in the rescue and two divers will accompany each boy as they’re gradually extracted. He said the operation began at 10 a.m., and it will take at least 11 hours for the first person to be taken out of the cave. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
One of two ambulances leave the cave in northern Thailand hours after operation began to rescue the trapped youth soccer players and their coach, in Mae Sai, Chiang Rai province, in northern Thailand, Sunday, July 8, 2018. Chiang Rai province acting Gov. Narongsak Osatanakorn, who is heading the operation, said earlier Sunday that 13 foreign and five Thai divers were taking part in the rescue and two divers will accompany each boy as they’re gradually extracted. He said the operation began at 10 a.m., and it will take at least 11 hours for the first person to be taken out of the cave. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
Thai policemen stand guard near a cave where 12 boys and their soccer coach have been trapped since June 23, in Mae Sai, Chiang Rai province, in northern Thailand Sunday, July 8, 2018. Thai authorities are racing to pump out water from the flooded cave before more rains are forecast to hit the northern region. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
Australian Federal Police and Defense Force personnel arrive near a cave where 12 boys and their soccer coach have been trapped since June 23, in Mae Sai, Chiang Rai province, in northern Thailand Sunday, July 8, 2018. Thai authorities are racing to pump out water from the flooded cave before more rains are forecast to hit the northern region. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
Chiang Rai province acting Gov. Narongsak Osatanakorn, who is leading the ongoing rescue operation of the soccer team and coach trapped in a flooded cave, talks to media during a press conference in Mae Sai, Chiang Rai province, northern Thailand, Sunday, July 8, 2018. Narongsak said the operation is going “better than expected.” (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
Australian Federal Police and Defense Force personnel arrive near a cave where 12 boys and their soccer coach have been trapped since June 23, in Mae Sai, Chiang Rai province, in northern Thailand Sunday, July 8, 2018. Thai authorities are racing to pump out water from the flooded cave before more rains are forecast to hit the northern region. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
Rescuer arrive near cave where 12 boys and their soccer coach have been trapped since June 23, in Mae Sai, Chiang Rai province, in northern Thailand Sunday, July 8, 2018. Thai authorities are racing to pump out water from the flooded cave before more rains are forecast to hit the northern region. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
Thai police stand guard near a cave where 12 boys and their soccer coach have been trapped since June 23, in Mae Sai, Chiang Rai province, in northern Thailand Sunday, July 8, 2018. Thai authorities are racing to pump out water from the flooded cave before more rains are forecast to hit the northern region. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
In this image made from video, Chiang Rai acting Gov. Narongsak Osatanakorn speaks to the media during a briefing on the cave rescue plans in Chiang Rai, Thailand. Narongsak says the operation to bring out 12 schoolboys and their soccer coach from deep inside a cave where they have been trapped for two weeks has begun. (AP Photo)
Thai policemen stand guard near a cave where 12 boys and their soccer coach have been trapped since June 23, in Mae Sai, Chiang Rai province, in northern Thailand Sunday, July 8, 2018. Thai authorities are racing to pump out water from the flooded cave before more rains are forecast to hit the northern region. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
Rescuer working near a cave where 12 boys and their soccer coach have been trapped since June 23, in Mae Sai, Chiang Rai province, in northern Thailand Sunday, July 8, 2018. Thai authorities are racing to pump out water from the flooded cave before more rains are forecast to hit the northern region. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
Australian Federal Police and Defense Force personnel arrive near a cave where 12 boys and their soccer coach have been trapped since June 23, in Mae Sai, Chiang Rai province, in northern Thailand Sunday, July 8, 2018. Thai authorities are racing to pump out water from the flooded cave before more rains are forecast to hit the northern region. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
Rescuer arrive near cave where 12 boys and their soccer coach have been trapped since June 23, in Mae Sai, Chiang Rai province, in northern Thailand Sunday, July 8, 2018. Thai authorities are racing to pump out water from the flooded cave before more rains are forecast to hit the northern region. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
Australian Federal Police and Defense Force personnel arrive near a cave where 12 boys and their soccer coach have been trapped since June 23, in Mae Sai, Chiang Rai province, in northern Thailand Sunday, July 8, 2018. Thai authorities are racing to pump out water from the flooded cave before more rains are forecast to hit the northern region. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
Media staff leave the area around the entrance of the cave where 12 boys and their soccer coach have been trapped for two weeks, in Mae Sai, Chiang Rai province, in northern Thailand Sunday, July 8, 2018. Thai authorities asked media to leave the area, fueling speculation on Sunday morning that a rescue mission could be imminent. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
Media staff leave the area around the entrance of the cave where 12 boys and their soccer coach have been trapped for two weeks, in Mae Sai, Chiang Rai province, in northern Thailand Sunday, July 8, 2018. Thai authorities asked media to leave the area, fueling speculation on Sunday morning that a rescue mission could be imminent. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
Media staff prepare to leave the area around the entrance of the cave where 12 boys and their soccer coach have been trapped for two weeks, in Mae Sai, Chiang Rai province, in northern Thailand Sunday, July 8, 2018. Thai authorities asked media to leave the area, fueling speculation on Sunday morning that a rescue mission could be imminent. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
In this undated photo released by Royal Thai Navy on Saturday, July 7, 2018, Thai rescue team members walk inside a cave where 12 boys and their soccer coach have been trapped since June 23, in Mae Sai, Chiang Rai province, northern Thailand. The local governor in charge of the mission to rescue them said Saturday that cooperating weather and falling water levels over the last few days had created appropriate conditions for evacuation, but that they won’t last if it rains again. (Royal Thai Navy via AP)
In this undated photo released by Royal Thai Navy on Saturday, July 7, 2018, Thai rescue team members walk inside a cave where 12 boys and their soccer coach have been trapped since June 23, in Mae Sai, Chiang Rai province, northern Thailand. The local governor in charge of the mission to rescue them said Saturday that cooperating weather and falling water levels over the last few days had created appropriate conditions for evacuation, but that they won’t last if it rains again. (Royal Thai Navy via AP)

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New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is one of six governors who wrote the letter

Today’s the first family reunification deadline

 

Live Updates

By Meg Wagner and Brian Ries, CNN

Updated 1 min ago1:29 p.m. ET, July 6, 2018
15 min ago

What happens if a parent is deported without his or her kid?

From CNN’s Catherine Shoichet

A US judge has ordered the Trump administration to reunite the families it separated at the border — but does that include kids with parents who have already been deported?

In their latest court filing, the government asked the court for clarity about whether officials need to reunite children with with deported parents, noting that the judge’s ruling did not specify whether deported parents should be included. If that is required, the filing said, officials would need more time “given the complexities involved in locating individuals who have been removed, determining whether they wish to be reunified with their child, and facilitating such a reunification outside of the United States.”

How common is this scenario? Asked about what would happen in such cases Thursday, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said, “If any parent has been deported … without their child, that likely would be a scenario where the parent had actually asked that the child remain.”

Immigration authorities are offering parents separated from their children at the border the option to be deported with or without their kids, according to a government document obtained by CNN this week.

Parents have also been offered the option to sign voluntary departure orders to speed up their cases even if they still have other legal options — and told they’ll be reunited with their kids before they are deported if they do.

Immigrant advocacy groups say they’re concerned that some parents may have been coerced or may have signed documents they didn’t understand.

Governors from 6 states want answers to these 6 questions about separated children

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is one of six governors who wrote the letter

Governors from six states — New York, Washington, Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Oregon — sent a letter Friday to Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and Homeland Security Secretary Kristjen Nielsen “demanding answers concerning the reunification of immigrant families separated at the border,” according to a press release from New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office. 

The letter demands that the following six questions be answered:

  1. How many separated migrant children in HHS custody have already been reunified? 
  2. Of those children who have already been reunified, how many have been placed with the parents they arrived with at the U.S. southern border?
  3. If any were placed with a non-parent sponsor, what policies do your agencies intend to put in place to enable long-term reunification between children and their parents? 
  4. What steps is the federal government requiring separated parents to comply with before gaining back custody of their children?
  5. What safeguards are being put in place to ensure the results of any DNA testing of parents and children are not used for any purpose other than familial verification?
  6. How many of the separated migrant children in HHS custody have been provided with legal services and representation?

How many families have been reunited?

From CNN’s Catherine Shoichet

The only firm statistics we’ve gotten from officials about reunions came from US Customs and Border Protection, which said last month that 522 children who were separated from their family’s under the administration’s “zero tolerance” policy had been reunited with their parents. 

Important note: That number came before a judge ordered the Trump administration to reunite the families it separated at the border.

Federal agencies have repeatedly declined to respond to questions since the court ruling about how many families have been reunited.

34 min ago

What steps is the government taking to meet reunification deadlines?

From CNN’s Catherine Shoichet

US District Judge Dana Sabraw last month ordered the Trump administration to reunite the families it separated at the border — and laid out a series of deadlines in his ruling.

By Friday, officials must make sure every separated parent has a way to contact their child. By July 10, children under 5 must be reunited with their parents. And by July 26, all children should be reunited with their parents.

In a court filing ahead of today’s status hearing, the government outlined a series of steps it’s taking to comply with the court order, including

  • DNA testing
  • Increased staffing
  • Expediting existing processes. 

It’s likely more details will come out during the hearing.

 
53 min ago

Mike Pence attacks Democrats for calls to abolish ICE

From CNN’s Liz Landers

Vice President Mike Pence, speaking at the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement headquarters in DC, blamed Democrats for “reckless” language calling to abolish ICE.

“Senator Elizabeth Warren and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and the Mayor of New York City have all already called for ICE’s abolition,” he told ICE officers gathered in a conference room here in DC. 

“These spurious attacks by political leaders on ICE must stop,” he said to some applause in the room.

What this is about: Gillibrand called for an end to ICE last month, and Warren called on the US replace it with “something that reflects our morality.” New York Mayor Bill de Blasio told WNYC’s Brian Lehrer, “ICE’s time has come and gone.”

Watch more from Pence:

This group says they were hung up on when they called looking for detention center information

From CNN’s Nick Valencia

The executive director of a Texas non-profit group tells CNN that the organization has faced significant hurdles as they work to reunite parents with their children.

Jonathan Ryan, with the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (also known as RAICES), said representatives from his group have been hung up on when they call detention centers seeking information.

He added that he was turned away Thursday when he tried pay bonds for five women at a detention center.

“There are five women who should be free right now,” Ryan told CNN. “We were rejected at the front desk because we didn’t have bus tickets and airport tickets for them.”

Ryan says he hopes to pay the bonds for the five women today.

A little about this group: RAICES is the intended recipient of several online fundraisers that’s collecting money to help reunite the families, including one that has already raised more than $20 million.

You can learn more about the organization here.

2 hr 34 min ago

The government won’t say exactly how many kids are separated from their families

From CNN’s Clare Foran

The Department of Health and Human on Thursday estimated that there are fewer than 3,000 kids who may have been separated from their parents are in government custody.

But 10 days ago, the department reported that it had 2,047 children from separated families in its care.

During a Thursday call with reporters, HHS Secretary Alex Azar did not provide an exact number of children separated from families, but said “a review and comprehensive audit of multiple data sets” indicated that fewer than 3,000 total children — including an estimated 100 under the age of 5 — are in the care of Office of Refugee Resettlement-funded grantees. 

Watch more:

They were separated on Mother’s Day. 55 days later, this mom and daughter were reunited

From CNN’s Ray Sanchez and Linh Tran

She wept as she embraced her 8-year-old daughter Thursday afternoon at Boston’s Logan Airport, more than 2,500 miles from the Arizona detention center where Gonzalez-Garcia said an immigration agent wished her a “Happy Mother’s Day” before the girl was taken from her without explanation.

 

“Forgive me for leaving you all alone,” Gonzalez-Garcia cried. “Forgive me, my daughter. Forgive me.”

“I was very nervous,” Gonzalez-Garcia told CNN in an exclusive interview. “I was waiting for the moment she walked through that door. … She is all I have. She is my whole life. It’s been so long.”

Watch the moment:

4 hr 7 min ago

Government may ask court for extension on reunification deadlines

The Justice Department has informed a federal judge in San Diego that the administration is in compliance with stopping family separations, except under prescribed conditions (such as the safety of the child), as well as ensuring communication with separated parents and children by today. 

There’s a hearing in San Diego this afternoon, and the DOJ said the government may ask for extended deadlines. Officials laid out certain challenges in meeting the reunification deadlines of July 10 for children under age 5 and July 26 for children over 5.  

In the court filing, the government says in order to confirm parentage, the department of Health and Human Services is using DNA testing which can take time, and asks if the court will permit reunifications outside of the ordered timelines “in cases where parentage cannot be confirmed quickly.” The government says it is willing to propose an alternative timeline.

Additionally, HHS must determine that a “parent is not ‘unfit or presents a danger to the child,’’ which means HHS must also have “an independent finding that the individual has not engaged in any activity that would indicate a potential risk to the child,” before reunification. This process can be slowed down if the court order is interpreted to mean ICE must release parents from detention by compliance deadlines, and says “such release might slow reunification.”

Learn more about the DNA testing in the video below:

4 hr 9 min ago

The US government is supposed to make sure separated families have contact today

From CNN’s Emanuella Grinberg and Nick Valencia

Today is the first of three major deadlines for US officials working to reunited families that were separated at the border under President Trump’s “zero-tolerance” policy.

  • By July 6, officials must make sure every separated parent has a way to contact their child, US District Judge Dana Sabraw said in a June ruling.
  • Then, by July 10, officials must reunify all parents with their children under the age of 5.
  • They must reunify parents with children 5 and older by July 26.

So how is all of this working?

For many parents of separated families, one phone call is not enough, and a second one seems like a distant hope. Making contact does not necessarily bring clarity to a family’s situation, lawyers say. Sometimes, it can add to the confusion and deepen a parent’s despair.

Six lawyers working with dozens of detained parents have told CNN their clients had at least one phone call with their children. Most times, those phone calls last less than five minutes, said human rights lawyer Sara E. Dill, who is working with detained parents at Port Isabel Service Detention Center in Los Fresnos, Texas.

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Sherry Johnson, Florida-based anti-child marriage campaigner who was forced to marry aged 11 in 1971.

‘It put an end to my childhood’: the hidden scandal of US child marriage

The Guardian

In half of US states, there is no legal minimum age for marriage; a 40-year-old man can, in theory, marry a five-year-old girl. But Florida may soon ban the practice for under-18s. We meet the former child brides campaigning for change

Sherry Johnson, Florida-based anti-child marriage campaigner who was forced to marry aged 11 in 1971.
Sherry Johnson, Florida-based anti-child marriage campaigner who was forced to marry aged 11 in 1971. Photograph: Katharina Bracher

Sherry Johnson was 11 when her mother told her she was going to get married. The bridegroom was nine years older and a deacon in the strict apostolic church that her family attended. He was also the man who had raped her and made her pregnant. “They forced me to marry him to cover up the scandal,” Johnson says. “Instead of putting the handcuffs on him and sending him to prison, they put the handcuffs on me and imprisoned me in a marriage.”

Johnson is now 58, but child marriage is not a thing of the past in the US: almost 250,000 children were married there between 2000 and 2010, some of them as young as 10. “Almost all were girls married to adult men,” says Fraidy Reiss, the director of campaigning organisation Unchained at Last.

In most US states, the minimum age for marriage is 18. However, in every state exceptions to this rule are possible, the most common being when parents approve and a judge gives their consent. In 25 states, there is no minimum marriage age when such an exception is made. But now Johnson’s home state, Florida, is poised to pass a law that sets the minimum marriage age at 18 with very few exceptions – thanks largely to her campaigning.

In 2013, Johnson was working at a barbecue stand in Tallahassee when she told her story to a senator who was one of her regular customers. “She listened to me and decided to do something,” Johnson recalls. “She presented a bill to restrict child marriage in 2014, but it failed. That was because nobody understood the problem at the time.

“People thought: this can’t happen in Florida. The minimum marriage age is 18; what’s the problem? But they didn’t know about the loopholes. Between 2001 and 2015, 16,000 children were married in Florida alone. A 40-year-old man can legally marry a five-year-old girl here.”

Sherry Johnson’s marriage certificate.
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Sherry Johnson’s marriage certificate. Photograph: Katharina Bracher

Johnson, whose own child-marriage took place in 1971, didn’t give up. She contacted numerous Floridian politicians, told them her story and explained the problem. “It was part of my healing process to tell my story,” she says. Actually, she adds, “I don’t like to use the word story because it ain’t a story. It’s the truth – I lived it.”

Apart from Florida, there are five states in the process of passing laws to end child marriage. It has been a tough battle, says Reiss, whose organisation has been campaigning for laws to be changed all over the country for three years.

“When I began, I thought it would be easy. I thought we would just explain the problem and legislators would jump up and change the law immediately. After all, the US state department considers child marriage a human rights abuse. But everywhere there are politicians who think it’s a bad idea to change the law. You wouldn’t believe how many legislators have told me that if a girl gets pregnant, she’s got to get married. One female Democrat politician asked me: ‘Won’t you increase abortion rates if you end child marriage?’ That left me speechless.”

Last year, 17-year-old Girl Scout Cassandra Levesque campaigned to change the New Hampshire law that allows girls as young as 13 to get married if their parents approve. “My local representative introduced a bill that raised the minimum age to 18. But a couple of male representatives persuaded the others to kill the bill and to prevent it from being discussed again for some years,” she says. “One of them said that a 17-year-old Girl Scout couldn’t have a say in these matters.”

“So they think she’s old enough for marriage, but not old enough to talk about it, says Reiss. “I think that reasoning is terrifying.”

She goes on to outline the harmful effects of child marriage. “Girls who get married before 18 have a significantly higher risk of heart attacks, cancer, diabetes and strokes and a higher risk of psychiatric disorders. They are 50% more likely to drop out of high school and run a higher risk of living in poverty. They are also three times more likely to become victims of domestic violence. Really, child marriage helps no one. The only people who benefit are paedophiles.”

Reiss, who was born in an ultra-orthodox Jewish community, and was herself coerced into marrying when she was 19, says it is “extremely ironic” that laws make exceptions when parents consent to a child marriage or when an underage girl is pregnant. “Because, in many cases, the pregnancy is the result of sexual abuse and the parents are forcing the girl to marry to prevent a scandal. So the law doesn’t protect the child at all. When an adult man has sex with an underage girl, this is considered statutory rape in many states. But when the perpetrator marries his victim, he can legally go on abusing her.”

Fraidy Reiss, director of campaigning organisation Unchained At Last.
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Fraidy Reiss, director of campaigning organisation Unchained At Last. Photograph: Susan Landmann

Many child brides come from religious backgrounds and less privileged groups – but not all. Donna Pollard, 34, grew up in a white, middle-class, non-religious family in a town called London in Kentucky, and yet she was married when she was 16. The man was nearly 15 years older. “I met him when I was 14 and going through a difficult time. My father had recently deceased,” she recounts. “He was my mental health counsellor and he acted like I could trust him. He convinced me that we were in love and he said: ‘If we get married when you turn 16, you will have all this freedom and your mum won’t be able to control you any more.’ So I thought I was taking charge of my life by agreeing to this.”

Her mother had no problems with her daughter getting married at 16 and readily gave her permission. “She was glad to get rid of me.”

Pollard remembers feeling very uncomfortable during the marriage ceremony. “The clerk didn’t even look up at me from her computer. She only asked: ‘Which one’s the minor?’ She didn’t assess if I was safe or needed something. He was 30 years old at the time, but nobody questioned the fact that he was so much older. That void of emotion hit me like a freight train. I knew something wasn’t right, but I didn’t feel empowered to speak up and say: ‘I don’t know that I really want to go through with this.’ Nor did I trust my own judgment. I was a troubled teenager.”

Once married, she left school and started working at a grocery store for a minimum wage, soon becoming the breadwinner because her husband stopped working. “He became physically abusive. He was controlling everything I did. In many ways, child marriage and human trafficking are interchangeable terms.”

Pollard left her husband when she was 19 after he tried to choke her in the presence of their baby daughter. “I realised she would grow up normalising violence if I didn’t leave. That’s what gave me the courage.” Looking back, she says that marrying young disrupted her personal development. “I was very good at school. I even received a substantial scholarship for writing achievement. I could have studied creative writing with a grant.”

Johnson says that “marriage put a definite end to my childhood. I was expelled from school and by the age of 17 I had six children. There was no way I could escape. You are not allowed to sign legal documents when you are under 18, so I couldn’t file for a divorce. For seven years, I was stuck with the man who damaged me and continued to do so.

“Child marriage delayed my life. I was never able to attain an education. I am still struggling, trying to survive. Working three jobs as a healthcare provider to make ends meet. And then there’s the pain, the trauma that you have to deal with.”

“We see the number of child marriages going down now, but it’s not going fast enough,” says Reiss. “It’s so difficult to help child brides escape. Our organisation risks being charged with kidnapping because they are under 18. This has already happened to us once. Also, there are very few shelters in the US that accept girls younger than 18. So when girls call us, we have to tell them the help we can provide is very limited. Most of the children who reach out to us for help have tried to kill themselves because they would rather be dead than forced into a marriage. That keeps me awake at night. Something has to change.”

On 31 January, Johnson sat in the public gallery while the Florida senate unanimously passed the bill that will end child marriage in the state (although the bill was subsequently amended to allow pregnant 16- and 17-year-old girls to marry). Several senators talked about her story and thanked her for pushing for the bill. Afterwards, she said that the senate vote helped to heal the pain. “I smile from within to know that children will not have to face what I have been through.”

For more information or counselling on any of the issues raised in this article go to unchainedatlast.org

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UNICEF and Education Ministry to launch campaign on discipline

UNICEF and Education Ministry to launch campaign on discipline

GEORGETOWN, Guyana, Jun. 22, CMC –  The United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) will be collaborating with the Ministry of Education to launch a campaign on positive discipline.

UNICEF’s country representative, Sylvie Fouet says the evidence-based campaign stems from a conversation the organisation has been having with stakeholders for some time .

“That consultation took place about a year ago and we also involved children themselves. It was important because the way of teaching has to change,” Fouet told the media, explaining that part of the campaign will also help the ministry in its review of its teaching scheme” Fouet told reporters on Thursday.

Monitoring and Evaluation Specialist, Michael Gillis and UNICEF country representative, Sylvie Fouet

Monitoring and Evaluation Specialist Michael Gillis said the organisation started the collection of data in 2014.

That data gave an indication of the kind of discipline being practised. A situation analysis was also done on women on children which indicated what was happening and why it was happening. It was found too that there were key issues in hinterland communities.

“We then followed the lead of the data and then collected the information about indigenous women and children. There is a whole lot of evidence which moved beyond what is happening in school, what is being practised in society.  The positive discipline campaign was really evidence-informed,” he said.

The analysis found that corporal punishment was being practised at a very high level with over 70 per cent of parents administering some form of corporal punishment for different reasons.

“The positive discipline campaign will bring additional tools and ways of disciplining,” he said.

Communication Specialist, Frank Robinson relayed some recommendations that could be adhered to by parents to aid in their discipline technique.

He said, instead of hitting the child, parents can explain why the behaviour is not in keeping with what the parent would like.

“Give the child the chance to understand the severity of the action or behaviour by sitting and talking with the child,” he recommended.

At the same time, he said children need to understand that while they have rights, they also have responsibilities.

“So, it more of an empowerment type methodology in terms of disciplining children and so xfar, what we have seen with parents and schools that practice positive disciplining, we have seen positive changes,” Robinsons said.

UNICEF has already produced a video showcasing the perspective of children on the subject.

A second video is currently being produced that will give the perspective and views of the parents on positive discipline.

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New policy aims to get teenage mothers back in school

New policy aims to get teenage mothers back in school

GEORGETOWN, Guyana, Jun. 19, CMC – The Ministry of Education has implemented a  new policy  to ensure that  teenage mothers have the opportunity to go back to school while receiving support at home and from their community.

The policy manual was handed over on Monday  by officials from the Ministry and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

The policy which is a collaboration between the Ministry of Education and UNICEF, also had the input of other stakeholders, including the Ministry of Public Security and faith-based organisations.

Sandra Granger

Addressing the handing over ceremony at the National Center for Educational Resource Development (NCERD) , First Lady, Sandra Granger, called on the policy-makers and educators to uphold and protect the rights of children and adolescent mothers who have suffered sexual abuse.

“We have to speak of these things and see it as violence against our children. We also have to… ensure that their rights are recognised and upheld; that our legal and our social protection agencies protect these children with the full majesty of the law… the children come first and it is their future that we have to ensure… That is enshrined in our Constitution.”

According to Minister of Education, Nicolette Henry, teenage pregnancy is a complex issue which results from a number of factors. These can be poverty, gender inequality, violence, lack of education and difficult relationships with parents and family members. She said this must not prevent them from acquiring education.

“As the government, our motto is that every child matters. With this policy there will be no need to repeat the past because the future for adolescent mothers in Guyana will become bright because legally the barriers that prevail will be a thing of the past and indeed illegal. Leaving the path open to an education for all,” Minister Henry told officials present.

UNICEF representative to Guyana and Suriname, Sylvie Fouet said Guyana ranks the second highest in teenage pregnancy in Latin America and the Caribbean. She said the creation of the policy is a key milestone and the next step is implementation. She signalled that opening the doors is not sufficient, and communities and stakeholders need to understand and be supportive and knowledgeable of reproductive health in Guyana.

“They need to know that they are protected and they are cared for so all the supportive mechanisms like education, health and justice has to support that and we hope so and we wish the best for Guyanese particularly the youngest,” Fouet said.

The policy has been in the works for approximately one year and sets out clear guidelines to ensure that mothers are not denied the opportunity to re-enter the formal school system, to continue their education.

It aims at not only managing the reintegration of the adolescent mothers but it is to also advance the prevention of adolescent pregnancy.

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Caribbean American Congresswoman outraged over separation of children from parents at US border

Caribbean American Congresswoman outraged over separation of children from parents at US border

By Nelson A. King

NEW YORK, Jun. 18,   CMC – Caribbean American Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke has joined intensified outrage in the United States over the Trump administration’s decision to separate migrant children from their parents at the US border. 

“There is no act lower than ripping innocent children from the arms of their mothers,” said Clarke, the daughter of Jamaican immigrants, in an  interview with the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC), on Sunday.

Yvette D. Clarke

“We have hit an all-time low as a people and a country,” added the representative for the 9th Congressional District in Brooklyn. “It is one of the most inhumane, cruel acts that could ever be taken by the Trump administration.

“As a second generation American, the daughter of Jamaican immigrant parents,  I take these assaults on immigrant communities personally,” Clarke continued, stating that she has been “a staunch advocate for immigration rights, from fighting for a clean Dream Act, aggressively advocating to keep families together to keeping vulnerable children with their parents, and fighting the Trump administration on their revocation of DACA [Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals] and attacks on Diversity Visas.”

In addressing what she described as “the racist, xenophobia of the Trump Administration,” Clarke said she has also advocated for the ASPIRE Act, a bipartisan bill to provide individuals who have received Temporary Protective Status (TPS), legal permanent residency.

“This administration has no bounds, even children don’t seem to matter,” the congresswoman said. “Therefore, I vow to continue to fight ferociously, along with my colleagues, against these grave injustices; and, we don’t plan to stop until justice prevails.”

Amid the profound outrage, US President Donald J. Trump on Saturday reiterated what political analysts and observers say is his erroneous claim that Democrats were responsible for his administration’s policy of separating migrant families arrested at the US border.

“Democrats can fix their forced family breakup at the Border by working with Republicans on new legislation, for a change!” said Trump in a twitter post on the weekend.

On Friday, the Trump administration announced that close to 2,000 children were separated from their migrant parents in a six-week period, concluding in May, as part of its “zero tolerance” policy on immigration.

In expressing outrage over the Trump administration’s new policy, Democrats have said that the separation of children from their parents at the US border is just of the incumbent administration’s making – that they had not enacted any law or rule in that regard.

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Contestants at Ethel Fashion Show April 12

Eight Caribbean beauties in NY beauty pageant

 

 

 

According to Yvonne Peters, the Vincentian-born president and founder of the Brooklyn-based organizing group, Caribbean American Cultural Group, Inc., the contestants hail from Belize, Guyana, Jamaica, Haiti, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

The contestants are: Reality Dopwell (Miss Belize); Breana Maxwell (Miss Jamaica); Shanah Forbes (Miss Jamaica); Jamela (Miss Guyana); Maya Grant (Miss Kingstown, St. Vincent); Kaiia Krysta Phillips (Miss Greggs, St. Vincent); Makeda Peters (Miss St Vincent & the Grenadines); and Kimberly Thomas (Miss Haiti).

Peters said the contestants will be judged on swim wear, talent, evening wear and interview.

She said the contestants’ platforms include awareness of sexual assaults on college campuses and Title IX; awareness of rape culture among high school youths; depression and suicide; combating poverty; and building self-esteem in children and youths.

Contestants at Ethel Fashion Show April 12

“Over a period of approximately four months, these young ladies are transformed into pageant contestants through various workshops, such as building a foundation for success, modeling, swimwear show case, talent show case, interviews, communication training, pageantry and dance rehearsals,” she said.

Peters said she founded the pageant in 2010 because she “always wanted to help the young people, in particular young women, in my community and give them a sense of purpose, community involvement and empowerment.

“So, the idea of a cultural pageant materialized; and, years later, we are still going strong, empowering young women to be confident in themselves and become leaders in their communities,” she said. Peters said the venue has a capacity of 1,200.

“So, we looking forward to a well-attended event for family-fun evening,” the pageant coordinator said. “We invite everyone to come out and support this community-building event, support the young people of our community and have some fun.”

Doors open at 5:00 p.m.; showtime: 6:00 p.m. sharp.

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