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Legislation passed to grant undocumented Caribbean immigrants access to driver’s licenses

Legislation passed to grant undocumented Caribbean immigrants access to driver’s licenses

by STAFF WRITER

NEW YORK, Jun  13, CMC – New York State Democratic-controlled House of Assembly on Wednesday passed legislation that would permit undocumented Caribbean and other immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses.  

The Assembly said that the Driver’s License Access and Privacy Act (A.3675-B), also known as the Green Light Bill, “will create safer roads for all New Yorkers, boost the state’s economy and protect hardworking New Yorkers and their families. 

“Until 2001, this fundamental privilege was extended to all New Yorkers, regardless of immigration status,” said the Assembly in a statement.

The Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, who traces his roots to the Bahamas said: “While opponents continue to spread misinformation and stoke fears about the bill’s intent and consequences, the Assembly Majority will continue to put the needs of New Yorkers first.

“The legislation passed today will promote public safety, protect our state’s economy and ensure every New Yorker can integrate into their community and care for their family,” said Heastie, who represents the Bronx. “Making sure that every driver is trained, tested and insured will make New York’s roads safer for everyone and ensure that our industries have the labor they need to keep our economy moving.”

Heastie said the Driver’s License and Privacy Act would expand the types of proof of identity that could be submitted with an application for a non-commercial driver’s license that does not meet US federal standards for identification. 

He said an applicant without a social security number could instead submit a signed affidavit that they have not been issued a social security number.

The Assembly noted that 12 states, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia have enacted legislation that would allow undocumented Caribbean and other immigrants to obtain a driver’s license, “many of which have reported fewer accidents and traffic fatalities.”

A 2017 Stanford University study found that California’s law expanding access to drivers’ licenses led to a drop in hit-and-run accidents between seven and 10 per cent, or about 4,000 fewer hit-and-run accidents, and saving not-at-fault drivers US$3.5 million in out-of-pocket expenses for car repairs, according to the Assembly. 

“Today’s legislation would make everyday tasks such as getting to work, shopping for groceries or picking up kids from school vastly easier for an estimated 265,000 people in New York, including 64,000 north of New York City,” the statement said. 

It said the policy change would generate an estimated US$57 million in combined government revenues that would recur annually, as well as a US$26 million one-time boost in revenues as more people get licenses.  

Steve Choi, executive director of the New York Immigration Coalition, said the measure “will bring hundreds of thousands of immigrants out from the shadows and make New York’s roads safer.” 

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has said he will sign the legislation if the State’s Senate approves it. The Senate is expected soon to schedule a vote on the bill.

Posted in International, Local, News, Regional, Travel0 Comments

BVI government to improve border security

BVI government to improve border security

by STAFF WRITER

TORTOLA, British Virgin Islands, Jun 3 CMC – Over US$6-million will be spent to improve border security across this British Overseas territory.

Immigration Minister Vincent Wheatley  says the move shows that the current administration is serious  about advancing the territory.

Vincent Wheatley

“For as long as I can recall, there have been complaints and heavy criticism levied against Labour and Immigration departments.That is why Cabinet recently approved the sum of $6.4 million for the purchase of a new state-of-the-art Immigration border management system.”

This comes several months after Governor Augustus announced that travellers arriving and departing the BVI will be subject to heightened security measures to include the implementation of an Advance Passenger Information (API) System.

Meanwhile, Wheatley said he intends to give support to the departments of Labour and Immigration by introducing policies and legislation to help reform and improve them.

Concerning plans for the online amalgamation of the Labour and Immigration departments, Wheatley, who is also Labour Minister, says this has already started.

“It’s currently undergoing testing. We are using a test group of 32 different businesses – which will soon be open to the wider public,” adding that the undertaking is scheduled to be ready for the broader public by July.

“It is only the beginning. Later on this month, we will be launching a few more initiatives within that department starting with a name change,” he said.

Posted in CARICOM, Local, News, OECS, Politics, Regional, Security, Technology, Travel0 Comments

Jaden-Sun-Fast-Ferry

Ferry Service Update June 7- 29


Ferry – Jaden Sun

Information coming out of the Government Information Unit informs: “This weekend with the upcoming holidays will see significant changes that will affect both stakeholder and customers significantly.”

The result of that is that the current month will see a number of changes to the Ferry schedule, as follows:

Friday, June 7th 2019 – No Day Tour (Regular Morning and evening Svc in place)

Saturday, June 8th 2019 – Day Tour Service in place

Sunday, June 9th 2019 – No Ferry Service

Monday, June 10th 2019 – Day Tour Service In place

Tuesday, June 11th, 2019 – No Day Tour (Regular morning and evening svc in place)  

It seems early, but the release noted: “the Access Division’s Buju Trip to St. Kitts scheduled for June 29th, 2019 is cancelled due to low uptake.” 

Special note is invited to the following: From July 6, 2019 ALL Sunday services will depart Montserrat at 10:00 a.m. arriving Antigua at 11:30 a.m. The Departure times out of Antigua remains the same

The Division is reminding that check-in closes 30 minutes before departure. 

Then, “All agents and customs and immigration personnel, please advise your staff on these changes.”

Posted in International, Local, News, Regional, TOURISM, Travel0 Comments

Former Prime Minister’s funeral to be held on June 23

Former Prime Minister’s funeral to be held on June 23

by Staff Writer

KINGSTON, Jamaica, Jun. 4, CMC – The state funeral for former Prime Minister Edward Seaga is to be held on Sunday June 23.

The details of the funeral arrangements and related activities were revealed by Culture Minister Olivia Grange on Monday during a media briefing .

The funeral service will be held at the Holy Trinity Cathedral in the Corporate Area.

Grange added that the period of mourning has been declared and will be observed from June 19 to June 22.

“It means that government will not have any social activities; official activities that were scheduled will be postponed where possible; travel by government officials will be limited and the flag will be flown half-mast,” she said.

Ahead of the funeral, Seaga’s body will lie in state at several locations, however, the casket will remain closed at the request of the family.

Seaga’s remains will be interred at National Heroes’ Park.

The government is appealing to the public to also observe “a certain decorum during that period,” she said.

Seaga, Jamaica’s fifth prime minister, died at a Miami Hospital last week Tuesday, following a battle with cancer. 

He died on his 89th birthday.

Seaga, who was prime minister, from 1980 to 1989, also served as the leader of the ruling Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) from 1974 to 2005 when he retired from active politics.

Since his retirement from politics, he has been an honorary distinguished fellow at the professorial level at The University of the West Indies (UWI), and also served as chancellor of the University of Technology, Jamaica.

A lifelong sports enthusiast, Seaga was chairman of the Premier League Clubs Association, one of Jamaica’s governing football bodies, from its inception until 2010. He also served as president of the football club of his former West Kingston enclave, Tivoli Gardens.

Seaga is credited with building the financial and planning infrastructure of the country after independence, as well as developing its arts and crafts, and awareness of national heritage. As a record producer and record company owner, Seaga also played a major role in the development of the Jamaican music industry.

Posted in Business/Economy/Banking, CARICOM, International, Local, News, Obituaries, Politics, Regional, Travel0 Comments

2-28-18-winair

St. Patrick’s Day festival preparations

As the preps heat up, plans are made to ensure people arrive ‘on time’

Testing docking ability Jaden Sun at Plymouth jetty in case bad seas overtake Little Bay port

Last year the St. Patrick’s Day festival was in celebration to mark the 250th anniversary of the failed slave rebellion on March 17, 1768, when authorities forecasted that “over 7,000 people will flock the island for the commemoration.” The actual arrival numbers were disputed eventually but there was no hold back on touting the revenue that resulted, especially when wooing Government to put more into the event.

As the bulk of people began to arrive on island from March 4, 2018 or thereabout, people became stranded in Antigua as the March seas struck again “over 100 passengers were stranded in Antigua on Wednesday, March 7, just like it did last year also in March, when that time the ferry successfully docked and landed passengers at the Plymouth jetty in the exclusion zone. This followed cancellations the week before when hundreds had already begun to arrive for the Festival.” (see: https://www.themontserratreporter.com/ferry-travel-to-montserrat-failed-for-high-seas/)

The wave when it broke scared many on shore at Port Little Bay, hid the ferry from view

The Access Division had arranged for the passengers who had been stuck in Antigua since high seas caused cancellation of the ferry service on Sunday, 4th to travel down and dock at Port Plymouth. But things went awry when that plan failed because of the timing. The ferry was unable to dock and after checking the situation at Little Bay which at first seemed calm, the sea again turned up and forced the ferry to return to Antigua with a reported number of 114 passengers.

This year, in anticipation of the known March conditions, we received the following information provided from a release from the DMCA on the ferry, captioned, “Ferry Does Test Run at Plymouth Jetty”. It is uncertain what media witnessed if any, but independent media was either ignored as had been attempted prior, or was just not informed of the event due to take place.

So, according to the report from the DMCA, the MV Jaden Sun ferry successfully docked at Port Plymouth in Zone V on Wednesday, February 27th, 2019, the following being information as provided.

According to Senior Disaster Management Coordinator at the Disaster Management Coordination Agency (DMCA), Astrid Wade, the ferry berthing at the Plymouth Jetty was to test the agency’s contingency plan for the docking of the ferry in the event of rough seas at Little Bay during Montserrat’s hosting of the 2019 St Patrick’s Festival in March.

He said the exercise also tested putting on fenders on the jetty to mitigate against any damage to the MV Jaden Sun.

The Senior Disaster Coordinator confirmed that a disembarkation and embarkation gangway was placed on the ferry to test the safe exit of passengers getting on and off the ferry.

Jaden Sun being secured at Plymouth Jetty in docking test

The exercise today led by the DMCA involved several key agencies on island namely the Montserrat Port Authority, Royal Montserrat Police Service, Montserrat Volcano Observatory (MVO), Montserrat Tourist Board (MTB), Access Division, Montserrat Customs and Revenue Service (MCRS) and Integrated Border Security (IBS) to ensure successful docking of the ferry, MV Jaden Sun, in the event circumstances warrant the use of the Plymouth facility if Little Bay is deemed unsuitable as a result unfavourable sea conditions.

Improved flight arrangements for the Festival season

As part of its St Patrick’s preparations and contingency planning, for such eventualities as experienced over the years, the Access Division, within the Office of the Premier, is encouraging additional support due to the level of demand outlined by customers for both air and sea travel.

Ferry Services:

The ferry service has increased its initial schedule from a six-day to a seven-day schedule for a two-week period surrounding the St Patrick’s festival. The service has seen a number of additional adjustments to better cater for the travelling public. Customers will be able to check and book via the live ferry service schedule online at www.ferry.ms. The ferry will run every day from the 5th March to the 24th March except on Sunday 17th March, when it will be hosting Scriber’s, “Round the island adventure tour”.

Air Services:

Air services will also see additional flights due to increased customer demand. Both regular airline operators Fly Montserrat and SVG (ABM)Air have increased their daily flights.  Some additional support will be provided by WinAir on selected days, during the period March 5th to 21st.  Customers can check and book on each Operator’s website for available flights within the March period.

WINAIR flying to Montserrat for St Patrick’s Festival 2019

WinAir aircraft

This new flight arrangement may be coming somewhat late to serve as a true test of how beneficial it might be for travelers to, and for Montserrat. The decision, we have been reliably informed was made months ago, may even be over a year. However, attempts to block this development is a matter that raises its head to higher and in ways to devious behaviour by some who seek glory for themselves at the expense of Montserrat.

Such an option may be useful for those still trying to make bookings to fly in for St Patrick’s Festival. Here is another old but new option on WINAIR – back for a few select dates in March.

The first scheduled flight in between Antigua and Montserrat is Tuesday, March 5. The final scheduled flight is Wednesday, March 20, 2019.

The access division provides the following for reservations – book online at www.fly-winair.sx .

Posted in Featured, International, Local, News, Regional, TOURISM, Travel0 Comments

IMG-20181112-WA0006 (1)

No access to areas south of Belham Valley

Important Notice especially for visitors, tourists and sightseers

This will be a setback for tourists on the Windstar Vessel due to arrive on Tuesday, Crafters, and especially taxi drivers who according to DiscoverMNI were urged to be ready!

 Further to potential flood warnings – comes this news later in the day

The Disaster Management Coordination Agency (DMCA) in consultation with the Commissioner of the Royal Montserrat Police Service (RMPS) has taken a decision to cease access to areas south of Belham Valley.

 The decision was taken due to the road being compromised and also to allow the authorities to carry out remedial work on the road in an effort to ensure the safety of all users.

 The road at Belham Valley will, therefore, be closed from 5 o’clock this afternoon and a further update will be given in due course.

 Persons, south of Belham are asked to make their way to the north immediately.

Posted in Business/Economy/Banking, Climate/Weather, Environment, Featured, Government Notices, International, Local, News, Regional, TOURISM, Travel0 Comments

Region eyes “vigorous” tropical wave as 2018 Hurricane season near the end

Region eyes “vigorous” tropical wave as 2018 Hurricane season near the end

Little change in the status of the weather with suggestions it can get worse

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Nov 12, CMC – Caribbean countries were keeping a close eye on a “vigorous” tropical wave east of the Leeward Islands, Monday,  as the 2018 Atlantic Hurricane season ends later this month.

The Miami-based National Hurricane Centre (NHC) said that the wave, located about 200 miles east of the Leeward Islands – Antigua and Barbuda, Montserrat, St. Kitts-Nevis, Anguilla –is producing a large area of disturbed weather over most of the western tropical Atlantic Ocean.

It said shower and thunderstorm activity have increased Monday and that the forecast is for the disturbed weather pattern to pass westerward to west-northwestward passing near the Leeward Islands, Puerto Rico, Hispaniola and the southeastern Bahamas during the next few days.

“Interests in these areas should closely monitor the progress of this system,’ the NHC said, noting that there’s a 90 per cent chance of the system developing over the next five days.

If it further intensifies into a named storm, it would be called Patty.

While Caribbean countries have been spared for most of the 2018 hurricane season, heavy rains in several countries have led to floods, landslides and millions of dollars in damage.

Posted in Business/Economy/Banking, Climate/Weather, Featured, International, Local, News, Regional, TOURISM, Travel0 Comments

passengers

10 Injured as Fly Jamaica Plane Crash Lands at Airport in Guyana

 

The Fly Jamaica plane crash landed 43 minutes after takeoff. (Credit: Cheddi Jagan International Airport-Facebook)

 

GEORGETOWN, Guyana, Friday November 9, 2018 – Ten people were injured this morning when a Fly Jamaica aircraft carrying 120 passengers and eight crew members made an emergency landing at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA) in Guyana.

Officials say none of the injuries are life threatening but did not say which of the passengers, who include two infants, were hurt.

The passengers – 82 Canadians, 35 Guyanese, one Pakistani, a Trinidadian and an American – along with six crew members from Guyana and two from Jamaica, departed the CJIA at 2:10 a.m. and were heading to Toronto, Canada, when the Boeing 757 plane began experiencing technical difficulties.

The flight, which was estimated to arrive at its designation at 6:55 a.m., returned to the CJIA airport where it landed at 2:53 a.m.  Minister within the Ministry of Public Infrastructure, Annette Ferguson meeting with passengers who were on board the Fly Jamaica flight. (Credit: DPI)

“There were no broken bones or other serious injuries reported,” a statement from the Department of Information said. “However, six passengers suffered minor injuries due to the impact to the back of the aircraft. They were rushed to Diamond Diagnostic Hospital.”

Later in the morning, Chief Medical Officer Dr. Shamdeo Persaud said 10 people with a variety of “expected sorts of injuries” were taken to hospital.

“So far, we have five persons who are under investigation further for spinal injuries…They are having further X-rays and so on done,” he said, adding that seven of them were subsequently transferred to the Georgetown Public Hospital because the Diamond Diagnostic Hospital could not handle all of them.

“They weren’t any direct injuries associated with the plane [crashing]; at this point, nothing life-threatening, although we still will look to the results, especially with the persons with spinal injures.  You understand these are some of the expected kinds of injuries when you use a slide to get off of the airplane.”

Arrangements are being made to fly out the passengers, who were taken to a holding facility after the incident, from tomorrow.

The CJIA has been reopened but the Minister of Public Infrastructure David Patterson said travellers should expect some delays.

An investigation is being conducted into the incident. The Guyana Civil Aviation Authority is leading the probe and the United States National Transportation Safety Board, which assists with inquiries under international rules, was notified, officials said.

Investigators at the crash site. (Credit: Cheddi Jagan International Airport-Facebook)

The crash site has been secured by the Guyana Police Force (GPF) and the Guyana Defence Force (GDF).

Posted in Business/Economy/Banking, CARICOM, Environment, Featured, General, International, Local, News, Regional, Travel0 Comments

Hawaiian Island Vanishes Overnight

It is slowly being accepted, the term ‘Climate Change’ with the further acceptance of the scientific explanation that earth continues to evolve. Makes for interesting education, discussions and debates, especially among students, scientists and yes, politicians. What is real is that ‘preparations’ must take place to deal with the effects on mankind.

LiveScience

A hurricane has wiped a Hawaiian island completely off the map.

Advertisement

East Island, a tiny speck of land in Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument in northwest Hawaii, was washed away by Hurricane Walaka on Oct. 3 and 4, Honolulu Civic Beat reported Tuesday (Oct. 23). The island had been a critical nesting site for threatened Hawaiian green sea turtlesand critically endangered Hawaiian monk seals, biologists told the news organization. 

“There’s no doubt that it was the most important single islet for sea turtle nesting,” National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) biologist Charles Littnan told Civic Beat.

East Island was a mere 11 acres (0.04 square kilometers) in area. Between 1944 and 1952, it hosted a small Coast Guard station, but the island has otherwise been a haven for wildlife, ranging from albatross to turtles and seals. Satellite imagery has confirmed the island’s demise, but a marine debris team will be headed to the area to survey the damage this week, the Civic Beat reported.

Researchers told Civic Beat that the island’s seals and turtles had left the island after their breeding season but before the hurricane struck. It’s unclear, so far, whether they’ll find a new haven on one of the nearby shoals.

“Species are resilient up to a point,” Littnan told Civic Beat. “But there could be a point in the future where that resilience isn’t enough anymore.”

The Hawaiian green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas) is a genetically distinct species of green sea turtle found almost exclusively around Hawaii, according to NOAA. They are legally protected under Hawaiian law and the U.S. Endangered Species Act, and those protections have resulted in a 53 percent increase in population since the late 1970s. Their primary nesting grounds are the French Frigate Shoals, including the former East Island.

The Hawaiian monk seals (Neomonachus schauinslandi), which used East Island as breeding grounds, are in a more precarious position. These seals are found only in Hawaii, and despite their protections as a critically endangered species, their numbers are still declining, according to NOAA. Only about 1,400 Hawaiian monk seals are left in the wild, NOAA estimates. A couple hundred of those call the French Frigate Shoals home, Littnan told Civic Beat. And of those, about 30 percent were born on East Island.

The shoal was the victim of bad luck, given the storm’s direct hit. But researchers told Civic Beat that Walaka was strengthened by warmer-than-average ocean waters, a trend scientists predict will only worsen as the globe warms.

Originally published on Live Science.

Posted in Business/Economy/Banking, Climate/Weather, Environment, Hurricane, International, Local, News, Regional, Travel0 Comments

Grenadian family taking Barbados to CCJ over treatment by police

Grenadian family taking Barbados to CCJ over treatment by police

ST. GEORGE’S, Grenada, Sept 26, CMC – The lawyer representing a Grenadian family who claimed they were bullied and humiliated over a false accusation of stealing a mobile phone in Barbados, says the matter is now heading to the Trinidad-based Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ).

Attorney Ruggles Ferguson said that the action will be taken against the state of Barbados and ‘we have applied for what you call special leave to bring the matter in the CCJ.

“So the application before the CCJ is for special leave to file the matter in the Caribbean Court of Justice,” he said.

In October 2016, five members of the Gilbert family were in Barbados for an appointment with the United States Embassy to have their visas renewed.

Having successfully completed their business early, they decided to go to Bridgetown for some shopping and to enjoy each other’s company, since they had never travelled as an entire family before, Tamika Gilbert told the Barbados TODAY publication then.

But they said the trip became a nightmare after a store owner accused the young women of stealing her mobile phone.

“Confident of their innocence, they offered to have their bags searched by the storeowner, who turned down the offer and said she would check recordings from security cameras. Instead, “an excessive amount of police officers showed up at the scene” and during a heated exchange with the store owner, they were threatened with arrest,” Barbados TODAY reported.

They said three members of the family were virtually stripped of their dignity by the officers, who shouted at them, insulted them, prevented them from speaking to other family members, brought them water three hours after they had made a request, and had one sister use the toilet with the door opened and an officer standing guard.

However, Tamika gilbert said that the most humiliating experience was when they were strip-searched.

Ferguson, the former president of the Grenada Bar Association, said that a matter had been filed in the Barbados courts on behalf of one of the family members “who lives in Barbados and was also subjected to that treatment.

“We have taken that matter in the local courts in Barbados. That matter is ongoing. But the ones involving those resident in Grenada we decided to bring it to the CCJ because in the CCJ we can count on speed<’ said Ferguson, who is also the President of the Organization of Commonwealth Caribbean Bar Associations (OCCBA).

The CCJ is Barbados’ final court.

Posted in Business/Economy/Banking, CARICOM, Court, International, Local, News, Police, Regional, Travel0 Comments

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