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  • Concern raised about increased number of Jamaicans being denied entry at US airport

    Concern has emerged among Jamaican officials over a reported increase in the number of nationals who have recently been refused entry at a United States airport.

    Jamaica’s Consul General for Miami, Franz Hall, has cited that a number of Jamaicans who arrived at the Hobby Airport in Houston, Texas, have been denied entry to the US, and had their visas cancelled.

    Speaking on Friday on 'Both Sides of the Story', which is aired on Power 106 FM, Hall said Jamaican authorities are troubled by the development.

    He conceded that immigration officials in any foreign country have the right to determine who they allow into the respective countries. However, he said Jamaica also has a responsibility to ensure that its citizens are treated fairly when they travel abroad.

    Hall's outline follows a case earlier this month, when Veronica Gaubault, a Jamaican woman, complained about treatment she reportedly received at the Hobby Airport.

    Gaubault said US border and customs personnel confiscated and inspected her cell phone, along with a tablet computer and other personal belongings.

    She complained of being held in custody for a period of four hours, and that her US visa was revoked before she was sent back to Jamaica.

    The concern among Jamaican officials relating to increased scrutiny at US airports followed the recent issuance of expanded powers to US border and customs personnel by President Donald Trump.

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  • Parent beats principal at school

    A mother of four who admitted to beating a school principal during a fracas at the school will have to pay the principal's mounting medical bills when they return to the Kingston and St Andrew Parish Court next month.

    Jennifer Hylton-Lee, principal at the Melrose Primary and Infant School in Kingston, told the court that on February 1, the parent, Jayciann Edwards, slammed the school gate in her forehead, slapped her several times, and bit her on her hand.

    She added that she is still feeling the effects of the terrible blows, and has had to take 20 days sick leave from school. She said she is also to undergo a neurological examination as she has been experiencing bouts of dizziness following the ordeal.

    Hylton-Lee explained that on the day in question, she, along with the vice-principal and dean of discipline, were checking uniforms at the school gate when Edwards approached.

    "I decided I wasn't going to allow her in because she had threatened a child. She came up and pushed the gate, and pushed me. She was making a barrage of noise. Security couldn't get her off the compound," Hylton-Lee told the court.


    Assault charges


    She continued, "She slapped me several times. She bit me, and I held on to her false hair to get her off me."

    However, Edwards, who has also filed assault charges against the principal, gave an alternate version of what transpired. She said she took her children to school, but was told that they would not be allowed inside without their crests, so she returned home to get them.

    Edwards said she returned to the school and opened the gate to let her children in, however, the principal said she was being disrespectful, and locked her inside the school grounds, while her children stood outside crying.

    "I started pulling the gate, and when I let it go, it slapped her [the principal] in her face. She grabbed my hair and I bit her," Edwards said.

    The presiding judge Judith Pusey admonished both parties.

    "We have to stop this nonsense where anything happen we go to the school and bad up teacher. You have to show some respect," she said to the parent. She then told the principal that she should always be of circumspect behaviour.

    Pusey told the principal to calculate her medical expenses so that she can be compensated. Both parties are to return on April 4, when the matter will continue


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  • Pastor used my money to buy new vehicle - Elderly woman accuses clergyman of taking funds intended for her burial

    A Kingston pastor is being accused by a senior citizen of selling her car and using the money to buy himself a new vehicle instead of it being put down to fund her burial.

    Seventy-four-year-old Jean Blake is describing as "savage", the actions of head pastor of the Prophetic House of Worship Church, Kevin Campbell.

    According to a letter Blake wrote to a church sister dated April 8, 2014, the arrangement was that Campbell was to use her Nissan Sunny motor car, as she had got too sick to drive. Blake had been seriously affected by cancer which resulted in her undergoing double mastectomy and also removing her womb.

    In the letter, Blake explained that she was not sure how long she had left to live, and therefore, her church sister was to take the car from Campbell if she passed and sell it for no less than $360,000, and use the money to bury her.


    Medical expenses


    But three years later, a feeble Blake has a live-in helper and recurring medical expenses, prompting her to call Campbell two weeks ago asking for the proceeds from the car's sale.

    "'Ms Blake, I have no money for you.' Those were his words and it was said three times," Blake told THE WEEKEND STAR.

    "I need my money as I only had the one car and I had hopes," the old woman said.

    Campbell does not deny having been loaned the car, but he said that the vehicle was later turned into a gift. He said any suggestion to the contrary should be seen as "false, phoney and erroneous" and of the "devil".

    "The vehicle was parked, as she couldn't't see properly. So, she had brought me to a place in Portmore to transfer the insurance in my name, but the people told her it couldn't be done as she is an old person and I am a younger person, so the insurance that she had could not use for me. That was how I took it upon myself and changed out everything in my name," the pastor said.

    He said, too, that the car was sold for about $230,000 and that Blake was aware that the proceeds would go towards the purchase of a Mazda Tribute.




    The pastor said that the gift of the car was not unusual as pastors are often the beneficiaries of gifts from members of their congregations.

    "I remember I was saying that I really needed a vehicle, and she loaned me first, and then she stood up in church and said she is no longer lending me; she is giving me the vehicle," the pastor said.

    "This is the church we are talking about. People take up all Prado and give pastors. That's not outside of the norm," the pastor said.

    But Blake strongly refutes Campbell's assertion.

    "You know when you have confidence in a person's niceness and gentlemanliness; that was me. I am now finding out that there is nobody that nice that one can put one's confidence in," a sorrowful sounding Blake said.

    "It hurts to the core. That's why I use the word savage. I didn't want to burden anyone to bury me. I am an independent lady, and it is not like I didn't try to make preparations for myself."

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  • Bishop Cop' uses bible to tackle community problems

    Bishop Cyril Francis from the Potters House held centre stage recently at an event along the main road of Scotty Drive leading into Gregory Park in St Catherine.

    He set aside his crime fighting equipment he uses as a corporal assigned to Community Safety and Security and as a peer counsellor at the St Catherine North Division, to become a "prayer warrior", wielding the bible as his weapon of choice during the event.  

    Bishop Francis, who was previously an owner of an exotic club, told a gathering of police personnel, community members and church leaders of his experiences and how he came to know Christ.

    "You see my sound was always disturbing a church with the noise and one night church was keeping and the members of the church turned their hands to my place of business and prayed and the sound stop working. So I decided to go and speak with the pastor. When I got there, he told me he had been waiting on me and after prayer, I  got saved. With tears running down my cheeks, I ran home and told my mother who said, 'gweh yah bwoy, u can't change'!" he said, a rueful smile on his face.

    Bishop Francis has been a Christian over 20 years. He lamented that there were not more males present at the gathering. 

    "I am thrilled that I can represent Christ because the message has to be preached. The night was a success although the men were lacking but I believe wherever the women are, the men will be drawn in their web," he said. 

    Inspector Ian Purrier of the St Catherine South Division Community Safety and Security told Loop News: "Tonight was a night of worship and not crime. So let's give God praise and work together. We know how to worship and pray. We are aware that some persons in the community want nothing to do with police but walk good and we love you."

    He explained the reason behind the church-police initiative to help bind communities together under the theme, "Love Me to Love, Don't Love Me to Death".

    "Under the leadership of acting commissioner Novelette Grant, we are currently working with churches to build love. We want no domestic violence and a lot of issues we are talking about and bringing love into the community and level of understanding. The community was very receptive to the church and we are very happy," said Inspector Purrier told Loop News minutes after the event.

    Moderator Glenford Squire welcomed the joint effort among the churches, police and community and hoped that it will spread to other communities.

    Other participating churches were Potters House, Faith Tabernacle and Gregory Park Church of God of Prophecy.

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  • Jamaican man in ICE custody dies in US hospital

    The United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency says a 47-year-old Jamaican man in its custody has died at Lafayette General Hospital in Lafayette, Louisiana.

    ICE said the cause of death is believed to be cardiac arrest.

    It said Roger Rayson, who was transferred from the LaSalle Detention Facility to LaSalle General Hospital on February 11 for nausea, vomiting and increased pain, died on Monday.

    ICE said LaSalle General Hospital diagnosed Rayson with Burkitt Lymphoma (non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma).

    “Consistent with agency protocols, the appropriate state health and local law enforcement agencies have been advised of the death, as have the [US] Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General and the ICE Office of Professional Responsibility,” ICE said, adding that it has also informed Jamaican consular officials and the deceased’s next of kin.

    ICE said Rayson was arrested on November 24, 2014, by US Customs and Border Protection in Miami for possession of cocaine.

    On April 24, 2015, Rayson was convicted of importation of cocaine and sentenced to 30 months incarceration by the US District Court for the Southern District of Florida. The Federal Bureau of Prisons released Rayson to the custody of New Orleans ICE on January 28, 2017.

    Rayson is the second detainee to pass away in ICE custody so far this year and his death comes as US President Donald Trump has vowed a hiring surge of 10,000 immigration and customs officers to accelerate the deportation of unauthorised Caribbean and other immigrants.

    Source: The Jamaica Observer


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