Costas Takkas pleaded guilty to money laundering in a New York Court Former Cayman Islands Football Association (CIFA) general secretary, Costas Takkas, pleaded guilty to charges of money laundering conspiracy in a New York federal court on Wednesday.The 60-year-old Takkas is a former attaché of former CONCACAF President Jeffrey Webb. He faced charges relating to the transmission of millions of dollars in bribes paid during the official’s tenure in office.According to documents presented in court, Webb received a $US3m bribe to guarantee media and marketing rights for the home World Cup qualifiers of Caribbean teams during the 2018 and 2022 campaigns. One of the marketing companies involved in the deal, Traffic USA, conspired with Takkas to secretly funnel half of Webb’s $3 million bribe through front companies and accounts which he controlled. The other, Media World, paid approximately $500,000 of its $1.5 million bribe through a sham transaction involving a false invoice, to accounts controlled by Takkas.Webb, who is currently under arrest at his home in Georgia, pled guilty to similar charges last year and will face sentencing later this year.Takkas was, along with Webb, one of 14 officials arrested in Zurich two years ago. He faces a maximum of up to 20 years in prison.Webb sentencing hearing delayed again
A Miami man already charged with leaving recorded threatening messages at a mosque will also be charged with a federal hate crime.Court records released Thursday show that 35-year-old Gerald Sloane Wallace was indicted by a Miami grand jury on a hate crime charge for obstructing the free exercise of religious beliefs. A grand jury charged him last month with making an interstate communication that threatened injury.State authorities had charged Wallace previously.The indictment says Wallace phoned the Islamic Center of Greater Miami, located in Miami Gardens, in February and left a message using profanity against Islam, the prophet Muhammad and the Quran. He also allegedly threatened to “go down to your center.”“I’m gonna shoot all y’all.”Wallace faces up to 25 years in prison if convicted.
Vision motivated with hit single “motivated.” Featuring Brisco from MiamiFlorida gets Vision motivated with new single. Vision Alexander is a well known rapper in Florida, signed to Jamdiggy Records. Brisco is signed to Goon Music – notorious for its affiliation with Cash Money and Poe Boi Records. CNW caught up with Vision to hear is thought on his new single. (Video Below)“Motivated is a song that was inspired by life here in Florida,” stated Vision. “My music career started in Florida, and was motivated by Florida. I owe my career to the people here in Florida that believed in my talent and who motivated to take my music to the next level.”Photo Gallery: Vision at Ginger Bay Live: Right TimeAlexander, a Jamaican by birth, has spent nearly half of his life in South Florida, and attributes his newfound success to his upbringing both as a Jamaican and a Floridian. Vision also has other hit singles that have graced both local and Billboard charts.Vision Alexander poses with Billboard Plaque from hit single Right TimeRead More: Vision flying high since Billboard debut“Right Time” was placed on the Hot Single Billboard Charts at #5. It was produced by Shi Wun and Lionel C, and power-housed by Nick of JamDiggy Records. It also featured Jemere Morgan of Morgan Heritage – son of Gramps Morgan. Other singles include “Shawty” and “Everything’s Alright” which was produced by Cardboard Foxes and released in London, England and peaked at an impressive #17 on the top 40 Weekly Charts.Look out for more hot singles from Vision Alexander. To keep up with Vision, stay tuned to dancehallusa.com.
It is hard to believe that another year has passed and that we are preparing to celebrate the Christmas Season once again. Of course, the Season symbolizes the spirit of hope, family, togetherness and rebirth. It is also a time for us to reflect on the year that passed, and to focus our minds and energies on the tasks that lie ahead for us as individuals, as a people and as a nation.This year Jamaica celebrated its 55th year of Independence, which was observed under the theme “Celebrating Jamaicans at home and abroad”. This theme recognizes that the strength of Jamaica lies in the talent, resilience and creativity of our people, whether at “yawd” or “abrawd” – a people that continue to rise above what may seem to be insurmountable challenges and who continue to exert their influence at the global level.As part of the celebrations to mark this milestone year, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade hosted the Jamaica 55 Diaspora Conference in Kingston, which served to reinforce the bonds of nationhood among Jamaicans across the globe and to highlight the areas for opportunity and collaboration with the Diaspora.For our part, the Consulate-General has sought to foster a sense of community within the area under our jurisdiction, as Jamaicans overseas have a key role to play in ensuring that Jamaica becomes the place of choice to live, work, raise families and do business. In this regard, I express sincere gratitude to the various diaspora groups and individuals who have made significant contributions to the development of Jamaica in diverse areas including education, health, social programmes, business development and the fight against crime. The Consulate-General is committed to doing what we can to deepen this on-going partnership during the coming year and beyond.On behalf of the staff of the Consulate-General of Jamaica at Miami, I convey best wishes for this Christmas Season and a New Year that is filled with countless blessings.One love!Franz HallConsul General for the Southeastern United States of America,The Bahamas and the Cayman Islands
Guyana’s police have launched an investigation into the circumstances that lead to the death of a 44-year- Guyanese sailor, who was crushed to death on Sunday while loading a vessel at the Trinidad Cement Ltd (TCL) port in Claxton Bay.According to police reports Doodnauth Persaud Nateram, 44, of La Parfaite Harmonie, Guyana, died at the San Fernando General Hospital from internal injuries. Nateram, who was employed with the ANS Shipping Company, had come aboard the general cargo vessel, Hein, for a shipment of cement.TCL in a statement, expressed condolences to the victim’s family, confirming that “an accident resulting in a fatality, occurred on a third party vessel which was being loaded at the company’s Claxton Bay port facility.”It said “no injuries were sustained by any other crew member,” and that a full investigation into the accident is being undertaken, following all necessary protocols and fully cooperating with the authorities, including the police.Eyewitnesses said that Nateram was loading cement when the crane pinned him against the railing of the boat.The police report that other workers were able to lift the crane off the injured man’s body but he was unresponsive.
The countdown is on to the 15th annual International Soca Awards, set for the Sandals Grande St. Lucian Spa & Beach Re, Pigeon Island Gros Islet, St. Lucia on July 10th.Artists will compete in fifteen categories while there will be live performances at the event as well as a red-carpet pre-show, showcasing Soca, Calypso, Steel Pan, Soca Chutney, Dennery segment music and mas. Top soca artists nominated include Machel Montano, Iwer George, Problem Child, Lyrikal, Patrice Roberts, Kes, Faye Ann Lyons, Terry Gajraj, Ravi B, Rikki Jai and Terri Lyons among others. To cast a vote in the competition, visit the website at socawards.com.
On Saturday, May 19, Broward County Commissioner Dale V.C. Holness presented the key to Broward County to Don Wehby, Group CEO of GraceKennedy Limited. Broward County is located in Florida, USA.The symbolic presentation was made at the GraceKennedy Money Services/Western Union Town Hall meeting held at the Lauderhill Performing Arts Center located in the City of Lauderhill. Lauderhill is within District 9, the area represented by Commissioner Holness.Symbol of goodwill A Key to Broward County is a symbol of goodwill from the Broward County Board of County Commissioners (BCBCC) and is given to visiting dignitaries, esteemed visitors, or valued members of the community who have contributed to the county by way of public service or charity.Vital contributor to Broward County Commissioner Holness lauded GraceKennedy for its business and social contributions to Broward County over the years. “GraceKennedy has been a vital part of the fabric of Broward County for decades and have demonstrated their commitment to building this community. As a successful Jamaican company, they have set a strong example of social responsibility from the top down,” Commissioner Holness said.Humbled Mr Wehby was surprised and humbled by the presentation. “I did not expect this at all, but on behalf of GraceKennedy and especially our staff and customers who live in Broward, I’m really honoured to accept this recognition. The ties between Jamaica and Florida are deep and GraceKennedy continues to work hard at expanding our business in the State of Florida and our services to the Caribbean Diaspora in the US,” Mr Wehby said. Town Hall meetings are held annually in various markets, which sometimes include the UK and Canada. This year, two meetings were held in Florida and in New York (May 17) under the theme “The Caribbean Diaspora: In Pursuit of a Better Tomorrow…Today” with the keynote address presented by the Honourable Bruce Golding, former Prime Minister of Jamaica.“I was happy to assist with bringing the Town Hall to Broward County. The Caribbean Diaspora makes up a large portion of the population in Broward County, and any time we can have the Diaspora come together to share ideas and an action plan on how to make our communities stronger economically, here and for those back home, the better we are for it,” the Commissioner said. Present at the event were: Florida State Representative for District 95 Barrington Russell; Vice Mayor Howard Berger of the City of Lauderhill; Vice Mayor Yvette Colbourne of the City of Miramar; Deputy Mayor Mark Douglas of the City of Sunrise; Commissioner Winston Barnes of the City of Miramar and Commissioner Maxwell Chambers from the City of Miramar.Along with Mr Wehby and Mr Golding, other participating speakers were: Michelle Allen, Chief Executive Officer of GraceKennedy Money Services, Noel Greenland, Senior Vice President, Marketing & Customer Experience. Rodrigo Garcia Estebarena Western Union’s Vice President and General Manager for Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean, and Andre Largie, Western Union’s Country Director for the Caribbean.GKMS has been Western Union’s Agent for almost three decades, and currently offers Western Union® Money Transfer services in: Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, Anguilla, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, the British Virgin Islands, Montserrat, the Cayman Islands, Turks and Caicos and The Bahamas.
The main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) Monday called for a postponement of the November 6 referendum on whether or not Grenada should replace the London-based Privy Council as the island’s final court.Grenadian will vote two years after they voted against replacing the Privy Council with the Trinidad-based Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) by a 12,434 – 9,492 margin in a similar referendum that had six other bills.Election reform needed firstNDC acting political leader, Joseph Andall, told a news conference that there was need for electoral reform and as well as to deal with discrepancies in the current CCJ Bill.He said that his party, which failed to win a single seat in the last two general elections, would not continue to support the referendum if the government does not suspend the current campaign. “There is no good and justifiable reason that the Bill does not allow for this, the NDC agrees with the TUC that the bill should be amended to include this provision,” he said.The Grenada Constitution does not now provide for the Privy Council to be the final court on election petitions and the TUC, through it representative in the Parliament, has called for that provision to be removed from the constitution so that elections petition can be heard by the CCJ.At a recent public meeting, where this matter was raised, attorney Ruggles Ferguson, who is also a member of the CCJ Advisory Committee, explained that the November 6 referendum is not removing any right to go to a final Court for any matter.The CCJ, established in 2001, has both an Original and appellate Jurisdiction. But while most of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries are signatories to the Original Jurisdiction, only Barbados, Belize, Dominica and Guyana are members of its Appellate Jurisdiction.In addition, the CCj serves as an international tribunal interpreting the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas that governs the 15-member regional integration movement, CARICOM.
The Miami Dolphins, Jacksonville Jaguars and the Orange County Convention Center have agreed to open their parking lots to stage supplies and locate testing sites.Restaurants throughout the state including Jimmy John’s in Tallahassee and Toasted Restaurant in Orange County are providing children with free lunch throughout the week.Drive through testing sites are expected to open, throughout the state, in addition to the first proposed state site at Memorial Healthcare System in Broward. So far, sites are being developed in in Myers, Pensacola, West Palm Beach and Tallahassee.The Floridians who were at held at the Dobbins Air Reserve Base are on their way back to Florida; 15 Floridians have elected to stay at the base to care for their family members.On March 9, Governor DeSantis issued Executive Order 20-52, declaring a State of Emergency for COVID-19. By declaring a State of Emergency, Governor DeSantis is ensuring that state and local governments have the resources and flexibility they need to prepare and respond.More Information on COVID-19To find the most up-to-date information and guidance on COVID-19, please visit the Department of Health’s dedicated COVID-19 webpage. For information and advisories from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), please visit the CDC COVID-19 website. For more information about current travel advisories issued by the U.S. Department of State, please visit the travel advisory website.For any other questions related to COVID-19 in Florida, please contact the Department’s dedicated COVID-19 Call Center by calling (866) 779-6121. The Call Center is available 24 hours per day. Inquiries may also be emailed to [email protected] you Should KnowCOVID-19 can spread from person to person through small droplets from the nose or mouth, including when an individual coughs or sneezes. These droplets may land on objects and surfaces. Other people may contract COVID-19 by touching these objects or surfaces, then touching their eyes, nose or mouth.Symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, cough and shortness of breath. Symptoms may appear in as few as two days or as many as 14 days following exposure. Most people recover from COVID-19 without needing special treatment. The elderly and those with underlying medical problems like high blood pressure, heart problems and diabetes are more likely to develop serious illness.There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19. The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to the virus. The Department recommends everyday preventive actions to help stop the spread of respiratory diseases, including:Avoiding close contact with people who are sick;Staying home when you are sick and avoiding contact with persons in poor health;Avoiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands;Covering your cough or sneezing into a tissue, then disposing of the tissue;Washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing;If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty; andCleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.The CDC does not recommend that asymptomatic, healthy people wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19. Face masks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others. The use of facemasks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a health care facility).A person that experiences a fever and symptoms of respiratory illness, such as fever, cough or shortness of breath, within 14 days after travel from any other destination with community transmission should call ahead to their health care provider and local CHD and mention their recent travel or close contact.If a person has had close contact with someone showing these symptoms who has recently traveled from this area or been in contact with a person with laboratory-confirmed COVID-19, he or she should call ahead to a health care professional and the CHD. The health care provider will work with the Department to determine if the person should be tested for COVID-19. Actions the state has taken to prepare for and respond to COVID-19: DEPARTMENT OF HEALTHAt the direction of Governor DeSantis, State Surgeon General Dr. Scott Rivkees declared a Public Health Emergency for COVID-19 in Florida.Governor DeSantis announced that the State ordered an additional 2,500 test kits to supplement the adequate resources already available to test for COVID-19. These additional test kits will enable the Department of Health, working with Florida health care providers, to test up to an additional 625,000 individuals. The Governor also suspended non-essential in state and all out-of-state travel for state employees for 30 days.Established an Incident Management Team to coordinate response operations.Defined a high-level phased response strategy for COVID-19.Activated a dedicated incident command post for on-site response activities.Conducted three public health and health care stakeholder conference calls to provide statewide updates on the current outbreak situation, response actions and guidance for pandemic planning. Over five hundred participants joined the calls.Established a public call center for questions regarding COVID-19. The call center launched Monday, March 2.Developed and distributed COVID-19 presentation materials to County Health Departments (CHD) for use at community meetings.Activated the Joint Information Center in coordination with the Division of Emergency Management.Developed and implemented protocols for investigation, surveillance and monitoring for COVID-19 to rapidly detect and contain cases.Established mechanisms for monitoring and coordination with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) regarding epidemiological activities.Distributed CDC Interim Guidance for public health personnel evaluating Persons Under Investigation (PUI) and asymptomatic close contacts of confirmed cases at their home or non-home residential settings to CHDs.Approved and disseminated an updated Clinician Screening Tool for identifying COVID-19 PUIs.Distributed a health care provider letter regarding enhanced surveillance and preparedness for COVID-19 to associations, licensed providers, Health Care Coalitions and CHDs.Implemented testing at all three State Public Health Laboratories.Distributed updated CDC guidance for schools to CHDs and the Department of Education.Distributed updated laboratory guidance regarding implementation of testing at State Public Health Laboratories.Developing a laboratory surge plan.Developing a clinician-level briefing for medical audiences.Identifying and monitoring close contacts of presumptive cases. Any close contacts with symptoms will be tested.Implemented private lab testing.Developed and disseminated pandemic planning guidance.Advised CHDs and HCCs to retain expired personal protective equipment until further until further notice.Continued development of public information resources.Developing infographics for first responders (fire, law enforcement and EMS) regarding infection control and personal protection for COVID-19.At the Governor’s direction, a public-private partnership has been put in place between Memorial Healthcare in Broward and the National Guard to set up a mobile testing unit.At the direction of Governor DeSantis hiring additional epidemiologists from university health programs to help with workload.Governor DeSantis directed the Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) to extend all existing nursing home and assisted living facility licenses for 90 days to remove distraction from patient care.AGENCY FOR HEALTH CARE ADMINISTRATIONAHCA distributed a provider alert to licensed health care providers regarding the Division of Emergency Management’s new Emergency Order tightening visitation restrictions at residential and long-term care facilities.AHCA, in coordination with the DEM and the Department, is hosting ongoing statewide calls for nursing homes, assisted living facilities, intermediate care facilities, the Agency for Persons with Disabilities, group homes, and adult family care homes in conjunction with the Florida Health Care Association. Secretary Mayhew and Surgeon General Rivkees are continuing to address critical issues impacting these providers such as restricting visitors and providing updates.AHCA, in coordination with DEM and the Department, is hosting ongoing statewide calls for hospitals in conjunction with the Florida Hospital Association. Secretary Mayhew and Surgeon General Rivkees to provide the most up-to-date information to hospital partners and residential facilitates caring for aging and vulnerable populations.After previously opening an event on the Emergency Status System (ESS) for hospitals to enter census information, emergency room status updates and isolation beds, AHCA expanded the ESS event to track nursing homes and assisted living facility bed capacity, effective March 15.The Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) will be granting a 90-day extension to all licenses for health care providers and regulated facilities.AHCA is distributing information regarding regulatory flexibilities created by waivers from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) related to skilled nursing facilities, critical access hospitals, home health agencies, durable medical equipment, provider enrollment, etc.AHCA participated in a collaborative call with the Florida Health Care Association, Florida Hospital Association and LeadingAge Florida to discuss patient transfer arrangements between health care facilities such as nursing homes and hospitals.The Florida Medicaid Program announced coverage of commercial testing for COVID-19 for dates of service back to February 4. TALLAHASSEE – On Monday, March 16, in a briefing at the State Emergency Operations Center, Governor DeSantis announced the following:Governor DeSantis announced he is going to supplement federal Small Business Administration (SBA) loans. The Governor activated the Florida Small Business Emergency Loan Program. Up to $50 million has been allocated for the program. (See: SBA To Provide Loans to Small Businesses Impacted by Coronavirus (COVID-19)Governor Ron DeSantis directed the Department of Revenue to provide flexibility on the deadlines of taxes due such as corporate income tax and sales tax to assist businesses that are adversely impacted from COVID-19 mitigation measures.Floridians throughout the state are lending a hand to stop the spread of COVID-19:Members of the Florida House of Representatives have been activated to their National Guard units,The Players Championship donated thousands of pounds of food to Feeding Northeast Florida,Miami-Dade County school administrators are handing out computers and mobile devices, andComcast agreed to provide free WiFi for the next 60 days to kids who do not have it.
Lauri-Ann Ainsworth, CEO of the Caribbean’s leading business accelerator, the Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship – Caribbean KINGSTON, JAMAICA – In times of crisis, large-scale Jamaican businesses often lend their expertise to small and medium-size business, often the hardest hit by disasters, to ensure the continuity and success of all Jamaican entities.This week CNW spoke to Lauri-Ann Ainsworth, CEO of the Caribbean’s leading business accelerator, the Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship – Caribbean, to discuss the challenges and opportunities small and medium-sized businesses in the region are facing during this global pandemic.Based in Kingston, Jamaica, Branson Centre was founded by global business tycoon, Richard Branson, to help the region’s entrepreneurs grow their businesses by providing cutting edge skills training, mentorship and financial investment opportunities. To date, the nonprofit has trained over 2000 entrepreneurs across the Caribbean, and worked closely with over 200 specially selected, high potential entrepreneurs to help them grow their businesses for greater impact on the Caribbean economy through areas such as job creation.In Jamaica, the global pandemic has thus far affected businesses that have to interact directly with their clients, as many have had to close their doors during this period. According to Ainsworth, businesses that operate within the tourism sector were among the first hit. “These businesses will be impacted for a while, as this pandemic continues to grow globally. That is the frightening part… We don’t know when this pandemic is going to end and those businesses don’t know when tourists will return. So right now they’re being affected in a severe way,” she shares.However, Ainsworth has also seen some businesses experience an uptick in sales since the turn of events. Still those entrepreneurs, she says, are faced with their own set of new and unique challenges.One such entrepreneur is Danielle Thompson, who is a member of the Branson Centre’s current cohort of entrepreneurs. Thompson joined the accelerator program to access resources to scale up her already successful business to the next level.Danielle Thompson – Nature My TherapyThompson owns Nature My Therapy – a vegan food distribution company, that is known across Jamaica for its all-natural, cold-pressed juices. Since the pandemic began to unfold, the company has seen a spike in demand for its immune-boosting juices, as people clammer for ways to ward off COVID-19. But, while sales are up for Thompson, she still faces enormous production challenges with team members forced to stay home – an obstacle to the business’ ability to meet its newfound demand.Like Thompson, for the entrepreneurs who have been lucky enough to still have customers knocking on their doors, many are grappling with what comes first – protecting their employees’ health, or securing their employees’ livelihoods. Considering COVID-19’s easy transmission, employees’ health, and its impact on the community at large, is taking priority for many business owners.“Many are making the very hard decision to layoff employees or reduce salaries. Those are some of the hard decisions our entrepreneurs are facing, and I think will continue to face as long as this pandemic continues,” Ainsworth says.To serve the immediate needs of the entrepreneurial ecosystem, Ainsworth has led her team through a major pivot in focus. Typically, the Branson Centre’s 6-month program supports entrepreneurs with training, mentorship and access to finance, with a major focus on making entrepreneurs investment-ready. Ainsworth explains that, due to the pandemic, the Centre has pivoted to support entrepreneurs in the areas of recovery planning and marketing instead.“We’ve also shifted our entire program to be 100% online, which for us hasn’t been a huge problem, because we’ve always had a hybrid approach where we’ve had both online and offline interaction with our entrepreneurs,” Ainsworth shares. She also says that the team has tapped into its large network of professionals in the Caribbean and around the world, gathering those eager to help guide, resource and revive the region’s ecosystem once the crisis has passed. Look for New Markets. If the customer base that you usually serve has declined, research how to reach new markets that you hadn’t tapped into before that could at this time want your product or your service. Maybe your business is able to address the needs of a new market. Enhance or Augment Your Existing Offer. Tweak or add something to your existing offer to make it more relevant and appealing to your customer base. For example, creating synergies with other businesses may be a good way to solve some of the pain points experienced by your current customers. Lauri-Ann Ainsworth, CEO of the Caribbean’s leading business accelerator, the Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship, shares some tips for entrepreneurs who are facing pandemic-induced challenges.Pivot Your Message First: Research the pain points that your customers are currently facing during this time, and find the messaging that speaks directly to how you can alleviate their challenges. Ensure your messaging is direct and to the point, addressing how your business is able to address their needs. Creating a New Product or Service. Consider a new product or service that is in line with your business’ focus. Digital products or services, for example, will allow you to expand your reach while giving you the ability to move seamlessly back into your original business once social distancing has ended. But be careful not to pivot too much and lose credibility for your original business offering. Communicate with Your Customers as Much as Possible. Make sure your business remains on your customers’ radar during this time. Don’t go silent. Even if your business has been closed temporarily, it’s important to let your customers know what is happening, and to offer support where you can. This is the time where businesses are going to be able to create brand affinity, because people are looking for those who are able to support, help and meet a need.