Tangible progress cited on implementing UNESCO projects in St. Kitts and Nevis

Black Immigrant Daily News

The content originally appeared on: Caribbean News Service

Following sharply on the heels of two UNESCO technical expert study visits and capitalizing on the arrival of Ambassador to UNESCO, David Doyle, to the federation, the St. Kitts and Nevis UNESCO Secretariat convened a meeting of the National Commission on Wednesday.

The meeting was held at the Red Cross Building at Horsford Road, Basseterre, and chaired by Project Officer, Shirmel Dore-Henry.

Minister for Education Dr. Geoffrey Hanley, who oversees the UNESCO portfolio was in attendance to meet and greet the members of the commission. The Permanent Delegate to UNESCO in Paris, Ambassador David Doyle, briefed the National Commission stakeholders on several UNESCO technical assistance interventions.

Secretary-General to the National Commission, Dorothy Warner stated in her welcoming remarks, “These are exciting times at the Secretariat. We are grateful for this opportunity for the local focal contact persons to share with the Commission members and Minister Hanley on a range of particularly productive technical assistance interventions by UNESCO.”

The presentations/updates and presenters were as follows:

Intangible Cultural Heritage, Marlene Phillips.
Anti-Doping in Sport and Implementation of the National Sport Policy, Shawn Seabrookes.
SKN Accreditation Enhancement Initiative (phase 2), Trisha Francis.
Professionalisation and Standardisation of the Teaching Services in SKN, Carla Diamond.
Optimising the Use of Water Catchments and Aquifers in SKN, Dr Leighton Naraine.
St. Mary’s Biosphere Reserve MAB Earth Science Network Project, Telca Wallace

In his brief address to the gathering, Minister Hanley stated, “I recognise the importance of all these UNESCO projects in strengthening our institutional capacity and I wish to commend UNESCO, the Ambassador, National Commission, Secretariat and indeed everyone for your input.”

Ambassador Doyle noted that in the past year, St. Kitts and Nevis has secured some US$ 260,000.00 towards technical capacity-building assistance from this specialized UN agency. The funds are to be dispersed over seven projects being implemented across the twin-island federation. He emphasized, “Valuable expertise is being deployed by UNESCO to St. Kitts and Nevis in areas as diverse as developing solid education policy framework, to identifying suitable cultural heritage sites; from measuring the efficiency of the country’s water aquifers to compiling elements of inter-generational intangible cultural heritage to be preserved and protected.”

It was noted that the first in a series of study visits to the St. Mary’s Man and Biosphere reserve had recently been completed by a leading UNESCO-accredited biosphere expert, to advise on transforming the reserve into a sustainable and biodiversity-led agricultural environment. Also worthy of note is that St. Kitts and Nevis is the only SIDs to benefit from funds to develop a policy Framework for Education for Sustainable Development (ESD).

In conclusion, the Secretary-General remarked that the government and people of St. Kitts and Nevis are grateful for the tangible and technical benefits which UNESCO continues to provide.

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Grenada Government to Accelerate Digital Development

Black Immigrant Daily News

The content originally appeared on: Caribbean News Service
From left, Mr. Vincent Roberts, Chairman, Grenada National Telecommunications Regulatory Commission; Mr. Kennie John, President, Grenada Chamber of Industry and Commerce; Ms. Naela Sarras, Vice President of Stakeholder Engagement in North America, Internet Corporation of Assigned Names and Numbers; Hon. Dickon Mitchell, Prime Minister, Grenada; Mr. Bevil Wooding, Director of Caribbean Affairs, American Registry for Internet Numbers; and Mrs. Petipha Lewis-Smith, Executive Director, Grenada Chamber of Industry and Commerce, at the opening ceremony of the Grenada ICT Week, St George’s, Grenada, February 28, 2023. Courtesy Caribbean Network Operators Group.

Grenadian Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell this week called for businesses to work with governments across the region to accelerate national development through digital transformation.

“It is imperative that we embrace digitisation as a necessary step to transform our business operations and remain competitive,” Mitchell said, speaking at the opening ceremony of Grenada ICT Week, held in St. George’s, Grenada from February 27 to March 3.

“The Caribbean region has much to gain from the digital revolution but it requires businesses and government to take action and provide the necessary support. It is imperative that we work in tandem to create an enabling environment that will allow businesses to succeed in the digital age,” he added.

At Grenada ICT Week, Mitchell shared the stage with renowned technology experts at a unique initiative intended to yoke the power of digital transformation to the urgent priorities of Grenada and the Caribbean.

The four-day initiative was organized by the Grenada Chamber of Industry and Commerce (GCIC) in collaboration with the Grenada National Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (NTRC), the Caribbean Network Operators Group (CaribNOG) and the American Registry for Internet Numbers (ARIN). It brought together business leaders, government officials, ICT professionals, academics, and members of civil society, alongside local, regional, and international experts to discuss the increasing role of technology in business, government, and society.

“ARIN was pleased to support this platform for attendees to explore key facets of the internet economy and the implications of global trends for regional and national development, including digital innovation, internet governance, and public policy,” said Bevil Wooding, Director of Caribbean Affairs at ARIN and co-founder of CaribNOG.

In the opening day Business Forum, entrepreneurs and business leaders gathered for frank discussions on how technology can be leveraged to drive economic growth and development in Grenada.

In the day two Public Sector Forum, government officials, industry regulators and senior public servants came together to explore promising opportunities to accelerate Grenada’s digital economy.

“Grenada is uniquely positioned as it has the lead within the Caricom for science and technology including information and communications. It is important therefore that it leads by example and that within both the public and private sectors there is a push to the adoption of technology to not just improve service delivery but to deliver new products and services regionally and internationally,” said Rodney Taylor, Secretary General of the Caribbean Telecommunications Union.

Grenada ICT Week activities included the twenty-fifth regional gathering of CaribNOG, held with the support of international technology experts from ARIN, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the Internet Society and the Latin American and Caribbean Internet Registry (LACNIC).

“It has been our honour to host CaribNOG 25 as part of the Grenada ICT Week, and we were especially delighted to have the support of the Grenadian government for our Youth Forum, which was a special one-day workshop that provided career guidance and hands-on training for students and young ICT professionals,” said Stephen Lee, CEO of Arkitechs Inc. and co-founder of CaribNOG.

Building on the success of Grenada ICT Week, organizers are looking forward to a series of upcoming initiatives intended to increase Grenada’s capacity to leverage technology to create employment and accelerate economic growth.

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The Caribbean’s role in the transformation of agri-food systems

Black Immigrant Daily News

The content originally appeared on: Caribbean News Service
Mario Lubetkin, Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative for Latin America and the Caribbean.

By Mario Lubetkin

The global food security crisis reveals an increase in the undernourishment prevalence, reaching higher than in 2015, when countries first agreed to eradicate hunger by 2030 as one of the SDG targets. In the Caribbean, between 2014 and 2021, hunger increased by 2.3 percentage points, affecting 16.4 percent of its population by 2021. Moreover, the Caribbean is a net importer of almost all the main food groups such as cereals, dairy products, fruits and vegetables (except the Dominican Republic), meat and vegetable oils.

This region is highly vulnerable to extreme events, climate variability and climate change. Increasingly extreme weather events, shifting rainfall patterns, rising temperatures, recurrent drought, and floods, among others, pose an unprecedented threat that can cause substantial socio-economic and environmental loss and damage.

The recent Forty-Fourth Regular Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), chaired by the Bahamas, highlighted some of the main challenges affecting food production in the region. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has strengthened a special focus to implement joint strategies to support the Caribbean countries’ priorities and discuss new ways for the Caribbean to transform agri-food systems.

For the first time, FAO was invited to address this important discussion during the 17th Special Session of the CARICOM Council for Foreign and Community Relations (COFCOR). FAO recognized CARICOM’s great efforts to implement the agri-food systems strategy in member states to help achieve the reduction of the Caribbean?s large food imports bill by 25 percent by 2025.

The Organization is supporting the development of priority value chains to contribute to reducing the region’s food import bill. It is doing so by working with governments and key stakeholders in designing and upgrading strategies, as well as good practices and opportunities for attracting investment to help boost intra-regional trade.

In this frame, the Heads of Government of CARICOM have also supported the project proposal “Building Food Security through Innovation, Resilience, Sustainability and Empowerment” presented by Guyana; and FAO is working closely with the Member States to promote a climate finance mobilization strategy to fund innovative initiatives such as novel animal feed, optimizing greenhouses, soil, and land mapping. FAO supports governments and communities in building capacities to comprehensively manage multi-hazard risks to enhance the resilience of livelihoods and value chains.

It is crucial to increase and improve the efficiency and effectiveness of investments across the agri-food system. In this regard, FAO, together with the CARICOM Private Sector Organization, agreed to pursue collaboration to enhance intra-regional trade and private sector investment in the Caribbean to trigger agriculture sector growth.

On the other hand, the last Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), whose current pro-tempore presidency is held by St. Vincent and Grenadines, concluded with a declaration from 33 member states, which emphasizes a regional commitment to guarantee food security, supporting agricultural and rural development.

This high commitment of the main government structures of the region will contribute to an effective preparation for the next FAO Regional Conference in Georgetown, Guyana, which will take place in March 2024, disclosing the importance of an effective engagement of the Caribbean in the decision-making process to transform the agri-food systems.

The successful transformation of the agri-food systems in the region will require ownership, political commitment, and action plans. It is necessary to coordinate a joint effort to reinforce technical assistance in the field and more investment and partnerships to support food security, climate change fight, sustainable production, and international fair commerce to protect livelihoods and small-scale producers and guarantee our food security.

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FREE ARTICLE: A third way for global peace

Black Immigrant Daily News

The content originally appeared on: Caribbean News Service
The writer is Antigua and Barbuda’s Ambassador to the U.S. and the OAS. He is also a senior fellow at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies at the University of London and at Massey College in the University of Toronto. The view expressed are entirely his own.

By Sir Ronald Sanders

If developing countries, especially the small and vulnerable states, expected meaningful attention by the G20 to the myriad economic and financial challenges that confront them, their hopes were dashed by failed meetings of Finance and Foreign Ministers in February and March.

The members of the G-20 are: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, the U.K. and the U.S., as well as the European Union. Small states have no voice at the meetings, unless one of them is invited for a brief presentation.

Both of the G20 meetings were dominated by profound differences over the Russian war on Ukraine. This caused global economic issues to be pushed to one side. The failure of the Finance Ministers meeting, on 24 and 25 February, foreshadowed the collapse of the Foreign Ministers meeting on March 1 and 2. Reuters reported that, when a Communique was being negotiated for the Finance Ministers’ meeting, Russia insisted that the document must not mention the word “war”, insisting that the fighting in Ukraine is a “special military operation.”

In any event, no Communique was issued by either of the two meetings. Instead, the Chairpersons – the Finance and Foreign Ministers of India – were forced to release short statements that did not amount to much more than saying that the major powers dug deeper into their entrenched positions on Ukraine, discarding everything else. The Indian Foreign Minister, Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, said there were “divergences” on the issue of the war in Ukraine “which we could not reconcile as various parties held differing views.”

China and Russia reportedly objected to two paragraphs taken from the previous G-20 declaration in Bali last year. The paragraphs stated that the war in Ukraine was causing immense human suffering while exacerbating fragilities in the global economy, the need to uphold international law, and that “the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons is inadmissible.” This was eminently acceptable language, particularly as all parties, including China and Russia, had accepted it a year ago.

A plea by India’s Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, in a video presentation at the opening of the Foreign Ministers meeting, fell on deaf ears. But his message was right. Importantly, he lamented that the two main goals of the post-World War II international order – preventing conflict and fostering cooperation – were elusive. “The experience of the last two years – financial crisis, pandemic, terrorism and wars – clearly shows that global governance has failed in both its mandates,” he said.

India’s hope for the year of its Presidency of the G20 meshes well with the overall interests of developing countries. It emphasizes the demands of developing states for inclusive growth, climate finance, more representative multilateral institutions, and progress on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, which were all reversed by the economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

India’s attention to the heavy burden of debt on developing countries, and, indeed, of industrialized countries as well, is also urgent. Every country now finds it difficult to service outstanding debt, given the demands of recovering and rebuilding damaged economies.

Even before the harmful impacts of Covid-19 and the global disruption, caused by the Russian war on Ukraine, the debt to GDP ratio was already unsustainable. After these two devastating events, debt to GDP ratio in many countries soared to over 100 per cent. Now commercial borrowing has become almost impossible, given the continuing increase in interest rates.

Restructuring sovereign debt is both necessary and urgent. However, China has made it clear it will not participate in restructuring. China follows its own path, regarding money that it lends to friendly nations. And some Western countries have declared that they will not accept reducing debt owed to them, for their debtor countries to pay back China. So, while differences between major powers persisted, the interests of the developing countries at the G20 were ignored.

Climate Change should also have featured meaningfully on the G20 agenda. It did not. No discussion took place, although countries that are victims of climate change expected movement on this issue before the next Climate meeting, COP28, in December.

The fact that developing countries – despite the presence of India and South Africa – could make no impact on the major powers at the G20, is deeply troubling.

This stark reality should spur all developing countries to do more, not less. The economies of the global economy are seriously undermined by the Russian war on Ukraine and its consequences, including the retaliatory economic and other actions taken by the European Union and the member countries of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Developing countries lack the resilience and financial resources of the rich countries to ride out this turbulent economic storm; they cannot afford to sit by in silence.

As positions become more entrenched and more strident between the powerful protagonists of the war on Ukraine, world peace is endangered with frightening prospects for all nations, including those involved in the conflict.

In this connection, the failure of the G20 meetings raises a screeching alarm that developing countries should not ignore. If no movement was possible, even with India chairing these meetings, the clarion call for urgent collective action by developing countries should be heard by all. If ever there was a time for a revival of a genuine and practical non-aligned movement in the world, that time is now.

China, also, has an influential role to play in all this as an honest broker, taking no sides, aiding no protagonist, and promoting the established rules of the U.N. Charter and international law.

Efforts are urgent to return the world to an agenda, focused on tackling common problems such as disease and climate change; promoting human development including inequality and human rights; and engaging in dialogue to improve and enhance global rules that respect and uphold sovereignty and territorial integrity.

All developing countries should now work together, in all international fora, to present a third way to resolving global challenges, including conflicts.

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St Lucia adopting CCJ as final court of appeal

Black Immigrant Daily News

The content originally appeared on: Caribbean News Service

The St Lucia Parliament on Tuesday night gave the green light for the island to have the Trinidad-based Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) as its final and highest court, replacing it the London-based Privy Council.

All 13 government legislators who were present when the vote was taken supported the motion. Opposition Leader Allen Chastanet, who had earlier walked out of the Parliament during a debate on another matter, did not participate in the CCJ debate.

The government needed a three-fourth special majority of the 17-member Parliament to amend through the Constitution of St Lucia Amendment Bill 2023 and, according to the Speaker Claudius Francis, the requirement was met when all 13 government members voted in support of the motion that had been tabled by Prime Minister Phillip J Pierre.

Two government legislators are out of the country on official business

“It is a sad day that a former prime minister is not in the House to debate this bill,” Pierre said, adding that it showed the “scorn and contempt” Chastanet had for the population.

But speaking on a radio programme earlier, the United Workers Party (UWP) leader defended his decision to walk out, saying that he represents thousands of people and would not be “silenced” by a “biased” Speaker.

“People want to hear a different opinion and I am being denied the opportunity to speak,” Chastanet told radio listeners. “I am not going to allow the voice of the Leader of the Opposition to be marginalised.”

“There needs to be a challenge to what’s going on with the CCJ but I can’t do it alone,” he added, urging the population to express their feelings about the situation as well as the need for a referendum.

But government legislators, including former prime minister Dr Kenny Anthony who drafted the CCJ legislation when he served as the counsel general of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat in Guyana, brushed aside the call, saying that the St Lucia Constitution makes no requirement for a referendum before acceding to the CCJ.

Prime Minister Pierre said he intends to write the British government providing an update on the move towards the CCJ in keeping with the agreement reached when the island attained political independence from Britain 44 years ago.

In addition, he said he would also be informing former Jamaica prime minister PJ Patterson, who in earlier correspondence had expressed confidence in St Lucia’s move and the experience of Anthony to help guide the process

He said he would inform Patterson that “Kenny did give us a lot of his knowledge and we did pass the bill”.

Pierre said passage of the legislation made St Lucia “part of history, and the history books will record that on the 28th of February, St Lucia broke the shackles of colonialism”.

Earlier, another former prime minister, Stephenson King, a senior member of the present administration, said he was pleased that the island was moving towards the regional court.

King said an ordinary person would need approximately EC$130 000 to access the Privy Council.

St Lucia becomes the fifth CARICOM country to make the CCJ its final court, joining Barbados, Belize, Guyana and Dominica.

All 15 CARICOM countries have also signed on to the original jurisdiction of the CCJ that also serves as an international tribunal interpreting the Treaty of Chaguaramas which governs the regional integration movement.

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IMF board approves US$1.7B in funding to Jamaica

Black Immigrant Daily News

The content originally appeared on: Caribbean News Service

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) Executive Board on Thursday approved Jamaica’s request for funding under two of its facilities.

It has approved about US$968 million under Precautionary and liquidity Line arrangement and about US$764 million under the newly created Resilience and Sustainability Facility.

The 24-month programme will provide insurance against risks from higher commodity prices, a global slowdown, tighter-than-envisaged global financial conditions, new COVID outbreaks and in strengthening physical and fiscal resilience to climate change.

Following the executive board’s discussion, Deputy Managing Director and Acting Chair of the Board, Bo Li, stated: “Jamaica strong track record of building institutions and prioritising macroeconomic stability has aided the post-pandemic recovery. The economy continues its strong recovery from COVID, and inflation is expected to converge to the BOJ target range by end-2023.”

He added that international reserves remain at adequate levels and the financial sector remains well capitalised and liquid.

He also said the post-pandemic increase in the primary surplus and the ongoing monetary tightening strike the right balance in response to the external shocks, reducing inflation and securing debt sustainability.

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Foreign military help unavoidable in Haiti to end chaos, pundits say

Black Immigrant Daily News

The content originally appeared on: Caribbean News Service

The visit by a CARICOM delegation to Haiti this week has been welcomed by many Haitian political stakeholders, but others fear all the efforts might be in vain should international actors fail to deploy a multinational military force to help the impoverished Caribbean country cope with the current catastrophic security situation, pundits say.

Jamaica’s Prime Minister Andrew Michael Holness who led a CARICOM delegation to Haiti met on Tuesday with diverse political and social actors in quest of a rapprochement between Haitian protagonists. An official report on the outcome of those talks is yet to be communicated to the local media who were kept away.

Director of the Haitian Center for Analysis and Research in Human Rights (CARDH), Gedeon Jean, who attended a meeting with the CARICOM delegation, said his group and other Haitian actors particularly put emphasis on the necessity to primarily address the security situation.

“What the population needs first is security, and it is clear that no one can rely on the Haitian police to provide the needed security,” the head of the human rights organisation based in Port-au-Prince told HCNN on Wednesday.

“So there is no other option. The deployment of an adapted foreign military force, which could result from a bilateral or multinational effort, is unavoidable.”

He added: “It is not that the police do not have the will to crack on gangs, but they don’t have the capability.”

“Bandits are raping women, girls; they kill and kidnap people as they please. Nearly 60 per cent of the capital’s metropolitan area are controlled by gangs.

“Imagine a police with no drones, not even one helicopter, they don’t have any technological tools, they lack appropriate weaponry…,” said Jean.

Several highly regarded personalities who usually avoid getting involved in the heated political debates have decided to speak out, saying that the situation in the country has become unbearable.

“The deployment to Haiti of a foreign military force is absolutely necessary to help the country find its way out of the crisis,” said Patrick Moussignac, a prominent investor and owner of Radio and TV Caraibes, the number one and most popular media outlet in Haiti.

“At this phase, there’s no other way. We should admit that we can’t do it alone. Haiti is now like a cancer that has metastasized.”

Moussignac said the worst thing that can happen is when “those who have the mission to protect you cannot protect themselves.”

He was referring to a wave of attacks on police officers that resulted in dozens of them being killed in the past year.

Moussignac also called on Haitian political protagonists to put Haiti on top of their agenda to end the ongoing political infightings.

He described a December 21, 2022 Accord adopted by a number of political actors, including the government, the private sector, and religious authorities, as a good step towards the end of the deadlock.

Helen La Lime, the UN Secretary-General Special Representative in Haiti, said a rapid action military force should be deployed to the CARICOM nation.

“Without the deployment of such a force which would be done in cooperation with the Haitian National police, the very positive effects of the political process and sanctions so far imposed will remain fragile and vulnerable; they risk to be wiped out,” La Lime stated during a meeting of the UN Security Council at the end of last year. “Haitians desperately need the assistance so that they may resume their activities and live their lives in peace.”

Despite substantial support for the deployment of a multinational force, the prominent group, commonly known as the Montana Accord, says it rejects any move which could include sending foreign military to Haiti.

“We’ve seen several deployments of the kind in Haiti, but they never brought about any solution,” said Magalie Comeau Denis of the Montana Accord.

“We promote a national solution to the Haitian crisis and to solve it once and for all.”

A representative of the Montana Accord also attended the Meeting with the CARICOM delegation on Tuesday.

A prominent Haitian actor, Jorchemy Jean-Baptiste who took part in the meeting with Prime Minister Holness, said he was very moved when the Jamaican leader said as he closed one of the sessions on Tuesday: “You Haitians are the first black nation that has invented the word freedom. Why can’t this nation also become one of the most prosperous and stable black nations in the world?”

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Serayah Stars In Joey Bada$$ ‘Show Me’ Music Video Amid Dating Rumors

Black Immigrant Daily News

The content originally appeared on: Urban Islandz

Serayah showcases her acting chops in Joey bada$$’s new music video, “Show Me.”

Fans are speculating that Serayah and Joey Bada$$ are romantically involved after they were seen boo’d up earlier on Sunday. While on Instagram Live, Serayah also confirmed that she and actor/artist Jacob Latimore were no longer an item. A follower asked her, ‘So babe you not with Jacob anymore? To which she responded, “I am not, I am not.”

Serayah also called out followers who became disrespectful after she popped out with rapper Joey Bada$$.

“I want y’all to be easy. Let me just say something because people think that it’s so easy to get on a platform and start talking sh*t, you wouldn’t like that done to you, so I’m just saying simmer down. Everybody be nice and mind their own business,” she said.

Serayah and Joey caused quite a stir after he posted a photo of them on his Instagram account with a black heart emoji symbolizing black love. Fans of Serayah were curious as they questioned whether she was no longer seeing Latimore. Other fans on the other hand felt that Joey was announcing his relationship with the singer.

In the photo, Serayah and Joey stare seductively at each other, with him wearing a tuxedo while she wears a Scarlett colors lace net halter dress. Serayah is well-known for her appearance in TV series like the award-winning Empire, Wu-Tang: An American Saga, and recently, Black Mafia Family.

Fans also reacted to the possibility that Joey and Serayah were dating. “When the move on game is strong and loud like this it gives me he cheated vibes,” one fan wrote.

“I been knew they broke up they deleted pics & unfollowed each other,” another said.

Others questioned whether the pair were stirring up attention for Serayah’s show. “This better be a scene from BMF… that’s all I know,” one Instagram user commented about Joey, who also previously appeared in Power Book III: Raising Kanan and in the Wu-Tang-centered series as character Inspectah Deck.

In the meantime, Joey Bada$$ has not said anything more about him and Serayah’s relationship. But he did drop a music video for his new song “Show Me” which adds another layer to the the relationship rumors.