Antigua and Barbuda and Serbia abolish visa requirements

Black Immigrant Daily News

The content originally appeared on: Caribbean News Service

The Antigua and Barbuda passport was strengthened internationally on Friday, March 10 when Ambassadors of Antigua and Barbuda and the Republic of Serbia signed an agreement in Washington, DC, on behalf of their governments, abolishing visa requirements for their citizens.

The Agreement was negotiated and signed between Ambassador Sir Ronald Sanders, representing Antigua and Barbuda, and Ambassador Marko Djuric on behalf of the Republic of Serbia.

Ambassador Sanders remarked that, “with the signing of the Agreement with Serbia, citizens of Antigua and Barbuda now have visa-free access to more than 162 nations, making the Antigua and Barbuda passport one of the strongest in the world”. He added, that “both tourism to, and investment in, Antigua and Barbuda are enhanced by making access for visits easier for up to 90 days a year without a visa”.

Ambassador Djuric described the Agreement as “another step in further strengthening the friendship and cooperation between Serbia and Antigua and Barbuda”. Students from Antigua and Barbuda already benefit from scholarships to study in Serbia, and the two countries have pledged to examine ways in which they could be helpful to each other, including through co-operation in tacking global issues such as economic consequences of the Russian war on Ukraine.

The two Ambassadors agreed to meet regularly to explore deeper economic cooperation between the two states in the interests of their peoples.

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Grenadian Prime Minister calls for Caribbean business to invest in artificial intelligence technologies

Black Immigrant Daily News

The content originally appeared on: Caribbean News Service

By Gerard Best

Grenadian Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell is calling for Caribbean business leaders and entrepreneurs to invest in artificial intelligence technologies, or AI.

AI refers to the ability of computer systems to do tasks that typically require human intelligence, such as learning, reasoning, problem-solving, and decision-making. Globally, AI is applied across a range of industries, including self-driving cars, virtual assistants, fraud detection, and medical diagnosis. It can help companies boost efficiency, cut costs, and gain data-driven insights.

“The advent of artificial intelligence has the potential to transform businesses in the Caribbean and around the world. Through the use of AI, businesses can analyse data faster and more accurately, identify trends and make better decisions. OpenAI, for example, has made significant strides in the field of natural language processing and machine learning, creating new opportunities for businesses to improve customer service and create new products. The impact of AI will continue to grow, and investing in AI will ensure a competitive edge in regional and global markets,” he said.

AI was among several topics on the agenda at an international business forum held at the Grenada Trade Centre, St. George’s on February 28, where Mitchell delivered the opening keynote address. Several leading voices in the region’s business and technology sectors supported Mitchell’s call.

“The Caribbean is ready right now to take the next step in the digital revolution, and AI is part of our arriving future. However, our adoption of AI or any emerging technology should align with what our businesses and societies need,” said Bevil Wooding, Director of Caribbean Affairs at the American Registry for Internet Numbers (ARIN), and co-founder of CaribNOG, the Caribbean Network Operators Group.

“It is critical that Caribbean governments, business leaders, technocrats and academics make technology the servant not the master of our development agenda, as we collectively pursue our business interests, national priorities and regional development programs,” he added.

“AI is going to significantly impact Caribbean businesses, and it is critical that we understand that. Business leaders must connect business strategy with technology adoption,” said Kevin Khelawan, co-founder of Pneuko Inc., which helps businesses with digital transformation, workflow automation, field operations and AI-driven analytics.

“AI will likely move a lot faster than the Internet did, in terms of its transformative and disruptive power. So Caribbean business leaders will need to be proactive in considering how we transform our businesses to remain relevant in a world where AI proliferates,” added Khelawan, who is also the co-founder of Teleios Systems Limited.

“Expertise in next-generation technologies like AI should be something that the Caribbean region is producing and exporting, not just importing and consuming,” said Stephen Lee, CEO of Arkitechs Inc. and program director of CaribNOG.

“It is not enough to simply future-proof Caribbean networks at the infrastructure level against climate-related threats, such as hurricanes. As a region, we must go further, and prioritise the development of expertise in emergent technologies that are relevant to our Caribbean context, through deliberate capacity-building and knowledge-sharing, so that Caribbean thinkers and doers can work together to build regionally relevant solutions that are globally marketable.”

The business forum was part of Grenada ICT Week, held from February 27 to March 3, organized by the Grenada Chamber of Industry and Commerce in collaboration with ARIN, CaribNOG and the Grenada National Telecommunications Regulatory Commission. 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. Wooding, Khelawan and Lee were speaking in a post-event interview.

From September 11 to 15, Saint Lucia will hold its ICT Week, organized by the Caribbean Telecommunications Union, ARIN and CaribNOG, in collaboration with Government of Saint Lucia, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, the Internet Society, the Internet Registry for Latin America and the Caribbean, and the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States.

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African and European Royals in Slave Trading Compared

Black Immigrant Daily News

The content originally appeared on: Caribbean News Service

During the Western campaign to illegalise the trans-Atlantic Trade of Africans in the 19th century, traders and their allies argued that African commercial and political interests were their business partners.

According to Vice-Chancellor of The University of the West Indies (UWI) and Chair of the CARICOM Reparations Commission (CRC), Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, “Since then, this perspective has gained global traction, becoming the dominant narrative, particularly in the Caribbean and the Americas. Though the evidence to debunk this narrative, and to contextualize its significance is considerable, it has not gained anywhere near the level of advocacy and academic representation.”

In acknowledgment of this gap, and as a signature event in its 75th Anniversary celebrations calendar, The UWI and its Centre for Reparation Research and PJ Patterson Institute for Africa-Caribbean Advocacy, convened an all-day symposium themed “Reparations and Royalty, Africa and Europe: Exploding Myths and Empowering Truths,” held at The UWI Regional Headquarters on Thursday, March 2, and a Youth Forum titled “Wha Gwaan Africa?!” held at the Mona Campus on Friday, March 3.

Among the featured speakers at the events, was a high-level delegation of royal African traditional leaders hosted by the CARICOM Reparations Commission, who led conversations on the roles of African and European Royalties in the trans-Atlantic trafficking of enslaved Africans.

Vice-Chancellor Beckles noted that The UWI was “honoured as a university community to take this responsibility for the reuniting of the Royal Highnesses with the African people of the Caribbean.” During the opening session on March 2, as he provided historical context on the relationship between Europeans and Africans, he emphasized that it is critical to examine the two sides of the equation, “While the royal families of Europe were organising their armies, building their corporations and establishing structures for the destruction of societies in Africa, so as to secure enchained and enslaved labour, the royal families of Africa were on the receiving end of that violence.” In his plenary presentation, Vice-Chancellor Beckles underscored, “No group of people have been more denigrated by the historians of Europe than the Kings and Queens and nobles of Africa within the context of colonization.”

Chair of the symposium, Professor Verene Shepherd, Director of the Centre for Reparation Research (CRR) at The UWI, who also serves as Vice-Chair of the CRC and Member, National Council on Reparation, Jamaica (NCR) asserted that the discussions are significant as knowledge exchange to fill a knowledge gap “…Because as Marcus Mosiah Garvey stated, a people without knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots, and we are looking to reconnect with those roots today” she said. “The reasons for the shortfall in academic and public awareness are many, but the time is now for the matter to be successfully re-addressed,” she added.

His Royal Highness Paul Jones Eganda, Global Chief and President, Ateker International Development Organization (AIDO) Network stated, “We are greatly honoured to be invited by Professor Sir Hilary Beckles.”

Addressing the various interest groups and members of the audience in-person and online he said, “We work as a team. We have approximately 657 kingdoms and cultural institutions that are affiliated with us. These groups constitute what we call the AIDO Royal Community.” Highlighting the purpose of the mission, he said, “this royal delegation here today has travelled to Jamaica with one objective, to demonstrate to you, our dear family of Africa in the Caribbean, that we are not a race created as slaves. The fact is that we have a rich, proud, living history of royalty in Africa that still exists today which we represent here.” He affirmed, “Reparations justice has to take place, and Africa has to join in.”

The March 3 Youth Forum saw not just UWI students attending, but other tertiary students along with associations and groups from across Jamaica in person, and others across the region who joined online. The forum examined the significance of royal traditional leaders and other royals in Africa, including their responsibilities and their roles, the importance of reconnecting Caribbean and Jamaica with African culture and traditions, the need for reparatory justice for people of African descent, and how young people could contribute to that process.

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Haiti claims delayed Canadian armoured vehicles hinder plan to control gangs

Black Immigrant Daily News

The content originally appeared on: Caribbean News Service

Haiti’s troubled government is accusing Canada of stalling in its promised delivery of armoured vehicles, and argues the delay is hindering a plan to clear violent gangs fromPort-au-Prince.

In an interview with Haitian radio, the country’s acting justice minister, Emmelie Prophete-Milce, said in French that the company supplying the tanks “did not keep its word.”

Violent gangs have held control over most of Haiti’s capital for months, leading to a shortage of essentials and medical care, and a rise in sexual assaults.

As part of Canada’s response, Ottawa said it has been airlifting armoured vehicles that the Haitian government has purchased, which might avoid the need for an international military intervention.

But Prophete-Milce said the majority of the 18 armoured vehicles her country ordered have yet to arrive, and she claims “the police could implement their strategy if all the armoured vehicles were delivered on time.”

Global Affairs Canada has been asked to respond to these claims.

Her comments come as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau continues to call upon Europe and the U.S. to follow Canada in sanctioning Haiti’s elites.

“For me, the best way to restore stability for Haiti, is to first punish the elites, to tell them that they can no longer finance gangs (nor) political instability,” Trudeau said in Frenchon Monday.

He was speaking at a public event in Montreal’s Saint-Michel neighbourhood, which has a large Haitian diaspora.

Canada has sanctioned 17 of Haiti’s political and economic elite over alleged ties with gangs, barring them from financial dealings in Canada. Many of those sanctioned dispute those claims and argue Ottawa has acted on shoddy information.

Last December, Trudeau urged Europe to follow suit, and Canada’s ambassador to the United Nations, Bob Rae, said in January that France could make a difference by imposing its own sanctions.

Trudeau indicated Monday he was not satisfied by the response.

“The United States has started to impose more sanctions; we need them to do a lot more. We need Europe, France, to do more,” he said.

France has said it’s instead sticking with a slow-moving United Nations process aimed at sanctioning bad actors in Haiti, which effectively bars them from visiting most countries and having virtually any financial transactions with foreign entities.

The process has listed just one person since it started last October.

France’s ambassador to Haiti, Fabrice Mauries, was critical of Canada’s approach in an interview last December.

“I think it’s a collective effort that must be carried out. If the sanctions remain Canadian (only) they will fail,” he told Radio France Internationale.

Haiti’s unelected government has asked for an international military intervention to clear out the gangs, but the idea is deeply divisive among Haitians.

The UN has documented that foreign troops it oversaw in past Haitian deployments sexually assaulted locals and sparked a cholera outbreak.

Separately, Trudeau said on Wednesday that Ottawa has helped Haiti in many ways since its dictatorship ended in 1986, but there needs to be more viable change.

“We have delivered military missions, we have built hospitals, we have trained police officers, delivered prison guards — like, done a huge amount of intervention and yet the problems persist,” he said at a press conference in Newfoundland.

Trudeau argued that a “fresh approach” is needed where Haitians are in charge.

“Outside intervention as we’ve done in the past hasn’t worked to create long-term stability for Haiti.”

In any case, Canada’s top soldier doubts Ottawa has “capacity” to lead such an intervention.

“There’s only so much to go around,” Gen. Wayne Eyre, chief of the defence staff, told Reuters this past week. “It would be challenging.”

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CARICOM strengthens relations with regional, third-state partners

Black Immigrant Daily News

The content originally appeared on: Caribbean News Service

Diplomatic relations between CARICOM and a Member State, as well as two third-state partners, were strengthened on Tuesday, March 14 when CARICOM Secretary-General, Dr. Carla Barnett accredited three new ambassadors.

The Secretary-General accepted the letters of credence of Larry Vaughan, Ambassador of St. Kitts and Nevis to CARICOM; Itai Bardov, Ambassador of Israel to CARICOM; and Rytis Paulauskas, Ambassador of Lithuania to CARICOM.

Secretary-General Barnett said the accreditation of Ambassador Vaughan presented an opportunity for a fresh perspective on various issues confronting the Community.

She said CARICOM has benefitted from St. Kitts and Nevis’ commitment to Regional Integration, particularly in Human Resource Development, and Health and Wellness, as lead Head of Government in the CARICOM Quasi cabinet for those areas.

“Given the multifaceted challenges presented by the protracted COVID-19 pandemic and its severe impact on lives and livelihoods in the Region, this Quasi-Cabinet portfolio is essential to the Region’s post-pandemic recovery,” Secretary-General Barnett stated.

In his remarks, Ambassador Vaughan reflected on the tasks ahead to improve competitiveness in all sectors across the Member States, achieve more coordinated trade negotiation outcomes, and advocate for global appreciation for the multifaceted nature of our vulnerabilities. He committed to actively working with his colleagues in the Committee of Ambassadors for the shared benefit of the people of the Community.

The Israeli Ambassador to CARICOM told Secretary-General Barnett that his country was keen to enhance its relations with CARICOM on Climate Change, Agriculture, Irrigation Technology, and Training.

He signaled Israel’s willingness to provide humanitarian support in areas in which the country has developed expertise, including pediatric heart surgeries and optical treatments.

Secretary-General Barnet noted the timeliness of Israel’s offer to support agriculture in the Region where efforts have been targeted at reducing the importation of food by 25 percent by 2025.

Ambassador Paulauskas and the Secretary-General highlighted Climate Change as a key area for cooperation between CARICOM and Lithuania.

“As we prepare for COP 28, it is important that focus is placed on the significant loss that countries of our Region, which are comparatively low emitters, face,” she said.

She also underscored the need for equitable standards across international financial systems. “We want the international community to agree on a single set of regulations so that what is agreed in one jurisdiction is agreed everywhere, as otherwise, there is great dysfunction within our financial systems,” the Secretary-General emphasized.

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Popcaan Announces Great Is He Tour Dates For Europe In May

Black Immigrant Daily News

The content originally appeared on: Urban Islandz

Popcaan announces he will be hitting the road in Europe for his Great Is He Tour. Popcaan fans can gather their coins as the rapper is set to hit the road

Diplo Says “I’m Not Gay” Despite Getting Oral Sex From A Man

Black Immigrant Daily News

The content originally appeared on: Urban Islandz

EDM producer Diplo says he’s received oral sex from a male in the past, but he’s adamant that that does not make him gay. In a discussion with Emily Ratajkowski on her High Low podcast, he talks about his sexual experiences and somehow begins to explain that he might have engaged in sex with someone of the same sex.

The times are changing, and being gay is no longer marked by stigma and discrimination, especially with equal rights like the right to get married and for a same-sex couple to have legal rights in owning property, access to laws that previously benefitted heterosexual couples, etc. Yet, it’s still a long way from complete acceptance and very few are willing to talk about their sexual experiences in the way that Diplo is doing.

According to the music producer, he’s sure he’s had sex with a man in the past. “I’m sure I’ve gotten a blowjob from a guy before. For sure,” Diplo says in a now-viral clip. “I don’t know if it’s gay unless you like make eye contact while there’s the blowjob happening.” He added, “Getting a blowjob’s not that gay, I think.”

As for what his sexuality is, he explains that he’s fluid and doesn’t want to label himself and even hints that he has been with many men before.

“I think the best answer I have is I’m not not gay,” he said. “There are a couple guys… I could date, life partner-wise,” he added, explaining that he goes for a “vibe” rather than gender.

Diplo has in the past been linked to a slew of women, including rapper M.I.A, Katy Perry, Kate Hudson, and others. The Major Lazer member also fathered three sons by Kathryn Lockhart and recently welcomed a baby boy with beauty queen Jevon King. The 44-year-old has also been accused of raping a young Canadian woman in 2020, but her lawsuit was later dropped.

He also shared in the podcast what turns him on.

“Wood chopping guy is kinda sexy,” he says. “I don’t know if that’s the thing that’s gonna send me over to the gay side completely, but they’re pretty hot.”

Rihanna’s “Lift Me Up” Certified Platinum 5 Months After Release

Black Immigrant Daily News

The content originally appeared on: Urban Islandz

Rihanna’s “Lift Me Up” has gone Platinum just about five months since the track was released as one of two movie soundtracks for the blockbuster film

Shaggy’s Former Manager Denies Hating “It Wasn’t Me”

Black Immigrant Daily News

The content originally appeared on: Urban Islandz

Shaggy’s former manager, Big Yard’s Robert Livingston, is denying that he doubted and didn’t support Shaggy’s mega record, “It Wasn’t Me,” and even goes

Chance The Rapper & Vic Mensa Visits Sizzla At Judgement Yard: “We out here Jah bless”

Black Immigrant Daily News

The content originally appeared on: Urban Islandz

American rappers Chance the Rapper and Vic Mensa visited Judgment yard and paid homage to Sizzla Kalonji while visiting the island to plan their Black Star Line Festival in 2024.

The rapper shared a video showing Sizzla and himself interacting and the latter collecting the information for Sizzla and his team, presumably to keep in touch to plan the upcoming Black Star Line Festival that seeks to unite African Americans and the black diaspora. The inaugural show was held in Accra, Ghana, back in January (2023) and saw overwhelming support from Americans traveling to the Motherland while Ghanaians also turned out in the thousands.

Chance The Rapper, who has shown himself to be a conscious rapper and who knows and understands the influence and power of Marcus Mosiah Garvey, a Jamaican Pan-Africanist and Civil Rights figure that fought for the rights of black people, shared how surreal the experience was meeting up with Sizzla, a religious Rastafarian.

“We out here Jah bless. This is actually crazy. Crazy thing, I can’t believe that we’re here. Thank you so much for letting us into the space. We’re with some real Rastafari brothers right now. Black Star Line Fest we out here. Thank you Dadda,” Chance says on the video.

Sizzla also shared equal sentiment telling the camera, “They’re structuring their Black Star Line Fest. That’s where it started, started with Marcus Mosiah Garvey.

Marcus Garvey is a revered figure in Jamaica, and he was one of the founding fathers of the Rastafari movement that promoted Rastafarianism as a religion for black people versus Anglo-Saxon Christianity foisted on slaves and which was adopted for generations among black folks in Jamaica and around the world.

Garvey is known for his powerful speeches promoting the black race and calling for unity and for all black people to travel home back to their motherland- Africa. Many Jamaicans believe he should be named a National Hero.

In the meantime, the two rappers were welcomed and paid a courtesy call on Jamaica’s Tourism Minister Ed Bartlett at his Kingston office on Tuesday. The rappers were spotted taking photos with the Minister and other high-level officials.

Chance The Rapper and Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett

The event is likely to be beneficial to Jamaica which depends on tourism earnings to support the local economy, especially from the United States, one of its largest markets.