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Jamaican Diaspora News: March 28th – April 3rd, 2015

Written by Staff Writer

KEVIN WRIGHT, JAMAICAN NATIONAL, CHARGED WITH CHILD RAPE—03/28/15
Kevin Wright, 49, has been charged with the rape and abuse of a 14-year-old girl in New Jersey over a period of four months five years ago. Wright, who is a Jamaican national, was a friend of the victim at the time of the crime. He is being held on $125,000 bail.

JAMAICANS INCLUDED IN GROUP OF CONVICTED SEX OFFENDERS IN U.S.—03/29/15
According to authorities in the United States, several Jamaicans are among the 200 immigrants convicted of sex crimes under the nation’s Sex Offender Registration (SOR) initiative. The Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) agency has not disclosed the actual number of Jamaican and other Caribbean offenders, but noted that its focus on arresting those who prey on children and brining them to court or sending them back to their home countries.

FLORIDA TEACHER OF THE YEAR IS JAMAICAN—03/30/15
Lana Patterson, a former Titchfield High School teacher, has been awarded the title of Broward County, Florida’s 2015 Mathematics Teach of the Year for Middle Schools. Patterson currently teaches at William Dandy Middle School in Fort Lauderdale. She was selected from among 50 nominees. Patterson moved to the United States in 1992 after teaching in Jamaica for 18 years.

BITCOIN EXCHANGE LAUNCHED IN CARIBBEAN—03/31/15
A Caribbean digital currency exchange known as Bitt has launched following the securing of $1.5 million in seed funds provided by Avatar Capital. The exchange is based in Barbados and powered by AlphaPoint, a technology platform that also operates Bitcinex and Cointrader. The Bitt exchange represents a foundation project for digital finance in the region and is expected to facilitate trading between digital currency and traditional markets.

SIMPSON MILLER DEFIES GROUP OF GAY RIGHTS ACTIVISTS IN NEW YORK—04/01/15
Members of the Jamaica Anti-Homophobia Stand caused an interruption during a speech by Jamaica’s Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller in New York City. The Prime Minister was speaking at a Diaspora meeting at St. George’s Episcopal Church when LGBT activists protested her administration’s lack of response to rising anti-gay violence rates on the island. Simpson Miller challenged the protestors, telling them they could “disturb” if they wanted, but that she was not afraid of anything and would speak the truth “everywhere.”

70 REPRESENTATIVES OF REGGAE TO VISIT WEST AFRICA FOR FESTIVAL—04/02/15
Seventy individuals representing the reggae music genre will participate in the first staging of the Abi-Reggae International Music Festival and Conference in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, West Africa. The event will take place between April 9 and April 12, 2015. It combines a reggae festival and a music and cultural meeting, and it is being described as the first event of its kind to be held on the African continent. Among the performed are Third World, Morgan Heritage, Marcia Griffiths and Judy Mowatt of the I-Threes, and Ky-mani Marley.

KIAWAH RESORT IN SOUTH CAROLINA ACCUSED OF UNDERPAYING WORKERS—04/03/15
According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, the Kiawah Island Gold Resort in South Carolina allegedly underpaid Jamaicans hired to work as housekeepers and other service position since 2012. The advocacy group said that the resort did not reimburse the Jamaican workers for the recruitment fees they were required to pay under the federal guest worker program. These fees reduced the wages of the workers to under the level required by the same program.

NEW YORK CITY TO BE SITE OF REPARATIONS SUMMIT—04/03/15
A leading research and advocacy group, the Institute of the Black World 21st Century (IBW), announced an International Reparations Summit to be held at a number of venues in New York City between April 8 and April 12, 2015.The speakers are to include the Reverend Jessie Jackson, U.S. civil rights leader and Mireille Fanon Mendes France, president of the Frantz Fanon Foundation and Chair of the U.N. Working Group of Experts on People of African descent. She is the daughter of Franz Fanon, the Black Liberation theoretician. Fanon was from Martinique.

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Staff Writer