Caribbean News Round-up

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US family seeks donation to visit deportee father in Jamaica

American-deportedCAMDEN, New Jersey (AP) — Fidel Napier made it out of Camden, often called America’s poorest and most dangerous city, only to end up in a country where the water sometimes cuts out and he fears for his safety when he leaves the house.

Almost six months have passed since federal authorities took Napier out of the Pennsauken home he shared with his wife and three kids, then left him in Jamaica, the country where he was born.

Napier came to Camden at age five but never became a US citizen. He was deported July 30 because of a 1998 drug conviction that labelled him a high-priority candidate. Napier, who once spent his time coaching youth basketball and going out to dinner with his wife, now lives with a distant cousin in St Thomas, a rural community outside of Kingston that this year was ranked as Jamaica’s most impoverished parish.

It is a foreign place to Napier. He does not have a Jamaican accent, which he said makes him stick out, and he can see people sizing him up when he’s in public. When friends send him money, he gives most of it to his cousin to help with bills. He is trying to obtain the identification documents he needs to apply for jobs, but given the area’s chronic unemployment, he’s not optimistic about his chances.

“I wake up every morning and think, ‘What am I doing here?’ ” Napier, 38, said in a phone interview. “I’m used to taking care of my family, being a father to my children. I just don’t feel like a man. This life, this isn’t me. It’s just not who I always tried to be.”

In his absence, his once-content suburban family home is roiled by sadness, anger, and stress, said his wife, Kiyonna Napier. Their 16-year-old daughter, Teyonna, complains of stomach aches and often asks to stay home from school. Taliah, their 13-year-old, cannot bear to have FaceTime phone calls with her father, bursting into tears at the sight of his smile. Their son, Fidel Jr, seven, has gone from cheery to standoffish, slamming doors and yelling.

“I’m having a tough time with them,” Kiyonna Napier told The Philadelphia Inquirer. “They’re shutting down, they’re struggling. I’m struggling.”

Money is tight, she said. She took a medical leave from her job as a lab technician due to anxiety and depression that set in after the deportation. Responsibilities that were always shared, such as shuttling the kids between sports practices, now rest solely with her.

Friends pooled their money for a ticket so she could visit her husband once after he left, but the kids have not seen him since the summer. Hoping for a chance to spend the holidays together, the Napiers set up a donation website, gofundme.com/napierfamily, with proceeds going toward plane fare to Jamaica. So far the effort has drawn less than US$250.

Napier’s deportation was the culmination of a process that began in 2010 when Homeland Security agents arrested him at the manufacturing company where he worked. After he was taken into custody in May, he spent weeks in federal detention before agents put him on a plane.

Policies enacted under the Obama administration focus on removing felons and repeat offenders from the country. It is unclear when Napier came to the department’s attention or why he was not targeted until more than a decade after his plea. The case against him stems entirely from crimes committed almost two decades ago.

Napier’s childhood in Camden was unstable, he said, and he turned to dealing drugs when he learned that Kiyonna, then his high school sweetheart, was pregnant. At 20, he pleaded guilty to selling cocaine. He now believes that getting arrested saved his life. After his conviction, he vowed never to abandon his family. He completed a drug programme, served no prison time, and went on to build a career. In December, he and Kiyonna will mark 21 years as a couple.

“I always wanted my family together,” he said. “I didn’t want the mother of my children to raise them alone. I wanted to break that cycle.”

Napier has said he was unaware that the 1998 plea could jeopardise his status in the country, and that his lawyer at the time did not know he was not a US citizen. He appealed the deportation decision without success, arguing in one filing that because his stepfather helped police and federal agents arrest Jamaican-born gang members in Camden, a return to that country could put his life at risk.

Kiyonna Napier said their attorney is applying for a “U” visa, a benefit that can be granted to victims of some crimes. Napier was shot at age 15 when he was near a gunfight in Camden, and the bullet remains lodged in his back. Though the application could take a year or more, Napier could qualify for the programme, she said.

The Rev Tim Merrill, a minister who works with Camden’s youth and has mentored Napier for most of his life, said the financial hardship imposed by the deportation may eventually force the family to apply for public assistance.

“This has taken an ideal portrait of the African American family and shredded it,” he said. “There aren’t enough fathers that are with their kids, spending time with them every day and raising them like they should. And Fidel was one.”

Merrill also worries about the ripple effects.

 

Jilted lover bites woman for sex

gavel[Jamaica Observer] – A St Andrew man last week faced the Corporate Area Resident Magistrate’s Court for biting his former lover on her arm during a dispute, after he showed up at her home in the night for sexual favours.

The complainant told the court that her ex-lover, Derrion Harvey, 29-year-old resident of Golden Spring, had promised to fix her fowl pen, but instead of arriving at her house in the day, he came in the night and wanted to resume sexual relations with her, despite the fact she had recently ended their relation and had thrown him out of her house.

The complainant told the court on Thursday that she was forced to end their relationship because of the verbal and physical abuse to which she was subjected.

Harvey, when asked why he had assaulted the complainant, told Resident Magistrate Maxine Ellis: “She beat mi, and mi beat her back.”

But this was denied by the complainant, who told the court that she received seven stitches in her arm as result of the bite.

“Ma’am, he used to live at my house, but him behaviour was so bad I had to put him out,” she said.

The complainant told the court that Harvey’s behaviour was so terrible that on one occasion her neighbour had to intervene and ask him to leave her house.

“My neighbour tell him to come out and leave, because look how mi treat him good and look how him a behave,” she said.

The complainant said Harvey left, but later returned. However, she could not tolerate his behaviour any longer and kicked him out.

“Eventually, mi decide no more, ’cause him not even help, him just come eat and sleep,” she said. At this point, Harvey quickly shouted: “Objection, Your Honour, objection,” causing laughter in the courtroom.

The complainant resumed telling her story, saying that after she asked Harvey to leave he kept bombarding her cellphone with calls and made a promise to assist her with her fowl pen.

“Him don’t come in the day, he came in the night and want sex. And mi say, ‘You know mi and yuh nuh deh’, and him start say how him father tell him seh mi have man and start use abusive language. A suh him bite mi and run off,” she said.

RM Ellis, after listening to the complainant’s account of the incident, said: “I really thought that after Mike Tyson everybody know that biting is a no-no.”

Harvey was subsequently told to return to court next month for sentencing, and was warned to stay away from the complainant’s premises.

 

Pirate thrown overboard

Pirate_Flag_of_Jack_Rackham.svg[Trinidad Newsday] – An Icacos man, who was shot in his chest while fighting off a gun-wielding pirate, has been credited by his brother for saving their lives following a brazen attack by Spanish-speaking men in the waters of the Gulf of Paria on Friday morning .

The wounded man was able to throw the pirate into the sea while he was rushed to the Coast Guard base at Cedros and later taken to the Point Fortin district hospital .

He was subsequently transferred to the San Fernando General Hospital . According to reports, fishermen brothers Vishnu Jaggranauth, 49, together with his older brother, Sookraj, 51, had left their Icacos home at just after 6am on Friday to ply their trade just off the Icacos coast .

The younger Jaggranauth said at approximately 10.30am while fishing with another brother, he noticed a boat with five persons aboard approaching his brother’s boat asking for gas and foodstuff .

“We saw a boat coming, my next brother was fishing next to me and the boat was asking them for gas and food. And then my brother let go of the rope and gone and I say they are normal people,” Jaggranauth said, adding, “and then they come by me and they ask about gas, how much fish we hold and thing and is five of them, and I keep on watching them to see if they have any kinda of action to rob us.”

“So I kept on the boat and drive up easy, easy and my brother was up in the bow by the gas tank and they keep on talking, talking, if you see them, young, young fellas, I feel sorry for them, how they asking .

 

“It had a dark one in the boat, and when their boat reached close to ours, he jumped in the boat and I say ‘why you jump in my boat for and I see he raise up his jersey and pull out a gun and I call out to my brother, bandit in the boat boy,” Jaggranauth said .

He said the pirate then began to shout: “I want boat, I want boat” while pointing the gun at his face .

“The gun straight in front of me and I say I not giving up my boat you know, and the fella pull up the gun and pelt a bullet at me but God was with me because where that bullet pass, I don’t know and at that same time my brother came up behind him and raft him and the same time he pelt a shot at me and hit my brother in the chest and that was it. My brother fought him off and push him overboard and I cut my rope and went straight down Coast Guard, Cedros,” he added .

He said the Coast Guard medic examined his bleeding brother and they took him to the nearby Cedros Health Centre but was later taken to the Point Fortin District Hospital, which is just over 22 kilometres away .

An x-ray later showed that the bullet had lodged in the lower right side of Sookraj’s chest and he was rushed to the San Fernando General Hospital, a distance of approximately 37 kilometres .

Sookraj was later discharged by doctors yesterday morning after he was informed that attempts to remove it would result in abnormal bleeding and recommended against its removal .

Interviewed afterwards, Sookraj said doctors had described him as “lucky” given the bullet’s trajectory saying it had initially struck him in the chest but had travelled across his chest and had settled in his lower abdomen .

“The doctors say they can’t take it out because it would cause internal bleeding so they leave it,” he said, adding he had instead been given a prescription for three different types of medication. However, the hospital’s pharmacy informed his wife that the medication was unavailable and would have to be bought at a private pharmacy .

Asked about the ordeal, the soft-spoken man said he did not know the man was armed when he had tackled him .

“I didn’t know he had a gun and it was only when he shoot at my brother and missed that I see the gun,” he said. Asked whether he would be returning to the sea, he shrugged saying while he did not want to, he noted that fishing was his only means of taking care of his family .

Meanwhile, Vishnu questioned the lack of a patrol vessel at the Cedros Coast Guard base saying the absence of a vessel had prevented them from looking for the pirates.

“The Coast Guard didn’t have a boat inside of there, not a boat,” Jaggranauth said, adding, “God was with us outside there and that is why we are alive today.”

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