Hey Team Soca Family!

Here’s your Caribbean News Roundup for the third week of January! Here’s what’s happening in the West Indies and its diaspora:

The Trump administration is not backing down from it’s attack on Haitian immigrants. After denying allegations that the President called Haiti and African countries “shitholes” the Department of Homeland Security announced it is removing Haiti from a list of countries eligible for H-2 visas for unskilled workers in agriculture and service industries. They cite “high levels of fraud and abuse” by those who acquire these visas. Haitians have a 40 percent overstay rate for a multitude of visa types. But only a handful of Haitians come to the US each year under the H2 visa program anyway. In fact, only 65 Haitians were granted entry into the US through the H2 visa last year so many people are questioning what’s the point and speculate this is just another racist attempt to limit black migration into the country. Haitians were originally added to the H-2 visa list by the Obama administration in 2012 to assist with post-earthquake reconstruction.

Belize was also removed from the list over concerns of human trafficking. Together, Haiti and Belize make up the only two Caribbean nations removed.

Haitians and Haitian-Americans also aren’t letting Trump’s comments about them go unchallenged. They are protesting the President outside of his Mar-A-Lao golf resort in South Florida and Trump Tower in New York City, two cities with the largest population of Haitian immigrants. Other Caribbean and African nationals have joined in, letting the President know you will not come for Caribbean immigrants.

Read more over at Reuters.

In St. Lucia, former prime minister, Dr. Kenny Anthony, is alleging that the right to freedom of speech is under attack. Anthony is parliamentary representative for Vieux Fort South and says he’s outraged that two young people from his district were arrested and charged for criticizing the current administration and Prime Minister Allen Chastanet on social media. The former Prime Minister claims the young men were even told to record a video apologizing to avoid prosecution. Anthony said “It is simply wrong to use police officers to intimidate those, who for one reason or other, engage in political dissent.” He’s also now encouraging fellow Lucians to donate to the young men’s defense fund. Meanwhile, government officials won’t even confirm if the arrests and order for an apology came from with their authorization.

Read more Caribbean News Now.

It’s all about girl power in Trinidad and Tobago. The twin island republic will get its first female president. The electoral college, which is comprised of the country’s House of Representatives and Senate will officially vote Justice Paula-Mae Weekes to represent Trinidad and Tobago as its first female president. Now obviously the highest office already reached that milestone in 2010 when now Opposition leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar became Trinidad and Tobago’s first Prime Minister, before being voted out in 2015. Weeks is a University of West Indies – Cave Hill graduate and the fifth woman to be appointed a High Court judge in Trinidad and Tobago. While it’s a monumental achievement to be elected the first female president, she won’t be there during the vote! Parliament Communications confirmed that there won’t be much of a ceremony as the vote will happen according to protocol.

Read more over at The Guardian.

Where there will be celebrations is in Port of Spain for the Queen of Bacchanal. Congratulations are in order for none other than Destra Garcia. The soca diva was honored at this year’s launch of the downtown Carnival competition in Port of Spain. Mayor Joel Martinez announced the honor, saying “she has had a very long and dedicated career where she has given much to our arts and culture over the years.” This year, the usual downtown parade was replaced with a concert-like event with artists paying homage to Destra. Last year, the incomparable MX Prime was the city honoree. The celebrations officially kick off the downtown carnival competition so all you masqueraders it’s almost time, the stage is coming.

Check out more over at LoopTT.

Thanks your Caribbean News roundup for this well and as always keep it locked on TeamSoca.com to stay in the know on what’s happening in the soca world and beyond.

Have a great weekend Team Soca Family! See you next week.

Photos credits:

US President Donald Trump delivers remarks on Syria. (Source: Public domain via WhiteHouse.gov)

Captions: Former St. Lucia Prime Minister Kenny D. Anthony meets with Former Chinese President Ma Ying-jeou. (Source: 總統府 via Flickr)

Parliament in Trinidad and Tobago (Source: Anthony Mendenhall via Wiki Creative Commons)

Destra Garcia (Source: Destra Garcia Official Facebook Page)