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Haiti’s Allies Need To Help Tackle Spike In Violence, Canadian PM Trudeau Says

PORT-AU-PRINCE — Haiti’s allies must act immediately to help tackle a spike in violence that is worsening an already precarious humanitarian situation, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Friday.

The international community also needs to address deep governance problems that are fueling a political and security crisis in the Western Hemisphere’s poorest country, he told a group of foreign ministers holding a day of virtual talks to discuss the crisis.

Canada, which hosted the meeting, announced C$50.4 million ($40 million) in aid to Haiti for health services, security and infrastructure. A senior U.S. State Department official also said the United Nations was organizing a donors conference for February at which the United States could provide “significant additional resources” beyond what it has already given.

Haiti's Allies Need To Help Tackle Spike In Violence, Canadian PM Trudeau Says
Haitian migrants line up as they wait for a QR code to register their migratory situation, in Tapachula, in Chiapas state, Mexico December 29, 2021. REUTERS/Jose Torres

Gangs have extended their control of territory in Haiti since the assassination in July of President Jovenel Moise. One gang coalition in October created a nationwide fuel shortage by blocking access to storage terminals, and kidnappings are rife.

“In order to address Haiti’s humanitarian needs, we must also address the challenging security situation. The increase in violence is only worsening the already precarious humanitarian situation,” Trudeau said.

“This will require immediate action to mitigate violence. … We must also address the deep governance problems that are fueling the current political and security crisis. That includes taking action against corruption.”

A jump in kidnappings, added to worsening economic conditions, has prompted a growing number of Haitians to seek better opportunities in other countries.

The number of asylum applications in Mexico nearly doubled in 2021 from two years earlier, with most applications being from Haitian and Honduran migrants. read more

Ottawa said the meeting included representatives of the United Nations, the Caribbean Community and the Organization of American States.

($1 = 1.2586 Canadian dollars)

—REUTERS

Reporting by David Ljunggren, additional reporting by Matt Spetalnick and Daphne Psaledakis; Editing by Marguerita Choy and Jonathan Oatis

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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Two Canadians Die In Shooting At Mexican Caribbean Resort

MEXICO CITY — Two Canadians died of gunshot wounds after an argument turned violent at a resort near Cancun on Mexico’s Caribbean coast, authorities said on Friday.

Both guests at the upscale resort on the Riviera Maya of Quintana Roo state had criminal records, said Mexican officials, citing information from the Canadian police.

Mexican police are searching for another person thought to have fired the shots who had a “long” criminal record in Canada, said the attorney general’s office in Quintana Roo, home to a stretch of white-sand beach resorts and lush jungles.

Two Canadians Die In Shooting At Mexican Caribbean Resort
Forensic technicians and hotel employees stand near a scene where three Canadian citizens were injured by gunshots at Hotel Xcaret, in Playa del Carmen, Mexico January 21, 2022. REUTERS/Stringer

Quintana Roo’s head of public security, Lucio Hernandez, said on Twitter a gun was fired amid “an argument among hotel guests” at the Hotel Xcaret.

Three people were injured and taken to hospital, Hernandez said. He posted photos of the alleged shooter, showing a man in a gray track suit and black face mask wielding a gun in front of green landscaping.

Xcaret said the incident appeared to be “targeted and isolated” and that the hotel was helping the affected people. “We deeply regret the events that occurred at Hotel Xcaret this afternoon,” it said in a statement.

The Canadian government said it was contacting Mexican authorities and could not provide more details due to privacy considerations.

REUTERS

Reporting by Daina Beth Solomon, Lizbeth Diaz and Miguel Angel Gutierrez in Mexico City; Additional reporting by Denny Thomas in Toronto; Editing by William Mallard

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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Richard Gant Pegged for a Role in Jamaica’s Denham Jolly Feature Film

The Wonder Years star is in discussions to play Jamaican-Canadian Community worker Harry Gairey

TORONTO — Casting is underway for In the Black and popular American actor Richard Gant has been attached to the project to play the role of Jamaican-born Harry Gairey. Produced by CaribbeanTales Media Group and directed by Caribbean-Canadian Frances-Anne Solomon, the feature film is an adaptation of entrepreneur and activist Jamaican-Canadian Denham Jolly’s memoirof the same name. 

In the newly re-imagined The Wonder Years (ABC), Gant guest stars as Granddaddy Clisby – the latest role for the 77-year-old actor who also plays grumpy Walter on CBS’s The Neighborhood.  The veteran actor is known for his roles on Greenleaf (Percy Lee), The Mindy Project (Melville Fuller), Men of a Certain Age (Owen Thoreau, Sr.), General Hospital and NYPD Blue.

“I met Richard last year in Los Angeles at the premiere of Hero at the Director’s Guild of America Theater,” recalls Solomon. “So, when I was thinking about who would be the perfect actor to play the role of the legendary Harry Gairey, a Jamaican-born community leader and activist who worked as a railroad porter, Richard’s commanding presence and booming voice instantly came to mind. He will be phenomenal!”  

In the Black focuses on Jolly’s journey from Jamaica to Canada, the enormous influence Jamaican political activist Marcus Garvey had on his life as well as Jolly’s fight to secure a licence for a Black-owned Toronto radio station, Flow 93.5.

The film has received support from the Harold Greenberg Fund and Telefilm Canada. Producer Nicole Brooks has also recently signed onto the project. Brooks’ production work began with Frances-Anne as story editor for Lord Have Mercy (Vision TV/Showcase/APTN/Toronto One) and she has gone on to create and produce several critically acclaimed and groundbreaking television and theatre productions including Echo (SunTV), Divine Restoration (Vision TV/ TVOne), Obeah Opera and executive produced CaribbeanTales’ slate of international pilots through its flagship Incubator Training Program. Also on board are writer Andrew Burrow-Trotman – The Porter (CBC) Frankie Drake Mysteries (CBC) Utopia Falls (CBC/Hulu), Diggstown (CBC) and development executive Jamie Gaetz. Solomon’s recent feature film, Hero: Inspired by the Extraordinary Life and Times of Mr. Ulric Cross is now available on Showtime, Prime Video, Hulu and Cineplex Store.

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Congress Asks Canada For Compromise On Cruise Ship Ban In Bipartisan Letter

OTTAWA — Canada’s ban of cruise ships for an entire year has compelled the United States Congress to work together in trying to find a better answer.

Members of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee sent a bipartisan letter to the Canadian Ambassador to the United States Wednesday, concerning the one year extension of the cruise ban in Canada.

On February 4, 2021, Canada’s Minister of Transport announced a ban of all cruise ships from Canadian waters until February 28, 2022.

The letter was signed by  Congressman Peter DeFazio (D-OR), Congressman Sam Graves (R-MO), Congressman Salud Carbajal (D-CA), Congressman Bob Gibbs (R-OH), and  Congressman Don Young (R-AK).

In the letter, the congressmen shared their concern regarding Canada’s ban, and encouraged Canada to “find a mutually agreeable solution.”

Congress Asks Canada For Compromise On Cruise Ship Ban In Bipartisan Letter
Congress Asks Canada For Compromise On Cruise Ship Ban In Bipartisan Letter
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Ontario Finance Minister Resigns Amid Outrage Over St. Barts Holiday Vacation

TORONTO — Ontario’s Finance Minister Rod Phillips resigned on Thursday after public outrage over a Caribbean vacation he took earlier this month in violation of his own government’s coronavirus travel warnings.

Phillips, a member of the ruling Progressive Conservative Party in the Canadian province, admitted this week that he traveled to the French island of St. Barts on December 13, after the legislative session ended.

Federal and provincial leaders across Canada have urged the public to avoid non-essential travel because of the pandemic.

“Today, following my conversation with Rod Phillips, I have accepted his resignation as Ontario’s Minister of Finance,” Ontario Premier Doug Ford said in a statement.

“At a time when the people of Ontario have sacrificed so much, today’s resignation is a demonstration that our government takes seriously our obligation to hold ourselves to a higher standard.”

Ford said he has asked Peter Bethlenfalvy to step into the finance minister’s role and deliver the government’s 2021 budget in addition to his current role as president of the province’s Treasury Board.

Phillips served as Ontario’s minister of the environment before becoming finance minister as part of a 2019 cabinet reshuffle.

He returned to Canada on Thursday and apologized for his actions.

Ontario, home to Canada’s industrial and manufacturing heartland, began a lockdown on Dec. 26 to curb the spread of the virus.

—REUTERS

Reporting by Maiya Keidan; Editing by Paul Simao

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.