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Santa Is Checking His List: Councilman Eugene, Have You Been Naughty or Nice?



ew York City Council Member Mathieu Eugene is being accused by some constituents of his district of nepotism, sexual misconduct, financial secrecy, and questionable affiliation with the Jewish demographic within his district. According to reports to Caribbean American Weekly (CAW) by constituents of City Council District 40, in Brooklyn, Mr. Eugene seems to be more concerned about fulfilling his own agenda rather than looking after the needs of the people who elected him to office. The constituents claim that Mr. Eugene, who ran his campaign on the platform of


Councilman Eugene


Dr. Clarke

ollowing in the footsteps of her ancestors, a petite woman, Dr. Una Clarke, who towers in confidence, academic excellence, political determination and love for her people, says she was determined to make Caribbean people proud of her; therefore, she seized every opportunity that was presented before her to realize that objective. Born in the Parish of St. Elizabeth, Jamaica, to parents who were active in civic leadership, Mrs. Clarke moved to the United States in 1958 as a foreign student. One year after arriving here, she became an active member of the International Students Union, participating in activities that would enhance the lives of foreign

continued on page 6

Hurricane Sandy Update: SBA Standing Ready to Help Businesses, Homeowners and Renters Recover ...see page 12


The Civil Rights Act of 1964 n an 11 June 1963 speech broadcast live on national television and radio, President John F. Kennedy unveiled plans to pursue a comprehensive civil rights bill in Congress, stating, ‘‘this nation, for all its hopes and all its boasts, will not be fully free until all its citizens are free’’ (‘‘President Kennedy’s RadioTV Address,’’). Martin Luther King, Jr. congratulated Kennedy on his speech, calling it ‘‘one of the most eloquent, profound and unequivocal pleas for justice and the freedom of all men ever made by any president’’ (King, 12 June 1963).

transparency and fighting for the needs of the people of District 40, seems to have reneged on those promises as he is not being transparent about his dealings with the people. They contend that since winning the district, he does not hold meetings or do community visits to ascertain what the pressing needs of his constituents are. They further claim that he hardly functions out of his district office and appears to spend more time in his Manhattan office. Constituents are also accusing Mr. Eugene of nepotism—building a family dynasty, especially with his brother Maxi Eugene and a woman known as Valerie

continued on page 5

Can I Keep My Tax Refund in Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?...see page 20

Dr. Una Clarke: From Foreign Student to Political Icon BY VANDELL PARK


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After the Affair. Stay or Go?

The earlier Civil Rights Act of 1957, the first law addressing the legal rights of African Americans passed by Congress since Reconstruction, had established the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department and the U.S. Civil Rights Commission to investigate claims of racial discrimination. Before the 1957 bill was passed, Congress had, however, removed a provision that would have empowered the Justice Department to enforce the Brown v. Board of Education decision. A. Philip Randolph and other civil rights leaders continued to press the

For Immigration News & Updates

...see CV3

major political parties and Presidents Dwight D. Eisenhower and John F. Kennedy to enact such legislation and to outlaw segregation. The civil rights legislation that Kennedy introduced to Congress on 19 June 1963, addressed these issues, and King advocated for its passage. In an article published after the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom that posed the question, ‘‘What next?’’ King wrote, ‘‘The hundreds of thousands who marched in Washington marched to level barriers. They summed up everything in a word—NOW. What is continued on page 23

T & T Heather Headley Shines in The Bodyguard ...see CV1

Making a Humanitarian Impact ...see page 8


Caribbean Consulates

Anguilla 845 Third Avenue New York, N.Y. 10022 Tel: 212-745-0277

Antigua & Barbuda 610 Fifth Avenue, Suite 311 New York, N.Y. 10020 Tel: 212-541-4117

The Bahamas 231 East 46th Street New York, N.Y. 10020 Tel: 212-421-6420

Barbados 820 Second Avenue, 5th Floor New York, N.Y. 10017 Tel: 212-551-4325

Belize 675 Third Avenue, Suite 1911 New York, N.Y. 10017 Tel: 212-949-1240

Dominica 800 Second Avenue, Suite 400H New York, N.Y. 10017 Tel: 212-949-0853

Dominican Republic 1500 Broadway, Suite 410 New York, N.Y. 10036 Tel: 212-768-2480

Grenada 800 Second Avenue, Suite 400K New York, N.Y. 10017 Tel: 212-599-0301

Guyana 370 Seventh Avenue, 4th Floor New York, N.Y. 10001 Tel: 212-947-5110

Haiti 271 Madison Avenue, 17th Floor New York, N.Y. 10016 Tel: 212-697-9767

Jamaica 767 Third Avenue New York, N.Y. 10017 Tel: 212-935-9000

Martinique 444 Madison Avenue, 16th Floor New York, N.Y. 10022 Tel: 212-838-6887

Montserrat 845 Third Avenue New York, N.Y. 10022 Tel: 212-745-0200

Panama 1212 Avenue of the Americas, 6th Floor New York, N.Y. 10036 Tel: 212-840-2450

St. Kitts & Nevis 414 East 75th Street, 5th Floor New York, N.Y. 10021 Tel: 212-535-5521

St. Lucia 800 Second Avenue, 9th Floor New York, N.Y. 10007 Tel: 212-697-9360


St. Lucia Now Largest Economy in Eastern Caribbean, States IMF


he St. Lucia government has received a stamp of approval from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for its implementation of the controversial new Value Added Tax (VAT) but this will not be enough to sustain the economic growth of the Eastern Caribbean nation cautioned the Washington-based institute. Following a visit by an IMF staff team to St. Lucia during November 27 to December 7 for its annual Article IV consultation with St Lucia public, private sector and trade union officials, a statement issued by the IMF on December 12 said that it welcomed the introduction of the VAT as this would modernize St Lucia’s tax system, broaden the tax base, and enhance revenue collection. However, the IMF cautioned that the expected gain from the VAT could only be realized if all sectors contributed, and the base is shielded from the exemptions that have eroded the yield of other taxes. Even then, it said, a considerable further effort would be needed to strengthen the fiscal position and bring it on track to reach the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union-wide debt target of 60 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) by 2020. To be successful, stated the IMF, this adjustment effort will need to fall predominantly on current spending, especially considering the already large public wage bill and better targeting transfers and subsidies to the most vulnerable, as well as build on the introduction of the VAT to further widen the

tax base. It said these efforts were also necessary to safeguard needed productive investments and enhance the country’s competitiveness through restrained growth in wage costs. “St. Lucia has weathered the difficult post-crisis environment well, becoming the largest economy in the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU). Rising external headwinds, however, have dampened economic activity, with growth estimated to slow to 0.2-0.4 percent in 2012, despite government efforts to revive the economy. Low growth and high unemployment are weighing on financial institutions’ credit quality and their balance sheets. Fiscal imbalances have also widened, reflecting past expansionary policies and the recent stimulus efforts to boost growth, and are expected to contribute to continued sizeable external current account deficits. Inflation is projected to edge up in the wake of the introduction of the value added tax (VAT) on October 1, 2012, but the effect will be temporary,” stated the IMF’s St. Lucia mission chief Aliona Cebotari in the release. “Against this backdrop, the discussions with the authorities focused on achieving the appropriate balance between fostering growth and employment, while strengthening economic fundamentals through fiscal adjustment and addressing financial sector vulnerabilities,” she went on to add. “With unemployment remaining very high, especially among the youth, growth and job creation are appropriately key priorities

for the government. Addressing these challenges through fiscal policies is no longer an option because of lack of fiscal space. The mission welcomed efforts under way to improve the efficiency of the public service, streamline the regulatory environment for investments, and establish the institutional underpinnings of competitiveness reforms, in order to boost St. Lucia’s growth potential. Additional structural reforms will be needed to improve the business climate, adapt the education system to the needs of the economy, reduce trading and electricity costs, and eliminate price and non-price impediments to credit availability. Most importantly, restraining growth in public wages will be key to safeguarding the economy’s competitiveness and growth potential going forward,” cautioned Cebotari. “Restoring the health of the financial system is necessary to support the growth and stability objectives of the government. The mission discussed with the authorities measures to decisively address identified weaknesses in the financial system and its regulatory and supervisory environment, including by working closely with the regional bank supervisor and making the nonbank supervisory body (Financial Sector Regulatory Authority) fully operational. Passing the revamped legislation regulating credit unions and insurance companies will also be important in this respect,” she advised.l (

ourism and Entertainment Minister, Dr. Wykeham McNeill, has revealed that Jamaica’s tourism earnings posted a 3.2 percent increase over the US$1.6 billion generated for the same period in 2011. Addressing the recent thanksgiving service to mark the commencement of Tourism Awareness Week 2012, Dr McNeill disclosed that, to date, recorded some US$1.7 billion in earnings from tourism for 2012. The minister also said stopover visitor arrivals grew this year to stand at 1.7 million between January and October, marking a 2.4 percent increase over the same period in 2011. McNeill said these figures were evidence of the significant strides that Jamaica has made in efforts to tap into new markets, and expressed optimism that the country is poised for record arrivals next year, consequent on these. “We anticipate 2013 to be a groundbreaking year for Jamaica, and we will continue to tap new markets for opportuni-

ties, while boosting destination marketing efforts in these markets,” the minister said. He also provided details of new flight arrangements and existing ones that have been expanded, consequent on discussions with airlines serving new and traditional markets. "For the (current) winter tourist season, we will commence an inaugural non-stop flight from Moscow, Russia, starting January 1, 2013, into Montego Bay. We have also confirmed flight service from the Czech Republic, starting December 28. In addition, there will also be non-stop service from Paris, France.” “Out of the United Kingdom, we will add another flight from Gatwick, London, that will become a weekly service starting in May 2013; while British Airways will maintain its three flights to Kingston, and Virgin Atlantic Airways, its three flights to Montego Bay,” McNeill outlined. The minister said focus is also being placed on Latin America, while announcing

that discussions with COPA Airlines have led to their confirming a doubling of their services from four to eight flights weekly flights into Jamaica, beginning the 2012 winter season. “Approximately 1.1 million seats have already been secured for the upcoming winter tourist season. These visitors will come from our traditional markets, including the United States, Canada, and Europe, as well as other markets such as Latin America,” the minister disclosed. McNeill said the anticipated tourist arrivals result from a sustained advertising program spearheaded by the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB), which included year-long destination wedding campaigns; innovative social media initiatives; travel agent specialist program; and delving deeper into niche travel markets. He advised that Jamaica will be participating in upcoming trade and consumer shows, as well as other publicity initiatives to further boost the tourism product.l (


Jamaica Has Earned US$1.7 Billion from Tourism

St. Maarten 675 Third Avenue, Suite 1807 New York, N.Y. 10017 Tel: 800-786-2278

St. Vincent & The Grenadines 801 Second Avenue, 21st Floor New York, N.Y. 10017 Tel: 212-687-4981 Trinidad & Tobago 125 Maiden Lane New York, N.Y. 10038 Tel: 212-682-7272

For more Consulate information go to





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New Year’s Resolution for Congress Should Be Passing Immigration Reform



mid all the talk of the fiscal cliff and debt ceiling, White House and congressional staffers are working behind the scenes on negotiating some consensus on another major issue: immigration reform. If they can deliver a Christmas present in the form of avoiding the fiscal cliff, then passing immigration reform should be their New Year’s resolution. Resolutions are based on a desire to improve one’s life in some way. Often, they originate from a need that has gone unmet for some time. Take weight loss—the perennial favorite. If you’ve wanted to lose weight for a while, but were recently told by your doctor that you were morbidly obese, chances are your survival instinct would kick in and you’d have renewed motivation to address the problem. If you’ve put it off for a decade, it’s going to be tougher because you’ve probably gained more weight in the meantime. Yet the goal is no less important; in fact, you could argue that its importance has increased. It is the same with reforming our immigration system. Following President Obama’s reelection, helped in no small part by the growing Latino electorate, Republicans’ survival instinct has kicked in and it has renewed their motivation to address the problem of a dysfunctional immigration system.

Immigration reform has been put off for a decade, at least, and achieving consensus on such a complicated and politicized issue looks tougher in today’s political climate than it did in 2001, for example, when Mexican President Vicente Fox and President George W. Bush were in talks to tackle “the whole enchilada.” And yet, in the last month, the door is suddenly open for achieving meaningful, bipartisan reform following Mitt Romney’s loss and his failure to draw Latino voters, attributed by many to his tough immigration rhetoric during the campaign. Achieving a New Year’s resolution takes hard work and sacrifice, and immigration reform is no different. Both parties will need to sacrifice. Republicans must commit to a legalization program. Their recent passage of the STEM Jobs Act in the House was portrayed as a sign that the GOP was willing to work on immigration reform. Yet the bill was in the works before the election, and it does little or nothing to appeal to Latinos. Not

surprisingly, Senate Democrats blocked the bill. If Republicans want to show that they really mean business, they should be willing to tackle the tough stuff first. If they come up with a legalization plan that Democrats can agree to, it would go a long way toward smoothing the road for full reform, including a robust enforcement system and a realignment of future visas to better meet our needs for both high- and low-skilled workers. For their part, Democrats must be willing to consider scrapping the diversity visa, a lottery-based system of green cards given to 55,000 foreigners annually from countries of “low immigration.” (Note that only 18 countries are not considered “low immigration.”) This program, created in 1990 and benefiting mostly Europeans and Africans, has outlived its purpose. Africans are now the fastest-growing immigrant group, and they and others now have significant numbers here who are eligible to sponsor relatives. In recent years, both the

House and the Senate have voted to eliminate the program. Another potential sacrifice for Democrats is the visa category for siblings of naturalized citizens. As Congress debates what the “future flow” of immigrants to the U.S. should be, there are strong economic arguments for shifting away from family-based immigration to employment-based visas. Currently, two-thirds of green cards issued annually are family-based, far higher than in countries like Canada, Australia, or the United Kingdom. Employment-based visas make up 14 percent of U.S. admissions each year, compared with half of visas issued by the U.K. and two-thirds by Canada. The easiest family category to eliminate would be the adult brothers and sisters (and their families) of U.S. citizens, who account for about 6 percent of all green cards. So while we wait in tense anticipation to see if Santa will deliver a deal on the fiscal cliff or a lump of coal, let’s hope Congress can get serious about its New Year’s resolution to tackle immigration reform. Our survival—politically, economically, and morally—depends on it. Like all meaningful resolutions, this one requires hard work and sacrifice. l

Jill H. Wilson is a senior research analyst at the Brookings Institution Metropolitan Policy Program.



Councilman Eugene, Have You Been continued from page 1 Naughty or Nice?

Cazeau, is believed to be his mistress. They say that his brother and Ms. Cazeau appear to be the council member’s closest confidants and business partners, even though they are not legally employed by the city to work along with the council member. Sources with close ties to the council member say that Maxi appears to be the council member’s chief operations officer, and certainly acts this way by directing the affairs of the council member’s offices both in Manhattan and in Brooklyn, despite the fact that the council member has a chief of staff who is on the city’s payroll. The sources also alleges that Maxi and the council member are the financial controllers of the funds allocated to Council Member Eugene by the city for projects within his district and that they are both very secretive about the financial operations of the council member. Constituents say that there is something fishy about the secretive nature with which Mr. Eugene and his brother Maxi operate. They claim that they were accused of financial impropriety back in 2008 when Mr. Eugene directed some $45,000 allocated to him by the city, to a non- profit group founded by the council member. Sources close to Mr. Eugene say they fear that similar practices are again in play and the closeness and secrecy of Mr. Eugene and his brother should be investigated by the city. When asked by CAW about the allegations leveled at him by his constituents, Mr. Eugene denied the allegations, calling them “Nonsense and I want to see those who are making these false allegations. Let them come forward and confront me directly.”

In addition to Maxi, sources complain of Mr. Eugene’s close affiliation with Ms. Cazeau, the woman with whom he appears to be sexually involved with. CAW learned that Council Member Eugene flaunts this woman by driving her around in his car, having her attending functions with him, and even allows her to assist in directing the day-today operations at his offices even though she is not on the city’s payroll. There are even reports of Mr. Eugene and Ms, Cazeau being caught in sexually compromising positions at his office in Brooklyn, immediately following the recent opening of a recreational facility in the Flatbush section of his district. Some constituents say that when he was confronted about his close association with Ms.Cazeau, knowing that he, Mr. Eugene, is married, the council member says the woman is his loyal friend. Again, in response to questions from CAW about this alleged affair, Council Member Eugene said, “This is nonsense; this is nonsense…this is defamation of my character; I want to see who are the persons making up these false claims; if not I will come after you, the news. legally.” The other concern constituents of District 40 has with Mr. Eugene, is his close affiliation with the Jewish community within his district. They contend that as a result of this relationship, Mr. Eugene does not address the many housing problems they are experiencing at the hands of the Jewish landlords. The constituents say while they have no ill feelings against the Jewish community directly, the Jews own a majority of the buildings within the district; as a result a large number of the members of the district

are tenants of Jews, and repairs, heating, water and other pressing housing issues are a major problem. These problems they say, Mr. Eugene is unwilling to address since he is closely associated with the Jewish community. CAW, on November 15th 2012, contacted Mr. Eugene’s office for a response to the various allegations leveled against him. Mr. Eugene, through his press liaison, Heather Hart, requested time to adequately address the accusation and scheduled an interview with CAW for November 27th, 2012 at his Brooklyn office. Mr. Eugene appears to have staged a busy day at his office, and when CAW showed up for the interview Mr. Eugene invited the CAW representative to take a walk through his office to see the number of people present at his office. However, as the council member approached the crowd of people at his office, he informed them in both Creole and English that CAW was there to do an interview on a number of allegations leveled at him. After ranting to the group for a while, he then invited CAW to his conference room where he gave this response to the allegations: “I know what the people are doing, these are people with their own political interest, and they are doing politics for the people in the community. I don’t have time for this nonsense; I see this is funny; this is nonsense…tell them to come and raise those questions with me; this is not true…” When pressed about the accusations regarding sexual misconduct, nepotism and secrecy the council member responded: “The allegations whatever the people are saying; this is crazy; this is evil doing. I’m here in my district every day serving the people fairly. In life there is always a group of people who are trying to create [a] situation because of their


own interest. I am here; I have nothing to be afraid life is an open book. The people in the community know what I am doing…” The council member then deviated from the issue at hand and pointed to what he terms the “bigger picture.” He noted that he recently secured a $3.5 million grant for Kings County Hospital, $2.05 million for SUNY Downstate Hospital and $800,000 for Maimonides Hospital. Mr. Eugene says: “My time is spent securing deals and doing business that will benefit my district.” After his big hullabaloo, Mr. Eugene calmly sat in a one-on-one with CAW and revealed that he is doing his best to improve the well-being of the residents living in his district. He noted that most of them are poor and would like him to dole out money to them as they are accustomed to by politicians in Haiti or the other Caribbean territories, but he can’t do that since the laws that govern politicians here in the U.S. are different from the Caribbean. He noted that he has to account for every dime he spends or he will be placed before the courts for misappropriation of state and city funds. However, he was not willing to answer questions on the allegations of financial secrecy between him and his brother, and allegations of his sexual escapades with Ms. Cazeau. Council Member Mathieu Eugene is the first Haitian American to be elected to a City Council position and will be seeking to defend his district leadership and city council seat in 2013. He currently serves on the committees of Veterans, Fire and Criminal Justice, Economic Development, Immigration and Small Business at the City Council. His district is comprised of the ProspectLefferts area, Ditmas Park, parts of Crown Heights, Flatbush and East Flatbush. l




Dr. Una Clarke: From Foreign Student to Political Icon/continued from page 1

students from across the world, thus creating the platform for her political career here in the United States. During her early years in the United States, she lobbied for the rights of foreign students and an educator by profession, she laid the foundation for public service by becoming the vice president of her children’s school parent teacher association and further strengthened her position by becoming the president of her block association. After years of functioning in various leadership positions within the education arena and community life, Mrs. Clarke made her move to become directly engaged in politics. She collaborated with a number of prominent Caribbean nationals at the Medgar Evers College Research Center to ensure direct representation in the New York City Council for Caribbean Americans living in Brooklyn, by having two new districts added to the council in the 1989 redistricting process, the 40th and 45th districts. In 1991, Mrs. Clarke ran for the political leadership of the 40th district and held that position until 2001 when she resigned from public office and her daughter, Yvette D. Clarke succeeded her. During her tenure in public office Mrs. Clarke said she was pleased to work with Caribbean people doing whatever she could to enhance their lives both here and in the Caribbean.: “That’s one of the reasons why I entered political life; I told everybody that I was a Caribbean American, because I knew that I had to make an impact on our community… I am in America but I remain loyal to my own heritage as a Jamaican and as a Caribbean person…. I did not come to the United States of America and forget from

Clarke and her daughter, Congresswoman Yvette Clarke whence I came and to whom I belong….I think that my being in the United States has given me an opportunity not only to speak to, but to speak for, the Caribbean and the Caribbean community…. And I have always given voice to the Caribbean and the Caribbean people. I think I am an essential ambassador to the Caribbean and for the Caribbean having lived my [life] in such a way that both Caribbean Americans in the United States and those at home can be proud of me.” Her accomplishments on behalf of her people are what she terms “political infrastructures” that will benefit them for years. Those accomplishments include: 1. Stopping the sale of, and rebuilding of, Kings County Hospital. 2. Legalizing the commuter vans on Flatbush Avenue. 3. Building a vendors market on Caton Avenue that provides some 60 jobs for immigrant nationals. 4. Introducing public policy that paved the way for Caribbean teachers to be recruited to teach in the city’s public schools. 5. Initiating the policy for the implementation of the Minority Woman and Business Enterprise (MWBE) in

the New York City Council, and 6. Collaborating with other civic groups to put an end to police brutality that affects minorities in Brooklyn. Commenting on her achievements Mrs. Clark noted: “A lot of times if you have a program, when you leave office the program discontinues, so what I did was to put in place initiatives that will benefit the Caribbean and immigrant community in general long after I left office. If you build a hospital, everybody goes to the hospital; if you build a school everybody goes to school; if you build a vendors market it not only helps the vendors, it helps the community,… In addition, I had to be loud because police brutality was the order of the day, and I had to be loud to let the establishment know that I will not have them use the Caribbean community as a place where they can just kill people without having substantial evidence and to operate indiscriminately, and that we as a community will not stand by and have our nationals being brutalized….” Mrs. Clarke says she enjoyed working with immigrant people and mostly her Caribbean folks. The former council member says she

enjoyed what she did and would do it all over again for the benefit of the people she served: “My political life has been a great life; it’s been rewarding,… I know that my work and my accomplishments have made it possible for my daughter to be a successor of mine…so as to continue the work that I started here in this community. The way I see politics is to know when you’ve made your contribution and to know when you should have somebody else step in and do even greater work than you did. You have to know when it’s time to pass the torch.” Her advice to younger politicians and those aspiring to become politicians is: “having strategy and understanding your goals and objectives in politics is important. Politics is… about direction; will I swim or will I sink? In my mind, I’d rather sink if I am not going to achieve the most for my community,…” Mrs. Clarke, who has a Masters of Education degree from New York University, and post-graduate diplomas from Columbia University, along with a Honorary Doctor of Letters from the University of Technology in Jamaica, was the first immigrant woman to be elected to the New York City Council. She is calling on the various Caribbean ambassadors to cooperate with each other and form a united front if they want to truly represent the people of the Caribbean: “if all the ambassadors would get on the same page and go to Congress or go into the President with one voice we would get so much more. We as a Caribbean people could push the Caribbean to do what is right by the nations of the Caribbean. If we stand here and we are united as a people…we can go into them and say this is what we want to do regionally in terms of a trade agreement. You can’t make an agreement with Trinidad and another for Guyana or Jamaica; it has to be one treaty….”l

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Are Bad Habits Slowing Your Family Down? Simple Steps Can Make You More Efficient


lmost everyone has a habit they wish they could break, and with the kids back in school, there's no better time than now to identify and break routines that could be slowing your family down. It's hard to break an established routine. But, according to Bing lifestyle expert Lisa Gurry, simple steps to put better habits in place can help you and your kids save time and get more out of each busy day.

g Identify the bad habits: The first step is identifying what needs to be changed, as many of us don't even realize just how many habits we've formed. Take time as a family to come up with goals and identify roadblocks. Want to cut homework time down to allow for more quality family time? If homework time is anything like family dinner time, your problem might lay with tech habits. According to a recent Bing survey, nearly one quarter of people report it is too hard, or even impossible to break tech habits such as texting at the dinner table or always having cell phones on. Try turning off the TV and putting away cell

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phones during homework time to increase productivity and get homework done quicker. Quick and easy changes can instantly have an impact and increase focus.

Try out alternatives: We may not like them, but we all become attached to our habits and routines, and it can be hard to see alternatives. Trying out new things, even once, can open your eyes to great possibilities. For example, when it's time to do research for a homework assignment, do you automatically go to the same search engine for help? Most people visit the same sites and use the same resources because it's what they're used to. There are many other ways to shape up your family's homework habits. Try changing homework time to after dinner instead of right after school, when kids are itching to burn off energy. Or, if children are dragging at the dinner table to avoid doing homework, set a time limit for dinner. "Procrastination at the dinner table often led to late-night homework sessions at our house, leaving everyone g

tired and slow the next morning," adds Gurry. "To combat the problem, we started using a timer, giving ourselves 25 minutes to eat, once dinner is served. Once time is up, the table is cleared for homework. This minor change has given us back an extra 30 minutes each night before bedtime." Add in rewards: A great way to overcome bad habits is to integrate a rewards system. If your child usually feels like plopping down on the couch and zoning


out instead of completing a reading assignment, give him a reward for doing the right thing, such as a call to grandparents or a family bike ride. Rewards are important because they help reinforce good behavior and keep everyone motivated to stick with the new routine. Bad habits may be hard to break, but with a few simple steps, you can weed out routines that are slowing your family down and be on your way to a happier, better life.l (BPT)

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Making a Humanitarian Impact in Coney Island



ealthy Living Ministry, a nonprofit, non-denominational, volunteerbased organization, under the leadership of its executive director, Rev. Shirley Jordan, is making a difference in the lives of people living in Brooklyn, especially in Coney Island. While the Ministry caters to the needs of seniors and the homeless, it particularly focuses on the youths of the area who are targeted because of the recent spate of handgun violence that was wrecking havoc across the community, leaving a number of young people dead and causing residents of the area to live in fear. As a result of those criminal activities, the Ministry partners with the 60th Police Precinct in the area, forging an amicable relationship between the police and the community. The Ministry organizes block parties, plays and other social activities that are geared at educating youths on the dangers of guns, teenage pregnancy and other social ills that are negatively impacting young people. She says, “While we have made significant strides with those we spoke with and aid in halting the problem within some neighborhoods, there is so much more work to be done with not only the youths but their parents and other responsible seniors in the community to create a consciousness for life itself, and essentially the values of healthful living.” Other aspects of work undertaken by her Ministry is engaging residents of the area in a Healthy Living seminar, a WEE Angels

toys drive and a Coats of Love project. The Ministry engages the services of students from Abraham Lincoln High School in Coney Island and from Erasmus High School in Flatbush to assist with the distribution of food and other basic essentials to the needy people within the community. The Ministry received a grant from the New York City Department of Health which substantially funds the work of the organization. Corporate businesses such as Pathmark, Pepsi Cola, National Grid and the Red Cross also partner with the Ministry to meet the needs of the community. The Ministry promotes education by pro-

viding school supplies for students from Coney Island, Flatbush, Canarsie and the Bed-Stuy communities and runs a book club so as to encourage knowledge through reading. Rev. Jordon says her Ministry worked tremendously hard during the aftermath of Super storm Sandy to meet the needs of the residents of Coney Island, and is still engaged in the recovery process by providing food and other necessities for the residents. She praised the teenagers “for their efforts in climbing the stairs of those huge buildings to take food and other supplies to

the seniors and disabled people who could not come down to get their supplies. Thank you my young friends; thank you for your dedication and the sacrifice of your time to be of help…. We were just in the signing stage of bringing our Emergency Response and Disaster Relief Unit to Surfside Gardens Community Center in CI when the hurricane happened. How ironic for this to happen as it did; the community center is now destroyed; the water was up to the ceiling. Being ready and prepared is so important; we have the Emergency Response program ready to go but no place to go now; we are hoping that people will read this story and reach out to us as we need a building to run the great programs that has brought about great changes in the communities.” Her Ministry has a lot of work to do in the communities; therefore she is calling on civic-minded citizens to reach out to her organization by making donations in whatever way God inspires them to do so. The Ministry is open to all who wants to make a difference in the lives of people. Rev. Jordon is an ordained minister with a Masters Degree in Theology, a certified chaplain and a certified EMT emergency responder. She is a graduate of the Loving Church Seminary in Colorado and the New York Regional Police Chaplaincy Program. The Ministry was founded in 2005 and has two locations: 407 Monroe Street and 2940 Ocean Parkway. For more information the Ministry can be contacted at 718-7144367l.



Leadership & PR Boot Camp Training for Leaders & Staff

Managing Your Church The Organizational Plan (similar to the Business Plan) Non-profit Status & Tax Exemption The Executive Pastor Building Your Congregation Faith-based Marketing An Introduction to Social Media Church Administration Software Your Church Online Host Your Own Radio Show

Money for Your Church Church Financing Tax, Accounitng & Bookkeeping for Churches Love Gifts, Estate Planning & Wills Identity Theft & Credit Restoration - Impact on Churches Picture This... Your Community Success Starting a Soup Kitchen Be Healthy, Be Well

Hosea 4:6 - My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge

Training starts Saturday, February 16, 2013 @ 1pm Visit for registration and details Call 718-722-9217



A Road Map to Avoid Common Credit Mistakes


o err is human, but some mistakes — whether just dumb or wellintentioned — may seem like they can only be fixed through divine intervention. Common credit mistakes can make you feel that way. Staying alert and prepared can help you avoid some of the most-damaging credit mistakes. And if you do blunder despite your best efforts, knowing how to clean up after yourself can shorten the time it takes your credit to recover.

Here are five common credit mistakes: 1. Mixing personal relationships and finances. For example, co-signing an auto loan or mortgage for a friend in need may seem like a nice thing to do. But will the relationship survive if your friend defaults on the loan and your credit score suffers because of it? Many experts say that a marriage is the only point in life in which a personal relationship and financial one should converge.

2. Not paying bills on time or at all. This is pretty much the worst credit mistake you can make. Your payment history is a major factor in determining your credit score. Missed or late payments show up on your credit report and


can linger there for years, dragging down your score — and your ability to secure future credit at good terms.

3. Over-shopping for credit. Of course it makes sense to look for the best deal whenever you're spending money. But over-shopping for credit by making a large number of applications in search of the best terms can impact your credit score. Too many inquiries on your credit report can negatively affect your score.

4. Abusing your credit cards. Running up the balance on your credit cards not only causes you to pay a lot of interest, it affects your credit utilization ratio. Keep in mind your standing balance, compared to your maximum limit. It is a key factor in determining your credit score.

5. Checking your credit only once a year. You probably know you're entitled to a free peek at your credit report from all three major bureaus once a year. But checking your credit infrequently can be a costly mistake. Monitoring your credit can help you catch errors or evidence of identity theft, assess what steps you may

need to take to improve your credit score, and give you a better idea of how likely you are to get new credit with good terms. Yes, you'll have to pay to monitor your credit, but that expense may seem minor when compared to the potential costs of this common mistake. Avoiding mistakes While some of life's biggest lessons are the ones you learn the hard way, credit mistakes have consequences such as getting hit with high fees or reducing resources, due to a lower score. Ultimately, this makes it difficult for you

to secure financing when you really need it. To avoid credit mistakes, never allow yourself to be pressured into making a big financial decision before you have the chance to learn all the implications. Whether it's accepting dealer financing for your new car or co-signing a college loan for a loved one, every decision deserves careful consideration. Monitor your credit regularly, use credit wisely and take steps to protect your score.l (BPT)


10 OBAMA ADMINISTRATION Inauguration 2013: January 21 Ceremony Will Kick Off Barack Obama's 2nd White House Term



ow that we know that President Obama will be returning to the White House to start a second term on Jan. 21, 2013, Inauguration Day planning is now in full force. Hotels are being booked — or already have been booked, as is the case for the Ritz Carlton in the West End, for instance, among other top hotels in the area. Since the Jan. 20 Inauguration Day falls on a Sunday in 2013, the observed celebration will happen on Monday, Jan. 21. In addition to the swearing-in ceremony, Inaugural Address, parade and 11 official balls, there will be no shortage of unofficial balls, parties and more. According to the official Inauguration site, run by the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies, the 2009 ceremonies drew the largest attendance of any event in the history in the nation's capital. For more information about past ceremonies and the upcoming Inauguration, visit the official website or the official Inaugural Ceremonies Facebook page. Tickets for the Inaugural swearing-in ceremonies will be distributed in January by senators and representatives who were elected — or reelected. Congressional offices have been setting up processes to distribute tickets to their constituents.

Some guidelines from the office of U.S. Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.): Demand for Inaugural tickets far exceeds the number available, therefore my office will be conducting a lottery in late December to distribute the tickets alloted to my office. There is a limit of one request per household address. As a Senator for Colorado, my office is only able to distribute tickets to state residents. You must be a current Colorado resident to receive Inaugural tickets from my office. Please do not make your travel plans contingent on receiving tickets. My office will do its best to notify you in a timely manner if you have received tickets in the lottery. Tickets will most likely be for standing room only areas. Due to crowds, security procedures and the length of the ceremonies, ticket holders should expect to be standing outside in winter weather for several hours. All children old enough to walk must have their own ticket. Strollers are not allowed in any ticketed areas. Event organizers discourage bringing young

children to the Inaugural ceremonies due to weather conditions, the length of time you will spend standing and limited access to restroom and dining facilities. There are many ways to participate in the Inaugural festivities that do not require a ticket. While a ticket may place you physically closer to the swearing-in

itself, the majority of people will view the Inaugural ceremonies from the National Mall where tickets are not required. l

Visit for Obama news and updates




A Much-Needed Spotlight on Families Ripped Apart by Deportations



n December 12, dozens of children delivered thousands of letters to Capitol Hill, calling upon lawmakers to stop the senseless division of families that is caused by the deportation of mothers and fathers who are not a threat to anyone. The event was part of “A Wish for the Holidays,” a campaign with a simple but powerful message: “Every day, families across the country are separated by deportations and immigrant detentions. 5.5 million children live with the fear that a parent could be deported, and these policies threaten the fabric of all of our communities. It just isn’t right.” As a new report from the Immigration Policy Center (IPC) and First Focus points out, the 5.5 million children at risk of separation from their unauthorized immigrant parents include 4.5 million native-born U.S. citizens. But U.S. citizenship is not enough to save these children from being separated from one or both parents, or from years in the foster care system. That is what happened in the case of Felipe Montes, a father who has spent two years struggling to reunite with his three children, who were placed in foster care in North Carolina after his deportation to Mexico

in late 2010. The IPC/First Focus report describes how parents facing deportation must often make an agonizing choice: take their children with them to countries the children might not even know, or leave the children in the care of a relative or friend in the United States. At other times, as with Montes, parents lose the power to make even that basic decision when their children enter the child welfare system, a process which can eventually lead to the termination of parental rights. No one knows for certain how many families are broken apart by deportations. Before 2010, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) did not even track this information. However, the DHS Office of the Inspector General estimated that over 108,000 parents of U.S.citizen children were removed from the United States between 1997 and 2007. A 2012 report by DHS stated that 46,486 parents of U.S.-citizen children were removed during the first six months of 2011. And the Applied Research Center (ARC) estimated that roughly 5,100 children with a detained or deported parent were in the public child welfare system in 2011. ARC also estimated that over the next five years an additional 15,000 chil-

dren in the child welfare system could be at risk of permanent separation from a detained or deported parent. As the IPC/First Focus report notes, there are several serious hurdles to family reunification once a parent is facing removal, or has already been removed, from the United States. First and foremost, are the changes to U.S. immigration law enacted in 1996 that revoked the discretion of immigration judges to consider the harm that might be caused to a U.S.-citizen child by the removal of his or her parent. In addition, detained parents are often not informed of when they will be removed and may not be able to make travel arrangements for their child from behind bars. Moreover, if the child is already in the child welfare system, a judge or caseworker could determine that it is in the child’s best interest to remain in the United States rather than move to another country to be reunited with a deported parent. If injustices such as these are to end, Congress must reinstate judicial discre-

tion and revise or eliminate “mandatory detention” laws as they relate to parents of U.S.-citizen children. There must be some coordination between DHS and child welfare systems in the handling of cases involving parents in immigration detention. And detained parents should be given the chance to make arrangements for the care of their children. l





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12 NEWS SMALL BUSINESS MATTERS Hurricane Sandy Update: SBA Standing Ready to Help Businesses, Homeowners and Renters Recover



any business owners, homeowners, and renters along the East Coast are coming back to find physical damage to their buildings and property as a result of Hurricane Sandy. In addition, thousands of businesses are dealing with the economic blow caused by power outages, damaged inventory, and lost profits from being closed down. The Small Business Administration (SBA) stands ready to help. How does SBA help businesses, homeowners and renters recover? Three main ways: 1. Businesses and nonprofit organizations of any size can apply for a low-interest disaster loan of up to $2 million to repair or replace damaged real estate or inventory. 2. Small businesses and nonprofit organizations of any size can apply for Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL), also up to $2 million. With all of the power outages and evacuations, we know that many small businesses made it through the storm, but they’ve lost significant amounts of business. In many cases, these businesses will be eligible for EIDL loans to help cover their working capital needs, regardless of whether the business suffered property damage.

3. Finally, homeowners can apply for loans of up to $200,000 to repair damaged real estate. Homeowners and renters can also apply to borrow up to $40,000 to repair or replace personal property damaged by the storm. In addition, we can sometimes increase a loan by up to 20 percent to make structural improvements that lessen the risk of property damage by future disasters of the same kind. Once the disaster declaration is made for your area, there are several ways to apply: g Apply online at g Visit a Disaster Recovery Center in your area:

For information about the disaster loan process, or to have an application mailed to you, you can either email or call 1-800-659-2955. Those who are deaf, hard-of-hearing or speech-impaired can call 1-800-877-8339. To download an application, go to: As of last night, more than 292,607 disaster survivors from Connecticut, New York and New Jersey have applied for federal disaster assistance, and more than $277 million in Individual Assistance has been approved.

President Obama talks with residents on Cedar Grove Avenue during a walking tour of storm damage. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

If you are a survivor, it’s important to take that the first step, which is to register with FEMA, by calling 1-800-621-FEMA or going online to on your computer or mobile device. We already have disaster recovery personnel conducting damage assessments and many more disaster reservists ready to mobilize. In addition, business owners can get free help completing

applications and creating plans to rebuild at our local Small Business Development Centers. To find the location nearest you, visit Our commitment at the SBA and throughout the Administration, is that we will be there until we get the job done – and we will get it done right. For more about the government-wide response to Sandy, visit

14 NEWS FINANCE & TAXES Helpful Hints When Choosing a Return Preparer to Ensure You Don't Hire an Abusive Return Preparer


Return Preparer is defined as any person (including a partnership or corporation) who prepares, for compensation, all or a substantial portion of a tax return or claim for refund under the income tax provisions of the Internal Revenue Code. Return Preparer Fraud generally involves the orchestrated preparation and filing of false income tax returns (in either paper or electronic form) by unscrupulous preparers who may claim, for example: inflated personal or business expenses, false deductions, or unallowable credits or excessive exemptions, and fraudulent tax credits, such as the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). The preparers' clients may or may not have knowledge of the false expenses, deductions, exemptions and/or credits shown on their tax returns.

IRS Criminal Investigation (CI) reminds you: n Taxpayers are responsible for the accuracy of all entries made on their tax returns, which include related schedules, forms and supporting documentation. This remains true whether the return is prepared by the taxpayer or by a return preparer.

Be careful in selecting the tax professional who will prepare your return. Some basic tips and guidelines to assist

taxpayers in choosing a reputable tax professional are: n Avoid return preparers who claim they can obtain larger refunds than other preparers. n Avoid preparers who base their fee on a percentage of the amount of the refund. n Use a reputable tax professional that signs and enters a preparer tax identification number (PTIN) on your tax return and provides you with a copy for your records. n Consider whether the individual or firm will be around to answer questions about the preparation of your tax return, months, even years, after the return has been filed. n Never sign a blank tax form. n Ask questions. Do you know anyone who has used the tax professional? Were they satisfied with the service they received?

Return Preparation and Electronic Filing—Abusive Return Preparer The advent of electronic filing of income tax returns and the availability of Refund Anticipation Loans (RAL) has provided additional means for abusive preparers to commit fraud. Criminal Investigation, since 1977, has been screening suspected fraudulent returns. This is done by the Criminal Investigation Fraud Detection Centers

(FDC) at each of the ten IRS campuses where tax returns are filed. The purpose of the FDC is to detect refund fraud and return preparer schemes and refer them to the Criminal Investigation field offices for further investigation.

Tactics Used by Dishonest Abusive Return Preparers Dishonest return preparers use a variety of methods to formulate fraudulent and illegal deductions for reducing taxable income. These include, but are not limited to, the following:

•Preparing fraudulent Schedule C, Profit or Loss from Business, claiming deductions for expenses that have not been paid by the taxpayer to offset Form 1099, Miscellaneous Income, or income earned from outside employment,

•Including false and inflated itemized deductions on Schedule A, Itemized Deductions, for: •charitable contributions •medical and dental expenses •Claiming false Schedule E, Supplemental Income and Loss, losses •Claiming false dependents

Tax Evasion Tax Evasion is a crime, a felony, punishable up to 5 years imprisonment and a $250,000 fine. When in doubt, check it out! Taxpayers hearing claims from preparers offering larger refunds than other preparers are encouraged to check it out with a trusted tax professional or the IRS before getting involved.l

$50 Fee Tax Preparation Source: IRS

Federal & State For Income less than


Audit Representation on Any Year Taxes Year-round Tax Services

Figeroux & Associates Tax Practice

Tel: 718-363-7788

1105 Nostrand Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11225











Simple Tips to Glam Up Caribbean Kitchen Corner Caribbean Your Look Rum Punch M

ost women would agree that getting ready for a night out on the town is much more exciting than getting ready for a typical day. Dressing up, adding some shine or a little extra sparkle to your outfit can give your mood a boost whether it's for a special occasion or a regular day. If you're concerned that dressing up your daily ensemble will take your look over the top, remember that it's all about adding the right touches. Think of it as bringing added interest to a basic look, rather than wearing the same items you'd wear to a party. And if you are headed to a special event, some extra touches can make your look that much more show-stopping. "Adding a bit of glamour to any outfit serves two purposes," says Janette Ewen, style expert for PANDORA Jewelry. "It gives an added touch of refinement — and fun — to your workday looks, but it also makes you feel special. When you're well dressed, you feel your best — it's really as simple as that." To make date night, lunch with friends or even a day at the office a little more special, follow Ewen's tips for adding glam touches to your wardrobe.

n Stand Out. "Opt for pieces that will set you apart from the crowd, whether it's a brightly colored article of clothing, a striking pair of shoes or attention-grabbing jewelry," Ewen says.

n Choose an Area of Focus. If your blouse is boldly colored, let that be the "star" item, and make the rest of your clothes and accessories the supporting cast. "Picking one area to focus on keeps your look classy, rather than overdone," adds Ewen.

n Shop for Transitional Pieces. When you're at the mall or a clothing boutique, look for items that can be worn day to night with the help of the right accessories. Some blouses can be perfectly work-appropriate when topped by a blazer, and then be ready for a night on the town with the addition of jewelry or a different pair of shoes. "I love to pop the collar on a simple white blouse and add long, layered necklaces," suggests Ewen.

n Don't Overdo It. "If you choose to focus on jewelry, feel free to stack sparkling bracelets against neutral clothing," says



Dominican Republicborn supermodel Arlenis Sosa

Ewen. Avoid piling on big earrings, statement necklaces, lots of rings and stacks of bracelets all together. The right amount of sparkle will make your look sophisticated; too much is simply too much.

nWear with Confidence. No matter how you choose to accessorize or highlight your look, wear what makes you feel comfortable and confident. Ewen points out that you don't need to go outside your style in order to make your look more glamorous — simply add a little shine to a look that's perfectly your own. No matter the season, what you wear can have an effect on how you feel. So whether you're planning what to wear to holiday festivities or the perfect items to pack for vacation, keep these tips in mind to look and feel your best.l (BPT)

Trinidad Star Heather Headley Lauded for Role


his delicious concoction is the traditional rum punch recipe used in the West Indies, passed down for years. The old rhyme goes, 'One of sour, two of sweet, three of strong, four of weak.' Any fruit juice can be used. Serve chilled over ice, with fruit garnishes and a sprinkling of grated nutmeg. Ingredients: Original recipe makes 20(4 ounce) servings 1 cup fresh lime juice 2 cups simple syrup 3 cups amber rum 4 cups orange juice 4 dashes bitters freshly grated nutmeg

Visit for the latest Caribbean news, sports, information and more!

rammy and Tony award-winning artist Heather Headley has taken London’s West End by storm with her powerful performance in the stage version of the Whitney Houston film, The Bodyguard. The Trinidadian R&B and soul singer, songwriter, record producer, and actress has drawn universal praise and critical acclaim for her starring role as Rachel Marron, which was originally played by Houston at the height of her fame in 1992. Headley, a former Broadway star who recently returned to musical theater after a break of more than twelve years, did Houston’s memory proud, winning rave reviews for her "sassy stage presence" and "vocal swoops and trills... at least as fine a singer as Houston in her heyday, if not even better," according to critic Charles Spencer. l


Directions: Ready in 10 minutes In a pitcher, combine lime juice, simple syrup, rum and orange juice. Add a few dashes of bitters and some grated nutmeg to taste. Serve chilled over ice. l



Flu Season Etiquette Tips


hen the flu hits, manners may not be the first thing that comes to mind. Yet, good "flu etiquette" and hygiene can go a long way in helping to prevent the spread of influenza. While most Americans recognize that the flu virus spreads easily, they admit to sometimes forgetting their manners when they have the flu: a 2011 survey of more than 1,000 Americans found that three out of four Americans (75%) would go to at least one social situation if they had symptoms of the flu (out of a list of seven). Influenza, or "the flu," is a contagious viral infection of the nose, throat, and lungs which occurs most often in the late fall, winter, and early spring. The flu is a serious infection which is associated, on average, with more than 200,000 hospitalizations due to flu-related complications and can lead to thousands of deaths every year in the United States. "No one wants to spread the flu to family, friends, or colleagues. Yet many of us admit to tossing our manners aside when we have the flu," said Anna Post, great-great-granddaughter of Emily Post and co-author of the 18th edition of Emily Post's Etiquette. "Knowing how to politely cancel an event you're hosting or how to avoid shaking your client's hand because you're sick, can help avoid a potentially difficult and awkward situation. By following appropriate flu eti-

2. Know when to take a sick day — The flu is highly contagious and the people you work with don't want to get sick. Knowing the symptoms of flu versus a cold is important so you know when to take a sick day and see a doctor. Remember the acronym F.A.C.T.S. to recognize if you might have the flu (Fever, Aches, Chills, Tiredness with Sudden Onset).

quette, we can all play a role in preventing the spread of the flu virus." The Emily Post Institute offers the following etiquette tips to manage common situations where the flu virus might be spread from one person to another:

1. Share space, not the flu — Covering sneezes and coughs is a good habit all year round, especially during flu season. The flu virus can spread up to six feet away from coughing, sneezing, or even just talking.

3. In tight quarters — It's tough to point out someone's behavior mid-flight with hours left to go. However, the flu is highly contagious. If there's no other seat available, consider saying, "I can see you're not feeling well — would you mind covering your mouth when you cough? Thanks." Most people when prompted, are eager to show good manners and do the right thing. "Every year, millions of Americans get influenza. We are all personally responsible for helping to control its spread," says Susan J. Rehm, MD, medical director at the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (NFID). "The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the flu vaccine as the first and most important step in preventing influenza, as well as good hygiene. If symptoms arise, see a doctor quickly. The flu can be treated with prescription antiviral medicines."l BPT


FREE Consultations for Spousal Abuse Petitions


he Law Firm of Figeroux & Associates, with offices at 26 Court Street and 1105 Nostrand Avenue in Brooklyn strongly believes that no one—man or woman —should be a victim of domestic violence. In a statement to the Caribbean American Weekly, Mr. Brian Figeroux said: “It is unfortunate that someone who comes to America with hopes of a better life, find themselves in abusive relationships. To make matters worse, their legal status in the U.S. is dependent on their U.S. citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) spouse. We want persons to know that they don’t have to be a victim twice. Domestic violence is against the law and you can do an abused spouse petition. Help is available and we are offering free legal consulations. Please call 718222-3155 to schedule an appointment.”l



Women Having Affairs: Should You Stay or Should You Go?



omen who have affairs can often feel as if their marriage has had a long death. You may have been emotionally unfulfilled for years, longing for a connection that feels unrequited. After years of reaching out and thinking it’s not working…you burn out. Sometimes, a certain someone can walk into your life and ignite a spark. This new relationship gets you excited, makes you feel validated, and might even make you feel like a Victoria Secret model. However, affairs can also bring guilt and shame, and figuring out how to resolve both relationships won’t be easy. Here’s what you need to know.

Why It’s Happening? When you’re emotionally unfulfilled and feel like you’re living day in and day out in a bland relationship, the sudden chemistry with another person makes you feel alive again. Having someone who really cares, wants to learn everything about you, and tries to carve out time for you, is flattering and gives you a boost of self-esteem. You have deep needs in your marriage that are not being met, and you’re seeking to fill that void somewhere else.

The Problem The exhilarating feelings you experience with the “other man” may give you a rush, but these feelings are usually replaced with a sense of guilt. The guilt comes from feelings of shame that you are keeping part of your life and emotions hidden, and not feeling confident enough to speak up. You know you’ve made a commitment to your husband, and you’re not following through on the promises you made to be faithful and truthful. Your affair becomes like a drug – you know it isn’t right and feel guilty, but then keep going back to it because the other man also makes you feel a temporary high. At some point, fear can also

take over and you’ll start thinking about how if you come clean you could lose your marriage, respect of family, and even your financial security if the marriage is over.

Steps to Take 1. Understand why and where things went wrong in your marriage. Get to the root of it. Meet with a therapist to sort through it in a confidential environment without judgment. 2. Put the other man on hold until you figure out your next step. It’s best to close one door before you open the next. Your guilt won't fully go away until you make a clean break, regardless of which


man you choose, so stop communicating with the other man until you figure out if you’re going to give it a shot with your husband. 3. Read the book "Too Bad to Stay, Too Good to Leave." This book can help you sort out your feelings. Sort through the feelings about staying in your marriage or leaving to be with the new person (or to be alone). 4. Decide whether or not you will tell your husband about the affair. You can either tell your partner or not tell him. It’s up to you; but either way he needs to know how BAD things actually are in the marriage. He may not realize how bad you think things are and that you are feeling neglected and lost. You know your husband best, and can tell if it would be beneficial to your relationship to tell him about the affair, or if you can even live with yourself by keeping it a secret forever. Fixing your relationship after an affair isn’t easy — but it can be done. Infidelity doesn’t have to signal the end of your marriage, but it does mean that something is seriously off course and you need to work together to get it back on track. The guilt can be overwhelming, even to the point where it impacts your physical health, so it’s important to deal with the issue head-on and make a decision about staying in or walking away from your marriage. l Jennine Estes is a licensed marriage and family therapist. Please visit her website at

GREEN CARD SLAVERY? Don’t put up with ABUSE anymore! We can get a Green Card for you and your children PLUS a divorce. Call 718-222-3155 now for a FREE consultation!




Soca Star Found Guilty; PM Says He Has to Pay


rinidad and Tobago international Soca Star, Machel Montano, will re-appear in court on January 12, after he was found guilty of five criminal offenses by a Magistrate Court. Montano, the reigning Power Soca Monarch and Road March King, along with Kernel Roberts, the son of legendary Calypso icon Lord Kitchener, Joel "Zan" Feveck, a member of Montano HD Family band, and Rodney "Benjai" LeBlanc, best known for his patriotic song, “Trini,” were all charged with a series of criminal offenses arising out a fracas outside the Zen nightclub, in Port of Spain in April 2007. Magistrate Maureen BaboolalGafoor, who postponed her ruling on two consecutive occasions, delivered her decision to a packed courtroom finding that Montano was guilty on four charges of assault. He was also found guilty of using obscene language during the same incident. During the trial, State Prosecutor George Busby questioned the tolerance level of Montano as it relates to him dealing with his fans on a constant basis and the likelihood of his becoming agitated when doing so. Busby also stated that in Montano's evidence, he testified that at times he would also become agitated when mem-

bers of his band, The HD Family, made mistakes during their performances. "So even after 30 years of making music and performing, he would still lose his temper when the band makes a mistake. So I find it unbelievable that on that night (of the incident) he would have been able to control himself at a time when he wanted to relax and mingle privately," said the prosecutor. Prime Minister Kamla Persad Bissessar has said that international soca star Machel Montano will have to “pay” for breaking the law after he was convicted of five criminal offenses. The matter has been adjourned to January 12, 2013.l


Rihanna Partnering with Style Network


arbadian R&B recording star Rihanna, known for her own trendsetting style, is getting serious about the world of fashion, starring in a reality TV show competition that will challenge designers to make outfits for selected celebrities, according to U.S. cable channel Style Network. The forthcoming series will piggyback on a British television show on the same theme in which the Diamonds girl appeared this summer. Set to premiere next year, Styled to Rock will feature 12 young designers handpicked by the Grammy award-winning singer. The up-and-coming designers will be tasked with styling a celebrity guest on each episode of the series, and the guest will help determine which designer moves on to the next round of competition. "Fashion has always played an integral part in my life and career. I am so excited to partner with Style Network and share my creative insight with these 12 designers and give them this opportunity to showcase their work," Rihanna said in a statement. The 24-year-old singer will also serve

as an executive producer under her given name, Robyn Rihanna Fenty. Meanwhile, the Talk That Talk star recently celebrated the success of her new album Unapologetic, which topped the charts on both sides of the Atlantic, as well as her three nominations for the 2013 Grammy awards.l

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Tax Refunds & Bankruptcy


f you are considering filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy and you are expecting to receive or have received a tax refund, you probably want to know what happens to that refund. In general, whether you lose the refund or not depends on the timing of your bankruptcy and the receipt of your refund. But there are things you can do to make sure you keep your tax refund. When a debtor files for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, all of the person’s assets become part of the bankruptcy estate, which is administered (controlled) by the Chapter 7 bankruptcy trustee. The Bankruptcy Code defines assets very broadly. It includes more than money in the bank or property, such as a car. A tax refund is an asset that the trustee can use to pay unsecured creditors. It is very likely that the trustee will ask about a tax refund at your meeting of creditors. In Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the trustee can use the assets you have when you file for bankruptcy to pay off your creditors. You can keep any assets you receive after filing for bankruptcy, however. A tax refund can be tricky because it often involves a process that begins before the bankruptcy filing date and continues afterwards. Whether you can keep your tax refund from income earned before you file bankruptcy depends on how you manage the timing of your bankruptcy and receipt of your tax refund. In most cases, if you plan ahead you’ll be able to keep your tax refund, or use the money for other expenses.

Depending on how far in advance you know you will be filing for bankruptcy, there are three things you can do to keep your tax refund from creditors: • adjust your withholding to reduce your refund to a minimal amount • spend the refund on necessary expenses, or • Include the refund in your bankruptcy exemptions.

What to Do If You Think You May File for Bankruptcy within a Year If you think that you are going to file for bankruptcy in the next year, you can avoid the refund issue by adjusting your tax withholding so that you only pay the tax you owe. You will get more money in each paycheck and your refund that will be too small to provide any meaningful payment to your creditors. The trustee may abandon the refund, meaning that you will be able to

keep the money. It is important to make sure, however, that you continue to withhold a sufficient amount to cover the taxes you do owe.

What to Do if You Receive a Tax Refund Check Before Filing for Bankruptcy If you have received your tax refund and have not yet filed for bankruptcy, you can keep the money out of your bankruptcy estate by spending it. The trustee cannot use money to pay your creditors that you no longer have. If you spend your tax refund before you file for bankruptcy, make sure you spend it on necessary items. Approved expenses include: • mortgage payment, rent, or home repair • utilities • food • clothing • medical care

• car payments, maintenance, or • Education. Expenses that are not allowed include: • luxury goods • repayment to a friend or family member, or • Repayment of one credit card. If you buy luxury goods, the trustee could seek to deny your discharge because of bad faith. If you pay back one of your creditors and ignore the others, the trustee may find that you have made a preferential payment. This means that you have favored one creditor over another. The trustee can force the person or company who received the money to return it to the estate. Therefore, if you spend your tax refund, make sure to spend it on necessary expenses. In addition, keep very good records of how you used the money.

What to Do if You Receive a Tax Refund Check After Filing for Bankruptcy A tax refund you receive after the petition is filed will be part of your estate if it is based on income you earned before the bankruptcy. You may, however, be able to keep it. In bankruptcy, every debtor is allow to keep (exempt) a certain amount of property regardless of how much the person owes to creditors. The amount a person can exempt depends upon the state where the bankruptcy petition will be filed. Some states have a generous amount for exemptions that could cover a tax refund.l Source:





Latino Groups Warn Congress to Fix Immigration, or Else



he nation's largest Latino organizations warned Congress that they will keep a report card during the immigration debate next year, with plans to mobilize their voters against lawmakers who do not support a comprehensive immigration bill. At a news conference here, seven Latino groups and one labor union were showing their muscle, after the record turnout of Hispanic voters in the November elections played a pivotal role in President Obama's re-election victory. Janet MurguĂ­a, the president of N.C.L.R., also known as the National Council of La Raza, said the election had been a "game-changer" that conclusively "made the political case for a bipartisan solution" on immigration. "We have worked to build our power and now we intend to use it," Ms. MurguĂ­a said. "The bottom line," she said, "is that Latino voters went to the polls with the economy on their minds but with immigration reform in their hearts." The leaders made it clear they expect quick action in 2013. They said the president and Congress should take up an immigration bill soon after Mr. Obama's inauguration in January, with an eye

toward completing passage of legislation by August. The leaders said they would continue a joint campaign they led this year to naturalize Latino immigrants and to register and mobilize Latino voters. They said they would send results from the report card to those voters, to galvanize them during the debate and to guide their choices in the midterm elections in 2014. "Make no mistake, we will be watching," said Eliseo Medina, international secretary-treasurer of the Service Employees International Union, which led one of the most extensive Latino voter drives. The report card will show "who stood with us and who stood against us" on immigration reform, Mr. Medina said. Mr. Obama has said he intends to move quickly on immigration next year, after Congress comes to some resolution on the year-end fiscal crisis and other budget issues. A host of Republicans have come forward since the election to say their party should take a new course on immigration, after Mitt Romney drew only 27 percent of the Latino vote. Republican leaders who have studied voting statistics are concerned that their party's chances to regain the White House will dwindle if they cannot attract more Latinos. According to the Pew Hispanic

Center, Latinos will account for as much as 40 percent of the growth in the numbers of eligible voters in the country between now and 2030. By that year, the center predicts, 40 million Hispanics will be eligible to vote, nearly double the 23 million eligible today. The leaders said Latinos were spurred to the polls by the hard-line positions that Mr. Romney and other Republicans took on immigration. "We realized that people were attacking us personally," said Maria Teresa Kumar, president of Voto Latino, a voter mobilization group. The Latino groups will focus on lawmakers in states and districts where their voters can make a difference. For those who do not support reform, Ms. Kumar said, "in 2014 it may not look pretty for them." Latino leaders argued that Washington has not done enough to bolster enforcement against illegal immigration. "We can no longer see enforcementonly policies moving through Congress," said Chris Espinosa, national advocacy director for the Hispanic Federation. "We have secured our borders, now it's time to get to other elements of immigration reform." The leaders said they seek a single comprehensive bill, rather than several

bills addressing legalization for groups of illegal immigrants, like young people or farmworkers. They said they would insist on a path to citizenship for all 11 million illegal immigrants in the country, rather than a temporary legal status that does not offer an eventual chance to naturalize. The news conference also included leaders from the League of United Latin American Citizens and the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials Educational Fund. Mr. Medina, expressing some of the optimistic bravado Latinos are feeling, promised a "massive" grass roots campaign next year. "It's going to be a doozy," he said. "Failure is not an option," Mr. Medina said. "Comprehensive immigration reform is going to happen. Whether it will be over the political bodies of some of the current members of Congress," he said, "only they can decide."l Source: New York Times (December 12, 2012) via National Institute for Latino Policy



Remembering Civil Rights Leader Lawrence Guyot


awrence Guyot (July 17, 1939– November 23, 2012) was a civil rights activist who was the director of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party in 1964. Lawrence Guyot spent his life fighting for civil rights — but often at great personal cost. He was jailed and beaten regularly by police in the Deep South while helping black people get involved in politics. He died at the age of 73. Guyot was severely beaten several times, including while at the notorious Mississippi State Penitentiary known as Parchman Farm, in the early 1960s. He continued to speak out on voting rights issues until his death, including encouraging people to vote for President Barack Obama. His daughter, Julie Guyot-Diangone, said, “He was a civil rights field worker right up to the end," She also added that she had seen him recently on a shuttle bus encouraging people to register to vote and asking about their political views. She said he was an early backer of gay marriage, noting that when he married a white woman, interracial marriage was illegal in some states. He met his wife Monica while they both worked for racial equality. "He followed justice," his daughter said. "He followed what was consistent with his values, not what was fashionable. He just pushed people along with him." Susan Glisson, executive director of the William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation at the University of

Mississippi, called Guyot "a towering figure, a real warrior for freedom and justice." "He loved to mentor young people. That's how I met him," she said. When she attended Ole Miss, students there wanted to learn from the civil rights activists. She had a mailing list of those who had attended a Freedom Summer reunion in 1994; Guyot was one of two who answered. "He said any time Mississippi young people called, he would answer," Glisson said. "He was very opinionated," she added. "But always — he always backed up his opinions with detailed facts. He always pushed you to think more deeply and to be more strategic. It could be long days of debate about the way forward. But once the path was set, there was nobody more committed to the path." Glisson said Guyot's efforts helped lay the groundwork for the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which, she said, "changed the political landscape in the South."l

The Civil Rights Act of 1964

the content of NOW? Everything, not some things, in the President’s civil rights bill is part of NOW’’ (King, ‘‘In a Word —Now’’). Following Kennedy’s assassination in November 1963, King continued to press for the bill as did newly inaugurated President Lyndon B. Johnson. In his 4 January 1964 column in the New York Amsterdam News, King maintained that the legislation was ‘‘the order of the day at the great March on Washington last summer. The Negro and his compatriots for self-respect and human dignity will not be denied’’ (King, ‘‘A Look to 1964’’). The bill passed the House of Representatives in mid-February 1964, but became mired in the Senate due to a filibuster by southern senators that lasted 75 days. When the bill finally passed the Senate, King hailed it as one that would ‘‘bring practical relief to the Negro in the South, and will give the Negro in the North a psychological boost that he sorely needs’’ (King, 19 June 1964). On 2 July 1964, Johnson signed the new Civil Rights Act of 1964 into law with King and other civil rights leaders present. The law’s provisions created the Equal Employment Opportunity



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The signing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Commission to address race and sex discrimination in employment and a Community Relations Service to help local communities solve racial disputes; authorized federal intervention to ensure the desegregation of schools, parks, swimming pools, and other public facilities; and restricted the use of literacy tests as a requirement for voter registration.l