Viewpoint

I am deeply saddened and hurt by the disrespectful and insensitive comments Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Captain, Brian Beckmann, made on Wednesday, April 11th towards Trayvon Martin and the tragedy that has sparked a national outcry. To blame this tragedy on Trayvon Martin and his parents is not only disrespectful to the thousands that marched and raised their voices demanding justice for Trayvon, but also reveals that the fight for justice is far from over. Just last week I expressed my appreciation and gratitude to the community for their tireless support and standing up for Trayvon. From the massive Rally in Sanford to the Million Hoodies March in New York, the rally in Liberty City that I spoke at, and even the rally in Little Haiti that I helped organize -- we did it! We got justice 45 days later with George Zimmerman finally being formerly charged for the murder. So to have Beckmann make these hateful comments is demeaning to all of our efforts.
   Following my whirlwind visit to Kingston, Jamaica last weekend - the corporate and cultural capital of the Western Caribbean - travelers can rest assured that everything is "cool and cris." The recent civil unrest and the government's security response in the west Kingston neighborhood of Tivoli Gardens caused great concern among travel partners in the marketplace, so I was keen to see the situation firsthand and can verify that Jamaica's vibes are indeed still nice, and notwithstanding low hotel occupancies, it is business as usual in the capital.
The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) is deeply saddened by the tragic loss of life and the extensive damage caused by the earthquake that hit Haiti yesterday. Our prayers are with the People of Haiti, all of whom must be deeply touched in one way or another by this tragedy. We offer our sincerest condolences to the families of all those who lost their lives and to those who are grieving their loss.
April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month and in light of that I feel compelled to stand alongside so many dedicated individuals to end the often ignored epidemic of sexual abuse and sexual exploitation of innocent young girls and boys.  Recently, State Representative Erik Fresen and I, along with State Senator Anitere Flores, embarked on a journey in Tallahassee. This journey, known as House Bill 99, "Safe Harbor Act," recently culminated with the governor's signature and is now law in the State of Florida.  This bill ensures we adequately address victims of child exploitation as just that, victims. This good bill will protect young boys and girls who are being lured and trafficked in the sex industry in our own back yard. The bill was authored by Kristi House Executive Director Trudy Novicki. Kristi House is the Children's Advocacy Center for all of Miami-Dade County and is dedicated to providing a healing environment for child victims of sexual abuse and their families.
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