With a look at some of the top stories making the news today, July 27 across your Caribbean-American community in South Florida, I’m…for CNW 90.

Today’s newscast is brought to you by the Florida Department of Health;

To help stop the spread of COVID-19, The Florida Department of Health in Broward County reminds everyone to practice social distancing, wash your hands often with soap and water and cover your nose and mouth with a tissue or sleeve when coughing or sneezing.

Coming up in the newscast, new COVID-19 testing sites open in Broward and Miami-Dade, virtual reggae sumfest delivers top performers and Trinidad to only allow CARICOM observers at election.

Now for the news in the detail

In response to the surge in cases in Miami-Dade and Broward counties, five federally funded testing sites were opened over the weekend. Two of the sites are in Miami-Dade and three are in Broward County. Anyone ages five and older can get a test for free, regardless of symptoms. In Broward, sites are at Dillard High School in Fort Lauderdale, Blanche Ely High School in Pompano Beach and McArthur High School in Hollywood. In Miami, the sites are at Miami Jackson Senior High School and the Miami-Dade County Auditorium along Flagler Street.

The new testing sites come as the Covid-19 death toll reached an all time high last week. Florida has reported more than 120 daily deaths over the past five days, peaking at 173 on Thursday. The sites will be open until August 2.

Now for Caribbean News, The coronavirus pandemic did not put a damper on Jamaica’s reggae sumfest, which took place virtually, over the weekend. Reggae and dancehall’s tip acts took the stage, not in front of a live audience, but via livestream. The opening night saw performances from old school duos Chaka Demus and Pliers and Tanto Metro and Devonte, with new school dancehall acts Ding Dong, Agent Sasco and Shenseea. The second and final night closed the festival with performances from Sizzla, Tarrus Riley, Maxi Priest, Koffee, and Freddie McGregor among others.

Also in Jamaica, two Nigerian nationals were arrested and charged last week for suspected lottery scamming and breaching the immigration act. The foreigners, who were residing in St James, were arrested at the Sangster International Airport in the parish on Wednesday. The Police report that the men were collecting packages at the cargo section of the airport when a package was searched and customs officers discovered that it contained bank cards. Upon investigating, the police found identity information belonging to other persons. A search of their premises revealed additional devices that reportedly contained identity information of persons residing overseas. The suspects will appear in the St James Parish Court on Wednesday,  to answer to the charges.

The parish of St. James, and in particularly, Montego Bay – its capital city, is the birthplace and centre of lottery scam activities in Jamaica. The scammers, in their perfected international accents, call foreigners and convince them that they have won a drawing or lottery, but the cash or prizes will not be released without upfront payment of fees or taxes. In recent years, the scamming industry, which illegally generates millions of US dollars each year, has reached crisis levels, and has ironically, become a trending topic in dancehall music.

Those living in St. James’ poorest and most violent communities, teenagers with no source of income, adults with no employment options or those that want to make quick and easy cash are usually recruited to join the massive scamming operations in Montego Bay. The scamming enterprise itself may be incidental to the embeddedness of the corruption, criminality, and violence that now characterize St. James. And even though the parish has been under the international spotlight for its scamming operations, Montego Bay, which has been under a state of emergency for the last two years, is still marketed as Jamaica’s “friendliest city”.

Meanwhile, Trinidad and Tobago’s Prime Minister Keith Rowley announced on Friday that there won’t be any Commonwealth observers coming for the General Election on August 10 – but there is the possibility of CARICOM observers. Rowley said after he made the request for observers, the Commonwealth replied saying they didn’t think they would be able to come because of the cost. He noted that quarantining a delegation for the required two-week period involved hefty costs. It was also difficult to get to T&T since there are no commercial flights currently due to the lockdown of the borders due to COVID-19 restrictions.

For more information on these and other stories, visit CNWNETWORK.com. Remember to pick up this week’s copy of our Caribbean National Weekly at your nearest Caribbean – American outlet.

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