The remains of an Ontario woman who died in the Bahamas during hurricane Dorian will soon be returned home, her mother said.Josie McDonagh said Alishia Liolli’s body was flown off the Abaco Islands to a funeral home in Nassau on Wednesday night and should be coming to Canada in the coming days.“There’s nothing in this world that could explain what I’m experiencing right now,” McDonagh said through tears.Liolli, 27, died after the full force of Dorian hit the Caribbean islands on Sept. 1. She had moved to the Bahamas in 2013 where she helped build and run a program for adults with autism.McDonagh could not get in touch with her daughter or her son-in-law for days as she frantically posted for help on various websites. Liolli’s husband, Cialin Dany, was able to find someone with a working phone to deliver the devastating news to McDonagh.“The first three days was hell for me,” McDonagh said.During those days, McDonagh spent a lot of time dealing with Canadian Consulate officials in Nassau. She said they were also struggling to get information in the aftermath of the hurricane due to the devastation it wracked upon Abaco Islands.The official death toll in the Bahamas stands at 50, but authorities expect that number to increase significantly.“The embassy couldn’t reach out to anyone on the island,” McDonagh said. “There was no police force left on the island. Their hands were tied, our hands were tied.”Then Dany stepped up, McDonagh said. He was running all over the island with the couple’s 17-month-old son trying to get the paperwork in order to bring his wife’s body to Canada.“If it wasn’t for my son-in-law, she wouldn’t be coming home,” McDonagh said. “That’s seven days running around with my grandson. He ran out of diapers, he ran out of milk. I blame the Canadian government for not going in and having our own people there helping out.”McDonagh said she does not blame the people at the Canadian consulate, who continue to work under difficult circumstances, but she hopes the federal government can learn from her daughter’s ordeal.Hours before Dorian pounded the Bahamas, Liolli asked her friends and loved ones on social media to pray for her family and the small island she called home.“I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t terrified; but the dogs, chickens, husband & children are inside and everything is batted down the best we could!” Liolli wrote on Aug. 31. “I love you all — please pray for our Bahamasland, especially our Abaco.”On Wednesday, Dany wrote about Liolli on Facebook.“We had so much dreams and so much plans,” he said. “My heart is aching, my head is exploding.”Liam Casey, The Canadian Press
Dozens of blue-collar Bangladeshi workers at a factory in Dubai are preparing to sue their employer as he has not paid them in months, reports UNB.They are among a group of 300 workers stuck there without money and food. Some of them have become illegal residents after their visas expired and the company has taken no step to renew them.Bangladesh consulate’s first secretary (labour) Fakir Muhammad Munawar Hossain told UNB that 168 of the workers are Bangladeshis. “We’re in touch with them,” he said.One of them told Khaleej Times that they were penniless and had no food to eat. “Our visas are expired and our passports are still with the employer. We cannot work elsewhere as we don’t have our documents,” he said.Dar Al Ber Society charity has been distributing food items and conducted a medical camp at the workers’ accommodation on Wednesday after learning about the situation from an Indian expat.Munawar said the workers were employed by a “reputable Indian construction company” which recently went bankrupt and that some workers had not been paid in six or more months.Most of the workers’ salaries range in between 700 and 1,500 dirham (roughly Tk 16,000 and Tk 34,500).The employer, who has not been named, promised to clear the dues at the earliest, Khaleej Times reported.The UAE is one of the most preferred destinations of Bangladeshi workers in the Middle-East. Last year, they sent back $2,425.4 million or 15.6 per cent of the total remittance.Munawar said they were providing the workers with legal assistance and food but solving the problem will be a bit complex under the local law.He also spoke about an alternative. “If they give up on their demand, they can go back with the guarantee money.”But the Bangladeshi workers told him that they will move the court. “The procedures can take about seven months,” the first secretary said. “We’ll assist anyone willing to file cases and help those who want to go back.”Munawar said the problem being faced by the Bangladeshi workers was not uncommon. “Many companies are being shut down regularly and we’re doing whatever we can to help our workers,” he said.But the situation appeared to be very grim for the workers. One of them told the newspaper that they had to depend on the mercy of the passerby or nearby cafeterias for meals.”It’s too embarrassing to beg for food. We came here to work with dignity … not to beg or become illegal residents,” he said.
In a letter addressed to the Legislative Black Caucus of Maryland Chairwoman Cheryl Glenn this week, Gov. Larry Hogan signaled a willingness to resolve the decade-long Maryland HBCU Equity lawsuit. Hogan offered Maryland’s HBCU’s up to $100 million over 10 years. “We are happy that the governor is in the frame of mind to resolve this lawsuit,” Glenn said. The Baltimore Democrat said she does not see the monetary amount offered by the governor as an end but instead as a possible beginning of a conversation to resolve the impasse between the state and Maryland’s four HBCU’s. “This is not a settlement but the start of a process and, of course, this is an election year,” Glenn said, suggesting that Hogan wants to avoid the bad blood that would result from a formal appeal of the November remedial ruling in favor of plaintiffs for Maryland’s HBCU’s.Other lawmakers and HBCU advocates are not at all buying what the governor is selling. “That equates to 2.5 million per year over the next 10 years for each of the 4 HBCU institutions. That’s like throwing peanuts at a very gigantic problem,” Del. Nick Mosby told members of the House of Delegates Appropriations Committee this week. The House Appropriations Committee is currently considering HB 450, the Britt-Rawlings-HBI Comparability Program, the state funding program designed to create fiscal equity between the state’s four HBCU’s and traditionally White campuses. HB 450 is a companion bill for SB 252, with the same name, introduced recently in the Maryland State Senate by Sen. Joan Carter Conway (D-Balt.)Mosby made it clear that legislation proposed in the House of Delegates and State Senate is not meant to replace the Maryland HBCU Equity Trial’s remedial ruling handed down in November by Judge Catherine E. Blake in U.S. District Court. Blake ordered the appointment of a special master to create unique high-demand programs at each of the state’s HBCU’s and required the state system of higher education to eliminate the discriminatory system of program duplication. Appropriations Committee members were eager to learn how HBCU’s would use additional funding. “In terms of where the funding would be spent, we have very high-end expensive programs that are currently underfunded,” Juliette Bell, president, University of Maryland Eastern Shore, explained to the Appropriations Committee. Bell wouldn’t comment on the governor’s proposed offer of $100 million to settle the HBCU lawsuit. But David Burton, lead plaintiff for the Maryland HBCU Coalition, had no problems responding to Hogan’s gesture. In an interview with the AFRO, Burton said the governor’s offer of $100 million was a “slap in the face” and not a sincere gesture. “$100 million is just the beginning of a long conversation. It’s nowhere near the requisite amount to meet what is needed to restore HBCU’s to a position of parity as required in the judge’s ruling,” Burton said. By comparison, the landmark “Ayers” Higher Education desegregation settlement in 2002 required the state of Mississippi to pay $500 million for new programs, facilities and student recruitment at Jackson State, Alcorn State and Mississippi Valley, the state’s three public universities. In the governor’s offer letter, addressed to Del. Cheryl Glenn, Hogan’s Chief Counsel Robert F. Scholz says the $100 million offer “represents a serious, multi-year commitment which we believe goes well beyond what the law requires.”“There should not be any signaling at any level from anyone that the governor’s proposal addresses the long-term remedies that will be necessary to resolve this long-standing issue,” said Burton. There is no easy way out of this.”“$100 million dollars does not meet the standard. If you read Judge Blake’s remedial order closely, it will take billions, not millions of dollars over years to correct the years of discrimination faced by Maryland’s HBCU’s,” Burton said.