Global Reporters for the Caribbean (GRC), the producer of 18º North and a distributor of Caribbean film and TV content worldwide, would like to make the public aware that an article currently circulating on the internet alleging that GRC's founder and main reporter, Zahra Burton, interviewed Jamaica’s Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Desmond McKenzie, about an investment opportunity called “Bitcoin Era” is not true.
At no point has Ms. Burton had any discussions with Mr. McKenzie regarding any such investment, nor has she endorsed any vendor, commodity, or service. Additionally, the article referenced is in no way associated or affiliated with GRC, 18º North or Zahra Burton.
In this regard, GRC would like to advise the public to treat with suspicion any unknown contact it may receive trying to sell this so-called investment opportunity. International media has reported that "Bitcoin Era" has been widely rebuked as a scam by readers on cryptocurrency forums online.
GRC has tried to make contact with the site responsible, to no avail, and so it is trying to pursue other avenues as well like notifying various search engine sites and contacting local law enforcement.
GRC has also made contact with Mr. McKenzie’s office advising them of this issue. The Jamaica Observer, whose logo was used as a header for the article, was also contacted, and it has since put out a notification advising the public about this falsehood.
The matter of Brik Pan Brik
On the topic of being misrepresented, there was also the unauthorized use of Ms. Burton's voice taken from an 18º North investigative report on lottery scamming as part of the song Brik Pan Brik released in 2019 by the Jamaican artiste Skillibeng.
Since it came to our attention back then, GRC has consulted a few attorneys locally and internationally on how to best deal with this issue but has not yet found a workable solution to fully address it.
While GRC is an ardent supporter of free speech and creative expression, and though Skillibeng had indicated in an interview, “I personally don't promote scamming, only artistry in my music,” the song has been interpreted by some individuals as celebrating this activity, which is something that GRC and its founder, Zahra Burton, abhor.
Scamming has had a detrimental impact on the lives of victims - many living in the U.S. - robbing them of their life savings. It’s affected the international relationships of Jamaican financial institutions, putting more banking constraints on legitimate businesses. It’s also said to be tied to murders, compounding Jamaica’s already intractable homicide problem.
With this in mind, GRC and Ms. Burton would like to make it clear that we do not endorse that song in any way. We condemn any pro-scamming message that may be interpreted from it. Additionally, just to be clear, no revenue has been received by GRC or Ms. Burton for the usage of Ms. Burton’s voice in this song.
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Protect yourself. Please don’t fall victim to scamming.
The team at GRC/18º North and Zahra Burton