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300,000 Students To Benefit From School Feeding Project

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KINGSTON, Sept. 10 (JIS): Over 300,000 students are expected to benefit from an integrated school feeding project, to be implemented by the Government. Titled: ‘Strengthening of School Feeding Programmes in the Framework of Latin America and the Caribbean without Hunger 2025 Initiative’, the project involves collaboration among the Ministries of Health; Agriculture and Fisheries; and Education.

It aims to strengthen the Government’s existing school feeding programme by, among other things: ensuring adequate nutrition for students through increased access to affordable nutritious, safe, and quality foods in schools; and establishing and maintaining a comprehensive school feeding national policy, plan, and legislation.
This integrated school feeding project model has recorded significant success in Brazil, where it has been undertaken over the past 50 years. Brazil’s government, along with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), are partnering with Jamaica to implement the initiative, for which a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) formalizing the arrangement, is to be signed by the major stakeholders.

At the launch on Tuesday (September 9), at the Planning Institute of Jamaica’s (PIOJ) New Kingston offices, Education Minister, Hon. Rev. Ronald Thwaites, said its implementation will ensure that children, particularly at the early childhood level, have access to adequate nutritious meals each day, thereby fortifying their development.

“We know that in that first 1,000 days (of a child’s life), and beyond, to perhaps grade eight, is the time of brain formation, or personality development, when nutrition plays a tremendously important role,” he said.

He stated that the “knowledge… of the Brazil model of school feeding will be of inestimable opportunity for us in Jamaica. This is exactly the kind of cooperation we need for Jamaica, and I trust that the information that will be purveyed, will not only be a fillip to the local economy, but, also, be a tremendous strength to the process of education.”

In his remarks, Acting Agriculture and Fisheries Minister, Hon. Derrick Kellier, said the initiative is integral to “our holistic drive for the National Food Security and Nutrition Programme.”
“If we wish to have a nation that is healthy, then we must ensure that our young children are properly fed and, from the earliest stages, be involved in pursuing a healthy lifestyle. Therefore, our educational, health, and agricultural policies and programmes must be crafted and implemented in such a way as to enhance convergence and collaboration to ensure the best outcomes,” he stated.

“It is for this reason that the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries is fully committed to ensuring the supply of more nutritious and locally grown foods throughout the nation, specifically in the school feeding programme,” Mr. Kellier assured.

Health Minister, Hon. Dr. Fenton Ferguson, gave the Ministry’s commitment to playing its part to achieve the goals that have been outlined in the (project) MoU.”
In his remarks, FAO’s representatives to Jamaica, Belize, and the Bahamas,
Dr. Jerome Thomas, said that school feeding programmes are important in promoting food and nutrition security in countries where they exist.

“They also impact on the implementation of public policies for the achievement of the right to food. For these reasons, school feeding programmes are, therefore, recommended as one of the major strategies for addressing long-term sustainable development,” he added.

PIOJ Director General, Colin Bullock, said the project represents an important partnership between regional governments and the Government of Brazil, supported by the FAO, while Charge d’Affaires at the Brazilian Embassy in Jamaica, Alfonso Nery, said his Government welcomes the opportunity to share the key components of its school feeding programme with Jamaica.

Key among the project’s initial engagements is a two-day workshop, being conducted by visiting Brazilian school feeding experts, for 45 participants from several government ministries, departments, and agencies, at the PIOJ, which commenced on September 8.

The workshop’s participants also include representatives from Antigua and Barbuda, and St. Lucia, where similar programmes are slated for implementation.

Following the workshop, the participants will receive additional training, which will run until December 16.
Brazil boasts one of the world’s most successful school feeding programmes in the world. Managed by the National Fund for Educational Development (FNDE), Brazil’s programme currently provides nutritious food to more than 45 million children across the South American nation, through integrated public policy development and implementation with other government sectors.

Brazil’s involvement in Jamaica’s project forms part of the Government’s commitment to South-South cooperation, particularly with Caribbean countries.

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Caribbean News

Barbados bestows Humanitarian Award on PAHO director Dr. Carissa Etienne 

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By Shanieka Smith

Staff Writer

 

#Barbados, November 25, 2022 – The newest recipient of Barbados’ Humanitarian Award is outgoing Pan American Health Organization Director, Dr Carissa Etienne.  The government of Barbados grants this award to frontline workers who were instrumental during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Upon receiving the award, Dr. Etienne expressed her gratitude for the recognition, noting, however, that she was more grateful for the opportunity to have served on the island. She also praised Prime Minister, Mia Mottley for her diligence in leading the country and regional involvement during the pandemic.

Humanitarian medals were also given to Frontline workers who risked their own safety to ensure the needs of the public were met. Those who held supporting roles on the frontline received humanitarian lapel pins, and those who made generous donations were given humanitarian plaques.

Dr. Etienne highlighted one major lesson from the pandemic, “we are only safe when the weakest among us is also safe”.

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Bahamas News

Bahamas and Turks & Caicos Immigration Ministers make appearance on TCI Radio Talk Show

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#TheBahamas, November 25, 2022 – “We have a humanitarian concern of course but we can only absorb so much” was how Fred Mitchell, Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Public Service in The Bahamas addressed the issue of the UN constantly nudging Caribbean countries about the deportation of migrants and recommending that it not be done.

He was speaking Thursday November 24 with Cheryl and Zhavargo on First Edition which airs on RTC FM.

While acknowledging that the UN offices likely ‘have to do what they do’ Minister Mitchell  explained that the current irregular migrants trying to get into the Bahamas did not fit the bill of ‘refugees’ as defined by the UN.

“We have a treaty obligation that says that if people have a fear of persecution in their home country that we have an obligation to take them in as asylum seekers. The people who come through on these boats from the south of us are not asylum seekers. They are afraid of poverty and that’s a difficult issue but in a legal sense we’re not obligated to embrace people on that basis.”

He cited a study that had found, on any given day there were around 7,000 illegal migrants in The Bahamas trying to get to the US maintaining that his chain of islands had to take a stand on the issue.  The Foreign Affairs minister acknowledged that  TCI was in an identical situation, citing also the the cultural effects of irregular migration.

“There is a cleavage which has developed in our own society over this; people are very concerned that we could lose our identity if we do not get on top of it.”

Earlier this year Arlington “new sheriff in town” Musgrove, Minister of Immigration and Border Services in the Turks and Caicos had described statements calling on surrounding countries to do more to assist persons fleeing Haiti as “reckless and misguided.”

“Haiti has a population of 11.6 million people. How could any small developing state like the Turks and Caicos Islands assist that number of people or even the smallest fraction of them? We have a population of some 47,000 persons, and our health care, education and other social systems remain fragile and could never withstand an influx of refugees. This would be a risk to our very own livelihood,” he had said.

He was interviewed in the same show on Thursday prior to Mitchell and expressed a similar determination to crack down on illegal migration.

“I want to stress this. If we catch anyone harbouring illegals, it could be my mommy, she’s going up. We cannot tolerate this. We’re catching the sloops so my Haitian brothers and sisters should stress to them don’t waste your money we’re sending you back.”

Turks and Caicos, this year passed a law, doubling fines and prison times for individuals harbouring illegal migrants.

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Bahamas News

Former Bahamian Cabinet minister defends record amid ongoing police investigation

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By Shanieka Smith

Staff Writer

 

#TheBahamas, November 25, 2022 – Former Youth, Sports and Culture Minister, Lanisha Rolle is reportedly currently under investigation due to several allegations that came up during her tenure; she however knows nothing of this alleged criminal investigation.

After the minister resigned – unceremoniously –  in February 2021 with little explanation, the ministry was locked down by the Prime Minister for an audit of the National Sports Authority, which fell under her ministry.

Auditor General Terrance Bastin revealed that unauthorised contracts had been issued, some of which were later forwarded to the NSA for payment. Three cheques to contractors were also found, which were paid to individuals and then collected by a senior ministry official.

Despite the allegations, Rolle said she upheld cabinet standards and good governance during her tenure. She added that a minister is not always aware of “everything in a ministry at any given time.”

Rolle said she has not yet been approached by the RBPF regarding the audit findings.  Having served as a member of the Police Force for 11 years herself, Rolle told a crush of media on Wednesday (November 23) that she continues to trust that they will follow the legal process and in due time, the truth of her innocence will be revealed.

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