KINGSTON, Sept. 3 (JIS): Jamaica is to benefit from a regional project, aimed at creating a fully functional electronic public procurement system across the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME).
The Regional Integration Electronic Public Procurement System, which is to be implemented across CARICOM member states, is geared towards the liberalisation and integration of the regional market for trade in goods and services.
This involves establishing and maintaining a regime for the free movement of goods and services within the CSME. The programme is being implemented by CARICOM, with funding support from the European Union.
Programme Manager, Caricom Single Market and Economy, CARICOM Secretariat, Ivor Carryl, in an interview with JIS News on September 3, pointed out that Jamaica and other Caribbean states have much to gain from the successful development of such a system, which is expected to be in place by 2016.
Mr. Carryl is in the island attending a two-day consultative forum, being held at the Knutsford Court Hotel in New Kingston from September 3 to 4 with representatives from both the public and private sectors, to discuss recommendations for the project.
He informed that a regional approach to public sector procurement, supported by a regional procurement system, can bring many benefits to the Caribbean region, and can be one of the key pillars for the advancement of the Caribbean integration process and the CSME.
“You are looking at a market that is somewhere in the vicinity of US$17 billion annually and for a region of five and half a million people (with the exception of Haiti), that’s a lot of money,” he added.
“In fact, government is one of the biggest single sectors in every economy in CARICOM, so if you want to boost intra-regional trade, and for each country to generate business and create employment, one of the solutions is to open the market for government procurement,” Mr. Carryl said.
He noted that this will allow contractors and suppliers across the region to compete openly and equitably for contracts in other member states, in addition to what they have at home.
The Programme Manager further informed that ground work for the project is underway, with considerable research and background work being undertaken by the CARICOM Secretariat, the CSME Unit and various member state representatives.
This has resulted in many notable achievements and outputs, including the formation of the Regional Taskforce on Procurement and the development of the Framework Regional Integration Policy (FRIP) on Procurement.
He noted that the EU has provided funding of some €600,000 for the first phase of the project.
Mr. Carryl informed that significant work is still to come, particularly with regard to improving legislation across the region to harmonise government procurement procedures.
A reform of the procurement systems and processes in every country where the project is to be implemented will also be undertaken, as well as the installation of relevant IT hardware and software and the training of required personnel.
Mr. Carryl noted that one of the important hurdles to be overcome for full implementation of the programme will be the need to ensure that every country has legislation that allows transactions of this type to be done electronically.
“What we have been doing is checking on each country’s situation to gather what is the general situation in terms of legislation,” he said.
“Many states up to this point still operate with Finance and Administration Acts, rather than a procurement law. Several of them do have an Electronic Transactions Act, but it may not speak specifically to procurement in the public domain. So, one of the things that CARICOM is responsible for doing under the project is to prepare the protocol and the supporting implementing law and rules,” he further explained.
It is anticipated that feedback from the two-day forum will help to address some of the challenges and opportunities the proposed system may present to contractors and suppliers in the use of a regional electronic platform.
Similar consultations will be held in Barbados on September 9 and St. Lucia on September 12.
Bahamas and Germany Enter Agreement to Facilitate Direct Airlift
#TheBahamas, December 4, 2021 – The governments of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas, and of the Federal Republic of Germany entered into a technical bilateral Heads of Agreement aimed at fostering closer ties between both countries. A central feature is an Air Traffic Agreement to facilitate direct flights from Germany to The Bahamas, which would in turn facilitate movement of goods and services, ease of direct shipment as opposed to going through a third country, among other things.
The HOA was signed during a ceremony at the Ministry of Works & Utilities on Tuesday, November 30, 2021. The Hon Alfred Sears, who served as Acting Minister of Tourism, Investments & Aviation, and His Excellency Dr. Stefan Keil, Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to The Bahamas signed the agreement. Also present were: Permanent Secretary Reginald Saunders, Ministry of Tourism Investment & Aviation; Luther Smith, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Works & Utilities; Bacchus Rolle, Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Works & Utilities; Melanie Roach, Director of Public Works; and Carl Christian Illing, Honorary Consul of the Federal Republic of Germany, Bahamas.
Mr. Sears said it was a pleasure both countries entered into such an agreement, which he deemed would bring together, two peoples.
The Bahamas and Germany formed diplomatic ties in 1974 and have enjoyed successes in commercial enterprise, tourism and family ties as many Bahamians live in Germany.
“This relationship has been growing and this (agreement) represents the ease of travel, business and social interaction between our two countries,” Mr. Sears said, adding that Bahamians consume and use German products namely vehicles, pharmaceuticals and other items.
In other areas, Mr. Sears noted that The Bahamas is one of the most vulnerable countries in the world susceptible to effects of global warming. He thanked Germany for its role in the recent COP26 held in Glasgow, Scotland, during which that country pledged some twenty million Euros for disaster risk reduction initiatives.
He recalled Hurricane Dorian, which struck Abaco and Grand Bahama from September 1-3, 2019 and, as a result, residents in the path experienced storm surges 20 feet high, many lives were lost, clinics, other public buildings and infrastructure were damaged and/or destroyed, and The Bahamas lost a large portion of its GDP.
“The commitment of Germany resonates with us,” Mr. Sears said, “as we rebuild and build the infrastructure stronger.”
The minister shared the possibility of acquiring more vehicles from Germany, targeting more stopover visitors from there with projection of higher spend and enjoyment of more cultural activities. Permanent Secretary Saunders supported this, by confirming that direct air travel is being facilitated through the agreement.
Ambassador Keil too acknowledged the close relationship between both countries, and that the technical agreement will further strengthen those ties.
By Lindsay Thompson
Photo Caption: Photos show Minister Sears and Ambassador Keil during the signing ceremony at the Ministry of Works & Utilities, November 30, 2021.
(BIS Photos/Yontalay Bowe)
DIGICEL+ GIVES CUSTOMERS THE GIFT OF MORE SPEED THIS CHRISTMAS
The fastest internet just got even faster…for the same great price
Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands – 1st, December 2021 – Digicel+ is gifting The Turks and Caicos Islands faster home fibre speeds for Christmas, and beyond. Fulfilling the brand promise of Simply More (more power, more speed and more reliability), customers will now benefit from up to 2x faster download speeds on broadband and bundle plans.
This is all about a better experience for customers, and not about the cost. This free upgrade gives Digicel+ customers an even better home fibre internet experience, for anyone, on any device. And as part and parcel of the digital lifestyle, Digicel+ is the gateway to a Smart Life, which means that state-of-the-art Smart Solutions like Smart Homes and Smart Security are no longer just concepts, but a powerful reality.
Addison Stoddard CEO of Digicel TCI said, “This Christmas, we’re excited to reward customers with a super slick, superfast, super reliable home fibre experience, underpinned by service delivery that is, of course, second to none. Our entry-level plans are the fastest on the island and this puts us head and shoulders above any other internet offering in the country.”
The upgraded packages now start with download speeds of 50Mbps, and go up to 300Mbps for the speed demons and heavy gamers out there. This allows the Turks and Caicos Islands to connect to the global knowledge economy, have amazing entertainment options, and power their personal and professional experiences, thanks to these new superfast internet speeds.
Addison Stoddard continued, “It’s more of what our customers expect; more of what they want and it’s another way that we can be a part of our customers’ digital lives – at home, on the go, anywhere and everywhere. Simply put, Digicel+ is simply more.”
Over the past two years, the COVID-19 pandemic has solidified the importance of having a steady, powerful and reliable home internet connection, mainly due to many schools going online and parents working remotely. Now, with even faster internet speeds, customers get the best home fibre experience every time. This provides opportunities for MORE working, MORE schooling, MORE gaming, and MORE streaming with Digicel+.
Guys, Have 2 Minutes? Here’s How to Check Yourself for Testicular Cancer
Testicular cancer is a rare form of cancer for men in The Bahamas. It is highly curable — if you know it’s there!
November 30, 2021 – Men…how often do you perform a self-exam to check yourselves for testicular cancer?
While it’s a relatively rare form of cancer, young men aren’t exempt – in fact, testicular cancer occurs most often in young and middle-aged men. The good news is, it can usually be treated successfully.
The most common symptom of testicular cancer is a lump on your testicle. But that’s not the only sign of this disease.
Men who have testicular cancer may experience several different kinds of symptoms, says oncologist Timothy Gilligan, MD, a Medical Oncologist at Cleveland Clinic who specializes in treating testicular cancer.
Testicular cancer most frequently strikes men younger than age 44, and is the most commonly diagnosed cancer for men ages 15 to 34. It is almost always curable if found early, Dr. Gilligan says, and it is usually curable even when at a later stage. So it’s important to know signs and symptoms.
Here, Dr. Gilligan says, are five possible signs of testicular cancer you might not know about:
5 Testicular Cancer Symptoms That Aren’t a Lump – Know what to look for and catch it early
- A feeling of heaviness or pressure in your scrotum.
- Change in testicle size or firmness.Certain types of testicular tumors can reduce testosterone or increase estrogen in the body, which can result in a change in testicle size or firmness.
- Swollen legs.When a tumor spreads to the lymph node, it can constrict blood flow in the veins and result in a blood clot. The clots often occur in the legs, which causes them to swell. You might even experience blood clot symptoms such as pain and difficulty breathing.
- Lower back pain and shortness of breath.These are symptoms of advanced testicular cancer, meaning the cancer has spread to lymph nodes behind your stomach. Shortness of breath also may signal that the cancer has spread to your lungs, which may make it harder for air to move in and out.
- Breast growth or tenderness.In rare cases, hormone changes also can cause breast tenderness or growth of breast tissue. Some tumors can secrete high levels of a hormone called human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG), which stimulates breast development.
If you experience any of these symptoms, make an appointment with your doctor right away, Dr. Gilligan says. If your physician diagnoses you with epididymitis or orchitis and the symptoms do not resolve quickly with antibiotics, request an ultrasound to evaluate for a testicular tumor.
“While up to 95 percent of men with testicular cancer are cured, it’s important to get care quickly if you’re experiencing symptoms because testicular cancers usually grow fast,” Dr. Gilligan says. “If there is disease, the earlier it is treated, the greater than chance for success.”
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