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BAHAMAS HEALTH MINISTRY AIMS TO ALLAY EBOLA FEARS

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Excerpt from BIS Press Release:

NASSAU, October 17, 2014 — “Most recently we have been informed of a second case of human-to-human transmission of EVD, this time in the United States in a health care worker caring for the imported case of EVD there.

Again, this course of events has been of particular interest to the Bahamas because of the volume of travelers to our islands, and the travel of our residents throughout the globe and returning to our shores. The Ministry of Health began spearheading the nation’s preparation and response to Ebola months prior to its introduction to our hemisphere. Stakeholder groupings were gathered to assess the readiness of the health sector (public and private) for an encounter with Ebola. After assessment, definitive plans and actions for improving the system readiness were enacted, including procurement of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), defining reporting structures and mechanisms, establishing linkages with international organizations and testing facilities, training of personnel in relevant recognition and treatment protocols, among other actions. During the preparation of the health sector, engagement was initiated with our non-health sector stakeholders to include our armed forces, border control officials, ports of entry entities, national emergency planning agencies, the media, and many others. These discussions and planning activities resulted in the drafting of a National Ebola Response Plan as a focused exercise between the Ministry of Health and the Pan American Health Organization. The foundation of the plan included the national response plans for cholera, pandemic influenza, and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) but taking into account the unique features of Ebola.

The Bahamian public should know that as the Ebola situation continues to evolve so will our plans, as both are dynamic. The exercise involving the suspected case of Ebola in-country in mid-September presented us with an opportunity to test our preparation. Although areas in need of strengthening were identified, and are being addressed, we have been commended by our Caribbean, regional and global partners for our handling of the situation. We will not leave any stone unturned we know that complacency will threaten our national security and potentially our way of life. We will remain vigilant in ensuring that the population’s health is protected from this and all threats with the most appropriate response we can provide. We look forward to engaging with all partners throughout the public and private sectors in order to ensure this global threat is contained and ends.

Ebola Virus Disease is a severe disease characterized by; sudden onset of fever, intense weakness, muscle pain, headache and sore throat. These symptoms may be followed by; vomiting, diarrhea, rash, impaired kidney and liver function and in some cases both internal and external bleeding. The World Health Organization has recommended persons avoid unnecessary travel to Ebola affected countries at this time. Persons who do travel to affected areas should ensure that necessary precautions are taken to avoid exposure, especially avoiding the bodily fluids of symptomatic patients. Travellers who experience any of the above mentioned symptoms within 21 days of arriving in the Bahamas should consult their health care provider immediately or contact the Surveillance Unit at 502-4776/502-4790/397-1021/376-3533.”

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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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