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KINGSTON, Oct. 21 (JIS): The country’s preparedness against the Ebola virus will be further boosted with the acquisition of a state-of-the-art thermal scanning machine, at a cost of approximately $4.3 million (US$30,000).
Capable of detecting elevated body temperature, the machine is being acquired by the Passport Immigration and Citizenship Agency (PICA), with funds provided by Sagicor Life Jamaica Limited.

The scanner, to be placed at the Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay, which is recording the largest number of incoming passengers, is being sourced from Canada. It is expected to be acquired and installed within four to eight weeks.

Sagicor’s President and Chief Executive Officer, Richard Byles, made the symbolic presentation of the cheque to National Security Minister, Hon. Peter Bunting, and PICA Chief Executive Officer, Jennifer McDonald, during a media briefing at Sagicor’s New Kingston Corporate Office, today (October 21).

Mr. Byles indicated that Sagicor’s gesture results from its concern about the possible threat Ebola poses to Jamaica’s economy and citizens’ welfare.

“Not only must we be alert and sensitive to the threat, as I think we are now, but we must be practically prepared to manage it, should it reach our shores. Therefore, Sagicor wants to take a practical step towards making us more prepared by funding the purchase of the machine…designed for mass screening in public areas, like our airports and seaports,” he said.

Mr. Byles said the machine should augment the hand-held fever temperature machines, four of which have already been acquired by the Government, through the Ministry of Health.

He appealed to fellow private sector corporate entities and business interests to “step up and make a contribution
to this effort.”

Meanwhile, Mr. Bunting welcomed Sagicor’s donation, pointing out that Jamaica’s defence against Ebola and other infectious diseases “is growing and expanding our partnerships and our preparedness, as the fight is not (one) for the Government alone.”

“This move by Sagicor shows their enlightened approach to corporate responsibility and governance. This machine will go a significant way in supporting the immigration and health officials, who are working very hard to protect our borders and to prevent Ebola from being introduced to our shores,” the Minister said.

He also indicated that the Government will be moving to see how quickly additional thermal scanners can be acquired, adding that their ability to record the temperature of a stream of persons, “will be much less of an obstacle to the free-flow of passengers through the airport terminal.”

Health Minister, Hon. Dr. Fenton Ferguson, in welcoming the contribution, said the Ministry is “very happy that
Sagicor, as a corporate entity, is able to respond in this manner.”

Dr. Ferguson said as a result of resource constraints, “we are going to have to depend on the corporate community and others to supply these (much) needed pieces of equipment.”

For her part, Mrs. McDonald said the contribution shows not only the relationship with the private sector, but highlights some of the work that (the) officers at PICA have done.

She also commended the initiative of the officers who made representation for the thermal scanner’s acquisition, and sourced background data on it, after seeing it in operation while on training overseas recently.

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Bahamas News

Brave presentation in defence of Bahamas’ financial services reputation by PM Davis



By Sherrica Thompson

Staff Writer


#TheBahamas, October 1, 2022 – Prime Minister of the Bahamas Phillip ‘Brave’ Davis is again calling for equality in the financial services sector and for the United Nations to leverage its universal jurisdiction for greater oversight of global anti-money laundering de-risking and tax cooperation matters.

In addressing the United Nations General Assembly on Saturday, September 24, Prime Minister Davis said the Bahamas is one of the best-regulated countries in the world, yet it has been under attack by international bodies and placed on the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) blacklist while transgressions in the developed world are ignored.

He questioned why this was the case and highlighted some disparities in the financial sector.

“Why is it that European states that operate frameworks akin to that of high-risk or blacklisted countries, are not even eligible for inclusion on these lists? Why are all the countries targeted – all of them – small and vulnerable, and former colonies of European states? We find it astounding that the $2-$3 trillion dollars which is estimated to be laundered each year through the developed countries, are never flagged as causes for concern,” articulated Phillip Davis, addressing the 77th session in New York.

Prime Minister Davis further noted that there are elements of racism in the decision-making when it comes to regulating black-governed countries in the financial services sector. He also declared that black-governed countries matter as well.

And yet my country, which is widely recognized as one of the best-regulated countries in the world, and other countries like The Bahamas, are singled-out for such reputational attacks? The robust regulatory regimes of our Central Bank, Securities Commission, and Insurance Commission, are chastised on minor details of technical process, while much bigger transgressions in the developed world are ignored.

The evidence is mounting, that the considerations behind these decisions have less to do with compliance, and more to do with darker issues of pre-judged, discriminatory perceptions. Black-governed countries also matter.”

 Davis also highlighted the need for reforms that apply to all in the global financial system.

“Mr. President: We support the call for reforms in the global financial system to make it more relevant to the needs of today. But those reforms need ambition. They need to go beyond the incremental. And they need to apply to all. For example, the community of international financial institutions are in a position to forgive the debt incurred by the economic shutdowns during the COVID-19 pandemic. They should do so.”

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Will US President Biden deliver on Climate Change funding?



By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer


#USA, October 1, 2022 – US President Joe Biden has reiterated his promise that low income countries, which are also low carbon emitters will receive increased climate aid from the US to the tune of $11 billion per year.

The President was speaking at the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly recently where he maintained his administration was working with Congress to get the funds which would ‘help lower-income countries implement their climate goals and ensure a just energy transition.’

The plan was announced in September 2021 and is a reflection of the USA’s part in the 2010 global pledge made by developed countries to give $100 billion annually in climate financing to developing nations each year.  Biden has indicated that the plan will be in effect by 2024.

While he stressed at the UN that the need is ‘enormous’ the President is having trouble convincing lawmakers at home.  So far the funding which must be approved by Congress has not materialized. The United States Congress is known for having a particularly tight hold on the national purse in regards to climate change funding.

In fact congress dedicated only a little over $1 billion to climate change this year according to Bloomberg.  The US also has a history of promising funding for climate change but not delivering on those high priced promises.

Whether this $11 billion will actually get to nations like those in the Caribbean region is yet to be seen.

This year, the General Assembly heard from 190 speakers, including 76 Heads of State, 50 Heads of Government, four Vice-Presidents, five Deputy Prime Ministers, 48 Ministers and seven Heads of Delegations according to General Assembly President Csaba Kőrösi as he summed up the first in-person General Debate since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.


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Caribbean News

Hurricane Ian impact on Cayman Islands



By Sherrica Thompson

Staff Writer


#Cayman, October 1, 2022 – The Cayman Islands experienced fierce winds and high seas from Hurricane Ian on Monday, as the storm passed offshore, causing little lasting damage.

Some areas on the island experienced flooding as low-lying condo complexes and some residential back roads were inundated with water. Almost 4,000 homes were without power on Monday; however, most had electricity restored by the evening.

There were also no reports of any injuries, deaths, or serious structural damage.  The country started its restoration process on Monday afternoon, clearing debris from the roads, surveying the damage and providing support to residents where needed.

In a statement on Monday afternoon, Premier of the Cayman Islands Wayne Panton said he was pleased with how residents handled the situation.

“While we have been very fortunate to have been spared the worst of a potentially very serious storm, I’m extremely pleased to have seen the efforts made by the Caymanian public to prepare for ‘the worst, while praying for the best. In this situation, this is simply the safest, most strategic thing to do,” the Premier said

Despite the all-clear being issued on Monday evening, the Ministry of Education announced that government schools will remain closed to students until Wednesday, 28 September.

Meanwhile, in Cuba, authorities have declared emergencies in six areas, with forecasters warning of storm surges on the coast along with flash floods and mudslides.

Tens of thousands of people were told to leave their homes and seek shelter. Cuba could see up to 12 inches of rain from Hurricane Ian.

Hurricane Ian dramatically intensified and is blamed for at least two dozen deaths in Florida; where the storm struck with near category five force winds and a near 20 foot storm surge.

Over 700 rescue operations were activated in Florida in the aftermath of the storm, which is still wreaking havoc in the U.S.


Cayman photo credit:  RC Cord

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