KINGSTON, Oct. 12 (JIS) BY: CHRIS PATTERSON – Joyous shouts and cheers filled the atmosphere in Treadways, recently as residents of the St. Catherine-based community showed their appreciation for the opening of an internet café.
Not even the onset of afternoon showers, could put a damper on the celebratory mood of the residents, scores of whom turned out to witness the official opening of the approximately $300,000 facility.
The café, which is intended to benefit residents of Treadways and neighbouring communities, is located on the grounds of the Treadways Gospel Assembly.
The initiative is one of the four projects undertaken by Civil Servant of the Year 2013-14 and Director of Productions at the Jamaica Information Service (JIS), Enthrose Campbell, under the theme ‘Transformation and Renewal for a Better Tomorrow’.
The Treadways internet café project is supported by Digicel, which donated computers, desks, and chairs. The facility is equipped with two desktop computers, two laptop computers, a multipurpose printer, and wall posters, and will also serve as a homework centre.
In expressing gratitude for the gift, church member, Stephaney Rankine, vowed to take care of the facility.
Ms. Rankine, who is also a teacher at the Ewarton Primary School in St. Catherine, urged the community members to use the facility to empower themselves.
Community member, Judith Higgins, said the facility’s establishment will not only encourage more young people to attend church, but will also allow them to conduct research.
Another community member, Isorene Morrison, said the café will be used by her grandchildren, pointing out that the initiative is a “wonderful thing”.
In his remarks, Science, Technology, Energy, and Mining Minister, Hon. Phillip Paulwell, who was guest speaker at the function, said the initiative supports the Government’s thrust to increase access to broadband services.
He said the establishment of internet cafés, supported by citizens and members of the private sector, along with the Community Access Points (CAPs) that the Government is putting place, will further advance this mission.
“What we want to see is what Enthrose is doing here today. How we are going to get our people to have access to the technology that will enable us to develop ourselves, that will enable us to be a part of this global village, that sees information (not only) as a valuable tool for learning but also as a tool for earning,” he said, adding that the facility’s location will bring people, especially youngsters, closer to the church and to God.
CAPs enable community members to use the internet at minimal or no cost for research, bill payments, education, communication, business, marketing, and social networking.
In the meantime, the Minister committed to “match what Digicel has done”, as well as provide Internet and WiFi services for two years, free of charge.
He said that this, however, hinges on how well the facility is maintained, pointing out that a site visit will be conducted in two months to ensure that the standards up to par.
Providing an overview on the project, Ms. Campbell informed that having selected four projects to undertake during her tenure, she was adamant, despite the challenges faced, that they would be completed.
“People were saying ‘Enthrose, you really should just take one project and focus on it because you are going to stretch yourself too much’. But I said to myself, that that would be a dilemma for me to select one of my four projects, because which one would I give up?” she said.
The projects included: a public sector empowerment programme; teaching CXC Spanish classes to St. Andrew Technical High School students, as well as teaching Spanish classes to Customs Officers; a series of features on excellent civil servants; as well the internet café at Treadways.
“I thought that these projects were planted in my heart and each of them was conceived with love and in addition they were planted by the Father,” she said, adding that the decision was made to pursue them all.
Ms. Campbell said the café location was identified following discussions with her neighbour, friend, and pastor of the Treadways Gospel Assembly, Elder Courtney Lyn.
“This internet café was born out of a desire to give back something to the community. I don’t live in Treadways, I don’t work in Treadways, but Treadways is my community. It is your community, Treadways is our community,” she said.
Ms. Campbell commended Digicel and the JIS for the work they have done to ensure the project’s fruition.
She noted that even though the project may be small, “it is a start” for greater things, and used the opportunity to encourage others to support the initiative.
In his remarks, Elder Lyn said the initiative is timely and will assist the students and community members in conducting research, among other things.
For her part, Senior Corporate Relations Manager at Digicel, Tricia Williams-Singh, said her company will continue to support extraordinary relationships especially those that seek to provide internet facilities across the length and breadth of the island.
Lauding the initiative, Director, Employee Relations and Benefits, Ministry of Finance and Planning, Erica Barnes, said it is one of the best projects undertaken by any person who has copped the Civil Servant of the Year award.
The multipurpose printer in the computer room was donated by Director, Open Wave Information Security, Andrew Nooks, while the posters were donated by the Jamaica Information Service.
Hurricane Nicole – A symbol of climate injustice
By Deandre Williamson
Caribbean Climate Justice Journalism Fellow
#TheBahamas, November 29, 2022 – With the trauma of Hurricane Dorian still lingering, Abaco and Grand Bahama residents braced for Hurricane Nicole as they experienced another unfair blow of climate injustice.
As sea levels rose, triggering storm surges and flooding, the northwestern islands of The Bahamas were placed under hurricane watch. For many, this signaled that the fight for climate justice must continue.
Some residents on those islands evacuated their homes and fled to shelters hours before Nicole made landfall in The Bahamas on Nov. 9 as a tropical storm and strengthened to a Category 1 hurricane with winds up to 75 miles per hour.
“The wind was manageable. It wasn’t as bad as we thought. In our area we got maybe a limb or so that blew down. The power was out for a while, but thank God, we made it through it,” Abaco resident Mark Anthony Swain said.
Although the impact of Hurricane Nicole was minimal when compared to Hurricane Dorian in 2019, climate change is the underlying cause of the intensity and frequency of hurricanes in recent years.
When Nicole exited The Bahamas, the “all clear” was given, but the country isn’t clear from future hurricanes and the devastating effects of climate change.
However, it’s clear that The Bahamas and other Small Island Developing States (SIDS) need climate justice because they are hit hardest by the impact of climate change, are the least responsible and together bear next to no responsibility for the climate crisis.
While the Government of The Bahamas is fighting for climate justice, residents of Abaco and Grand Bahama are calling for more to be done to mitigate the impact of climate change.
Swain, who also experienced Hurricane Dorian, said the countries that are major contributors of carbon emissions in the atmosphere should do more to assist smaller countries in fighting climate change, so when hurricanes and other natural disasters occur, the smaller countries will be able to maintain themselves.
“I think these other countries that are contributing to the climate challenge that we are facing should be held responsible and accountable in that regard,” Swain added.
China, the United States, Russia, India and Japan are the top five countries with the highest carbon emissions in the world.
Grand Bahama resident Randy Deleveaux, who was on the island during Hurricane Nicole, agrees that more should be done concerning the climate crisis because The Bahamas is in a hurricane zone based on its geographical location.
“We know that every year rain, sun or shine, it appears as if we are going to have a hurricane, whether it’s a major one or not a major one,” Deleveaux said. “As a matter of fact, even though the ones we consider not major, we still have to take more necessary precautions because Dorian taught us we can’t take nothing for granted.”
Deleveaux suggested that the government should ensure that every household is equipped with storm shutters, floatation devices and life jackets.
“There are so many things that the government can do and persons can do in relation to hurricanes because we always have to prepare,” he added.
“Every time we have a hurricane coming, persons have to run and scrap for plywood to put on their windows. We need to move from that and be able to properly prepare.
“Look at our coastal erosion and stuff like that because of the hurricanes. I remember one time you could go on the beaches and see sand, now some of these beaches don’t have no sand like that because of hurricanes and we’re not even looking at the impact that is having on our coastal and marine life. We don’t replace the sand. There is so much things we can do.”
Loss and Damage
But no matter how large or small a hurricane measures on the Saffir-Simpson Scale, there is always loss and damage associated with a storm.
According to Prime Minister of The Bahamas Philip Davis, during the Caribbean Regional Heads of Government Meeting in Preparation for COP27, more than 50 percent of The Bahamas’ outstanding debt can be linked to the impacts of the hurricanes between 2015 and 2019.
The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), in its damage and loss assessments (DaLA) synthesis, noted that The Bahamas has lost more than $4.2 billion over the past seven years as a result of Hurricanes Joaquin, Matthew, Irma and Dorian.
Abaco and Grand Bahama are still rebuilding from Hurricane Dorian and, although minimal, the damages from Hurricane Nicole are being assessed.
Prime Minister Davis was in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt attending COP27 when Hurricane Nicole passed through the northwestern Bahamas. At COP27, he called on world leaders to get real about ensuring that loss and damage are compensated for.
“We do not have a significant carbon footprint in the world. Yes, we do have a significant carbon sink in the world. But yet still, after this hurricane has passed, who’s going to have to pay for the recovery, reconstruction and for normalizing the lives of my people?” Davis said in a video interview.
Climate justice fights for solutions to the climate crisis that would result in reduced emissions and industrialized rich nations sharing the burden of the crisis by helping SIDS handle the severe effects of climate change.
Swain lost his home during Hurricane Dorian and there are others who also lost their homes and some are still living in trailers in Abaco.
Without insurance, Swain is rebuilding his home, but the progress is slow.
He explained that the Disaster Reconstruction Authority and other NGOs promised to help him, but they haven’t delivered on their promises as yet.
“We will, out of pocket, try to do some things to get us along,” Swain said.
Hurricane Dorian caused a housing shortage in Abaco and the demand for a home is great.
According to Swain, because of the demand and desperation to find a home, the rent in Abaco is skyrocketing.
“You can find the average apartment, two bedroom, going for no less than $1,500. In some instances it’s over $2,000,” he said.
After negotiations and hearing the pleas of Small Island Developing States, COP27 closed with the announcement of a loss and damage fund to compensate countries impacted by climate change. This is a huge step in the fight for climate justice.
This story was published with the support of Climate Tracker’s Caribbean Climate Justice Journalism Fellowship.
Member, The Bahamas Press Club 2014
Caption: Flooding in Abaco caused by Hurricane Nicole. (Photo/Abaco resident)
Police Academy Commissioner Shot Dead in Haiti
By Sherrica Thompson
Reports from the police are that Harington was shot dead on the grounds of the police training facility in a gang-controlled neighbourhood in the country’s capital of Port-au-Prince on Friday, November 25.
The spokesperson for the National Police of Haiti (PNH), Inspector Garry Desrosiers, in confirming Friday’s killing, said the commissioner was “shot in the head not far from the Academy” and the attackers “stole his [Harington’s] vehicle and kidnapped his driver.”
Harington’s killing is the latest in several attacks against law enforcement in Haiti. The killing also happened at a time when international leaders are trying to help Haiti’s political leaders control the surge in gang violence in the country.
The police have not released any information on who might be responsible for the commissioner’s death.
St Kitts and Nevis Welcomed the World’s Largest Cruise Ship
By Sherrica Thompson
#StKittsandNevis, November 29, 2022 – The twin island of St Kitts and Nevis is about to chart its busiest cruise seasons yet as the world’s largest cruise ship, the Wonder of the Seas, made its inaugural call to Port Zante in the country on Thursday, November 24.
About 6,495 guests arrived on the ship, with 2,259 crew members on board.
The oasis class ship was welcomed by Prime Minister Dr. Terrance Drew, who led a delegation on board last Thursday to host a brief plaque exchange ceremony.
“You have confidence in the destination by adding St Kitts and Nevis to your now largest vessel, the Wonder of the Seas, with a passenger capacity of 6,988,” the Prime Minister said.
The Chief Executive Officer at the St. Kitts Tourism Authority, Mr. Ellison Thompson, said the ship’s visit was a result of the country’s comprehensive negotiations with stakeholders.
“The destination’s ability to secure a vessel with a 6,495-passenger capacity today, November 24, is the result of comprehensive negotiations between the Ministry, the Authority, and cruise lines. As a result, we are gradually seeing the fruits of our marketing and strategic efforts, and we take pride in celebrating such a momentous occasion,” Thompson said.
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