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Shadow Minister of Health Addresses Pollution

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Garbage taken from under trees

Cleaning upGrand Turk, 16 Oct 2014 – Our islands are uniquely beautiful by nature. Therefore, the onus is on us to preserve it for future generations. Consider this: the average household produces one to two 19 gallon bags of rubbish in one week. Now consider the amount of rubbish that is produced on your street…then your district…then your island…then our country. Imagine most of that rubbish being scattered about your island. You may live on an island that has a schedule for garbage collection; where residents keep their properties and their surroundings tidy; and there are no uncaring persons polluting the environment with garbage and refuse. Then you can claim our slogan, “Beautiful by nature.”
As Shadow Minister for Health and the elected member for Grand Turk South and Salt Cay, I am hereby appealing to the residents on our islands to join me in my campaign to keep our islands clean. We can quantify the advantages of a clean community. The benefits run the gamut from an economic stand point to a healthy environment.
We rely on tourists who come to our shores. Do we want them to take one look and decide never to return? We can play our part by practicing healthy, cleanly habits. Let us adopt these two slogans and make them our mantras:
Put it in the can, man;
Keep our islands clean, green and pristine.
Litterers and dumpers are not welcomed in our beautiful by nature islands. Each resident can make a difference by adhering to practices that enhance our beauty rather than detract from it. We may not see road signs that warn of fines for littering, but that should not deter us from becoming civic minded, nonetheless.
“Out of all those hundreds and hundreds of islands lying in the seas and oceans of the earth, the Turks & Caicos are our islands. Grand Turk is my little one, so we just got to be aware of them and take care of them.” This is my personal creed.
I implore those among us who do not care about our islands and the environment to desist from destroying their beauty. We must all do our part, especially the Government, who I see as turning a blind eye to this situation of pollution within our islands.
On any given Cruise ship day on Grand Turk there are thousands persons on the streets, moving around, sightseeing, taking pictures, and visiting places of interest. What are they seeing and photographing? Should they see the garbage accumulating on a vacant lot opposite the old police station, near the Museum? Is this the image that the Minister of Tourism wishes to sell as the lasting image of Grand Turk? Is this what the Minister of Environment considers to be “Beautiful by Nature”? Is this how the Minister of Government Support Services lend support to the environment? And is this what the Minister of Health considers to be promoting a healthy life style? Does this Government really care about any of this? From my observations, it does not look so. I, along with other private citizens and groups, have been assisting in cleaning our island. However, we need the Government to do its part. My advice to the Government:
Provide adequate resources to the departments responsible for garbage collection and cleaning;
Promote caring for the environment;
Enforce laws for protecting our “Beautiful by Nature Country”, please.
End.

Hon Edwin Astwood
Shadow Minister of Health
MP for Grand Turk South and Salt Cay

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Bahamas News

Mobile App brings unprecedented access & opportunity to Persons with Disabilities in The Bahamas

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#TheBahamas, December 8, 2022 – Opportunities and services previously out of reach for many Persons with Disabilities (PWD’s) in The Bahamas are now easier to access with groundbreaking upgrades to the ‘AccessAbility’ mobile app innovated by the National Commission of Persons with Disabilities (NCPD), through a Bahamian APP developer.

As of January 2023, PWD’s registered on the App will be able to book accessible transportation, allowing unprecedented freedom of movement.

For now, services available on the App include free interpreter services for the deaf and hard of hearing; disaster alerts from NEMA; free registration with NCPD which includes mapped location of registered PWD’s in times of disaster; complaints mechanism; bus routes showing street by street movement ; request for adaptive equipment and other services; business directory for organizations compliant with the Disabilities Act; Career/job listings; as well as trending local and international news and resources.

Financing for the App and the related public education programme was contributed by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) through its Multi Country Office located in Jamaica which serves The Bahamas among five English-speaking countries in the northern Caribbean. The App is available for free download from Google Play and the App Store and is also preloaded on all new devices purchased from local telecommunications provider Aliv in partnership with NCPD.

At the launch event on Sunday (4 December), Prime Minister, the Rt. Hon.  Philip Davis said that The Bahamas aimed to achieve inclusion and accessibility on a level playing field for persons with disabilities and that the App was one of the means through which this could be achieved. He lauded the services provided through the app and highlighted the accessible transportation, one touch access to emergency services and sign language interpretation.

The Prime Minister announced that the Department of Labour will enable job listings in the AccessAbility app, and further reminded employers of provisions in the Disability Act for the employment of one person with a disability for every 100 employees. “I am asking corporate Bahamas to join the Government in recognizing the potential in persons with disabilities and providing employment opportunities that may never have been considered before,” he said.

Other major disclosures made by the Prime Minister included The Bahamas’ ratification of ILO Convention 159 establishing the right of PWD to vocational rehabilitation and employment opportunities, and the successful implementation of the Nassau Airports Development’s Sunflower Laynard programme offering empathetic and specialized service to travelling PWD’s

Minister of Social Services and Urban Development, the Hon. Obediah Wilchcombe, said exclusion of PWD’s over the years has been troubling, but the mobile app will help bring the community closer to realizing inclusion and becoming part of the normalcy of the country. “We are elated and moved. PWD’s are celebrating because we have come a long way and UNDP is helping to make a difference” Minister Wilchcombe stated.

UNDP Resident Representative Denise E Antonio said recognizing that Disability Inclusion is a development issue requires continued attention and investment, UNDP supported the Government’s mission to expand digital inclusion to marginalized groups through the Digital Access for All (DAFA) Bahamas Project, specifically focusing on the AccessAbility Mobile App and public education.

She reiterated UNDP’s commitment to improving ICT infrastructure and digital access with and for PWD’s in The Bahamas; advancing gender equality and the empowerment of PWD’s in The Bahamas and forging partnerships to identify challenges and potential solutions to reduce inequalities against Persons with Disabilities.  “It is crucial for governments, public and private sectors, to collaboratively find innovative solutions with and for persons with disabilities, to make the world a more accessible and equitable place,” the Resident Representative noted.

She encouraged Persons with Disabilities to register with the NCPD through the App to ensure they benefit from a wide array of services.

The launch of the AccessAbility mobile app will be immediately followed by a multimedia public education campaign to encourage awareness, downloads, and usage among PWDs.

Technology and digitalization are considered enablers in UNDP’s global service offer of six signature solutions focusing on leaving no one behind. To this end, UNDP partners with countries to develop appropriate digital solutions which help advance poverty eradication, inclusion, equality and crisis resilience.  UNDP Multi Country Office in Jamaica serves Jamaica, Bermuda, Cayman Islands, The Bahamas and Turks and Caicos Islands.

 

Release: UNDP

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Bahamas News

Tropical Storm Owen in December?

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By Shanieka Smith

Staff Writer

 

December 8, 2022 – A low-pressure system observed in the Central Atlantic Ocean has led the National Hurricane Center to believe there is a 50 per cent chance a subtropical or tropical storm will develop. They reported on Tuesday,  the system was 800 miles northeast of the Leeward Islands.

NHC said that by Thursday or Friday, the system should move northeastward, where it will interact with a mid-latitude trough, thereby limiting the chances of development.

The potential subtropical or tropical storm would become the 15th named storm of 2022 and will be called Owen.

Here is the very latest forecast:

Central Subtropical Atlantic

Showers and thunderstorms have increased since last evening near a

large non-tropical area of low pressure located over the central

subtropical Atlantic about 850 miles east-southeast of Bermuda.

However, the system remains embedded within a frontal zone, which is

expected to become more pronounced later today as the low begins to

move east-northeastward at 20 to 25 mph toward colder waters and

interact with a mid-latitude trough.  Therefore, while the system

could show some subtropical characteristics today, its chances to

fully transition to a subtropical or tropical cyclone appear to be

decreasing.  Nevertheless, significant non-tropical development of

this low is expected during the next couple of days, and additional

information, including hurricane-force wind warnings, can be found

in High Seas Forecasts issued by the National Weather Service.  The

next Special Tropical Weather Outlook on this system will be issued

by 9 AM EST Thursday.

 

* Formation chance through 48 hours…low…30 percent.

* Formation chance through 5 days…low…30 percent.

 

Photo Credit: ACCUWEATHER

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Caribbean News

Jamaica’s PM Andrew Holness goes to Washington to discuss matters to help with crime

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By Shanieka Smith

Staff Writer

 

#Jamaica, December 8, 2022 – The Prime Minister of Jamaica, Andrew Holness, travelled to Washington on Tuesday to discuss security matters with various US State Agencies, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Justice Department. 

Holness said the aim of the meetings is to cut ties between local and overseas criminals and in turn strengthen the country’s crime-fighting efforts.

“I’m serious. If you are overseas and you are sponsoring, directing, and soliciting; if you are financing crime in Jamaica we’re going to get you,” he said.

In a press briefing in early November, the prime minister announced that a State of Emergency (SOE) was issued in seven parishes across the island. Meanwhile, Opposition Leader, Mark Golding has requested that the SOE be extended through to January 14, 2023.

However, a recommendation was made by the non-governmental human rights and justice organization Jamaicans for Justice (JFJ) to reject Golding’s extension request.

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