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VICTIMS OF HUMAN TRAFFICKING TO RECEIVE HELP

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KINGSTON, Jan. 8 (JIS) – Persons who have been victims of human trafficking are to be assisted with rebuilding their lives, through proceeds from this year’s staging of the National Leadership Prayer Breakfast.

This was announced during a press briefing held at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in Kingston today (January 8) to launch the event.

Providing details on the social project to be undertaken this year, Secretary of the National Leadership Prayer Breakfast Committee (NLPBC), Clyde Edwards, said it would be incorporated into proposed plans by the Ministry of Justice and the United Church in Negril “to help those who have gone through the trafficking challenge and to provide for them housing and rehabilitation.”

Human trafficking is estimated by the United Nations to be a US$32-billion per year global trade.
Jamaica is a source, transit, and destination country for women and children trafficked for the purposes of sexual exploitation and forced labour.

However, the Government has been working to combat the issue of human trafficking, with the establishment of the National Task Force Against Trafficking in Persons (NATFATIP); amendment of the Trafficking in Persons Act in 2013; an islandwide public education campaign; and the establishment of a new shelter to house victims.
Additionally, the administration has equipped the police force to treat with human trafficking offences by establishing an anti-Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Unit in the Major Organised Crime and Anti-Corruption Agency of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF).
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In the meantime, highlighting the importance of the theme for the event: ‘Restore…Reconnect…Rebuild with God’, Chairman of the NLPBC, Rev. Dr. Stevenson Samuels, said the committee considers it necessary to challenge the nation to rebuild and reconnect with God.
“As nations enter into new periods of growth and development, the need for rebuilding and reconstruction becomes very necessary, old systems and models become outdated and archaic. They therefore become irrelevant for the new circumstances which face the nation,” he said.

Rev. Samuels noted that many citizens, including members of the Diaspora, are calling for the creation of a new Jamaica where peace and respect will be major features of the society.

He said that while the committee joins in this call, it recognises that the change has already begun, pointing to the improved performance in Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT) and the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) examinations; more young people accessing tertiary education; and that new entities have been established to promote integrity and eradicate corruption.

This is the 35th staging of the event, which will be held at the Jamaica Pegasus on Thursday (January 15), starting at 7:30 a.m., under the patronage of the Governor-General, His Excellency the Most Hon. Sir Patrick Allen.

The speaker will be pastor from the Calvary Baptist Church in Montego Bay,
Rev. Everton Jackson.

The event will be preceded by a week of prayer (formerly referred to as a prayer blitz), which begins today (January 8).

Attendance at the event is by invitation only and includes leaders of the church, State and civic life. The event will be carried live on the Internet and on television.

The purpose of the annual prayer breakfast is to foster greater unity in the nation, particularly among leaders at all levels, through prayer and fellowship.

The first prayer breakfast was held in January 1981 arising out of the church’s concern for peace and justice, reconciliation and unity in the nation.

Victoria Mutual Building Society (VMBS) has been sponsoring the event for the past 30 years.

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Bahamas News

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

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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?

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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

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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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