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).
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and development, the need for rebuilding and reconstruction becomes very necessary, old systems and models become outdated and archaic.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.
Press Release: Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM) Bahamas
February 3, 2023 – ILM Bahamas Centre held its Certificate Presentation Ceremony for Cohort 7. The cohort consisted of fourteen (14) Senior Immigration Officers from the Department of Immigration. This Cohort was a hybrid of in-person and online learning. Four of the Immigration Officers were from the Family Islands (Grand Bahama, Abaco, Berry Islands and Eleuthera).
Present at the ceremony were: The Hon. Keith Bell, Minister of Labour and Immigration, Madam Justice J. Denise Lewis-Johnson, Permanent Secretary Ms. Ceceila Strachan, Executive Chair of NTA Ms. Agatha Marcelle, Executive Director of NTA Mr. Terry Murray, Director of Immigration Mrs. Keturah Ferguson, Deputy Director of Immigration Mr. Dwight Beneby, Ms. Esther McKinney Office Manager at the Department of Immigration.
The guest speaker at the ceremony was Dr. Donald M. McCartney a Leadership and Management Consultant with Motivation Incorporated Bahamas and the United States. He was a former senior public servant. He was also a First Assistant Secretary in the Ministry of Public Service with responsibility for the Northern Bahamas. He was also a former educator and professor at various colleges in the United States.
In his address to ILM Cohort 7, Dr. McCartney spoke about having the courage to lead and that leadership goes beyond SELF. It’s not about you or your ego but rather more about contributing to nation building. He said, “We must be prepared to take the bold steps that would not lead us into the abyss of despair but on the road that leads us to lift up our heads to the rising sun and press onward to the mountaintop experience, which will lead us to become the proud and productive people we were destine to be.” He also expanded on the four fundamental virtues: COURAGE, TEMPERANCE, JUSTICE AND WISDOM. Additionally, he expanded on the focus and influence of courage, on the ego and discipline.
The Hon. Keith Bell, Minister of Labour and Immigration brought brief remarks on the occasion. Some of the highlights of his speech were that Immigration is one of the highest revenue earners, challenges within the Department of Immigration such as lack of autonomy from the Public Service as compared to the other armed forces. He also talked about that the fact that the top tier is going to be retired within two years and this would be an opportunity for many of the graduates of this Cohort 7 to gain upward mobility.
He also stated that there needs to be a complete overhaul of the Immigration Act, and a review of the Asylum Bill. Furthermore, he discussed the inevitable need for the relocation of the Department of Immigration from its current location. Lastly, he stated that we must tread a delicate balance between enforcing the law and being humane, in regards to shanty towns.
It is noteworthy that the ILM Centre at the National Training Agency recently obtained a Centre upgrade. The ILM Centre Bahamas now hold the statue of Direct Claim Status with City and Guilds of London. Additionally, the Centre is now registered with the National Accreditation and Equivalency Council of the Bahamas (NAECOB) for all of its current course offerings. The ILM Department is lead Miss Pamela Gomez as the ILM Centre Coordinator. Registration is now open for Level 2 Certificate in Leadership and Team Skill and Level 3 Certificate in Leadership and Management. Our mission statement is, “Helping people, organizations, and economies develop their skills for growth.”
For more information, contact the ILM Centre Bahamas located in the Gladstone Road Business Centre by calling 461-6021 or 461-6008.
Sugar and salt tax campaigns gaining steam
By Dana Malcolm
February 7, 2023 – A global battle on sugar and salt is ramping up as the United States joins The Bahamas and Barbados in creating proposals for historic sugar and salt laws.
The country’s Agricultural Department for the first time in history, proposed a cap on the amount of sugar to be allowed in school meals.
The World Health Organization has found that North America and the Caribbean have the highest rates of childhood diabetes in the world and based on the International Diabetes Federation’s Diabetes Atlas we also have the second highest prevalence of Diabetes overall for all global regions at 14 percent or 51 million people with a projected 24 percent increase in just 22 years.
Barbados, the United States, Canada, Haiti, Mexico, Belize and St. Kitts and Nevis are all suffering from incredibly high rates of diabetes.
Barbados and The Bahamas announced sugar taxes last month; the hope is to reduce the importation and sale of sugar and salt rich foods.
Advocates across the Caribbean including Jamaica, Trinidad, and others have been campaigning for sugar taxes in their own countries with support from the public.
Now the proposed nutritional rules for the United States would set firm boundaries on how much salt and sugar can legally be added to meals, setting a new standard as most food imports for countries like The Bahamas are from the US.
The plan for the US is expected to be rolled out by 2025.
The rules, are unapologetically an attempt to cut down incidences of diabetes and other diseases fueled by unhealthy diets, according to media reports.
For now, the quantities on sugar and salt additives is an idea waiting wider consultation.
Texas bans TikTok from government agencies
By Dana Malcolm
#USA, February 7, 2023 – Chinese owned TikTok has officially been banned from Government devices in another US State following the passing of a new law banning the social media app on Federal devices in December. Texas Governor Greg Abott made the decision for his state following Virginia, Maryland, Alabama and Utah.
In a statement posted to his website Abbott said “The security risks associated with the use of TikTok on devices used to conduct the important business of our state must not be underestimated or ignored.”
He also claimed the app was harvesting significant amounts of data from users’ phones, maintaining the ban was necessary to protect Texas’ sensitive information from threats.
The ban on downloading and use will apply to both state and personal devices with internet connectivity that are used to conduct state business including cell phones, laptops, tablets and desktops.
It also prohibits residents from conducting state business with devices that have TikTok or other ‘prohibited technology’ enabled on them and bans any device with this technology from entry and use in sensitive areas, locations or meetings. The ban must be in effect by February 15 in all state agencies. There was no indication it would affect devices, personal or otherwise, not used to conduct state business.
The ban comes amidst increased tensions between the country and the Republic of China over a spy balloon that was sent into US airspace by China and then shot down by the US.
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