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Cultural Extravagance To Mark Jamaica Day

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KINGSTON, Feb. 27 (JIS): It was a day of cultural extravagance and celebration at the Norman Manley High School in Kingston on February 27, as the institution hosted the official ceremony to mark Jamaica Day 2015.

The Maxfield Avenue School was alive with excitement, as ecstatic students and teachers showcased aspects of Jamaica’s rich and diverse cultural heritage through dance, music, drama and poetry.

Special emphasis was placed on the country’s friendship and historical bond with its Caribbean and Latin American neighbours, such as Haiti, Colombia, Venezuela, Costa Rica and Cuba. This was highlighted in the theme – ‘Celebrating Jamaica: Celebrating Regional Friendships from Boukman to Bolivar’.

There were also booths mounted by several organisations, including the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF); City of Kingston Credit Union; Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS); and the Jamaica Information Service (JIS).

Minister of Education, Hon. Rev. Ronald Thwaites, who brought greetings at the ceremony, told the students that Jamaica Day is an opportunity for students and the wider society to focus on what it means to be Jamaican and to promote those qualities.

“We have a lot to be proud of as Jamaicans. Jamaica has provided a home for many like Bolivar and an inspiration for many like Boukman. Our people have also contributed to the socio-political and economic development of other countries, particularly in Latin America and the Caribbean,” he said.

“We helped to build the Panama Canal, and we helped to broker development in Costa Rica. We have cut cane and built roads in Cuba, and we started the sugar industry in Colombia. We are a people who go many places and carry our distinctive strength,” the Minister added.

He said Jamaica Day is also an invitation for Jamaicans to look beyond the confines of their own island and to learn more about the friendship and similarities of “those who surround us in the Caribbean region.”
In his remarks, Minister of Finance and Planning and Member of Parliament for East Central St. Andrew, Dr. the Hon. Peter Phillips, told the students that they must remain mindful of the fact that they are a part of a regional community, and that they have a role to play in the upliftment of the entire human race.

“If there is anything that marks our history, it is that we are a people that have been conscious of our responsibilities to the rest of the world, and who have benefited from the support and assistance of other countries. As we have received, so have we tried to give,” he said.

For her part, Mayor of Kingston, Senator Angela Brown Burke, said that Kingston has played an important role in Jamaica’s rich and diverse cultural heritage, which can be traced as far back as 1923, when the council was first established.

“Kingston is known as the cradle of culture, not just in Jamaica, but across the entire Caribbean, and we have been home to many (renowned figures), including Simon Bolivar, liberator and national hero of Venezuela,” she noted.

Mrs. Brown Burke said she is eagerly looking forward to the redevelopment of downtown Kingston and the repositioning of Kingston as a cultural and creative city.

Meanwhile, Ambassador of Venezuela to Jamaica, Her Excellency Maria Ortega Mendoza, said she was honoured to celebrate with the students of Norman Manley High, not just Jamaica’s rich legacy, but also regional friendship and togetherness.

“It is also an honour to pay tribute to our heroes – Boukman, Bolivar, Marcus Garvey, and Norman Manley,” she said.
This year’s Jamaica Day activities at Norman Manley High also included the development of a peer mentorship programme, in which senior students of the school will mentor students from Maxfield Park and Rousseau Primary Schools.

Volunteers from the high school will also implement projects with the Maxfield Park Children’s Home.
Jamaica Day, which started in 2002, was celebrated in schools across the island.

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Health

Woman dies on Tuesday; 32nd Covid Death for Turks & Caicos

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#TurksandCaicos, January 20, 2022 – The Turks and Caicos has recorded its 32nd death related to COVID-19.

A Ministry of Health press release informed that the individual who was in quarantine in Grand Turk and requested emergency aid on Tuesday; response came from the public health team in Grand Turk.

The person, who we are told is a special needs young woman – was unvaccinated and had underlying medical conditions.

The death rate in the Turks and Caicos of both vaccinated and unvaccinated persons has climbed alarmingly this year.  In the 21-month period from March 2020 when the country recorded its first case to December 2021, there were 26 deaths recorded in the TCI.

In the 19 days since the start of 2022 that number has increased to 32; which means six deaths already in January.

 

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Bahamas News

Cruising should slow down says PAHO

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

‘Slow down on Cruising’, that’s the word from the Pan American Health Organization, PAHO in their latest recent press conference.

Dr. Ciro Ugarte Director of Health Emergencies at the PAHO was referring to the Bahamas but made sure to note that the advice was highly relevant to many countries in the times of omicron.

“In the context of intense transmission, due to the Omicron variant as we have highlighted several times. It is just logical to suspend or at least limit the cruise ship traffic as an outbreak on board might end up exceedingly high and probably will go beyond the capacity of local health services”

Both the Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos are experiencing a massive uptick in cases and several warnings regarding cruise travel have been issued by the US Centers for Disease Control.

Cruising just resumed for many regional countries this past Summer, Turks and Caicos was among the latest to restart on December 13.

A stop to sailing would be devastating to economies, however, ports of call like Grand Turk which are reeling with rocketing case numbers of COVID are urged to consider the suggestion of slowing down on ships by PAHO.

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Caribbean News

Cayman gets its second ‘Sir’; former Premier Alden McLaughlin knighted on Jan 1

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#Cayman, January 20, 2022 – Former Premier of Cayman Alden McLaughlin was knighted at the start of 2022; named in the Queen’s New Year Honors List. He is only the second Caymanian to have ever received a knighthood from her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

Sir Vassel Johnson, received the honour in 1994; he was Cayman’s first Financial Secretary; he died in November 2008 at the age of 86.

Current Governor, Martyn Roper extended congratulations saying, “This is an outstanding personal achievement for former Premier McLaughlin, one of the most important and impactful political leaders in Cayman over the last 21 years. It is a significant moment for our islands. This historic award is only the second ever Knighthood to a Caymanian since the first in the 1990s. It is a strong signal of the respect in which Cayman is held and a visible demonstration of the progress Cayman has made as a vibrant democracy with strong good governance foundations.”

Sir McLaughlin, who is also now a QC attorney, served two terms as premier and had a career in politics that spanned 21 years. McLaughlin is known for his role in modernizing Cayman’s constitution.

Current premier G. Wayne Panton described the occasion as a unifying moment for the country saying, This is a day of celebration and great pride for all Caymanians as a son of our soil has been bestowed one of the highest honour.  Today marks a new and most unique storyline in the history of the Cayman Islands.  In considering the rarity and magnitude of this occasion, this is certainly a unifying moment for our community.”

Sir Alden McLaughlin, 60, was appointed as a Knight Commander of the Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George on January 1, 2022.

 

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