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Health Ministry Provides Resources To Treat Persons Affected By Riverton Smog



KINGSTON, March 15 (JIS): The Ministry of Health has provided additional resources to its main hospitals in Kingston, St. Andrew and St. Catherine to treat persons who have been affected by the smog from the Riverton City disposal site.

Acting Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Marion Bullock-DuCasse, informed a press briefing at the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM) in Kingston, on Sunday (March 15), that additional supplies and equipment have been provided to the Spanish Town and Kingston Public hospitals, as well as the University Hospital of the West Indies, and Bustamante Hospital for Children.

“Equipment and supplies provided include nebulisers, humidifiers and pharmaceuticals to deal with persons with respiratory symptoms,” Dr. Bullock-DuCasse said.

She also informed that five health centres were opened on Saturday (March 14), four in Kingston and St. Andrew and one in Spanish Town; and two on Sunday(March 15).

Dr. Bullock-DuCasse further said that the Casualty Department of the National Chest Hospital is now operating on a 24-hour basis as at Saturday (March 14), noting that the institution usually opens only in the days.

“This is to allow easy access to persons who require health care,” she said.
The Acting Chief Medical Officer reported that 642 persons were treated at health care facilities between Friday (March 13) and midday Sunday (March 15), four of whom were admitted.

“I must point out that no deaths have been reported or recorded in any health facility associated with this event,” the Acting Chief Medical Officer said.

The Ministry is also responsible for air quality testing in collaboration with the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA), and Dr. Bullock-DuCasse informed that two additional sampling sites have been established. These are located at the Jamaica Fire Brigade in Half Way Tree, and at an office on Spanish Town Road.

“Both 24-hour samples were retrieved yesterday and testing for particulate matter is being conducted by the Bureau of Standards,” Dr. Bullock-DuCasse said, explaining that the results should be available by late Sunday (March 15) or Monday (March 16) morning.

She further noted that testing for other chemicals, such as volatile organic compound, will be done by a Canadian company and the results should be forthcoming by Wednesday or Thursday of this week.
The Acting Chief Medical Officer continues to recommend that persons, especially those with pre-existing respiratory conditions such as asthma, avoid the affected areas as much as possible or remain indoors. “Keep windows and doors closed; andcover nose and mouth with a damp rag or cloth,” she stressed.

Dr. Bullock-DuCasse also advised that “at the first sign of any symptoms, such as shortness of breath or any difficulty in breathing, take your medications as prescribed by your doctor and make a visit without delay.”
The Acting Chief Medical Officer assured that the Ministry continues to monitor the situation and will provide further updates.

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Caribbean News

Barbados bestows Humanitarian Award on PAHO director Dr. Carissa Etienne 



By Shanieka Smith

Staff Writer


#Barbados, November 25, 2022 – The newest recipient of Barbados’ Humanitarian Award is outgoing Pan American Health Organization Director, Dr Carissa Etienne.  The government of Barbados grants this award to frontline workers who were instrumental during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Upon receiving the award, Dr. Etienne expressed her gratitude for the recognition, noting, however, that she was more grateful for the opportunity to have served on the island. She also praised Prime Minister, Mia Mottley for her diligence in leading the country and regional involvement during the pandemic.

Humanitarian medals were also given to Frontline workers who risked their own safety to ensure the needs of the public were met. Those who held supporting roles on the frontline received humanitarian lapel pins, and those who made generous donations were given humanitarian plaques.

Dr. Etienne highlighted one major lesson from the pandemic, “we are only safe when the weakest among us is also safe”.

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Bahamas News

Bahamas and Turks & Caicos Immigration Ministers make appearance on TCI Radio Talk Show



By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer


#TheBahamas, November 25, 2022 – “We have a humanitarian concern of course but we can only absorb so much” was how Fred Mitchell, Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Public Service in The Bahamas addressed the issue of the UN constantly nudging Caribbean countries about the deportation of migrants and recommending that it not be done.

He was speaking Thursday November 24 with Cheryl and Zhavargo on First Edition which airs on RTC FM.

While acknowledging that the UN offices likely ‘have to do what they do’ Minister Mitchell  explained that the current irregular migrants trying to get into the Bahamas did not fit the bill of ‘refugees’ as defined by the UN.

“We have a treaty obligation that says that if people have a fear of persecution in their home country that we have an obligation to take them in as asylum seekers. The people who come through on these boats from the south of us are not asylum seekers. They are afraid of poverty and that’s a difficult issue but in a legal sense we’re not obligated to embrace people on that basis.”

He cited a study that had found, on any given day there were around 7,000 illegal migrants in The Bahamas trying to get to the US maintaining that his chain of islands had to take a stand on the issue.  The Foreign Affairs minister acknowledged that  TCI was in an identical situation, citing also the the cultural effects of irregular migration.

“There is a cleavage which has developed in our own society over this; people are very concerned that we could lose our identity if we do not get on top of it.”

Earlier this year Arlington “new sheriff in town” Musgrove, Minister of Immigration and Border Services in the Turks and Caicos had described statements calling on surrounding countries to do more to assist persons fleeing Haiti as “reckless and misguided.”

“Haiti has a population of 11.6 million people. How could any small developing state like the Turks and Caicos Islands assist that number of people or even the smallest fraction of them? We have a population of some 47,000 persons, and our health care, education and other social systems remain fragile and could never withstand an influx of refugees. This would be a risk to our very own livelihood,” he had said.

He was interviewed in the same show on Thursday prior to Mitchell and expressed a similar determination to crack down on illegal migration.

“I want to stress this. If we catch anyone harbouring illegals, it could be my mommy, she’s going up. We cannot tolerate this. We’re catching the sloops so my Haitian brothers and sisters should stress to them don’t waste your money we’re sending you back.”

Turks and Caicos, this year passed a law, doubling fines and prison times for individuals harbouring illegal migrants.

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Bahamas News

Former Bahamian Cabinet minister defends record amid ongoing police investigation



By Shanieka Smith

Staff Writer


#TheBahamas, November 25, 2022 – Former Youth, Sports and Culture Minister, Lanisha Rolle is reportedly currently under investigation due to several allegations that came up during her tenure; she however knows nothing of this alleged criminal investigation.

After the minister resigned – unceremoniously –  in February 2021 with little explanation, the ministry was locked down by the Prime Minister for an audit of the National Sports Authority, which fell under her ministry.

Auditor General Terrance Bastin revealed that unauthorised contracts had been issued, some of which were later forwarded to the NSA for payment. Three cheques to contractors were also found, which were paid to individuals and then collected by a senior ministry official.

Despite the allegations, Rolle said she upheld cabinet standards and good governance during her tenure. She added that a minister is not always aware of “everything in a ministry at any given time.”

Rolle said she has not yet been approached by the RBPF regarding the audit findings.  Having served as a member of the Police Force for 11 years herself, Rolle told a crush of media on Wednesday (November 23) that she continues to trust that they will follow the legal process and in due time, the truth of her innocence will be revealed.

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