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Diaspora Conference Takes Centre Stage June 13 To 18 In Mo-Bay

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KINGSTON, April 27 (JIS): BY: ELAINE HARTMAN RECKORD
Members of the Diaspora and Jamaicans at home will gather at the Montego Bay Convention Centre, in St. James, from June 13 to 18, to participate in the sixth staging of the Biennial Jamaica Diaspora Conference.
Activities will include a business and cultural exposition, a range of meetings to address investment opportunities and social activities, culminating with a Diaspora Day of Service.
The forum is being spearheaded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, in collaboration with the Jamaica Diaspora Foundation, the Jamaica Diaspora Institute, the Jamaica Diaspora Advisory Board Members, key community persons and Diaspora community groups, under the theme: ‘Jamaica and the Diaspora: Linking for Growth and Prosperity’.
This year, the conference promises to be bigger and better, with the organisers anticipating a robust turnout of Diaspora members.

Minister of State in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade,
Hon. Arnaldo Brown, tells JIS News that the last staging saw a record number of diaspora members in attendance. He is hoping the number will increase in 2015.
“Our intent is to have 1,000 local participants and hopefully, we will have an equal number from the Diaspora in attendance at the conference,” he says.
Since its inception in 2004, the event has grown, and in 2013 more than 1,500 participants attended the conference.

He notes that efforts are being made to increase the turnout through the deliberate targeting of the Diaspora outside of the traditional areas of the United Kingdom, the United States of America and Canada.
Since the conference was officially launched in February 2015 by Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller, Mr. Brown says several others have been held to promote it overseas, noting that the first international launch was held at the St. George’s Episcopal Church, in New York, last month.

“Consequent upon the New York launch, we launched in Canada from the 12th of April to the 19th of April. There were launches in Toronto, Edmonton, Ottawa, Montreal and all launch events have gone fairly well,” he adds.
Other Diaspora launches include Grand Cayman and Florida. The launch in Florida will take place at a community forum on Thursday, April 30 at 6:30 p.m. at the Miramar City Hall, 2300 Civic Center Drive, Miramar.
Mr. Brown is urging Jamaicans who wish to attend the conference to register now and take advantage of the early bird rates. The official conference hotel is the Rose Hall Hilton Hotel and attendees are being encouraged to log on to: www.jamaicandiaspora.gov.jm for early registration and further details. He is also reminding Jamaicans in the Diaspora who have difficulty registering online to get in touch with the nearest Consulate or Mission in their area to get the form completed.

“I am encouraging persons to book their tickets and to make their reservations early. Reservations can be made online and if there is a difficulty registering online, then get to your nearest Consulate or Mission,” he advises.

The State Minister says Jamaicans can also register to share their skills and resources in projects in communities in Jamaica while at the conference.

“So, any Jamaican who is interested, whether here or overseas, there is an outlet for persons to sign up and to be on the programme of activities,” he notes.

Mr. Brown says a report on the achievements from Conference 2013 and highlights of Conference 2015 and some of its expected outcomes will be presented to participants on day two of the conference.
“We will present a report card on the successes that we have had, implementation that have taken place and our view is that persons will be satisfied that significant work has taken place during the period between conference 2013 and conference 2015,” he tells JIS News.

“We are positing the conference as a global forum for Jamaicans worldwide to be actively engaged,” he says, adding that a report will also be presented on the Diaspora Mapping Project, an online survey which seeks to identify the locations, skills, expertise and interests of members of the global Jamaican Diaspora.

Additionally, he notes that there will be a report on the Diaspora Policy, along with the International Migration and Development Policy.

“We hope that the Diaspora Policy will be at the Green Paper stage by the time we get to conference. Work is now being done,” he says.

Mr. Brown explains that organisers are seeking to build on the successes of the 2013 conference and will be placing much emphasis on social development and trade and investment. A feature called, Marketplace, which was introduced at the last conference, will be expanded this year. It will feature a range of local businesses and brands from various sectors, including business matching meetings, transactions and networking and Jamaican cultural presentations and other entertainment.

“A number of features were introduced in that conference. Marketplace was introduced and the matchmaking session. We are introducing it again, but with a twist. There is also going to be the Marketplace Live. There are 70 slots that are available for companies, whether in Jamaica or overseas, that are interested in displaying their wares,” he states.

The six-day programme will also feature a Government at Your Service ‘One Stop Shop’ which is a collaboration of public sector agencies offering attendees fast-tracked Government services.

“We are going to have a golf tournament. We are going to have two church services, which is a first, on Saturday and on Sunday, marking the start of the Diaspora Week,” he says.

In addition, he notes that another event; ‘the Diaspora Day of Service’, has been significantly broadened in scope in an effort to encourage civic-minded Jamaicans to participate in outreach activities.

“Members of the Diaspora will be able to go out into the different communities and undertake projects that are of interest to them in the communities, in and around the conference site, and even wider if they so desire,” he adds.

A Power Breakfast will also be included, where decision-makers, whether from the public and public sector, will get a chance to meet and discuss projects that can be implemented or explore opportunities that are available.
Mr. Brown says there will also be a special symposium on Immigration and Deportation, with the aim of developing an action plan to sensitise persons who have immigration issues and “to look at how we deal with the reintegration of persons who have been deported or persons who lived away from Jamaica for a period of time.”
Additionally, he notes that there will be discussions on the role of the church and Faith based groups in Diaspora development and engagement. He says many persons who migrate continue their church tradition and can be found in various churches across the length and breadth of the Diaspora.

“We trust that the participants will be fully engaged and that they will leave feeling that they have spent a worthwhile time in Jamaica. We expect that at the end of the conference, there will be an action plan and a move towards implementation,”
Mr. Brown says.

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Major Shortage; White House says hunt is on for Baby Food

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#USA, May 14, 2022 – An Infant formula shortage in the U.S. exacerbated by the formula recall by Abbott Nutrition is  threatening the lives of babies and worrying parents.

Last week 40 percent of  formulas were out of stock in the U.S. White House Press Secretary Jen Pesaki says the FDA is working hard to address the issue.

“What the FDA is doing includes working with major infant formula manufacturers to ensure they’re increasing production, because part of this issue is, of course, making sure there is stock on the shelves and working with the industry right now to optimize their supply lines, product sizes to increase capacity, and prioritizing product lines that are of greatest needs.”

Meanwhile Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) which provides formula and other goods to low income mothers is warning against trying to make formula at home saying too much could go wrong.

“Your baby could suffer long-term harm if they do not get the right blend of nutrition. Even a short period of poor nutrition can be harmful.  Do not try to make more formula by adding extra water. Adding extra water to formula is dangerous and can lead to very serious health problems.”

The Guardian reports that parents who are now traveling over state lines and using Facebook and EBay  to secure formula, describe the situation as a ‘nightmare.’

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Earth Day Immersion at Graceway Communities Marketplace  

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By Sherrica Thompson

Staff Writer

 

#TurksandCaicos, May 12, 2022 – The second staging of Graceway IGA’s Earth Day celebration was a success. It was hosted by the Graceway Communities (the philanthropic arm of Graceway Supermarkets) in association with the National Trust, Graceway Supermarkets, Department of Environment and Coastal Resources (DECR) and Department of Agriculture.

The Market was designed to educate people about the environment, promote conservation, and encourage them to get involved and invest in the planet, act boldly, innovate and implement.

The event was supported by the community and others who came out in their numbers to buy fruits, seedlings, trees, plants, and other earth-friendly items, like ocean-friendly products that were being sold.

The winners of the Graceway Supermarkets Earth Day Art Competition 2022 were also announced. In first place was Chanel Missick from the Mills Institute, second place was Enarij Dickenson from Eliza Simmons Primary, and third place was Mavalicia Mullings from the Mills Institute.

Minister of Environment, Maritime and Disaster Management Josephine Connelly was also present at the celebration.

In giving her address at the event on April 22, Connelly said climate change is real and the Turks and Caicos Islands are low lying areas. As such, “we are susceptible to flood and high seas.” Therefore “the necessary mechanisms must be put in place to cope with what’s going on in our country.”

The Minister noted that the Charter launched at the Climate Change Summit is a guideline to mitigate what is happening in the TCI. She further mentioned that the TCI will be collaborating with all stakeholders and international organizations to unite as one where climate change is concerned.

Minister Connelly congratulated Graceway IGA for hosting the celebration, noting that they should continue to do this because “it is good for us.”

She also encouraged everyone to play their part in Climate Change, stating that the easiest thing to do is to plant a tree.

Travel Designer at Luxury Experiences Turks, and Caicos, Val Kalliecharan, was also present at the Earth Day celebration. He said the initiative was impressive, and Graceway Supermarkets should “keep up the good job.”

The Turks and Caicos National Trust were the charity participant in the Earth Day celebrations.

The Trust expressed its gratitude to the Graceway Supermarkets for partnering with the organization’s mission to protect our environment.

“We are honoured for this recognition and most charitable donations that will help us to continue our important works, entrusted to us by our communities, we implore you to visit our website and become members of TCNT. More importantly, please contact us and find out how you can help us to preserve and protect our Wetlands, our environment and our beautiful by nature TCI,” said the Turks and Caicos National Trust.

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Liver Disease Spreading in UK & US; Worrisome

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#April 22, 2022 – In an extremely worrying trend cases of unexplainable liver disease in healthy children have spread to the EU and the US.

It was first detected on children in the United Kingdom when previously healthy children started presenting with hepatitis or liver inflammation the only problem?

They tested negative for the viruses that cause infectious hepatitis.  Doctors have no concrete explanation for what is causing the damage so far 74 children in Britain have fallen ill and now children in the US and Europe are following suit with children in Denmark, Ireland, the Netherlands and Spain.

“mild hepatitis is very common in children for following a range viral infections but what is being seen at the moment is quite different.”

The expert said he was not convinced COVID was behind the infection because of the relatively small number of infections. British health officials say none of the infected children were vaccinated ruling out any link to vaccines.

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