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Jamaicans Attend Independence Service In Washington



WASHINGTON, D.C., Aug. 4 (JIS): Jamaicans and friends of Jamaica turned out in large numbers on Sunday,
August 2, at Howard University’s Dumbarton Chapel for a service of Thanksgiving, in celebration of Jamaica’s 53rd anniversary of independence.

The annual church service, which is the centrepiece of the Embassy of Jamaica’s commemorative activities, was attended by a capacity audience, which included members of the Jamaican community in the Washington metropolitan area, Baltimore and Richmond, Virginia.

Also in attendance were several members of the Washington Diplomatic Corps, along with a strong contingent of CARICOM Ambassadors as well as representatives of international organisations in Washington.

Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson-Miller, in her message read by Charge d’Affaires at the Jamaican Embassy, Marsha Coore-Lobban, said that independence 53 provides for Jamaica and Jamaicans at home and in the Diaspora, a timely moment for reflection.

“At this juncture in our history and development, as a nation and people, we reflect on the road we have travelled, the significant social, economic and political advances we have made and the challenges we have encountered and overcome,” she said.

The Prime Minister said that amidst the celebrations, “we should ponder the developmental challenges that remain and fashion strategies and approaches to mobilize the nation to surmount them.”

Mrs. Simpson Miller pointed out that the nation’s resolve to face the future with confidence, is strengthened by the many successes in the past, and that one of the proudest and most enduring achievements has been the country’s exemplary democratic tradition that has stand the test of time.

She said that Jamaica’s mature democracy continues to guarantee the people important social, economic, political and religious freedoms that have now been enshrined in a charter of fundamental rights and freedom anchored in the Constitution of Jamaica.

“It is on this time-honoured achievement that we stand today to proclaim our independence theme this year, ‘Proud and Free, Jamaica 53’, said the Prime Minister.

Delivering the sermon, General Secretary of the Baptist World Alliance,
Rev. Dr. Neville Callam, recalled that after 131 years, without a gun being fired, the Jamaican people were emancipated.

“Today, we strive to live into the reality of our emancipation and independence by continuing the fight for freedom from mental slavery and other deleterious consequences of negative developments in our history,” proclaimed the General Secretary.

He said that in spite of the many challenges the people of Jamaica face, “we are encouraged by the signs of hope that dot the landscape of Jamaica’s contemporary history.”

The former pastor of the Tarrant Baptist church said “we should also consider the way we have preserved a liberal democratic ethos in Jamaica,” noting that people of many nations could learn much from the way “our elections are conducted.”

He listed some of the country’s achievements to include the exploits of the sporting stars – Usain Bolt, Asafa Powell, Shelly-Ann Fraser, Veronica Campbell-Brown and Brigitte Foster-Hylton.

Rev. Callam also recalled the performances of the Sunshine Girls and the Reggae Boys on the netball and football fields, respectively; and the amazing developments in the arts and in medical research.

Lessons were read by Senator Shirley Natham-Pulliam of the Maryland Senate; Jacob Phillips, who represented the young in the Diaspora, and Colonel Jacqueline Payne Borden, President of the Washington based Jamaica Nationals Association. The gospel reading was done by Dr. Milton Morris.

The service was officiated by Jamaican Theologian and Dean of the School of Divinity at Howard University, Dr. Bertram Melbourne, assisted by Rev. Sylvia McDonald Kaufman, one of the Pastors at the Andrew Rankin Memorial Chapel.

The offering at the service will benefit the Portland Infirmary and Bellevue Hospital.

Following the church service, a reception was hosted by Charge d’Affaires of the Embassy of Jamaica, Marsha Coore-Lobban.

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Bahamas News

Mobile App brings unprecedented access & opportunity to Persons with Disabilities in The Bahamas



#TheBahamas, December 8, 2022 – Opportunities and services previously out of reach for many Persons with Disabilities (PWD’s) in The Bahamas are now easier to access with groundbreaking upgrades to the ‘AccessAbility’ mobile app innovated by the National Commission of Persons with Disabilities (NCPD), through a Bahamian APP developer.

As of January 2023, PWD’s registered on the App will be able to book accessible transportation, allowing unprecedented freedom of movement.

For now, services available on the App include free interpreter services for the deaf and hard of hearing; disaster alerts from NEMA; free registration with NCPD which includes mapped location of registered PWD’s in times of disaster; complaints mechanism; bus routes showing street by street movement ; request for adaptive equipment and other services; business directory for organizations compliant with the Disabilities Act; Career/job listings; as well as trending local and international news and resources.

Financing for the App and the related public education programme was contributed by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) through its Multi Country Office located in Jamaica which serves The Bahamas among five English-speaking countries in the northern Caribbean. The App is available for free download from Google Play and the App Store and is also preloaded on all new devices purchased from local telecommunications provider Aliv in partnership with NCPD.

At the launch event on Sunday (4 December), Prime Minister, the Rt. Hon.  Philip Davis said that The Bahamas aimed to achieve inclusion and accessibility on a level playing field for persons with disabilities and that the App was one of the means through which this could be achieved. He lauded the services provided through the app and highlighted the accessible transportation, one touch access to emergency services and sign language interpretation.

The Prime Minister announced that the Department of Labour will enable job listings in the AccessAbility app, and further reminded employers of provisions in the Disability Act for the employment of one person with a disability for every 100 employees. “I am asking corporate Bahamas to join the Government in recognizing the potential in persons with disabilities and providing employment opportunities that may never have been considered before,” he said.

Other major disclosures made by the Prime Minister included The Bahamas’ ratification of ILO Convention 159 establishing the right of PWD to vocational rehabilitation and employment opportunities, and the successful implementation of the Nassau Airports Development’s Sunflower Laynard programme offering empathetic and specialized service to travelling PWD’s

Minister of Social Services and Urban Development, the Hon. Obediah Wilchcombe, said exclusion of PWD’s over the years has been troubling, but the mobile app will help bring the community closer to realizing inclusion and becoming part of the normalcy of the country. “We are elated and moved. PWD’s are celebrating because we have come a long way and UNDP is helping to make a difference” Minister Wilchcombe stated.

UNDP Resident Representative Denise E Antonio said recognizing that Disability Inclusion is a development issue requires continued attention and investment, UNDP supported the Government’s mission to expand digital inclusion to marginalized groups through the Digital Access for All (DAFA) Bahamas Project, specifically focusing on the AccessAbility Mobile App and public education.

She reiterated UNDP’s commitment to improving ICT infrastructure and digital access with and for PWD’s in The Bahamas; advancing gender equality and the empowerment of PWD’s in The Bahamas and forging partnerships to identify challenges and potential solutions to reduce inequalities against Persons with Disabilities.  “It is crucial for governments, public and private sectors, to collaboratively find innovative solutions with and for persons with disabilities, to make the world a more accessible and equitable place,” the Resident Representative noted.

She encouraged Persons with Disabilities to register with the NCPD through the App to ensure they benefit from a wide array of services.

The launch of the AccessAbility mobile app will be immediately followed by a multimedia public education campaign to encourage awareness, downloads, and usage among PWDs.

Technology and digitalization are considered enablers in UNDP’s global service offer of six signature solutions focusing on leaving no one behind. To this end, UNDP partners with countries to develop appropriate digital solutions which help advance poverty eradication, inclusion, equality and crisis resilience.  UNDP Multi Country Office in Jamaica serves Jamaica, Bermuda, Cayman Islands, The Bahamas and Turks and Caicos Islands.


Release: UNDP

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Bahamas News

Tropical Storm Owen in December?



By Shanieka Smith

Staff Writer


December 8, 2022 – A low-pressure system observed in the Central Atlantic Ocean has led the National Hurricane Center to believe there is a 50 per cent chance a subtropical or tropical storm will develop. They reported on Tuesday,  the system was 800 miles northeast of the Leeward Islands.

NHC said that by Thursday or Friday, the system should move northeastward, where it will interact with a mid-latitude trough, thereby limiting the chances of development.

The potential subtropical or tropical storm would become the 15th named storm of 2022 and will be called Owen.

Here is the very latest forecast:

Central Subtropical Atlantic

Showers and thunderstorms have increased since last evening near a

large non-tropical area of low pressure located over the central

subtropical Atlantic about 850 miles east-southeast of Bermuda.

However, the system remains embedded within a frontal zone, which is

expected to become more pronounced later today as the low begins to

move east-northeastward at 20 to 25 mph toward colder waters and

interact with a mid-latitude trough.  Therefore, while the system

could show some subtropical characteristics today, its chances to

fully transition to a subtropical or tropical cyclone appear to be

decreasing.  Nevertheless, significant non-tropical development of

this low is expected during the next couple of days, and additional

information, including hurricane-force wind warnings, can be found

in High Seas Forecasts issued by the National Weather Service.  The

next Special Tropical Weather Outlook on this system will be issued

by 9 AM EST Thursday.


* Formation chance through 48 hours…low…30 percent.

* Formation chance through 5 days…low…30 percent.



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Caribbean News

Jamaica’s PM Andrew Holness goes to Washington to discuss matters to help with crime



By Shanieka Smith

Staff Writer


#Jamaica, December 8, 2022 – The Prime Minister of Jamaica, Andrew Holness, travelled to Washington on Tuesday to discuss security matters with various US State Agencies, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Justice Department. 

Holness said the aim of the meetings is to cut ties between local and overseas criminals and in turn strengthen the country’s crime-fighting efforts.

“I’m serious. If you are overseas and you are sponsoring, directing, and soliciting; if you are financing crime in Jamaica we’re going to get you,” he said.

In a press briefing in early November, the prime minister announced that a State of Emergency (SOE) was issued in seven parishes across the island. Meanwhile, Opposition Leader, Mark Golding has requested that the SOE be extended through to January 14, 2023.

However, a recommendation was made by the non-governmental human rights and justice organization Jamaicans for Justice (JFJ) to reject Golding’s extension request.

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