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Region of The Americas become first to eliminate Measles

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Washington DC, U.S.A, September 27, 2016 – The Region of the Americas has successfully eliminated Measles, Rubella and Congenital Rubella Syndrome.  The announcement was made, September 27th, 2016 at the World Health Organization for the Americas’ 55th annual Directing Council in Washington DC.   It is the first region to have eradicated small pox, the first region to have eliminated poliomyelitis and now it is the first region to have eliminated Measles, Rubella and Congenital Rubella Syndrome (CRS).

The process began within the Americas in 2007 where countries were urged and agreed to work towards the elimination of Measles, Rubella and Congenital Rubella Syndrome (CRS).   Measles and Rubella are highly infectious diseases which affect the respiratory system; CRS can be contracted by infants born to mothers who have not received the rubella vaccine.  The last reported case of Rubella within the Americas was in 2009, this allowed the International Expert Committee (IEC) to validate the region as having eliminated Rubella and CRS in 2015.  Measles was scheduled to be a part of this validation, but because of the outbreaks in Canada, the United States, Brazil and Ecuador during the period in which the region was to be validated, the verification was withheld.

Elimination means that a region would have had to interrupt endemic transmission of Measles over a period of time.  Simply put, all the countries in the Americas would have needed to have zero cases of Measles, Rubella and CRS contracted within any of the countries for a period of time.  The last outbreak of Measles in the region was in 2015 in Brazil as a result of an imported case from another region.

elimination1“Today we say bye-bye to indigenous transmission of Measles.  We celebrate this historic day in which the scourge has been eliminated,” said Dr. Carissa Etienne, Director of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO).

Premier Dr. The Hon. Rufus Ewing stated;  “The Turks and Caicos Islands is elated to be a part of this great success.  The country has always boasted of its high coverage in Measles and Rubella vaccination over the years, due to the hard work and dedication of our public health staff and public health policies over the years.  We will continue to work to maintain a high coverage in all vaccines and to go even higher.”

Elimination does not mean eradication and so the work must continue to ensure that we keep the TCI Measles, Rubella and CRS free.   In attendance at the 55th Directing Council and also the conference on Medical Health Tourism is the Hon. Premier and Minister of Health Dr. Rufus Ewing, Permanent Secretary Mr. Wesley Clerveaux along with other members of staff from the Ministry of Health, Agriculture and Human Services and the office of the Premier.

 

 

 

 

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Statement on Incident Involving Visitor on 2nd October 2022

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#TurksandCaicos, October 4, 2022 – The Government of the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) regrets the unfortunate incident involving the death of a visitor to our islands on 2nd October 2022.  The incident which occurred was accidental and not one in which the victim was targeted.  While the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police force (RTCIPF) continues their investigations, we wish to reassure the public (citizens, residents, and visitors alike) that the safety and security of all, is our top priority.

The TCI has long established itself as a safe destination for visitors from around the world.  Evidence of this can be seen in the countless awards the destination has won, most recently at the World Travel Awards.  Our commitment to providing safety to residents and visitors is unwavering.  The government will continue to work with local authorities including the RTCIPF and our partners in the international community to protect residents and visitors alike.

The incident which occurred on the date mentioned above is one that is rare and does not reflect who we are as a people.  On behalf of the government and people of these islands, we extend our sympathies to the family and friends of the victim.

As this matter is now an on-going police investigation, further statements will be referred to RTCIPF.

The TCI remains a safe destination and the government is working assiduously for it to remain as such.

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Brave presentation in defence of Bahamas’ financial services reputation by PM Davis

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By Sherrica Thompson

Staff Writer

 

#TheBahamas, October 1, 2022 – Prime Minister of the Bahamas Phillip ‘Brave’ Davis is again calling for equality in the financial services sector and for the United Nations to leverage its universal jurisdiction for greater oversight of global anti-money laundering de-risking and tax cooperation matters.

In addressing the United Nations General Assembly on Saturday, September 24, Prime Minister Davis said the Bahamas is one of the best-regulated countries in the world, yet it has been under attack by international bodies and placed on the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) blacklist while transgressions in the developed world are ignored.

He questioned why this was the case and highlighted some disparities in the financial sector.

“Why is it that European states that operate frameworks akin to that of high-risk or blacklisted countries, are not even eligible for inclusion on these lists? Why are all the countries targeted – all of them – small and vulnerable, and former colonies of European states? We find it astounding that the $2-$3 trillion dollars which is estimated to be laundered each year through the developed countries, are never flagged as causes for concern,” articulated Phillip Davis, addressing the 77th session in New York.

Prime Minister Davis further noted that there are elements of racism in the decision-making when it comes to regulating black-governed countries in the financial services sector. He also declared that black-governed countries matter as well.

And yet my country, which is widely recognized as one of the best-regulated countries in the world, and other countries like The Bahamas, are singled-out for such reputational attacks? The robust regulatory regimes of our Central Bank, Securities Commission, and Insurance Commission, are chastised on minor details of technical process, while much bigger transgressions in the developed world are ignored.

The evidence is mounting, that the considerations behind these decisions have less to do with compliance, and more to do with darker issues of pre-judged, discriminatory perceptions. Black-governed countries also matter.”

 Davis also highlighted the need for reforms that apply to all in the global financial system.

“Mr. President: We support the call for reforms in the global financial system to make it more relevant to the needs of today. But those reforms need ambition. They need to go beyond the incremental. And they need to apply to all. For example, the community of international financial institutions are in a position to forgive the debt incurred by the economic shutdowns during the COVID-19 pandemic. They should do so.”

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Will US President Biden deliver on Climate Change funding?

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#USA, October 1, 2022 – US President Joe Biden has reiterated his promise that low income countries, which are also low carbon emitters will receive increased climate aid from the US to the tune of $11 billion per year.

The President was speaking at the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly recently where he maintained his administration was working with Congress to get the funds which would ‘help lower-income countries implement their climate goals and ensure a just energy transition.’

The plan was announced in September 2021 and is a reflection of the USA’s part in the 2010 global pledge made by developed countries to give $100 billion annually in climate financing to developing nations each year.  Biden has indicated that the plan will be in effect by 2024.

While he stressed at the UN that the need is ‘enormous’ the President is having trouble convincing lawmakers at home.  So far the funding which must be approved by Congress has not materialized. The United States Congress is known for having a particularly tight hold on the national purse in regards to climate change funding.

In fact congress dedicated only a little over $1 billion to climate change this year according to Bloomberg.  The US also has a history of promising funding for climate change but not delivering on those high priced promises.

Whether this $11 billion will actually get to nations like those in the Caribbean region is yet to be seen.

This year, the General Assembly heard from 190 speakers, including 76 Heads of State, 50 Heads of Government, four Vice-Presidents, five Deputy Prime Ministers, 48 Ministers and seven Heads of Delegations according to General Assembly President Csaba Kőrösi as he summed up the first in-person General Debate since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

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