Jamaica, March 7, 2017 – Montego Bay – Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), Mercedes Currie Clarke, is as committed to her duty to serve, protect and reassure citizens today as she was when she first enlisted in the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) more than 27 years ago.
Regarded as one of the “powerful women of the JCF,” the native of Montego Bay and past student of the Mount Alvernia High School is in charge of administration for the Westmoreland Police Division. She oversees training, human resources, infrastructure, and detention and courts. DSP Currie Clarke tells JIS News that her decision to join the force in 1989 was initially to ensure that she had a secure job, but she quickly bought into the policies and practices of the force.
Reflecting on her years of service, DSP Currie Clarke recalled that her first real duty was to work in Kingston during a national election. “That was interesting – my first time as a person from Montego Bay to be working in Kingston. I have never seen people conducting themselves so vocally, so openly; and to take command of such a situation that day was frightening at first, but after a while, I realised that it was not beyond me to do it,” she says.
DSP Currie, who is regarded as a strict but humble leader, notes that she has grown in the force and has received several promotions in recognition of her significant and effective work contributions. She has moved from Corporal to Sergeant, to Inspector and now DSP. “For me, promotion is more than added salary. It is more responsibility; more taking command. I have moved through the ranks, and as you move (up), your responsibilities increase and you would have grown, matured and got better at your craft. While doing all of that, you would have earned the respect and admiration of quite a number of persons inside and outside the organisation,” she says.
She notes that while the force is male-dominated, women continue to rise to management positions, and they have the full support of the men with whom they work. “I think I have made valuable contributions for the past 27 and a half years. I have not been in any situation where I was gender stereotyped, so the contributions I have made are as valuable as any other,” she notes.
DSP Currie Clarke says she has no regrets about joining the JCF, and while there have been some challenges, these are outweighed by the positive contributions of the hard-working and committed members. “The journey has been interesting. It has its ups and downs, but I think the contribution of the police on a whole is significant enough in Jamaica, especially in a time like now. I have always asked myself the question, ‘What would happen if one day Jamaica woke up and there were no police; what kind of society would that be?’ Therefore, I think the JCF remains relevant and is continuing to make a valuable contribution to nation building,” she tells JIS News.
DSP Currie Clarke says that even after 27 years of service to the people of Jamaica, her zeal and enthusiasm have not waned. “I continue to serve the JCF. If there is promotion in my future, I will welcome it. If not, I will continue to serve. I have no desire to leave right now… I have no regrets serving and I would do this all over again if that was possible,” she tells JIS News.
She says the JCF remains a very attractive and noble profession and is a good place for aspiring young Jamaicans to seek not only employment, but an avenue through whichthey can serve their country.
TCI Health Launches COVID Booster Shot program
#TurksandCaicos, October 6, 2021 – The Turks and Caicos Islands launches its COVID-19 vaccine booster programme commencing on Monday 4th October 2021. This comes following the approval by Cabinet, of the COVID-19 Booster Vaccine Strategy which was submitted by the Ministry of Health for consideration.
Members of Cabinet including the Governor, Deputy Governor, Honorable Premier, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health were in strong support of the vaccine booster strategy which will provide greater protection to those vulnerable individuals within the country who had previously been fully vaccinated more than six months ago and who are most at risk of severe effects of the disease.
1) Chronic non-communicable diseases clients
2) Elderly – Adults 50 years and over
3) Health care and frontline workers
4) Caregivers of the vulnerable
All persons in the groups listed above would have to have completed the two-dose series more than 6 months ago to be eligible for the booster dose of the vaccine. Eligible persons should reach out to their health care providers to schedule their booster dose.
The booster vaccine programme rolled out in the UK on 20.9.2021 and in the USA on 24.9.2021. On 9th September, Dr June Raine, Chief Executive of the MHRA (Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency), which regulates medicines, medical devices and blood components for transfusion in the UK, issued the following statement; “We know that a person’s immunity may decline over time after their first vaccine course. I am pleased to confirm that the COVID-19 vaccines made by Pfizer and AstraZeneca can be used as safe and effective booster doses. This is an important regulatory change as it gives further options for the vaccination programme, which has saved thousands of lives so far. The regulatory decision followed a careful review of available data on safety and effectiveness of booster or supplementary vaccine doses by the MHRA and the independent Commission on Human Medicines (CHM), which advises the government.”
The TCI is currently progressing on its fifth tranche of the vaccine which was received from the UK and anticipates the receipt of additional doses of the vaccine to support the ongoing roll out of the vaccine to all eligible residents as well as the booster programme.
The vaccine is critical to the ongoing national response to the COVID19 pandemic. The vaccines are safe and can prevent severe illness requiring hospitalization. All eligible persons are encouraged to get vaccinated to continue protecting themselves, their loved ones and the wider community. All eligible persons who are unvaccinated are encouraged to take the vaccine.
JAMAICA: Bustamante Hospital for Children Gets Specialty Beds From Chase Fund
#Kingston, September 28, 2021 – A bed is one of the most important pieces of furniture in any healthcare facility and forms a large part of patient care and recovery. The Culture, Health, Arts, Sports and Education (CHASE) Fund, through a generous donation of $4.4 million, has gifted the island’s only public children’s hospital, the Bustamante Hospital for Children (BHC), with 15 specialty beds.
“Those beds were used a day after they were delivered and have helped BHC tremendously, because they came when we started to see an increase in the patients,” Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the BHC, Camile Wallen-Panton, tells JIS News.
“The BHC, unlike other hospitals, has not been badly impacted by the patient load due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), but at the same time we have seen a rise in other illnesses,” she added.
Mrs. Wallen-Panton points out that the beds were allocated to the various wards and explains how they met the required bed specifications.
“The beds that we received were the right specifications. They have the required two-side rail that can be adjusted, and they also have safety wheels that can be locked to make the bed immobile. The beds are outfitted with an Intravenous (IV) stand and are beautifully coloured, which brightens the ward,” she notes.
The CEO shares that the donation was greatly welcomed by staff, patients and parents.
“It is very important that our local hospitals are fitted with adequate beds. You can see the added stress on the patients, parents and caregivers whenever there is a shortage of beds,” Mrs. Wallen-Panton says.
“Our patient load is always growing, and from time to time, furniture and equipment outlive their useful time and they must be taken out, so when an institution such as the CHASE Fund answers our needs, patient, parents and staff salute them. They have made a huge difference in how we serve,” she adds.
Mrs. Wallen-Panton highlights that the hospital administration believes continual improvements in patient care are crucial and welcomes partnerships and collaborations to achieve this.
“As the only dedicated children’s hospital that serves Jamaica and the other English-speaking Caribbean islands, the BHC has to be prepared at all times to accept referrals that require secondary care,” she explains.
“The hospital currently has 23 services, including emergency, medical and surgical, and the social services that cater to the holistic needs of the patients we serve, and we are always trying to find ways to improve on our service delivery,” she notes.
The CEO reiterates her appreciation of the CHASE Fund’s investment in the healthcare sector and wishes the entity success in all its current and future projects.
Acquisition of the beds for the BHC forms part of a larger project by CHASE Fund, valued at $110 million, to purchase beds for secondary-care institutions within the South-East Region.
The facilities include Kingston Public, Victoria Jubilee, Spanish Town, Linstead, Princess Margaret and National Chest Hospitals, Sir John Golding Rehabilitation Centre, and Hope Institute.
Meanwhile, CEO of the CHASE Fund, Billy Heaven, tells JIS News that the donation of beds to hospitals, including the BHC, falls under the CHASE Fund’s Health mandate.
“In funding health projects, we are always mindful of how many people a project will benefit, whether it will improve access to healthcare and will result in better healthcare delivery and how our intervention can improve efficiency and the overall health system in Jamaica,” Mr. Heaven says.
He notes that the CHASE Fund is pleased to have aided the operation of the only specialist paediatric hospital in the English-speaking Caribbean, which sees approximately 70,000 patients per year, catering to children from birth to 12 years of age.
By: Colleen Dawkins
Cuban Nationals Apprehended in Bahamian waters
#TheBahamas, June 24, 2021 – A group of Cuban Nationals are currently being detained at the Carmichael Road Detention Center after they were apprehended in the south west Bahamas by a US Coast Guard vessel earlier this week.
The fifteen individuals were captured after being sighted on Anguilla Cay on Tuesday 22 June. They were taken aboard the US Coast Guard Cutter, CHARLES SEXTON, and handed over shortly after 7:00 pm to the Defence Force patrol craft, HMBS DURWARD KNOWLES, under the command of Senior Lieutenant Jataro McDonald.
The Cubans were subsequently brought into the capital early Thursday morning, where they were handed over to the relevant authorities. The Cuban Embassy has since been notified.
The Royal Bahamas Defence Force continues to maintain a vigilant presence while patrolling and protecting the territorial waters of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas, and working with other law enforcement agencies.
Photos shows: Cuban nationals shortly after their arrival at the Defence Force Base, Coral Harbour on Thursday June 24, 2021. (RBDF Photo by Petty Officer Al Rahming)
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