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Bishop Boyd’s Easter message 2017

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Turks and Caicos, April 12, 2017 – Providenciales – I will sing of your steadfast love, O Lord, forever; …  For your steadfast love was established forever.  Psalm 89:1a and 2a.

As we celebrate another Easter, we note that, at its core, Easter is about a deep love that God the Father has for human beings.  God gave His Son to live, to preach, to teach, to die, to rise again and to ascend to His Father to bring us all into a new relationship with the Heavenly Father.  St. John writes (3:16) that God so LOVED the world that He gave His only Son.”  It is an enduring love that has implications far beyond the date of the event.

Jesus’ dying conquered sin and death and their power over us, allowing us to have forgiveness, newness of life and a constant chance to start over whenever we stumble.  Paul writes that “God showed His great love for us in that while we were sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).  The Resurrection is the high point of a relationship and an intention that God had for his children.  God gave His only Son for us even though we did not ASK FOR IT or DESERVE IT or REALIZE that we needed it.

This is the true nature of love, and it is symbolic of human life itself.  Let us examine the three parts of God’s loving intention:

1.      What we did not ask for

Many of us have benefitted from things that we did not actually ask for:  the kindness of a total stranger, the help of a co-worker or relative who anticipates our circumstances and does something to help us before we can ask him/her to.  Have we ever heard the famous words,  “Don’t worry.  I already have that covered!”

2.      What we did not deserve

A man I once met told me his story.  In his younger days, he had no time for his family and was always gone, busy doing this or that, involved in all sorts of things.  He had been involved in alcohol and drug abuse, and in infidelity to the point of neglect and even abuse of his family.  His wife had to struggle and carry the full load of maintaining and sustaining the family.  His children resented this deeply and were bitter, and even hostile toward him.  Now, in the middle of his life, he is mature and wiser, a changed man who has reordered his priorities dramatically.  His children, now adults with their own children, are COMPLETELY devoted to him.  You could not tell that there were twenty years of “Hell” in their family life.

This fellow is “eternally” grateful.  He told me that he DOES NOT deserve their devotion, their love and forgiveness.  Yes, indeed, he is still struggling to forgive himself for those years of neglect. Every one of us has received something that we felt that we did not deserve.

3.      What we did not realize that we needed

 In a home a child is subjected to certain rules and procedures.  When a student goes to university to prepare for a career or when an employee begins a new job “at the bottom of the ladder”, he/she has to be given the basic training, has to be taken through the ropes – and I mean this in its most positive and constructive sense.  Sometimes that child, student or employee has to do things that he/she does not understand, that he/she does not want to do, that he/she considers to be a waste of time or that seems to have no connection to the goal.  However, the parent, the teacher, the trained professional and the supervisor know why the subordinate has to learn certain things and why things ought to be done a certain way.  Often the subordinate does not know what he/she needs to learn or that he/she needs to do things a certain way to ensure wellbeing and full potential in the future.

All of us benefit from the fact that many people in our lives did things for us, the usefulness or value of which – the simple necessity for which – we had NO CONCEPTION of at the time.  Only now that we are older, or that some time has passed, do we appreciate it, and thank those people again and again and again and again.   I know that I had often told my mother, my teachers and mentors that I cannot thank them enough for this or that.

At the time of Jesus’ life the human race could never imagine what it is that He came to bring.  Now we know, and we thank the Heavenly Father for this great Feast of the Resurrection which we celebrate.

Dr. James Allan Frances wrote the original version of a poem in 1926 that tells a powerful story of the surpassing value and world-changing nature of Jesus’ life.  Here is the poem:

ONE SOLITARY LIFE

 A child is born in an obscure village. [His parents are peasant people.]  He is brought up in another obscure village. He works in a carpenter shop until he is thirty, and then for three brief years is an itinerant preacher, proclaiming a message and living a life. He never writes a book. He never holds an office. He never raises an army. He never has a family of his own. He never owns a home. He never goes to college. He never travels two hundred miles from the place where he was born. He gathers a little group of friends about him and teaches them his way of life. While still a young man, the tide of popular feeling turns against him. One denies him; another betrays him. He is turned over to his enemies. He goes through the mockery of a trial; he is nailed to a cross between two thieves, and when dead is laid in a borrowed grave by the kindness of a friend.

Those are the facts of his human life. He rises from the dead. Today we look back across nineteen hundred years and ask, What kind of trail has he left across the centuries? When we try to sum up his influence, all the armies that ever marched, all the parliaments that ever sat, all the kings that ever reigned are absolutely [insignificant] in their influence on mankind compared with that of this one solitary life…

May God’s love for us inspire you this year and always.

My family joins me in wishing you and yours a happy and meaningful Easter season.

 

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Bahamas News

Statement From Hon. Fred Mitchell, MP Minister of Foreign Affairs On the Passing of Colin Powell

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#TheBahamas, October 18, 2021 – I learned this morning  of the death of Colin Powell, the American general and diplomat. I worked with him as Foreign Minister in my first term, particularly on issues related to Haiti.

Yesterday in the CARICOM meeting, I recalled while discussing Haiti his role in the crisis of that time. I recall his life, times and work as generally thoughtful and considered. He was also an example of Caribbean success in America, one to emulate. He was the son of Jamaican parents. He was an example of success as a Black man in America. I am saddened by his passing.

On behalf of the Prime Minister the Hon. Philip Davis, the government and people of The Bahamas, and in my own behalf, I extend condolences to the United States of America and his family.

 

 

Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Commonwealth of The Bahamas

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Bahamas News

CARPHA Team undertakes Assessment of Guyana’s National Surveillance System for Non-communicable Diseases

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October 14, 2021 – The Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) conducted a technical mission to Guyana from September 22nd – 25th, 2021 to undertake site visits as a part of an ongoing assessment of six (6) Member States’ systems for the national surveillance of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and their risk factors. This activity was implemented in collaboration with the Ministry of Health Guyana through an Agence Française de Développement (AFD) – funded project.

The aim of the assessment s to provide evidence in support of the development of a Regional Surveillance System for NCDs, a priority under the regional health framework Caribbean Cooperation in Health IV (2016-2025).

During the mission, the CARPHA technical team reviewed the capacity of existing surveillance mechanisms in Guyana to collect, analyse and report on the NCDs and risk factor indicators proposed for the regional surveillance system. These indicators were recommended by a multi-stakeholder meeting series convened in 2020 under the AFD project, which reviewed global, regional, and sub-regional mandates, targets and practices in surveillance for the prevention and control of NCDs.

The CARPHA Team along with senior officials from the Ministry of Health conducted visits to two (2) health centres, the National Cancer Registry, Ministry of Health Surveillance, and Statistics Unit.  The results from the overall assessment will be presented to the Ministry of Health Guyana and will also be reviewed alongside results from similar assessments in Anguilla, Aruba, Jamaica, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Suriname to inform the finalisation of the regional surveillance system design through a regional stakeholder meeting.

The regional NCDs surveillance system would facilitate the reporting and availability of data to inform policy development, planning, and tracking of progress towards meeting for targets NCDs at Regional and National levels.

Through funding from the Agence Française de Développement (AFD), CARPHA is leading the Region in Strengthening Strategic Intelligence and Partnership Approaches to prevent and control NCDs and Strengthen Regional Health Security in the Caribbean. This project, signed in 2019 with a value of €1,500,000.00, demonstrates the commitment of the Government of France and the French people to supporting the public health priorities of the Caribbean Community through CARPHA.

More information on the Project can be found at: https://www.carpha.org/Projects/Ongoing-Projects/Strengthening-Strategic-Intelligence-and-Partnership-Approaches-To-Prevent-and-Control-NCDs-and-Strengthen-Regional-Health-Security-In-The-Caribbean

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Bahamas News

World Sight Day: Love Your Eyes

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Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago.  14 October, 2021.  In the Caribbean, the leading causes of blindness are glaucoma, cataract and diabetic retinopathy (a complication of diabetes).  According to the Vision Atlas, 6.2 million persons in the Caribbean were reported to have vision loss, with an estimated 260,000 persons reported to be blind in 2020.

Information gathered from eighteen (18) Caribbean countries (Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Bermuda, Belize, Cuba, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago) with a population of 44 million, showed that the crude prevalence of blindness was 0.60%, and the prevalence of all vision loss was 13.20%. Many of the persons affected were females at 52%.

Global statistics reveal that for 2020, a total of 596 million persons had distance vision impairment worldwide, of this number 43 million were blind.  Projections for 2050, indicate that an estimated 885 million persons may be affected by distance vision impairment with 61 million expected to experience  blindness.

CARPHA’s vision for the Caribbean is a region where the health and wellness of the people are promoted and protected from disease, injury and disability, thereby enabling human development in keeping with the belief that the health of the Region is the wealth of the Region.

Although there are no projects that directly address vision impairment, CARPHA in collaboration with its public health partners is implementing initiatives to address risk factors such as unhealthy diets, use of harmful substances and poor physical activities. This in turn, will help reduce the risk of disability due to complications associated with poor blood sugar and blood pressure management.

Efforts to improve the standards of care for diabetes through the implementation of the CARPHA Guidelines on the Management of Diabetes in Primary Care in the Caribbean, and training of health care workers from the CARPHA Member States will also contribute to the prevention of vision impairment and blindness due to diabetes.

Access to eye care services can reduce visual impairment.  CARPHA urges Member States to strengthen health systems to improve eye health services with emphasis on reaching the vulnerable and those most in need.  Governments should commit to integrating eye care into the universal health care system.

World Sight Day is celebrated annually on the second Thursday in October.  The focus of the day is to bring awareness to blindness and vision impairment as a major public health issue and blindness prevention.

The 2021 commemoration observed on 14th October, seeks to encourage persons to think about the ‘importance of their own eye health.’

Our eyes are working hard during the COVID-19 pandemic. We have been indoors, in front of our screens, and probably missed our eye test appointments. Now more than ever, we need to protect and prioritize our eyesight. There are simple things you can do for yourself to prevent the development of serious eye issues:

  • Take screen breaks for at least five minutes every hour
  • Spend time outside.  Increased outdoor time can reduce the risk of myopia (near-sightedness)[3]
  • Get an eye test. A complete eye exam can detect eye conditions such as glaucoma before it has an effect on your sight. The earlier an eye condition is identified, the easier it is to treat.
  • Eat a healthy balanced diet and engage in physical activity. These are crucial steps in maintaining a healthy weight, controlling obesity, and preventing diseases such as diabetes, all of which can impact eye health.
  • If you have diabetes, you should have your eyes checked every year

Your sight cannot be taken for granted.  It is time to LOVE YOUR EYES!

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