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Fight against Non-Communicable Disease will continue, says Jamaican Health Minister



#Jamaica, October 25, 2017 – Kingston – Minister of Health, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, says the Government will continue to pursue stringent regulations and policies aimed at reducing lifestyle illnesses associated with non-communicable diseases (NCDs).

Speaking at the opening session for the Subregional Legal Training on NCDs at the Visitors’ Lodge, University of the West Indies, Mona, on October 24, he said policies and regulatory initiatives, coupled with lifestyle changes, are crucial components in tackling NCDs in Jamaica and the wider Caribbean region.

The Caribbean has the worst epidemic of NCDs in the Americas, and which cause more than 60 per cent of deaths in the region. In Jamaica, the diseases are responsible for most premature deaths, with high blood pressure affecting 25 per cent of the population.   Some of the regulations, Dr. Tufton cited, include the establishment of a National Food Industry Taskforce; the Tobacco Control Regulations; the Jamaica Moves initiative; the National Strategic and Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of NCDs 2013-2018; and the National Alcohol Policy, 2015.

He informed that stakeholder consultations have begun following recommendations from the National Food Industry Task Force that was established last year.   “Hopefully (that) will lead to some sort of regulatory framework,” he said.

Dr. Tufton further said the Ministry is moving towards a “comprehensive overhaul” of the Tobacco Control Regulations.   The review is expected to address critical matters that have not been addressed under the existing Tobacco Control Regulations.   These include regulating the interactions of Government officials with the tobacco industry, and regulating price and tax measures in a manner that will effectively contribute to the reduction of tobacco consumption, among others.

Dr. Tufton said the Jamaica Moves National Campaign aims to get Jamaicans to become more active.   The campaign encourages Jamaicans of all ages to engage in at least 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise for a minimum of five days per week for good health.   Dr. Tufton said the Jamaica Moves National Campaign aims to get Jamaicans to become more active.   The campaign encourages Jamaicans of all ages to engage in at least 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise for a minimum of five days per week for good health.

“One of the challenges that we face with the NCD fight is really about changing culture and changing behaviour, starting with changing beliefs,” the Minister said.   He added that the proliferation of mass media content, particularly from North America, has influenced lifestyle behaviour changes in the country and the wider Caribbean.

Meanwhile, he said a coordinated approach is critical in tackling NCDs across the region. “Hopefully, we will come out with a menu of policies that are similar in terms of learning from each other, and that can drive and change behaviour over time,” he said.

For her part, Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) Country Representative, Jamaica, Dr. Noreen Jack, said although the individual responsibility and initiative to make wise choices to benefit one’s health is important, an enabling environment is equally critical to facilitate making wise choices.

“This includes the existence of supportive policies to facilitate more positive choices that will promote good health,” she said.

The training seeks to build capacity with the relevant government entities within the Caribbean, in order to develop and strengthen the region’s capacity to address NCDs through policy formulation and the development and enforcement of effective legislative framework.

Most non-communicable diseases are the result of four particular behaviours, namely, tobacco use, physical inactivity, unhealthy diet, and the harmful use of alcohol, that lead to four key metabolic/physiological changes – raised blood pressure, overweight/obesity, raised blood glucose and raised cholesterol.

Release: JIS

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Bob Marley – One Love Actor Endorses Black River Film Festival



#MontegoBay, May 27, 2024 – The inaugural staging of the Black River Film Festival (BRFF), set for June 28 to 30, is being welcomed by local actor, Cornelius Orlando Grant, who sees the potential of the event in unearthing local talent and attracting investment from the international film industry.

Addressing a recent JIS Think Tank held at the agency’s Montego Bay Regional Office, Mr. Grant, who stars as gangster Bucky Marshall in the Bob Marley – One Love biopic, said the BRFF could leverage the interest and attention being generated towards Jamaica and its film industry following the premiere of the movie.

“Look at it this way, the Prince (Harry) came to the premiere and his presence attracted extra attention to [the film industry]. The Bob Marley movie is creating and breaking more records… . Just recently it opened in Japan [where]… reggae music and Bob Marley have a big fan base. Furthermore, people in the [diaspora] that I spoke to are saying that when they view the movie, it brought them vibes of home,” he noted.

Mr. Grant said that with Jamaica being positioned as the hub of the Caribbean film industry and with the increasing number of young persons emerging as content creators, “I think now is the time that we can capitalise on this. The Black River Film Festival is doing just that because it is not only incorporating new content creators but also showing students new career possibilities”.

Young content creators, 14 to 18 years old, who wish to enter or are already practitioners in the field of filmmaking will benefit from masterclass sessions during the Festival.

Mr. Grant will be among the speakers during these sessions.

The Ministry of Education, Region 5 will be partnering with the Festival producers at a workshop to be held at St. Elizabeth Technical High School (STETHS) in Santa Cruz on June 28.


Photo Caption: Jamaican actor, Cornelus Orlando Grant, gives his support to the Black River Film Festival (BRFF), while addressing a recent Think Tank at the Jamaica Information Service Montego Bay Regional Office in St. James.

Okoye Henry Photo


Contact: Sharon Earle

Release: JIS

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May 21, 2024 – The Turks and Caicos Islands have clear laws prohibiting the possession of firearms and or ammunition without a licence and strict penalties in order to serve and protect the community. Our Firearms Ordinance, which was amended in 2022, states that:

No person (other than a licensed gunsmith in the course of his trade) shall have in his possession, discharge or use any firearm or ammunition unless he is the holder of a firearm licence with respect to such firearm, or in case of ammunition he is the holder of a licence for a firearm which takes that ammunition.

Firearm and/or ammunition offences carry a mandatory minimum custodial sentence of twelve years plus a fine. Where a court finds there are exceptional circumstances, the sentencing judge has discretion, under the law, to impose a custodial sentence and a fine that are fair and just in the circumstances of each case rather than impose the mandatory minimum.

The Chief Justice is advancing sentencing guidelines in respect of the application of exceptional circumstances. Wider work is also ongoing with criminal justice partners to review the efficiency and effectiveness of case progression, in driving justice outcomes.

It is the traveller’s responsibility to ensure their baggage is free of firearms and/or ammunition. Permission from an airline carrier does not constitute permission to bring firearms or ammunition into the Turks and Caicos Islands. Travellers are also strongly advised to search their luggage before they travel to the Turks and Caicos Islands to ensure they do not bring in forbidden items inadvertently. Such offences will result in arrest.

The Turks and Caicos Islands is a British Overseas Territory with a common law legal system, and reserves the right to enforce its laws. All persons, including visitors, must follow lawful process.

The Turks and Caicos Islands welcomes all visitors but reminds travellers that persons in the Turks and Caicos Islands do not have a constitutional right to carry firearms. Equally, the importation of firearms, ammunition (including stray bullets), and other weapons is strictly forbidden, unless licence to do so has been issued by the Commissioner of Police.

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CTO to Focus on Aviation at Caribbean Week in New York



New York (May 16, 2024) – Celebrating its 35th anniversary, the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) is set to spotlight the future of Caribbean aviation during Caribbean Week in New York, scheduled for June 16-21, 2024, at the InterContinental Times Square in midtown Manhattan.

Under CTO’s annual theme “Connecting the Globe, Celebrating Diversity”, the week promises a diverse lineup of activities emphasizing innovation and connectivity.

A key feature of the premier event for travel industry professionals, journalists and members of the Caribbean Diaspora will be the Caribbean Airlift Forum.

Rosa Harris, Chairman of the CTO Board of Directors and Spokesperson for Caribbean Week, will moderate the forum. She emphasized the importance of this session as a critical platform for discussing the challenges and opportunities in Caribbean air transportation.

The session will cover topics including route development, aviation competitiveness, partnerships, infrastructure investment, regulatory frameworks, and market demand strategies. It aims to foster dialogue among airlines, airports, tourism authorities, and aviation ministries, enhancing connectivity and optimizing access to Caribbean destinations.

“In the wake of the pandemic, Caribbean aviation has shown remarkable resilience and adaptability, rebounding strongly in key areas. However, as we celebrate these gains during our Caribbean Week in New York, it’s crucial that we don’t become complacent,” stated Harris.

“We must continue to innovate and address the persistent challenges within intra-regional tourism, which, while recovering, remains a challenge for many of our destinations,” she continued. “Our focus at the Caribbean Airlift Forum is not only on celebrating our successes but also on critically analyzing our challenges to strengthen and diversify our connections to, from and across the region, ensuring a more robust and connected Caribbean.”

The week also features a Business and Tourism Marketing Symposium, the Caribbean Media Awards, and sessions focused on artificial intelligence, crisis communications, and multicultural marketing.

With the support of headline sponsor, the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism, Investments & Aviation; gold sponsors Cayman Islands Department of Tourism and the United States Virgin Islands Department of Tourism; and Diamonds International and the Caribbean Media Exchange, Caribbean Week in New York 2024 is poised to be a pivotal meeting for tourism professionals and stakeholders in the region and the Diaspora.

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