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Jamaica’s Senate Begins debate on National Identification and Registration Bill

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#Jamaica, November 7, 2017 – Kingston – The National Identification and Registration Act, 2017, which seeks to establish a reliable identification system for Jamaicans, is expected to be passed at the next sitting of the Senate on Friday (November 10).   This is the intention of the Government, as it seeks to secure funding from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) to undertake the project which is being implemented by the Office of the Prime Minister.

Opening the debate on the Bill in the Upper House on Friday (November 3), Leader of Government Business, Senator the Hon. Kamina Johnson Smith explained that the administration has a limited time frame to acquire the required money.

“There is a timeline that is important to us, in respect of securing IDB funding for the implementation of the project.   If we are to have the matter before the Board in time for us to stick with an effective timeline, that is to get it before their November Board meeting, then we will have to pass it (the Bill) next week Friday,” she said.

The Bill seeks to facilitate the establishment and regulation of a National Identification System (NIDS) for the registration, verification and authentication of the identity of citizens and other persons residing in Jamaica; and the establishment of a National Civil and Identification Database to generate national identification cards.

Under this system, which the Government assures will be comprehensive and secure with anti-fraud features, every Jamaican will have a unique identification number.   Its implementation is expected to result in improved governance and management of social, economic and security programmes.

Mrs. Johnson Smith, who is also Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, encouraged members of the Senate to submit suggestions or concerns regarding the Bill by next week.

“I would welcome if there are outstanding issues, on reading the amendments, if you would submit (suggestions) for amendments so that the technical people can look at them to help us to move with alacrity.   It is critical that we close on Friday and therefore anything that we can do to make the process move more effectively, would certainly be welcomed,” she said.

In the meantime, Mrs. Johnson Smith noted that when the NIDS is implemented it will have a positive, transformative effect on Jamaica and will improve how the Government does business as well as improve the lives and productivity of citizens.

“The NIDS will provide us with one ID to make our lives better, one ID opening new possibilities for truly inclusive economic growth and job creation, one ID to positively transform Jamaica into a digital economy,” she said.

Debate on the Bill was suspended until the next sitting of the Senate.   Mrs. Johnson Smith said this was to accommodate members who wished to attend the funeral of former Opposition Senator, Marjorie Taylor.

The Bill was approved in the Lower House on September 19 with 100 amendments.

Release: JIS

 

Bahamas News

Cruising should slow down says PAHO

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

‘Slow down on Cruising’, that’s the word from the Pan American Health Organization, PAHO in their latest recent press conference.

Dr. Ciro Ugarte Director of Health Emergencies at the PAHO was referring to the Bahamas but made sure to note that the advice was highly relevant to many countries in the times of omicron.

“In the context of intense transmission, due to the Omicron variant as we have highlighted several times. It is just logical to suspend or at least limit the cruise ship traffic as an outbreak on board might end up exceedingly high and probably will go beyond the capacity of local health services”

Both the Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos are experiencing a massive uptick in cases and several warnings regarding cruise travel have been issued by the US Centers for Disease Control.

Cruising just resumed for many regional countries this past Summer, Turks and Caicos was among the latest to restart on December 13.

A stop to sailing would be devastating to economies, however, ports of call like Grand Turk which are reeling with rocketing case numbers of COVID are urged to consider the suggestion of slowing down on ships by PAHO.

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Caribbean News

Cayman gets its second ‘Sir’; former Premier Alden McLaughlin knighted on Jan 1

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#Cayman, January 20, 2022 – Former Premier of Cayman Alden McLaughlin was knighted at the start of 2022; named in the Queen’s New Year Honors List. He is only the second Caymanian to have ever received a knighthood from her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

Sir Vassel Johnson, received the honour in 1994; he was Cayman’s first Financial Secretary; he died in November 2008 at the age of 86.

Current Governor, Martyn Roper extended congratulations saying, “This is an outstanding personal achievement for former Premier McLaughlin, one of the most important and impactful political leaders in Cayman over the last 21 years. It is a significant moment for our islands. This historic award is only the second ever Knighthood to a Caymanian since the first in the 1990s. It is a strong signal of the respect in which Cayman is held and a visible demonstration of the progress Cayman has made as a vibrant democracy with strong good governance foundations.”

Sir McLaughlin, who is also now a QC attorney, served two terms as premier and had a career in politics that spanned 21 years. McLaughlin is known for his role in modernizing Cayman’s constitution.

Current premier G. Wayne Panton described the occasion as a unifying moment for the country saying, This is a day of celebration and great pride for all Caymanians as a son of our soil has been bestowed one of the highest honour.  Today marks a new and most unique storyline in the history of the Cayman Islands.  In considering the rarity and magnitude of this occasion, this is certainly a unifying moment for our community.”

Sir Alden McLaughlin, 60, was appointed as a Knight Commander of the Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George on January 1, 2022.

 

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Caribbean News

Understanding Sargassum with help from the TCI’s Department of Environment & Coastal Resources  

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By Sherrica Thompson

Staff Writer

 

#TurksandCaicos, January 20, 2022 – Sargassum, also known as seaweed, is a natural brown macroalga that lives in temperate and tropical oceans of the world. The floating micro eco-system is important to many species, including baby turtles, little crabs, and tiny fish. All these animals use the floating rafts of the sargassum for protection, shelter, and food.

Over the years, sargassum has been increasing its quantity in the Caribbean due to climate change. As water temperatures increase, sargassum blooms, and as this continues, it occurs in large amounts. This can be dangerous for some marine life because when seaweed washes up on the shore, some species become trapped in the sargassum mat.

Environmental Outreach Coordinator at the Department of Environmental and Coastal Resources for TCI, Amy Avenant, says the Turks and Caicos Islands has not seen the worst of the overgrowth.

“In the Turks and Caicos Islands, we have not seen the full severity of sargassum blooms. Our neighbours in Bonaire, for example, experience up to six feet of sargassum, and they have found stranded dolphins, sea turtles, and sometimes even birds,” said Amy Avenant.

“When the sargassum washes up on shore, it starts to decompose, and when it decomposes, it emits methane, and that is the stinky sulfuric eggy smell that you can smell when you walk past it on the beach. It is a bad thing for climate change because of the methane, but it is not harmful to your health.”

Turks and Caicos saw this in extreme amounts in October; so severe, resorts were forced to bag and bury the stinky seaweed which for over a week covered the usually sandy white stretch of Grace Bay beach.

Avenant noted that in the TCI, we have a balance between managing the influx of sargassum and impacting the areas where it lands because its influx is correlated to the cycles of the moon.

She also said sargassum can be used as a fertilizer in farming. If you collect it, the advice is to spread it out and ensure you wash the excess salt off before adding to your gardens or farms.

There are also hidden dangers and habitat threats to the piles of sargassum on shorelines.

Avenant informed, when you see sargassum on the beach, ensure you watch out for wildlife that might be stuck and species which might have made a home of the ocean’s deposit which has washed up, this is heightened on rocky shores.

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