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CARICOM Inter-Sessional Meeting discussions conclude on high note

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Bahamas Information Services – Matt Maura

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, February 28, 2018 – Caribbean Community leaders discussed a number of topical issues ranging from disaster management, mitigation and recovery to mandatory evacuations for regional citizens during natural disasters during the two days of the 29th Inter-Sessional Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community that ended Tuesday afternoon.

Regional crime, violence and tourism were also on the agenda.  

Bahamian Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Hon. Darren Henfield, who took over the Chair as Head of Delegation for The Bahamas on Tuesday following Prime Minister, Dr. the Hon. Hubert A. Minnis’ departure for New Providence Monday night, said the discussions “went extremely well.”

“I believe the Community is in a position to determine a couple of matters,” Minister Henfield said. “Yesterday, (Monday) we looked at disaster preparedness and response and the Prime Minister (Prime Minister Minnis) made some extremely important interventions where we were able to speak to what we experienced in The Bahamas during the last hurricane cycle where we had to evacuate 1200 Bahamians from MICAL; where we were able to evacuate some 300 from Bimini.”

Minister Henfield said the effects of Climate Change on the region, was also addressed in the wake of the recent Super Storms that wreaked havoc on the Community during the 2017 Hurricane Season.

“We in this region live in the Hurricane Belt. Hurricanes are a part of the natural environment of the Caribbean,” Minister Henfield said. “It is anticipated that with Climate Change, these systems will become more frequent; they will become more ferocious, and so we have to be able to sustain ourselves. We have to be able to respond after they have hit us and we need to put ourselves in a position, as a people, to be able to do most of this ourselves.” 

Minister Henfield said discussions also centred on the availability of regional assets to respond to natural disasters such as hurricanes.

“Discussions about what is in the regional arsenal to be able to respond; how many LCU’s (Landing Crafts) we have? How many of these types of vessels are in the region that will be able to respond?

“We also spoke to the importance of CDEMA (Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency) whose officials traveled to The Bahamas and visited Ragged Island following the passage of Maria, and we spoke about shoring-up CDEMA to put it in a position to do its work as we know it’s required to be done.”

Minister Henfield said regional leaders also addressed the possibility of the acquisition of helicopters in order to be able to “move about rather quickly” in the aftermath of a natural disaster.

“When you look at what happened in Dominica, when you look at Barbuda, you know the entire infrastructure was disrupted.”

Regional Ministers also “spent some time in caucus” with CARICOM Heads of Government Monday night (February 26, 2018) at which time they discussed the matter of crime in the region.

“Crime is prevalent throughout the region not only in The Bahamas and we must look at ways to curb this blight on our Tourism economy, potentially, if it is not checked. We also talked about counter-terrorism initiatives,” Minister Henfield said.

“It is my belief that the two are associated in a sense that we have a lot of young people who feel disenfranchised, who feel disassociated from society, who are quite vulnerable to those who would encourage them into a life of criminality.”

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Caribbean News

Barbados to Host 41st Caribbean Travel Marketplace this Spring

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By Sherrica Thompson

Staff Writer

 

 

#Barbados, February 2, 2023 – Barbados has been selected to host the 41st edition of the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association’s (CHTA) Caribbean Travel Marketplace. The event will be held at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre in Bridgetown from May 9 -11, and it is expected to build on the success of the 40th staging held in Puerto Rico last fall.

CHTA President Nicola Madden-Greig, who made the announcement recently, said it’s the first time in the organization’s history that the association’s largest annual event, which brings together buyers and sellers of the region’s tourism products and services, will be staged in Barbados.

“CHTA has a very strong relationship with both public and private sector stakeholders in Barbados, and as we position the region’s top earner for robust growth this year, we are delighted to lock arms with our Bajan partners to drive business to the Caribbean,” she stated.

Noting that: “This year’s Marketplace will also provide unique access to the Eastern Caribbean for buyers and tour operators as the region places a strong focus on the revival of multi-destination travel.”

Minister of Tourism and International Transport of Barbados Ian Gooding-Edghill, said the Barbados tourism industry was undergoing a major renaissance in the post-COVID environment, and the timing could not be better to welcome Caribbean Travel Marketplace to local soil.

“We are honoured to host such a preeminent gathering of tourism stakeholders from around the world,”  Minister Gooding-Edghill said, noting that the meeting aligns with Barbados’ value offerings, which appeal, among others, to the very important MICE [Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions] market.

The launch of the first Caribbean Travel Forum & Awards, a highlight of the Puerto Rico meeting, will return for a second edition and will be held in Barbados on Tuesday, May 9, 2023, ahead of the official opening ceremony of Caribbean Travel Marketplace.

The Forum will also focus on the business of tourism, and business appointments will be conducted on Wednesday, May 10 and Thursday, May 11.

Over 150 delegates, including Ministers of Tourism and key private sector leaders, engaged in the Caribbean Travel Forum last year.

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Bahamas News

National Food Policy to be created in the Bahamas

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By Shanieka Smith

Staff Writer

 

 

#TheBahamas, February 2, 2023 – A new initiative by the Ministry of Agriculture, Marine Resources and Family Island Affairs in the Bahamas will see the creation of a National Food Policy geared towards ensuring food security on the island.

“This agricultural policy would encompass a holistic approach and incorporate regulations, legislation, and other aspects to assist the farmers who have not really gotten the attention they deserve for a long time,” said the Minister of Agriculture, Marine Resources and Family Island Affairs, Hon. Clay Sweeting.

Other initiatives within the agriculture sector will also be implemented, such as the digitalization of applications and forms, which will make farming more efficient.

Clay said, “we have already digitalized for the most part the Department of Marine Resources and soon we will unveil new services such as dog licences, import permits, and other services needed for a successful agricultural sector.”

The construction of the Cultivation Centres (TCC) in Eleuthera and New Providence with produce exchange, food processing kitchens and farm stores will continue.

Sweeting said he hopes these initiatives will help to decrease the country’s yearly $1 billion food import bill.

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Caribbean News

Guyana secures cryotherapy machines to help fight cervical cancer

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By Sherrica Thompson

Staff Writer

 

 

#Guyana, February 2, 2023 – Guyana will see a significant boost to its healthcare system soon as the health ministry has acquired 20 cryotherapy machines to help treat and prevent cervical cancer, the second most prevalent cancer among women in the country.

Cryotherapy, also known as cold therapy, involves cooling the body’s tissues for therapeutic purposes and removing the abnormal tissue. This type of therapy is also used to treat many skin conditions and some cancers, including prostate, cervical and liver cancer.

The Health Ministry said the machines will help clear the backlog of patients needing such treatment.

Director of the Non-Communicable Diseases Programme of the Health Ministry, Dr. Latchmie Lall, said the equipment will be very instrumental in providing immediate service to patients.

“We are indeed very thankful for this donation of cryotherapy machines that were brought through the IDB project; a total of 20 machines that are going to be used to improve our screening services for cervical cancer; this will come as a great measure for not only screening but to provide immediate medical treatment in that if we do find a pathological cervix, cryotherapy can be applied immediately, and we have one healthy patient going back home to her family,” Dr. Lall said.

Director of Primary Healthcare Services, Dr. Ertensia Hamilton, said the equipment comes at an opportune time when the ministry is extending its services for women of reproductive age across the country.

“We recognise that Guyana still has a high incidence of cervical cancer in our women, and so we want to be able to have services available to them as we work towards ensuring that each individual across their life course has services to meet their medical needs,” she said.

Minister of Health Dr. Frank Anthony, during his comment, revealed that Guyana is trying to develop a comprehensive programme for cervical cancer.

“One of the things that we are trying to do is to have a comprehensive cervical cancer programme. The first level will be to prevent cervical cancer. We want to do that by encouraging people to get the HPV vaccination. We have these vaccines available. We have been rolling them out to ensure that every person eligible for these vaccines gets them.”

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