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CARICOM Inter-Sessional Meeting discussions conclude on high note



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

WHO rejects report, claims it managed Cornavirus Pandemic well



By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer


September 18, 2022 – The World Health Organization is rejecting suggestions that it moved too slowly to contain the COVID19 pandemic.

In a press release on Thursday, the WHO says there were ‘omissions and misinterpretations’ made by the Lancet Commission in its report ‘Lessons for the future from the COVID-19 pandemic’ which criticized the organization as ‘delayed and vague’ in its reaction.

Lancet had claimed The WHO was too slow in its response time in the early weeks leading to swift global spread of the coronavirus. In reply the entity said “the Commission does not convey the full arc of WHO’s immediate, multi-year, life-saving response”.

The agency detailed its response in the first weeks of the pandemic saying that behind closed doors they were meeting with member countries and creating information packages on how to test for and treat the unknown virus.

It also defended the timing of its announcement of the pandemic (which the Lancet Commission said was too slow) noting that the first meeting of the emergency committee occurred only after only nine international cases and no deaths outside of China and while it was not declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) it was noted that it could become one quickly.

It was declared a PHEIC seven days later.

The WHO also says not only did it repeatedly warn of the possibility of human to human transmission it warned countries to start screening at entry points and provided early access to personal protective gear.

At the same time there were agreements between the entities. Lancet maintained that with strengthening the WHO should still be in charge of worldwide pandemic response.

Additionally the WHO did say it agreed with some of the commission’s observations including chronic underfunding of the UN and some of its recommendations including the importance of multilateralism, solidarity and cooperation when facing pandemics.

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Caribbean News

TCI’s Faion Hicks on roster for Denver Broncos



By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer


#TurksandCaicos, September 18, 2022 – Faion Hicks made history as the first TCI American player to be drafted into the NFL when he got hitched to the Denver Broncos several months ago.

Despite being drafted to the practice squad and not the main game night roster, Faion, we had hoped would see some game time in the team’s Monday Night Football debut for the season.  Denver Broncos were on September 12, up against the Seattle Seahawks.

Practice squad players who are assigned to a team and practice with the team but do not play any games unless they are elevated.

Practice squad players are eligible to be elevated and play official games three times per season.

If Faion is elevated to the roster more than three times this season he will be signed to the main roster officially. Many successful and all-star NFL players started out on the practice squad.

Once the regular season ends practice squad players are usually signed to reserve or future contracts by their team.

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Caribbean News

CARICOM Ready to Deepen Investment And Trade With Africa



By Melissa Rollock

Barbados GIS


Africa accounted for only two per cent of the Caribbean Community’s (CARICOM) total trade in 2018, prior to the disruption from the COVID-19 pandemic.  Since then, trade between the two regions has been negatively impacted.

However, Secretary General of CARICOM, Dr. Carla Barnett, believes the AfriCaribbean Trade and Investment Forum, which got underway today at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre, is an important first step in expanding and deepening trade relations between the African continent and CARICOM.

The Secretary General pointed out during the opening ceremony that the potential to do business with Africa was “tremendous”, noting that the market represented by the African continental free trade arrangement was set to reach US $6.7 trillion in value by 2035.

She further stated that in order to grow trade and investment flows between the Caribbean Community and Africa, the infrastructure such as air and maritime distribution and transportation channels, needed to be strengthened and streamlined.

“We need to move to establish a multilateral air services agreement between African countries and the Community. Using this forum, and other mechanisms such as our mutual membership in the Organisation of African Caribbean and Pacific States, we can continue to promote and forge business to business contacts through networks of private sector organisations and business development support organisations such as our Caribbean Export, which is our regional trade and investment promotion agency.  We at CARICOM look forward to concluding the memorandum of understanding between the Secretariats of CARICOM and the African Union to strengthen collaboration to support this process,” Dr. Barnett stated.

To illustrate the need for greater relations in trade, she explained that in 2018, CARICOM exports to the rest of the world stood at US $18.6 billion with total exports to Africa at only US $815 million. CARICOM exports to Africa represented 4.4 per cent of its exports.  In that same year, CARICOM imports from the world totalled US $33 billion, with imports from Africa at US $603 million. Africa accounted for approximately only two per cent of the Caribbean Community’s total trade.

Currently, the top exports to Africa include anhydrous ammonia, alumina, oil drilling tubing materials, sauces and condiments and frozen orange juice concentrate. The main markets are Morocco, Ghana and South Africa. The top 10 imports from Africa include liquified natural gas, vehicles, barium sulphate, bitumen and coriander, with the main sources being Nigeria, South Africa and Morocco.

Citing the benefits which the Community offered to investors, she said the region was a strong performer in the services sectors such as travel, tourism and financial services.  Additionally, Dr. Barnett said they were working to transform the agriculture and industrial sectors.

“Our 25 by 2025 agricultural initiative (reducing the region’s food import bill by 25 per cent by 2025) already is gaining momentum. We are promoting investment in agriculture, including two excellent agri-investment expos that have been held so far.  And we are backing this up with decisive actions to address trade barriers and promote productivity across the region. Work has started on an industrial policy that will complement the positive steps already underway in agriculture,” she shared.

The Secretary General said CARICOM also offered investors “a gateway to partner markets”, pointing out that its preferential trade agreements with several Latin American and Caribbean neighbours “and others” provided significant market access opportunities.  She noted that these markets represented a combined US $11 trillion in imports of goods and services.

Dr. Barnette said that with the African continental free trade area and the CSME presenting solid platforms for trade and economic cooperation, she expected the “first” AfriCaribbean Trade and Investment Forum to be a success.


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