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Caribbean News

#MeToo hits Haiti, UK Charity exposed in sex scandal, President to launch investigation of all foreign aide groups



Haiti, February 13, 2018 – Haiti will launch investigations into all foreign aide organizations operating in the country after the details of another #metoo scandal broke a day ago, involving the people of Haiti and the charity from the United Kingdom.

News articles online are exposing that a UK charity, Oxfam, once headed by a slew of what could only be described as serial sex-abusing executives was engaged with prostitutes.

President of Haiti, Jovenel Moise was on the record with the BBC, he condemned the actions of Oxfam, which set up in Haiti in 2011 to offer support in the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake which killed 300,000 people there.

Okfam is now embroiled in this newest ‘MeToo’ scandal which is attracting international attention and generating new news reports hourly on the shocking behavior of its leaders, though the cases date back seven years.

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One woman reporting to the BBC said the local people knew Oxfam was a sham, that it was exploiting the natives and having sexual relationships with every, and anyone.  She listed employees and prostitutes as those caught up in the sexual affairs and said the money being collected, was not for helping Haitians, it was for living it up in a lavish lifestyle.

Oxfam, established since 1942 is a confederation of 19 charities and has as its mantra the ‘power of people against poverty’.  A BBC report reveals that ‘Oxfam received £31.7m from the UK government, ($44m USD) which is about a quarter of a percent of what the government spends on foreign aid each year.  The charity had a total income of £409m last year, of which £176m came from government and other public authorities.  Of the rest, £108m came from donations and legacies and £91m from sales in its shops.’

Oxfam is not obviously not denying the allegations.  In fact, the organization has confirmed that the sexual misconduct happened and in 2011 terminated the executives and employees guilty of the offenses.

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The Deputy Chief Executive of Oxfam, Penny Lawrence, on Monday resigned saying she was ashamed and accepted responsibility for what happened on her watch.  Oxfam also met with the British government which has reportedly threatened to pull funding and demanded all documentation on the sex cases.  The scandal has also elicited an EU warning.

But that is it so far.  The crime of misappropriating funds, of using donor money to finance their sex-crazed lifestyles and the set back of using people ill-equipped to bring the rebound which Haiti needs, remains unpunished said one news report.

jovenel moise

President Moise tweeted a stern message on Monday, “There is nothing more outrageous and dishonest than a sexual predator who uses his position as part of the humanitarian response to a natural disaster to exploit needy people in their moment of greatest vulnerability,” he said.  “What happened with Oxfam in Haiti is an extremely serious violation of human dignity,” he said in another tweet.

A main figure in this foreign aide mess is a man who had been put out of other organizations for similar behavior and who was reported upon for years, with no one stepping in or stopping him.

Roland Van Hauwermeiren had been forced out of aide organizations in Liberia, Chad and in Haiti in 2011 after admitting that he entertained prostitutes at his Oxfam funded villa.  Still, Van Hauwermeiren was repeatedly re-hired and went on from his post in Haiti to work in Bangladesh as the director of Action Against Hunger, a French charity.

Some believe the repercussion for those who admitted to these acts were not harsh enough, and also charge that the charities are not doing thorough enough background checks on the individuals which staff the institutions.

Haitians learning of the level of ‘insatiable debauchery’ by Oxfam workers and leaders are furious, said another report.

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Bahamas News

Work of NAECOB critical in ensuring high standards in education, says Minister Hanna-Martin



By KATHRYN CAMPBELLBahamas Information Services
NASSAU, The Bahamas, March 29, 2023 – Over 100 schools in New Providence, public and private, and some 30 plus schools in Freeport have been inspected by The National Accreditation and Equivalency Council (NAECOB) to ensure high quality standards for the delivery of education.
“We will cover every island, every cay in this country to make certain that the facilities that we send our children to are adequate, conducive for learning, safe and sound for education,” said Thelma Grimes, chairperson, NAECOB.
“We are going to head to Cat Island and all the others before June.This is our announced visit. They [schools] have a chance to get things fixed that are not finished and [afterwards] we will have the unannounced.”
The Council informed the media of its progress during a briefing Monday, March 20, 2023 at its headquarters, Tonique Williams-Darling Highway.
Howard Newbold, Inspector and Council Member explained that the council’s seven inspectors are tasked with visiting every site or virtual space operating the following: primary/secondary schools, private/secondary, post-secondary, recognized, training, allied health and business institutions among others.
 Mr. Newbold said inspections include an examination of:
 -Safety and security standards-Human security which begins at the entrance to the property’-Physical security: safety mechanisms including smoke detectors, fire alarms and extinguishers (service date verification, and evacuation plan)-Primary grounds, playground equipment, swing sets and slides-Curriculum-Information management system (student records, staff schedules, registration certificate with NAECOB, business license, photos of the national leaders etc.)
The Hon. Glenys Hanna-Martin, Minister of Education and Technical and Vocational Institute thanked NAECOB for their efforts. She described their work as “critical” and a part of an overall national thrust to ensure that the quality of education in the country is at a high standard.“We’re the Ministry of Education and they’re our schools. We are accountable to NAECOB. They ensure that what is happening on the campuses throughout the nation meets the physical standards and the qualitative standards of education. You would have heard classroom size and teacher/student ratio. We may have challenges, and we do at the Ministry of Education but when these issues are brought to our attention we are obliged and compelled to seek resolution to ensure that the standards are met.
“This is a quality assurance measure for the Ministry itself and our schools to ensure that public and private and public schools meet these standards. We value that. Because the objective of the Ministry is to ensure that we meet the standards so that our young people who enter these institutions are afforded the best opportunity possible.
 “Education is a cultural value; a norm. We submit ourselves to the work of NAECOB to ensuring what happens is done at least to make the acceptable standards of the delivery of education in our schools,” she said.
Cassia Minnis, registration officer, said “registration” certifies that a local educational institution/provider has met the criteria to offer an educational service in The Bahamas as outlined in the Education Act. She said it is mandatory that all educational institutions/provider offering/proposing to offer an educational service in the Bahamas must be registered according to the NAECOB Act and the Education Act.
 She said NAECOB is aware of “small” schools operating within residential homes and warned that this is in contravention of the law.
She encouraged the public to view listings of all registered institutions on the website at
NAECOB is responsible for registering and accrediting primary schools, secondary schools, post-secondary schools, and any institution that offers training in The Bahamas.

BIS Photos/Mark Ford

Header: Seated at the table, from left: – Lorraine Armbrister, Permanent Secretary; Minister Glenys Hanna-Martin; Dominique McCartney Russell, Acting Director; Cassia Minnis, Registration Officer; Thelma Grimes, Council Chairperson; Howard Newbold, Inspector, Council Member; Shena Williams, Council and Inspector; Dorothy Anderson, Inspector; T. Nicola McKay, Deputy Chairperson;  (seated behind) Willard Barr, Council and Inspector.

1st insert: Thelma Grimes, Council Chairperson

2nd insert: Howard Newbold, Inspector and Council Member

3rd insert: The Hon. Glenys Hanna-Martin, Minister of Education and Technical and Vocational Training

4th insert: Cassia Minnis, Registration Officer

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Bahamas News

Bahamas Golden Jubilee Events Announced, Celebrations Across 33 Islands & Cays



#TheBahamas, March 27, 2023 – As the 50th anniversary of our nation’s independence approaches, Bahamians everywhere are teeming with excitement and expectancy around the year-long celebrations set by The National Independence Secretariat.

Yesterday, the Prime Minister joined H.E Leslia Miller Brice, Chair of The National Independence Secretariat to unveil the Calendar of Events for the 50th Independence celebrations.

The calendar comprises a host of events, initiatives and recommendations for celebrations throughout all 33 islands of The Bahamas.

At this jubilant occasion the PM stated, “Celebrating independence is about acknowledging the greatness around us, the greatness within us, and the greatness ahead of us.

We are Bahamians. That identity is special.”

View the newly released calendar of events here:…

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Caribbean News

JAMAICA: 12,362 Seniors Registered Under New Social Pension Programme



#Kingston, March 28, 2023 – There are currently 12,362 seniors registered under the Government’s new Social Pension Programme.

Minister of Labour and Social Security, Hon. Karl Samuda, made the disclosure during the sitting of the Standing Finance Committee of the House on March 2, at Gordon House.

The initiative targets all Jamaican citizens 75 years and older who are not currently in receipt of a pension (overseas or local) or any other retirement, old-age or disability benefit or regular income, and are not living in a government institutionalised care facility.

“We are evaluating the manner in which we qualify persons to go on the programme. This is a discussion we will have to have, as some people fall through the cracks simply because they might have a refrigerator, or they might be lucky enough to have a television at home,” Mr. Samuda said.

“The direction in which we are heading, to have those things, does not move you from poverty to prosperity. So, the Government has an obligation to do everything possible to improve their quality of life, and so we will be looking at that,” the Minister added.

Mr. Samuda said between March 2022 and January 2023, the programme disbursed $446 million.

To register for the social pension programme, persons may visit any of the Ministry’s parish offices islandwide.

They will be required to complete a social pension application form, accompanied by their Tax Registration Number (TRN), National Insurance Scheme (NIS) card, and proof of age in the form of a birth certificate or a valid passport.

They should also take along a valid identification (ID), such as a driver’s licence, passport or voter’s ID, proof of bank account and any other document that may be required to process the application, for example, proof of citizenship.

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