#Jamaica, May 30, 2018 – Kingston – Minister of State in the Ministry of National Security, Hon. Rudyard Spencer, has called on members of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) to collaborate more in the fight against corruption at ports in the region.
Addressing the CARICOM Chiefs of Immigration and Comptrollers of Customs Conference at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston on Tuesday (May 29), Mr. Spencer said it is through continuous collaboration that “we will defeat crime at our regional borders”.
“Many of us are confronting issues we have never had to grapple with before at a rapid pace that demands partnership. In the face of porous borders, shifting criminal and terrorist threats, it is indeed true that no man is literally an island and no man or country succeeds alone,” Mr. Spencer said.
The State Minister said that in this age of terrorism, cybercrime and organised criminal networks, CARICOM continues to face rising levels of crime.
“Gang warfare in the never-ending battle for control of scarce resources continues to tear apart the social fabric of our communities and countries and destroy the lives of so many of our young people,” Mr. Spencer added.
He encouraged the chiefs of immigration and comptrollers of customs from the different CARICOM nations present, to continue to promote the rejection of corruption in the forms of illegal drug trade, trafficking of firearms, identity theft and data breaches, among their nationals they have employed, and citizens.
“One of the most effective ways we can confront the challenges outlined is to reject corruption and the behaviours that support it. Never forget that no criminal act can bear fruit without compromise and someone deciding to look the other way,” Mr. Spencer said.
He noted that hosting the CARICOM Chiefs of Immigration and Comptrollers of Customs Conference at this time in Jamaica, is “timely”.
“This meeting could not have been convened at a more apt time, as there is an agreed level of urgency to collaborate across the region to confront and overcome the various existing and emerging challenges,” he said.
Chair of Immigration, CARICOM, Wayne Marshall, also stated that he wants to see more partnerships taking place between the various stakeholders in the region with regard to safeguarding the ports.
“We must work together on common security challenges. It not only facilitates stability in our region but it leads to safe and secure movement of people as well as goods and services. Together, we must tackle illegal cross-border activities. We must fight organised crime, including corruption, illegal migration, drug smuggling and trafficking of human beings,” Mr. Marshall said.
“Only by working together can we succeed. We need to strengthen good management… where immigration, customs, police and other relevant authorities work together,” he added.
The conference is being held between May 29 and 31 with the objective of bringing regional border security officials together in a forum that examines trends and to exchange best practices to enhance the regional crime and security agenda of the Caribbean in a wholesome manner.
More than 60 participants from various CARICOM territories, including Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, Barbados, Antigua and Barbuda, St. Kitts and Nevis, The Bahamas, Belize, Montserrat, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Dominica, Grenada, Haiti, Anguilla, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, and Turks and Caicos Islands, are participating.
The conference is hosted by the Passport, Immigration and Citizenship Agency (PICA) and the Jamaica Customs Agency (JCA).
Statement From Hon. Fred Mitchell, MP Minister of Foreign Affairs On the Passing of Colin Powell
#TheBahamas, October 18, 2021 – I learned this morning of the death of Colin Powell, the American general and diplomat. I worked with him as Foreign Minister in my first term, particularly on issues related to Haiti.
Yesterday in the CARICOM meeting, I recalled while discussing Haiti his role in the crisis of that time. I recall his life, times and work as generally thoughtful and considered. He was also an example of Caribbean success in America, one to emulate. He was the son of Jamaican parents. He was an example of success as a Black man in America. I am saddened by his passing.
On behalf of the Prime Minister the Hon. Philip Davis, the government and people of The Bahamas, and in my own behalf, I extend condolences to the United States of America and his family.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Commonwealth of The Bahamas
CARPHA Team undertakes Assessment of Guyana’s National Surveillance System for Non-communicable Diseases
October 14, 2021 – The Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) conducted a technical mission to Guyana from September 22nd – 25th, 2021 to undertake site visits as a part of an ongoing assessment of six (6) Member States’ systems for the national surveillance of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and their risk factors. This activity was implemented in collaboration with the Ministry of Health Guyana through an Agence Française de Développement (AFD) – funded project.
The aim of the assessment s to provide evidence in support of the development of a Regional Surveillance System for NCDs, a priority under the regional health framework Caribbean Cooperation in Health IV (2016-2025).
During the mission, the CARPHA technical team reviewed the capacity of existing surveillance mechanisms in Guyana to collect, analyse and report on the NCDs and risk factor indicators proposed for the regional surveillance system. These indicators were recommended by a multi-stakeholder meeting series convened in 2020 under the AFD project, which reviewed global, regional, and sub-regional mandates, targets and practices in surveillance for the prevention and control of NCDs.
The CARPHA Team along with senior officials from the Ministry of Health conducted visits to two (2) health centres, the National Cancer Registry, Ministry of Health Surveillance, and Statistics Unit. The results from the overall assessment will be presented to the Ministry of Health Guyana and will also be reviewed alongside results from similar assessments in Anguilla, Aruba, Jamaica, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Suriname to inform the finalisation of the regional surveillance system design through a regional stakeholder meeting.
The regional NCDs surveillance system would facilitate the reporting and availability of data to inform policy development, planning, and tracking of progress towards meeting for targets NCDs at Regional and National levels.
Through funding from the Agence Française de Développement (AFD), CARPHA is leading the Region in Strengthening Strategic Intelligence and Partnership Approaches to prevent and control NCDs and Strengthen Regional Health Security in the Caribbean. This project, signed in 2019 with a value of €1,500,000.00, demonstrates the commitment of the Government of France and the French people to supporting the public health priorities of the Caribbean Community through CARPHA.
More information on the Project can be found at: https://www.carpha.org/Projects/Ongoing-Projects/Strengthening-Strategic-Intelligence-and-Partnership-Approaches-To-Prevent-and-Control-NCDs-and-Strengthen-Regional-Health-Security-In-The-Caribbean
World Sight Day: Love Your Eyes
Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago. 14 October, 2021. In the Caribbean, the leading causes of blindness are glaucoma, cataract and diabetic retinopathy (a complication of diabetes). According to the Vision Atlas, 6.2 million persons in the Caribbean were reported to have vision loss, with an estimated 260,000 persons reported to be blind in 2020.
Information gathered from eighteen (18) Caribbean countries (Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Bermuda, Belize, Cuba, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago) with a population of 44 million, showed that the crude prevalence of blindness was 0.60%, and the prevalence of all vision loss was 13.20%. Many of the persons affected were females at 52%.
Global statistics reveal that for 2020, a total of 596 million persons had distance vision impairment worldwide, of this number 43 million were blind. Projections for 2050, indicate that an estimated 885 million persons may be affected by distance vision impairment with 61 million expected to experience blindness.
CARPHA’s vision for the Caribbean is a region where the health and wellness of the people are promoted and protected from disease, injury and disability, thereby enabling human development in keeping with the belief that the health of the Region is the wealth of the Region.
Although there are no projects that directly address vision impairment, CARPHA in collaboration with its public health partners is implementing initiatives to address risk factors such as unhealthy diets, use of harmful substances and poor physical activities. This in turn, will help reduce the risk of disability due to complications associated with poor blood sugar and blood pressure management.
Efforts to improve the standards of care for diabetes through the implementation of the CARPHA Guidelines on the Management of Diabetes in Primary Care in the Caribbean, and training of health care workers from the CARPHA Member States will also contribute to the prevention of vision impairment and blindness due to diabetes.
Access to eye care services can reduce visual impairment. CARPHA urges Member States to strengthen health systems to improve eye health services with emphasis on reaching the vulnerable and those most in need. Governments should commit to integrating eye care into the universal health care system.
World Sight Day is celebrated annually on the second Thursday in October. The focus of the day is to bring awareness to blindness and vision impairment as a major public health issue and blindness prevention.
The 2021 commemoration observed on 14th October, seeks to encourage persons to think about the ‘importance of their own eye health.’
Our eyes are working hard during the COVID-19 pandemic. We have been indoors, in front of our screens, and probably missed our eye test appointments. Now more than ever, we need to protect and prioritize our eyesight. There are simple things you can do for yourself to prevent the development of serious eye issues:
- Take screen breaks for at least five minutes every hour
- Spend time outside. Increased outdoor time can reduce the risk of myopia (near-sightedness)
- Get an eye test. A complete eye exam can detect eye conditions such as glaucoma before it has an effect on your sight. The earlier an eye condition is identified, the easier it is to treat.
- Eat a healthy balanced diet and engage in physical activity. These are crucial steps in maintaining a healthy weight, controlling obesity, and preventing diseases such as diabetes, all of which can impact eye health.
- If you have diabetes, you should have your eyes checked every year
Your sight cannot be taken for granted. It is time to LOVE YOUR EYES!
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