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JAMAICA: Prime Minister Calls for More Private Investments



#Kingston, October 12, 2018 – Jamaica – Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, is calling for increased private investments, as the Government continues to maintain proper fiscal management that will facilitate growth in the economy.  Speaking at the Jamaica Flour Mills plant re-dedication ceremony at the facility, 209 Windward Road, in Kingston, on October 10, Mr. Holness said steps have been taken to ensure macroeconomic stability and fiscal sustainability.

“We are changing the environment… the change is happening in Jamaica,” the Prime Minister noted, adding that these changes have resulted in ongoing debt reduction, low interest rates and low inflation.  We have reduced our debt-to-GDP ratio from 141 per cent, and by the end of this year, we will be below 100 per cent. All Jamaicans should take great pride in saying our interest rates are now at record low,” he said.

The Prime Minister said that employment is growing at such a rate “we have never seen before in the history of Jamaica.”  Mr. Holness said he is “pleased” with the findings of the Jamaica Chamber of Commerce Business and Consumer Confidence Survey for the third quarter, as it shows  that consumer confidence is “very high.”

“It means that consumers are likely to not just spend more but invest more, and it means that businesses will continue to invest. There is a very high level of optimism in Jamaica,” he said.

The Prime Minister noted too that the Jamaica Stock Market continues to grow at an “amazing pace,” and that Bloomberg cites it as being one of the fastest growing stock markets in the world.

Mr. Holness said the Government is building on the level of confidence that is being shown, “making investments in the infrastructure (new roads)…not just the hard infrastructure, but we are putting in place the regulatory environment.”  He noted that improved service delivery and reduction in the bureaucratic culture in the public sector will positively impact the business and investment climate in Jamaica.

“The public sector is there as a service to the citizens of the country and to the businesses and entrepreneurs of the country, to make it easier for them to do business and to grow their business, so that we can get more taxes and pay the public sector better.  It’s not my intention to scare anymore, but rather to encourage more investments,” he said.

In the meantime, Mr. Holness said national security remains a priority for the Government, and that strategies will continue to be implemented to tackle the issue.

“Murders are down 20 per cent and we will continue to work very hard to ensure that we keep that particular index of security heading downwards,” he added.

The Prime Minister lauded the Jamaica Flour Mills and congratulated them on achieving their 50-year mark.

For his part, Managing Director of the Jamaica Flour Mills, Derrick Nembhard, thanked the partners, customers, distributors, suppliers and employees who have contributed to the company’s longevity.  He said the company is aware that consumers are looking for new options in carbohydrate solutions, and have been using indigenous crops to process and market value added products for the local and export markets.

“We are also far advanced in making available to consumers gluten-free flour, which we are now testing to ensure that we have a functional product which can be marketed to bakers for specialty products.  We have also completed the reformulation of our mixes to reduce the sugar content, so that we can be in alignment with the Ministry of Health’s thrust to reduce the sugar intake of Jamaicans,” he said.

He noted too that most of the packaging materials are biodegradable, thereby minimizing the impact on the environment.


Release: JIS

Contact: Chris Patterson

Photo Caption:

Header: Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness (centre), listens to  Managing Director, Jamaica Flour Mills, Derrick Nembhard (left), during a tour of the Jamaica Flour Mills, located at 209 Windward Road, in Kingston, on October 10. At right is Plant Manager, Jamaica Flour Mills, Andre Neil. The tour followed the official rededication ceremony, which marked the plant’s 50th anniversary.

Insert: Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness (left), listens to Plant Manager, Jamaica Flour Mills, Andre Neil, during a tour of the Jamaica Flour Mills, located at 209 Windward Road, in Kingston, on October 10. The tour followed the official rededication ceremony which marked the plant’s 50th anniversary.


Photos by: Yhomo Hutcinson






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Bahamas News

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

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Bahamas News

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:

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Bahamas News

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)[3]
  • 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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