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Caribbean News

JAMAICA: Minister Shaw commends Salada’s $200-Million investment in Coffee Industry



#Kingston, November 20, 2018 – Jamaica – Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Audley Shaw, is lauding Salada Foods for injecting $200 million into the coffee industry, noting that the development will provide a secure market for farmers.

The company is purchasing 25,000 boxes of local coffee under a pilot project, with the objective of identifying a long-term business option.  A total of $100 million will be paid directly to farmers, and the balance used to process coffee berries to green beans, which is local raw material used by Salada to manufacture instant-coffee products.

Salada’s response is as a result of a fall-off in purchases of Blue Mountain Coffee by traders in Japan, which is the main market for the island’s premium brand.  Due to a high inventory of the produce on the Japanese market, the traders have refused to meet the price being demanded by the growers.

Speaking at a joint press briefing on Monday (November 19) at The Courtleigh Hotel in New Kingston to outline details of the plan, Minister Shaw said Salada Foods must be commended for the “foresight and vision in taking a potential crisis and turning it into what may end up being a golden opportunity”.  He noted that the company is replacing some of its imported coffee with locally grown beans.

Describing the move as “bold and innovative,” Mr. Shaw said it demonstrates the value of market-driven initiatives that will see Salada Foods benefiting from a consistent supply of local green beans to suit their manufacturing needs.  He urged the farmers to make good use of this avenue to offload their produce even as “we work together to (see) better days”.

“The company’s intention to provide a guaranteed avenue for our farmers to offload their product goes a long way towards settling the concerns of farmers, who need additional markets to ensure that the hard work they put into cultivating this world-renowned agricultural asset will be sold, ensuring their livelihoods and investments,” Mr. Shaw told the gathering.

He assured investors and farmers in the industry that the Government is committed to working with stakeholders towards “charting a path of even greater success”.   He noted that the Economic Growth Council (ECG) and the Jamaica Agricultural Commodities Regulatory Authority (JACRA), among other groups, are looking at long-term solutions for the sector.

Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Hon. Daryl Vaz, who attended the press conference, also hailed the move by Salada Foods, noting that it has brought relief to coffee farmers.

Chairman of Salada Foods, Patrick Williams, said the coffee sector is very important to the Jamaican economy, hence his company’s initiative to ensure stability in the sector.

Meanwhile, General Manager at the company, Dianna Blake Bennett, said that all the necessary parameters are in place to ensure the success of the initiative, including the hiring of a consultant with credible experience.  She said that come Tuesday (November 20), there will be a rollout of depots in designated communities in the Blue Mountain, and she encouraged farmers to “bring their cherries and we will certainly purchase them”.


Release: JIS

Contact: Garfield L. Angus

Photo Captions: 

Header: Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Audley Shaw (second left), engages with (from left) Executive Director of the Economic Growth Council, Aubyn Hill; General Manager of Salada Foods, Dianna Blake Bennett; and the company’s Chairman, Patrick Williams, following a joint press briefing on Monday (November 19), at The Courtleigh Hotel in New Kingston, to outline details of Salada Foods’ injection of $200 million into the local coffee industry.

Insert: Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Audley Shaw, addressing a joint press briefing on Monday (November 19), at The Courtleigh Hotel in New Kingston, to outline details of Salada Foods’ injection of $200 million into the local coffee industry for the purchase of 25,000 boxes of beans.


Photos by Mark Bell  




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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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