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JAMAICA: ‘First Alert’ –  A Potential Lifesaver

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#Kingston, January 1, 2019 – Jamaica – An idea for the development of a solution to provide timely emergency services, led to the creation of a mobile software App-‘First Alert’.  The emergency response platform that persons can access through their phones, was developed by First Responders Technology Limited, a Kingston based Technology firm, headed by Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Aldain Reid.

Mr. Reid tells JIS News, that the product which has been in use for the last few months, is a subscription-based service, available to everyone, especially persons prioritising safety, health and security.

“Any [person] that is travelling across the world and wants to ensure that they are safe wherever they go may use the App, as the organisation is able to handle calls globally,” he notes.

Mr. Reid says First Alert can be downloaded free on both IOS and Android platforms, after which persons may access the service through a $250 monthly subscription.

“Once you download the App, if you have an emergency, with the simple tap of a button, you are able to access the call centre, which operates 24 hours, which then manages the issue,” Mr. Reid states.

He indicates however that in managing an emergency, there might be need for third party services such as an ambulance, which the organisation will also arrange. “It’s a full end-to-end service,” he explains.

Some of the services offered through the App include the provision of emergency responses for medical dispatch, personal security and roadside assistance using approved protocols.

“A call comes in to our call centre, based on our technology, we are able to see who you are and where you are, once you are a subscriber,” he explains.

He says this is very important, as in the provision of emergency services, the ability to pinpoint locations is important, adding that is something the company has pioneered.

Additionally the CEO notes that based on the information requested, when persons initially register, the company would also have information on the user, such as health records; pre-existing conditions and next-of-kin.

Mr. Reid also tells JIS News that when the nature of an emergency is established, the call centre will dispatch the relevant third party emergency provider closest to the user. He adds that these services would then be paid for by the user.

“The problem we are trying to solve is the absence of coherent or structured emergency services, as Jamaica does not currently have a formal emergency response service,” the Chief Executive Officer points out.  He notes that this was part of the inspiration behind the development of the App, as an individual with whom he was close, died due to the absence of speedy emergency services.

Mr. Reid contends that the development of the App “is evidence to show how technology can transform ideas into solutions.”  He says the ground-breaking services provision has been bolstered by the recruitment of a staff of 20 persons globally, some of who are trained emergency medical dispatch officers.

The team, he adds, will shortly be increased as the company expands. The App, which was entered in the 2018 National Medal for Science, Technology and Innovation Awards in November, won the Health and Safety category.

Mr. Reid says the company was also recognized by the World Bank for being one of 30 companies worldwide to initiate projects with potential global impact.  He adds that there has been positive public feedback to the App since its introduction.  He further tells JIS News that the team is very excited that as a Jamaican company, they are able to execute an idea that they anticipate will have a significant impact.

 

By: Tomeica Gunn

Release: JIS

 

 

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Patricia Scotland narrowly wins to hold onto Commonwealth Secretary-General over Jamaica’s Johnson-Smith

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By Deandrea Hamilton

Editor

 

#Rwanda, June 25, 2022 – Narrowly edging out her contender, Rt Hon Patricia Scotland managed to hold onto the post of Secretary General of the Commonwealth; the vote was had on Friday, at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) 2022 in Kigali Rwanda.  It is there leaders made their decision to support the Dominican-born Scotland in the completion of the balance of her period in office.

In a bold move, which by some CARICOM country members was frowned upon, Minister of Foreign Affairs to Jamaica, Hon Kamina Johnson-Smith, announced that she would bid for the job of Secretary-General. It caused a split and drew criticism.  Nonetheless, the Jamaican campaigned and for her effort secured 24 votes including backing from Belize, the Maldives, Trinidad & Tobago, the UK, India, Singapore and Australia to name some.

However, it would not be enough as the current Secretary-General drew 27 votes to retain the role.

The vote was only necessary due to the challenge by Johnson-Smith, who was supported by Andrew Holness, Prime Minister of Jamaica.

Speaking after her reappointment Secretary-General The Rt Hon Patricia Scotland QC said: “It is deeply humbling to have been reappointed as Secretary-General of this great Commonwealth. To continue to serve our family of nations is a true honour and a privilege and I will do so to the best of my ability. We will face the world’s challenge with unity and purpose.

“To seek high office is a profound act of service and I want to commend my colleagues who also sought to serve. The Commonwealth is richer for the breadth and depth of talented leaders who dedicate themselves to our family of nations.”

Kamina Johnson-Smith tweeted on the loss, gave congratulations and surmised that ‘if she did not win, it meant God was not yet ready for her to leave Jamaica.’

The Secretary-General first took office in 2016 with her initial term extended due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. Having already served six years she will now serve for a further two years to complete the balance of her period in office, said a statement from The Commonwealth.

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Worst time to be a Woman; a Haitian crises

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By Deandrea Hamilton

Magnetic Media 

 

#TurksandCaicos, June 24, 2022 – I know many of us are frustrated by the reports of illegal vessels breaching our waters, landing on our shores, costing us in repatriation expenses and overwhelming our small states and we’re not wrong to be bent out of shape by it.  However there are many facets to this maddening issue to sound alarms and from what I’m told and because of what I have noticed, the number of women increasingly taking the risk to runaway confirms the heartbreaking truth that abuses of this vulnerable group are escalating in frequency and violence.

A teenager, pregnant jumped from a balcony in Blue Hills (TCI) in desperation to escape pursuing law enforcers; it was dark, she could have died, she was hospitalized then sent back.

Turks and Caicos Police ‘stop & search’ operations are capturing many women; women who are trying to get to a job site in the many illegal jitneys moving around the town.

Sure it is all illegal, however it remains gut wrenching that these skittish ladies would have started the day on the hustle for a little cash only to be caught, with no document affirming legal status breaking the law. They will be deported and life will change, likely for the worse.

Haiti’s instability is driving the exodus of Haitian people.  The plummeting quality of life is pushing the “irregular migrants” as they are labelled to board boats, take to the ocean in pitch black conditions, driven by a desperate home.

Some make it, some do not.

The only death recorded or reported at the TCI detention center in years was this month; it was a Haitian woman. We don’t know what went wrong. But a journey toward a better life ended with the loss of hers.

I come from a set of nations – The Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands – which have ensured I have a place.  Whether that’s school or college or a job or as an entrepreneur, room was made for me and laws are in place to enable and empower me. Not only do I have bread to eat, but I get to choose the type of bread I want to eat and can share it.

I am blessed. Truly.

But for my Haitian sisters, when you see their faces and the sadness in their eyes. When the human spirit is so shattered that it creeps into the dankest of places which is utter hopelessness, we should sit up and stand up.  This should capture our attentions.

In fact we should know, that for the hundreds we do encounter, there are countless more out there, unseen and trying to survive without being fortified by a force field of love, rule of law and simple decency.  There are too many more relentlessly buffeted by exploitation and circumstances outside of their control.

I suspect, this is the absolute worst time to be a woman or girl in Haiti. Just the worst.

Whether it is the recent memorial held to remember 11 Haitian women who perished at sea in early May trying to get in, undetected to Puerto Rico or a new and emerging report on describing the sexual abuse of Haitian women working at a factory; given sickening ultimatums:  Sex for their salary; an exploitation which usually draws throngs of people to vociferous protests in more developed countries; to this news however, there is silence and little reaction that we can see.

I declare that these women are significant.  They are valued despite the trials and tribulations of their homeland.  Within this dispensation, a post Black Lives Matter world, the darker complexion of many of their skins no longer means they are disposable.

And united, it means, women wherever we are can link hearts and hands to partake in and contribute to a shared stance of solidarity.  We can do it for the voiceless anywhere we want, we are women and though muted by the many dramas and truamas unfolding in our own lives, communities and countries, we still hear these voices crying and screaming out and we will help.

Just watch and see.  Women of Haiti, help is on the way.

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Macmillan Education Caribbean hosts panel discussion with the women of STEM

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June 23, 2022 – Macmillan Education Caribbean has been holding its Summer of Science for the last two weeks, focusing on “Discovering Scientists” across the Caribbean.  Now, it announces its second exciting event in the wider campaign.

In a panel discussion hosted by Macmillan Education Caribbean, three women in the STEM industry will be invited to discuss their experiences in the field, offer advice for young women aspiring to have a career in science, and more. The panel, called Opening up science: Meet the Women in STEM will be hosted online, at 1:00pm AST on Tuesday 28th June.

The event features three fantastic panellists: Dr Claire Durant, Niva Miles, and Dr Joanne Simmons-Boyce.  Between them, they have amassed a wealth of experience at various different touchpoints of the STEM field; from authoring science textbooks and serving on examinations councils, to teaching science and practising natural products chemistry.

With Dr Claire Durant and Dr Joanne Simmons-Boyce being Barbadian scientists, and Niva Miles having authored Human and Social Biology for CSECⓇ Examinations, each of the panellists will bring a unique view on science in the Caribbean to the conversation, which will be especially useful to those watching.

The event is open to all, although young women and female educators are especially encouraged to attend. In a blog she wrote for Macmillan Education Caribbean on the importance of championing women in science, Dr Claire Durant said:

“To establish an inclusive scientist workforce, women and girls need to see themselves reflected in their teachers in the classroom as well as in the scientists who develop the technology, medicine, beauty, engineering and entertainment products that we use every day.”

Macmillan Education Caribbean is strongly encouraging schools to get involved in creative ways, by hosting ‘watch parties’ for the panel discussion inside classrooms, or by getting students and teachers to submit questions for the panellists.

In the fortnight surrounding the panel event, Macmillan Education Caribbean’s channels will be exploring Science for Life, and will be introducing the panellists in more detail, whilst also exploring the accessibility of science and spotlighting the title Human and Social Biology for CSECⓇ Examinations, which this panel was inspired by.

The Human and Social Biology for CSEC Examinations title is centred around “opening up” science, making it both accessible and engaging for learners of varying abilities. In this visually engaging series, a range of different routes to learning are explored – from animated videos to aid understanding, and project guidance for undertaking the independent School-based Assessment.

You can follow the Summer of Science across Macmillan Education Caribbean’s social media channels, visit their website for more information, or follow the hashtag #ScienceForLife to get involved with the next phase of the campaign.

Teachers and students can register for the discussion at  https://macmillanic.clickmeeting.com/opening-up-science-meet-the-women-in-stem/register.

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