#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
Cruising should slow down says PAHO
By Dana Malcolm
‘Slow down on Cruising’, that’s the word from the Pan American Health Organization, PAHO in their latest recent press conference.
“In the context of intense transmission, due to the Omicron variant as we have highlighted several times. It is just logical to suspend or at least limit the cruise ship traffic as an outbreak on board might end up exceedingly high and probably will go beyond the capacity of local health services”
Both the Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos are experiencing a massive uptick in cases and several warnings regarding cruise travel have been issued by the US Centers for Disease Control.
Cruising just resumed for many regional countries this past Summer, Turks and Caicos was among the latest to restart on December 13.
A stop to sailing would be devastating to economies, however, ports of call like Grand Turk which are reeling with rocketing case numbers of COVID are urged to consider the suggestion of slowing down on ships by PAHO.
Cayman gets its second ‘Sir’; former Premier Alden McLaughlin knighted on Jan 1
By Dana Malcolm
#Cayman, January 20, 2022 – Former Premier of Cayman Alden McLaughlin was knighted at the start of 2022; named in the Queen’s New Year Honors List. He is only the second Caymanian to have ever received a knighthood from her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
Current Governor, Martyn Roper extended congratulations saying, “This is an outstanding personal achievement for former Premier McLaughlin, one of the most important and impactful political leaders in Cayman over the last 21 years. It is a significant moment for our islands. This historic award is only the second ever Knighthood to a Caymanian since the first in the 1990s. It is a strong signal of the respect in which Cayman is held and a visible demonstration of the progress Cayman has made as a vibrant democracy with strong good governance foundations.”
Sir McLaughlin, who is also now a QC attorney, served two terms as premier and had a career in politics that spanned 21 years. McLaughlin is known for his role in modernizing Cayman’s constitution.
Current premier G. Wayne Panton described the occasion as a unifying moment for the country saying, This is a day of celebration and great pride for all Caymanians as a son of our soil has been bestowed one of the highest honour. Today marks a new and most unique storyline in the history of the Cayman Islands. In considering the rarity and magnitude of this occasion, this is certainly a unifying moment for our community.”
Sir Alden McLaughlin, 60, was appointed as a Knight Commander of the Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George on January 1, 2022.
Understanding Sargassum with help from the TCI’s Department of Environment & Coastal Resources
By Sherrica Thompson
#TurksandCaicos, January 20, 2022 – Sargassum, also known as seaweed, is a natural brown macroalga that lives in temperate and tropical oceans of the world. The floating micro eco-system is important to many species, including baby turtles, little crabs, and tiny fish. All these animals use the floating rafts of the sargassum for protection, shelter, and food.
Over the years, sargassum has been increasing its quantity in the Caribbean due to climate change. As water temperatures increase, sargassum blooms, and as this continues, it occurs in large amounts. This can be dangerous for some marine life because when seaweed washes up on the shore, some species become trapped in the sargassum mat.
“In the Turks and Caicos Islands, we have not seen the full severity of sargassum blooms. Our neighbours in Bonaire, for example, experience up to six feet of sargassum, and they have found stranded dolphins, sea turtles, and sometimes even birds,” said Amy Avenant.
“When the sargassum washes up on shore, it starts to decompose, and when it decomposes, it emits methane, and that is the stinky sulfuric eggy smell that you can smell when you walk past it on the beach. It is a bad thing for climate change because of the methane, but it is not harmful to your health.”
Turks and Caicos saw this in extreme amounts in October; so severe, resorts were forced to bag and bury the stinky seaweed which for over a week covered the usually sandy white stretch of Grace Bay beach.
Avenant noted that in the TCI, we have a balance between managing the influx of sargassum and impacting the areas where it lands because its influx is correlated to the cycles of the moon.
She also said sargassum can be used as a fertilizer in farming. If you collect it, the advice is to spread it out and ensure you wash the excess salt off before adding to your gardens or farms.
There are also hidden dangers and habitat threats to the piles of sargassum on shorelines.
Avenant informed, when you see sargassum on the beach, ensure you watch out for wildlife that might be stuck and species which might have made a home of the ocean’s deposit which has washed up, this is heightened on rocky shores.
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