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NLA and JDF sigh MOU for Hydrographic Surveys of Jamaica

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#Kingston, July 4, 2019 – Jamaica – The National Land Agency (NLA) and Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that will facilitate hydrographic surveys of the seabed in the country’s territorial waters.  This exercise will be conducted using a vessel from the JDF Coast Guard’s fleet.

The agreement will be executed under the auspices of the National Hydrographic Committee (NHC), which is chaired by Director General of the Maritime Authority of Jamaica (MAJ), Rear Admiral Peter Brady.                                                                                    

Under the MOU, the JDF is providing a vessel for the mounting of hydrographic survey equipment, provided by the United Kingdom Hydrographic Office (UKHO) through the Commonwealth Marine Economics Programme, to facilitate the underwater surveys by the NLA.                                                           

Speaking in an interview with JIS News, Acting Senior Director of Surveys at the NLA, Major Patrick Aiken, who indicated that the agency conducts surveys of land above and under water, said the outcome of the exercise being embarked on can be used for numerous activities such as in determining the accuracy during a dredging exercise.

“We can use it for the purpose of getting the elevation of the seabed so that dredging can be done to allow deep-hull ships to enter the harbour without being stuck in mud or silt. After the dredging is completed, we would again survey the ocean floor to see that we have achieved the desired depth,” he further outlined.                                          

The NHC which is the government-appointed committee dealing with hydrography and maritime spatial data, is tasked with coordinating the discharge of Jamaica’s responsibility under the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) Convention.

It places particular focus on the regulation that requires a member State to facilitate hydrographic services and ensure that nautical charts are kept up to date in order to ensure safe navigation.                                                                        

Rear Admiral Brady told JIS News that the survey process had already begun.    

“In the last two years, Jamaica embarked on the updating of the hydrographic charts in key maritime developmental areas to better facilitate coastal navigation marine infrastructural works and other marine activities, through assistance from the UK Government” he said.                                                                                                    

Rear Admiral Brady noted that while shipping around Jamaica has increased over the years, with larger vessels, increased water levels and greater depths, the country’s nautical charts are over 40 years old, adding that current data is needed for efficiency.

“Having modern surveys will make Jamaica more attractive and will make ship navigators confident to enter Jamaican waters, and at the same time provide key information for potential investors in commodities such as marine oil and gas,” he added.

The NHC is a Committee of the National Council on Ocean and Coastal Zone Management (NCOCZM), and a Cabinet subcommittee that is Chaired by Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator the Hon Kamina Johnson Smith.  Its membership comprises representatives of the Port Authority of Jamaica; National Land Agency; NCOCZM; University of the West Indies Marine Lab; JDF Coast Guard; the Fisheries Division; University of Technology, Jamaica; Caribbean Maritime University and the Maritime Authority of Jamaica.

The UKHO has been in Jamaica for the past three weeks conducting hydrography training. This will develop Jamaica’s capability to conduct its own hydrographic surveying.

Contact: Peta-Gay Hodges

Release: JIS

Header: Acting Senior Director of Surveys at the National Land Agency (NLA), Major Patrick Aiken (centre), converses with Colonel Adjutant Quartermaster of the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF), Captain (Naval) David Chin Fong (right), following the signing of a memorandum of understanding to facilitate hydrographic surveys of Jamaica’s seabed. Affixing his signature to the document is Lt. Col. R. Tyndale of the JDF, who signed as a witness

Insert: British High Commissioner to Jamaica, His Excellency Asif Ahmad (third left), observes as Kenre Valentine of the Maritime Authority of Jamaica demonstrates the use of the hydrographic survey equipment on a Jamaica Defence Force vessel that has been fitted with the apparatus to facilitate underwater surveys by the National Land Agency.  

Photos Contributed                       

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CARICOM, UN applauds published decree establishing Haiti’s Transitional Government

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Rashaed Esson

Staff Writer

The official order establishing the nine member Transitional Presidential Council in Haiti has been published in the official gazette, according to reports, a possible path to a new beginning for the gang-run nation.

CARICOM welcomed this development in a press release on April 12, a move it says will take Haiti through elections to bring back societal and political order. 

It further details the recent advancements. 

“…the Transitional Presidential Council has devised a framework setting out the creation, organization and functioning of the Council, and arrived at a Political Accord that articulates the way forward. The CARICOM Heads of Government fully endorse the principles of Political Accord and in particular take note of Article 16 which states, “The mission of the Presidential Council is to put Haiti back on the road to dignity, democratic legitimacy, stability and sovereignty and to ensure the proper functioning of the State’s institutions,” the organization maintained. 

The UN Secretary General, Antonio Gutteres, also acknowledged the publishing of the decree, and he is calling on Haitian stakeholders to continue to facilitate the integration of the council and quickly appoint the interim Prime Minister, as returning stability within the Republic is paramount given recent gang developments.

It is important to note that despite the Council’s progression, gangs aren’t likely to allow an easy transition back to a government run Haiti like before, as indicated by major gang leader, Jimmy Cherizier, who has expressed to the media that if “bandits” and poor people aren’t given a place at the table, a voice in the decision making, they won’t allow things to just go back.

Not to mention his intention to treat foreign forces intended to intervene on the ground in Haiti, as threats, that is, the Multinational Force to be led by Kenya.

Haiti has been in an elevated level of chaos since the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse in July 2021. 

Gangs have killed thousands of people; men and women and children included. Just as many are displaced as their homes are no longer safe according to reports. 

Millions are starving, schools have been shut down, medical facilities also and the few still available are lacking resources to treat the injured, evoking global agreement that leaderless Haiti is sinking into the depths of a frightening humanitarian crisis.

It is hoped this decree is a development to stop the downward spiral in the quality of life in the republic, home to over 11 million people.

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HACKATHON TO EMPOWER CARIBBEAN GIRLS TO BECOME LEADERS IN STEM SECTOR

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KINGSTON, April 12 (JIS):

eLearning Jamaica Company Limited (e-LJAM) has partnered with local educational technology company, STEAMHouse, in hosting this year’s Crea+her Girls in ICT Hackathon, which began on April 11 and will end on April 16.

The virtual hackathon seeks to empower Caribbean girls aged 13 to 18 years to become leaders and accomplished professionals in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) industry.

Chief Executive Officer of e-LJAM, Andrew Lee, said the initiative allows participants to acquire skills through a hands-on approach.

“It is imperative that we actively engage girls to participate in STEM. Historically, girls have been under-represented in this field and, of course, this deprives us of diversity. Our females are extremely talented and when we include them, we get a broader perspective,” Mr. Lee told JIS News.

e-LJAM is the State agency with responsibility for promoting integration and infusion of technology in the public education system.

Founder of STEAMHouse, Godiva Golding, told JIS News that approximately 15 teams representing groups of three to five students signed up for the hackathon.

The participants are being guided to develop innovative solutions combining themes such as telecommunications, cybersecurity and Artificial Intelligence, focusing on areas like education, environmental sustainability and preserving cultural heritage.

(more)

Hackathon to empower…2

Their prototypes will be evaluated on April 18 and the top-10 creations will be presented on April 25, which is being recognised as International Girls in ICT Day under the theme ‘Leadership’.

Ms. Golding is pleased to have e-LJAM as the title sponsor for the hackathon and other events around International Girls in ICT Day.

“We could not think of a better partner than e-LJAM. They have been at the forefront and have done great work over the years. Having a partner with the leadership of Mr. Lee on board is just the icing on top to ensure that this is a successful series of events,” Ms. Golding said.

A special school tour will also be conducted. At least 500 girls are expected to benefit from this programme, which will offer interactive sessions and networking opportunities with accomplished women leaders in the technology field.

Additionally, the participants will have the chance to develop vital skills, such as public speaking, strategic thinking, and confidence-building.

CONTACT: ROCHEDA BARTLEY

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Draft Utility Policy Explained, Consultancy continues until May 24 

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Dana Malcolm 
Staff Writer 

The Multi-sector Utility Regulator Policy developed by the government is going to make utilities affordable and reliable for residents in the Turks and Caicos, at least that’s what the TCIG hopes.

Currently, in the consultation phase, when this policy is signed into law it will allow for the creation of a unified Regulatory Commission that oversees water and sewage, telecommunications, fuel, and electricity and makes sure that the monopolies or semi-monopolies that provide these services are doing so in the best interest of the residents who pay for their services.

The draft copy of the Policy lays out the specific objectives which are listed as:

  • Affordability which is measured by processes and outcomes during rate hearings.
  • Reliability which is measured by regulatory decisions enabling minimal service interruptions and timely service deliveries such as interconnections.
  • Economic Competitiveness which is measured by decisions on rates and service delivery compared to relevant jurisdictions.
  • Innovation which is measured by regulatory decisions enabling access to new technologies and business models, and finally
  •  Environmental Sustainability which is measured by regulatory decisions that advance/support regulatory service providers in meeting government goals on climate change and other aspects of sustainability.

All of this is geared toward value for money and better service for TC Residents but how will the Regulatory Commission operate to achieve the aims?

Firstly it won’t be directly controlled by the government. The document explains that TCIG alone will have the power to set the legislation that regulates the sector. The Commission is then bound to follow those rules and all its decisions must be based on law. However, The Commission will be independent of the Government in the operation of its duties and responsibilities.

Some of those legally established duties include: managing utility rates and tariffs; monitoring and compliance; granting and renewing licenses and Research and Development to advance the use of new technologies.

Another requirement of the body will be transparency, to ensure that both customers and investors trust and can substantiate the decisions being made.

The Multi-sector Agency will it be able to carry out inspections if providers fail to provide necessary information, and it has the authority to ‘collaborate with academic institutions, research organizations, and industry players to support innovation’.

Importantly the agency is to be charged with ensuring decisions advance the public interest for today and the future.

Additionally, according to the draft policy, it is to have a board made up of experts in utilities who must be ‘persons of integrity’ appointed by the government. With no need for a team of experts 24/7 The Commission will have a Chief Executive Officer who will manage a small team of regulatory officers and staff which will be supported by experts on an as-
needed basis.

The government is now undertaking consultation to get thoughts and concerns from all stakeholders including residents regarding the policy and eventual setup of the Agency. The need for the Regulatory body is crucial according to Kyle Knowles, Minister of Public Safety and Utilities.

“The Turks and Caicos Islands have witnessed unprecedented growth, bringing to the fore the urgent need for regulatory reform in our utility sector. The current challenges, including requests for rate increases and water shortages, underscore the limitations of our existing regulatory framework to effectively manage and mitigate such issues,” he said

The consultation will run until May 24, 2024.

 

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