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Guyana’s Min. Ally distributes sanitation, food supplies to flood-hit victims



Photo by Guyana Department of Public Information

#Guyana, October 30, 2019 – Minister of Social Protection, Hon. Amna Ally visited and distributed several of items to residents of flood-affected Region 5 communities – Glaziers Lust, Rebecca Lust and Prospect in High Dam, on Wednesday.

During an interaction with the residents, Minister Ally noted that the government is very concerned with the situation, and as such, has ramped up its efforts to assist the residents.

The minister assured the residents that the Civil Defence Commission (CDC) and other agencies, including the Ministries of Public Infrastructure and Agriculture, will continue to assess the situation and ascertain what further assistance can be provided so their lives can get back to normalcy.

Glaziers Guyana, photo by DPI Guyana

“We will do whatever is necessary to ensure that your lives are returned to normality. Stay put, have faith, and all is going to be well,” she encouraged the residents.

The residents, most of whom are farmers, were pleased with the support provided by the administration during this critical time.

Mohammed Balgobin, a young rice farmer of Glaziers Lust, explained that the sea defence in his area was breached due to the force of the water during the spring tide. After reaching out to the Ministry of Agriculture, two excavators were immediately deployed to conduct emergency works.

“What happened is that they started to build the dam before the high tide, but because of the rushing of the water the works could not be completed and of course you know there are other areas who need this assistance also,” Balgobin explained.

He is also appreciative from the regional administration, the CDC and the Social Protection Ministry for the sanitation supplies and food items which were much-needed.

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“Thanks to the ministry for this help, we appreciate it. We also welcome the government in this area and are thankful for all the support,” said Annette Balgobin, also of Glaziers Lust.

She is optimistic the administration will continue to provide aid to the residents, especially the farmers.

Kesh, a welder of Rebecca Lust, said that even though he took all the necessary precautions, he was not prepared for this magnitude of water. Nevertheless, he noted that the issue is one of natural disaster and is, therefore, grateful for the continued support the community has been receiving.

Since the last period of spring tide that ended October 2, the Public Infrastructure Ministry has spearheaded emergency works to arrest the breaches in the Dantzig to Fairfield area.

Additionally, through multiple ministries and agencies, the government has issued advisories and warning to residents along the coastal belt of Regions 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6. The Civil Defence Commission (CDC) has distributed sandbags before the forecasted spring tide. It has also been assessing the affected communities and distributing necessary assistance, to flood-affected communities, while continuing to monitor the situation at hand.


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Bahamas News

Cruising should slow down says PAHO



By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer


‘Slow down on Cruising’, that’s the word from the Pan American Health Organization, PAHO in their latest recent press conference.

Dr. Ciro Ugarte Director of Health Emergencies at the PAHO was referring to the Bahamas but made sure to note that the advice was highly relevant to many countries in the times of omicron.

“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.

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Caribbean News

Cayman gets its second ‘Sir’; former Premier Alden McLaughlin knighted on Jan 1



By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer


#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.

Sir Vassel Johnson, received the honour in 1994; he was Cayman’s first Financial Secretary; he died in November 2008 at the age of 86.

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.


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Caribbean News

Understanding Sargassum with help from the TCI’s Department of Environment & Coastal Resources  



By Sherrica Thompson

Staff Writer


#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.

Environmental Outreach Coordinator at the Department of Environmental and Coastal Resources for TCI, Amy Avenant, says the Turks and Caicos Islands has not seen the worst of the overgrowth.

“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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