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JAMAICA: MOU signed to make provisions for persons living with HIV/AIDS

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#Kingston, November 26, 2019 – Jamaica – The Government has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Joint United Nations Programme on Human Immunodeficiency Viruses (HIV)/Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) – (UNAIDS) – which will activate the Fast-Track Cities programme in Kingston.

The Fast-Track Cities initiative is a global partnership between cities and municipalities around the world with four core partners – the International Association of Providers of AIDS Care (IAPAC), UNAIDS, the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) and the city of Paris.

Representatives from the Kingston and St. Andrew Municipal Corporation (KSAMC) and the Ministry of Health and Wellness signed the MOU on Monday (November 25) at the Jamaica Conference Centre in downtown Kingston.

The initiative was launched on World AIDS Day 2014 (December 1). Since then, the network has grown to include more than 300 cities and municipalities that are committed to attain the UNAIDS 90-90-90 targets by 2020: 90 per cent of all people living with HIV will know their HIV status; 90 per cent of all people with diagnosed HIV infection will receive sustained antiretroviral therapy (ART) and 90 per cent of all HIV-diagnosed people receiving sustained ART will achieve viral suppression.

The initiative is also geared towards achieving zero stigma against persons living with HIV/AIDS.

Mayors and other city/municipal officials designate their cities as Fast-Track Cities by first signing the Paris Declaration on Fast-Track Cities, which outlines a set of commitments to achieve the initiative’s objectives.   The city of Kingston signed the Paris Declaration on December 1, 2014.

Mayor of Kingston, His Worship, Senator Councillor, Delroy Williams, said this initiative will help to bring more “understanding” among Jamaicans about the need to fight against diseases such as HIV and help with planning for prevention.

“Understanding is critical to planning and planning is critical to desired outcomes. Understanding, for me, is a process we comprehend through the process of thought. Building the infrastructure of a resilient and healthy city requires understanding.  Therefore, the process to create resilience and public health must be deliberately designed to bring the strongest ideas to the front,” Mayor Williams said.  

Coordinator, Disaster Preparedness/Project Liaison, KSAMC, Terry Forrester, gave an overview of the targets for the parish of Kingston regarding the initiative.

“Through the development of a project steering committee, a work plan has been approved for Fast-Track Kingston Plus, which includes the development of a city health profile for Kingston which will be displayed on all websites, including the Kingston and St. Andrew Municipal Corporation’s website, and the Ministry of Health’s website,” Ms. Forrester said.

“This will provide a comprehensive health profile for the city, which will not be limited to HIV,” she added.  She said environmental sanitation will also be included in the programme, given the various challenges that exist with dengue and other vector-borne illnesses that are heavily driven by the state of the environment.

Among other objectives, the initiative seeks to: provide an overview of the Fast-Track Cities Programme in Kingston; pledge support for the implementation of the Fast-Track Cities Programme; highlight the work being done on the fight against HIV in Kingston; establishment of a framework to address the social determinants of health, including those affecting HIV; and signing of an MOU between the KSAMC and the Ministry of Health and Wellness.  

Fast-Track Kingston has also taken a holistic approach for health services in the Shelter Health Programme which has been tailored for the homeless population in Kingston and St Andrew.   

The MOU signing forms part of the KSAMC’s Local Government Month activities.

Contact: Ainsworth Morris

Release: JIS

Header: Mayor of Kingston, His Worship, Senator Councillor, Delroy Williams (seated right), signs Memorandum of Understanding with (from left) Chief Executive Officer, Kingston and St. Andrew Municipal Corporation (KSAMC), Robert Hill; and Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health and Wellness, Dunstan Bryan, at the launch of the Fast-Track Cities Programme on Monday (November 25), at the Jamaica Conference Centre in downtown Kingston. Observing (from left) are Coordinator, Disaster Preparedness/Project Liaison, KSAMC, Terry Forrester; Director, Health Promotion and Protection, Ministry of Health and Wellness, Dr. Simone Spence; Senior Medical Officer, Ministry of Health and Wellness, Dr. Nicole Skyers; and Country Director, UNAIDS, Manoela Manova.   

Insert: Mayor of Kingston, His Worship, Senator Councillor, Delroy Williams (right), speaks to (from left) Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health and Wellness, Dunstan Bryan; Chief Executive Officer, Kingston and St. Andrew Municipal Corporation (KSAMC), Robert Hill and Country Director, UNAIDS, Manoela Manova, at the launch of Fast-Track Cities Programme on Monday (November 25) at the Jamaica Conference Centre in downtown Kingston.  

Photos: Michael Sloley

Caribbean News

ScotiaBank Turks & Caicos Awarded Best Consumer Digital Bank 2021

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Providenciales, Turks & Caicos Island – September 24, 2021 – Scotiabank TCI has been named the “Best Consumer Digital Bank 2021” by Global Finance (New York), which regularly selects the top performers amongst banks and financial services and is a trusted standard of excellence for the global financial community.

In commenting on the award, Patricia Adams, Managing Director (Acting), Scotiabank TCI said, “Supporting our customers during the ongoing uncertainties remains our top priority and we are thrilled that our significant focus and investments in our digital banking platforms continue to yield positive results.”

“During this period, we have continuously relied on feedback from our customers about their specific personal or business needs and we remain committed to further improvements as we aim to make it easier and safer for them to conduct their banking” Adams concluded.

Some of the most recent investments include the expansion of the capabilities of the Scotiabank Mobile App, upgrades made to the Bank’s ABM network to include intelligent deposit machines and the use of digital analytics to anticipate customer needs and deliver personalized financial solutions.

Winning banks were selected based on the following criteria: strength of strategy  for attracting and servicing digital customers, success in getting clients to use digital  offerings, growth of digital customers, breadth of product offerings, evidence of tangible benefits gained from digital initiatives, and web/mobile site design and functionality. Read more about the awards here.

Scotiabank TCI’s award for “Best Consumer Digital Bank” follows another recent global recognition for innovation in financial services by The Banker’s Global Innovation in Digital Banking Awards 2021. The ‘Most Innovative in Data’ award acknowledges the Bank’s investments in data and analytics, as well as its commitment to delivering a more personalized customer experience.

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Bahamas News

Over 68,000 STAYED HOME in Bahamas Elections; We have BEST and WORST for Voter Participation

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#TheBahamas, September 21, 2021 – The just-concluded General Election in Bahamas has presented a new shift in governance.  The former ruling part, Free National Movement, lost nearly all the electoral seats it secured in the 2017 general elections.  However, this seems a swap of the Progressive Liberal party’s score in the 2017 general elections in which the former ruling party (FNM) won nearly all the parliamentary seats.

68,000 STAYED AWAY

While the FNM secured 35 out of 39 seats in the 2017 ballot, leaving only four slots for the Opposition, the 2021 elections presented “new day” with the Opposition clinching 32 parliamentary seats, leaving the former ruling party FNM with only seven slots.

However, the election results showed a significant drop in voter turnout compared to the 2017 election results. Out of 194,494 registered voters in The Bahamas, only 126,414 voted, translating to 65 per cent voter turnout.

PREVIOUS ELECTION HIGHER

This was different from the previous election in which 160,407 out of 181,543 registered voters cast their ballots, translating to a remarkable 88.36 per cent voter turnout.

Being the first election in the island nation since the Covid-19 struck the Caribbean; the dismal voter turnout could be attributed to the severe impact of the Covid-19 pandemic in The Bahamas and the current countermeasures taken by individuals to avoid contracting the deadly virus.

It could also be voter apathy.

BEST IN SHOW

Despite coronavirus prevalence in the country, North Andros & Berry Islands, Cat Island, Rum Cay & San Salvador, and Mangrove Cay & South Andros constituencies recorded an impressive voter turnout of 77.99 per cent, 76.11 per cent and 73.06 per cent respectively.

North Andros & Berry Islands had 2,126 out of 2,569 registered voters cast their ballots, followed by 1,255 out of 1,622 in Cat Island, Rum Cay & San Salvador, and 1,706 out of 2,164 registered voters in Mangrove Cay & South Andros.

VERY LOW SHOW

The bottom three constituencies in terms of voter turnout include Bamboo Town, which had 3,436 out of 5,838 (58.63 per cent) registered voters cast their ballot, followed by Garden Hills with 3,033 out of 5,287 (57.09 per cent), and   Central & South Abaco falling at the bottom of the list with 1,844 out of 3,271 (55.96 per cent).

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Bahamas News

BAHAMAS: Nine new Cabinet ministers sworn-in

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#TheBahamas, September 21, 2021 – Prime Minister the Hon. Philip Davis today introduced the first set of new Cabinet ministers with portfolios covering the Attorney General, Foreign Affairs, Education, Works and Public Utilities, Health and Wellness, Government Affairs, Agriculture, National Security and Legal Affairs.

The nine ministers were sworn-in on Monday 20 September 2021 by Governor-General the Most Hon. Sir Cornelius A. Smith during ceremonies held at the Baha Mar Convention Center.

“They are the initial members of a Cabinet which will reflect the breadth and depth of the competencies and characteristics of our team: experience combined with innovation; expertise combined with a willingness to see things anew; integrity and a strong sense of purpose,” said Prime Minister Davis.

“They are receiving these appointments because of their determination to get things done.”

Among the new Ministers sworn-in on Monday were:

  • Senator the Hon. L. Ryan Pinder, Attorney General;
  • Hon. Fred Mitchell, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Public Service;
  • Hon. Glenys Hanna-Martin, Minister of Education, and Technical and Vocational Training;
  • Hon. Alfred Sears, Minister of Works and Utilities;
  • Dr. Hon. Michael Darville, Minister of Health and Wellness;
  • Senator the Hon. Michael Halkitis, Minister of Government Affairs and Leader of Government Business in the Senate;
  • Hon. Clay Sweeting, Minister of Agriculture, Marine Resources and Family Island Affairs;
  • Hon. Wayne Munroe, Minister of National Security; and
  • Hon. Jomo Campbell, Minister of State for Legal Affairs.

“I am confident that these first-appointed members of our Cabinet team are ready to deliver on the promise of a New Day for our Bahamas,” said the Prime Minister.

Prime Minister Davis pledged to move with urgency to address the economic and health crises that are faced by The Bahamas.

Many thousands of Bahamians are out of work, people are losing too many loved ones to the COVID-19 virus and Bahamian schoolchildren are falling behind, said Prime Minister Davis.

“I want to be clear: we are not here to tinker at the edges of these problems,” said the Prime Minister.

“We are here to meet them head on.”

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