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Jamaica improves ranking in 2019 Human Development Index



#Kingston, December 10, 2019 – Jamaica – Jamaica has been placed in the high human development category with a ranking of 96 out of 189 countries and territories in the United Nations 2019 Human Development Index (HDI) Report.  This is an improvement over the country’s ranking of 97 in 2018.

Published annually by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) the HDI report is the globally accepted standard for measuring and assessing development progress and is a valued tool for national planning.  It presents the HDI ranking for 189 countries according to life expectancy, mean years of and expected years of schooling, and standard of living as measured by gross national oncome (GNI) per capita.

The 2019 report, unveiled globally on Monday (December 9), was shared locally during a ceremony at the UNDP Jamaica’s country office in Kingston.  Highlighting key findings as it relates to Jamaica, UNDP Programmes Specialist, Richard Kelly, said the report shows that “the country is registering progress” in human development trends.

Of note, it reveals that between 1990 and 2018, Jamaica’s HDI value increased by 13.2 per cent, moving from 0.641 in 1990 to 0.726 in 2018.

“Between 1990 and 2018, Jamaica’s life expectancy at birth increased by 1.2 years; mean years of schooling increased by 3.9 years; and expected years of schooling increased by 1.9 years,” he said.

Additionally, Jamaica’s GNI per capita increased by about 20.2 per cent between 1990 and 2018.

Mr. Kelly noted, however, that Jamaica’s 2018 HDI of 0.726 is below the average of 0.750 for countries in the high human development group, and below the average of 0.759 for countries in Latin America and the Caribbean.

“So, despite the fact that we are classified as high human development, we are still below for those countries that are categorised as having high human development… . So we need to go beyond the numbers. We are high, we are growing, we are improving, but we have a lot of work to do,” he said.

Meanwhile, in in her remarks, delivered by Mr. Kelly, UNDP Resident Representative, Denise Antonio, noted that the focus of this year’s report has shifted beyond measuring basic information on income, and so on, to assessing inequalities in human development.  She argued that while the numbers are valuable for planning purposes, they do not tell the entire story. “…that is why the UNDP is maturing its approach to development measurement and assessment through this year’s theme, ‘Beyond income, beyond averages and beyond today: Inequalities in human development in the 21st century’.

“This is an important topic because even when the numbers appear to be positive, more and more we are witnessing a rise in discontentment around the globe as people perceive a heightened level of unfairness in their societies, and more than often, the root cause is inequality. The depth of this inequality must be assessed beyond basic data that traditionally informs our policies,” she stressed.

She, therefore, implored the Government, development partners, non-governmental organisations, the private sector and citizens “to look beyond the income, beyond averages, and beyond today, so that together we can find effective, sustainable solutions aligned to the context of Jamaica’s Vision 2030”.

The report also features an Inequality-adjusted Human Development Index (IHDI), the Gender Development Index (GDI), the Gender Inequality Index (GII), and the Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI).

The final section of the report covers five dashboards: quality of human development, life-course gender gap, women’s empowerment, environmental sustainability, and socio-economic sustainability.

Jamaica’s HDR launch was organised by UNDP Jamaica in collaboration with the Sir Arthur Lewis Institute for Social and Economic Studies (SALISES), University of the West Indies (UWI).  

Contact: Alecia Smith

Release: JIS

Photo Captions:

Header: United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Programmes Specialist, Richard Kelly (right), reveals the findings of the United Nations 2019 Human Development Index (HDI) Report during a ceremony at the UNDP Jamaica’s country office in Kingston on Monday (November 9). Also pictured (from left) are University of the West Indies (UWI) student and Model UN Delegate, Matthew McHayle; and Global Youth Leader and Development Policy Specialist, Tijani Christian.

Insert: United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Programmes Specialist, Richard Kelly (right), discusses key findings of the United Nations 2019 Human Development Index (HDI) Report with (from left) Resident Representative, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), Takeshi Takano; Global Youth Leader and Development Policy Specialist, Tijani Christian; and  University of the West Indies student and Model UN Delegate, Matthew McHayle. Occasion was a ceremony held at the UNDP Jamaica’s country office in Kingston on Monday (November 9) to unveil the 2019 UN report locally.

Photographer: Yhomo Hutchinson

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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