Connect with us

Caribbean News

Barbados Public Officers Encouraged To Learn Another Language



Kim Lynch of the Land Registry Department and course participants chatting with instructor, Villajas Jairo. (S.Pilé/BGIS)

#BARBADOS, January 4, 2020 — Public officers have been encouraged to enhance their skills by learning another language.

Deputy Permanent Secretary (DPS) in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Donna Forde, made this call during the closing ceremony of the course Spanish as a Foreign Language for Public Officers, held at the Courtyard Marriot, recently.

Approximately 50 government workers participated in the six-week programme, which was offered by the Learning and Development Directorate, formerly the Training Administration Division, under the Ministry of the Public Service. 

The course was held in collaboration with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade and the Government of Colombia.

DPS Forde reminded those gathered that one of the goals of Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley was to ensure Barbadians become bilingual.


“Certainly, for public officers, a second language is very important, not only for the people who work in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Increasingly, the work of public servants is becoming more global and as you have to interface with your counterparts from other agencies, it is good not to be insular and depend solely on the English language.  And, I know a lot of you like to travel, so you don’t have to restrict your travel and interests to only English speaking countries. You can now feel embolden to visit Colombia and other places,” Ms. Forde said, pointing out that learning another language “opens doors and the mind” to more opportunities and experiences.  

Ms. Forde urged the public officers to continue studying Spanish, and further encouraged them to learn additional languages.

“Barbados is doing business with China, so why not go and learn Mandarin. The Brazilian Embassy and the Embassy of Japan are here, so learn Portuguese or Japanese.  Many of us studied Spanish at school. There is something called a false beginner, you just have to tap it and it will come out.  Never stop learning, so listen to podcasts; watch movies; participate in cultural opportunities; visit the exhibitions at the Argentina Embassy and speak with Spanish visitors,” she advised.

On behalf of the Learning and Development Directorate, Senior Training Officer, Sheldine Sehntwali, thanked the Government of Colombia and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for acknowledging the importance of a foreign language, especially now that this country is seeking to do more business with Latin America.

“We want to thank you the participants for your dedication and enthusiasm. The Directorate remains committed to equipping public officers with the skills needed to do your job, and to do it well,” she said.

Deputy Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Donna Forde, speaking at the closing ceremony of the course Spanish as a Foreign Language for Public Officers, held at the Courtyard Marriot, recently. Looking on is course instructor, Villajas Jairo. (S.Pilé/BGIS)

Course instructor, Villajas Jairo, who is from Colombia, lauded the participants for being “open, warm, kind and respectful”. Describing the six weeks as a wonderful experience, he said: “Barbados and Colombia are so close. Learning Spanish gives you the chance to meet new people and friends. Thanks for sharing your culture with me; I will never forget my job here.”

In addition to learning Spanish, public servants were exposed to the Colombian culture and its coffee industry. They tasted treats from the South American country, such as natilla, a firm milk custard; patacones, twice fried green plantain; and bunuelos, a fried pastry made with cassava flour.

The students took the instructor to the Animal Flower Cave, Cherry Tree Hill, and the Foursquare Rum Distillery, and also treated him to Bajan snacks, such as tamarind balls and sugar cake.

Many of the public servants said they signed up for the course to sharpen their Spanish-speaking skills since they were required from time to time to communicate with professionals from Spanish-speaking countries. Others hoped to eventually take advantage of scholarship opportunities in Latin America.

Magnetic Media is a Telly Award winning multi-media company specializing in creating compelling and socially uplifting TV and Radio broadcast programming as a means for advertising and public relations exposure for its clients.

Caribbean News

Guyana to build regional food hub



Rashaed Esson

Staff Writer


#Guyana, September 29, 2023 – Guyana is making moves to become the primary food production center for the Caribbean, going ahead with plans to develop a USD$14 million regional food hub.

In fact, as reported by the Observer, the facility has already been identified on the country’s Soesdyke /Linden Highway.

Guyana seems to really want this to become a reality and Zulfikar Mustapha, Agriculture Minister, expressed this, highlighting what Guyana has over its Caribbean sister Islands.

“We want Guyana to be the food hub, the primary production hub of the Caribbean so that we could supply the Caribbean.  What we have, our colleagues in the Caribbean don’t have.  We have arable flat land and abundant fresh water,” he said, adding that with the multi-million dollar US investment, the country can, “modernise the infrastructure, and start ramping up the productions.”

Also, the Agriculture Minister pointed out that the project is geared to make for a more competitive local Agriculture industry as well as developing high-yielding varieties, pest-resistant and climate-resilient varieties.

Additionally, in the facility’s development, Guyana, Mustapha said, will work with Belize.

In fact, with more on Belize’s involvement, Dr. Ashni Singh,  Finance Minister, informed that the Government is in talks with the Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley about sourcing inputs from northern Brazil and transporting them through Guyana to Barbados and vice versa.

Singh also reportedly revealed that the project will help develop the growing logistics industry in Guyana.

Considering regional food import cost, with this development, Guyana is the leading Caribbean Community country pushing ahead with plans to reduce the multi-billion dollar regional food import bill by 25 per cent by 2025, the Observer says.

Continue Reading

Caribbean News

Cayman makes striking policy change to include more blood donors



Rashaed Esson

Staff Writer


#CaymanIslands, September 29, 2023 – The Cayman Islands overturned a policy that banned blood donation from people who visited the island from or resided in countries where “mad cow disease” existed. This was revealed by Sabrina Turner, Health Minister in Parliament, as reported by CNW Network.

People who resided in Britain from 1980 to 2001 and those who had blood transfusions in the UK after 1980, can now donate blood.

Due to recent risk evaluation, and the current protocol for blood donors, many nations, CNW reports, have re-evaluated and adjusted similar guidelines regarding blood donation, as Cayman Islands has now done.

The now initial restrictions on blood donations for the country was called for and was important as at the time of implementation, “mad cow disease” or as it’s scientifically called, Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE), was at-large affecting not just cows, but also people, who are able to contract “a version of BSE called variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD),” the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says.

The likely reason for the Cayman Islands’ targeted population of those affiliated with living in the UK or getting blood transfusion in the UK, was because most of the people with vCJD lived in the UK, as highlighted by the FDA.

Also, as BBC says in a 2018 report, 1 in 2000 people in the UK is thought to be a carrier of the disease, even though some who are carriers don’t go on to develop symptoms.

However, the change in Cayman Islands’ policy does not mean the disease is no longer out there.

In fact the FDA said, “as of 2019, 232 people worldwide are known to have become sick with vCJD, and unfortunately, they all have died.  It is thought that they got the disease from eating food made from cows sick with BSE. Most of the people who have become sick with vCJD lived in the United Kingdom at some point in their lives. Only four lived in the U.S., and most likely, these four people became infected when they were living or traveling overseas.”

Continue Reading

Caribbean News

Bwa Kalé movement striking back against gangs, nearly 3,000 murdered



Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer 


#Haiti, September 29, 2023 – In eight months, nearly 3,000 Haitian people have been slaughtered in their home country due to the upsurge and uprising of gangs in the republic which is struggling to hold its democracy in check.

‘Bwa Kalé’, it’s a vigilante movement that has sprung up in Haiti, and the UN says it is driving up murders.

Born out of fear and distrust in the state according to the UN, the movement is a violent strike back against the gangs that are terrorizing residents.

A recent report following an expert visit detailed it.

“Certain groups have formed allegedly to protect their neighbourhoods from gangs.  In some instances, these groups have summarily executed people suspected of being gang members.  The Bwa Kalé movement demonstrates the population’s lack of trust in the State, especially in the police and the courts.  The expert has learned that some members of the police and the judiciary have been complicit with gangs.”

Despite the obvious fear among residents, the UN is warning them not to take justice into their own hands.  However, that is easier said than done as Haitians have demonstrated their feelings of abandonment by fleeing the island in mass numbers on illegal voyages and standing up to the gangs themselves.

In the same report, one said: “The State is absent, there are no police or other officials operating there.”

According to AP, a new report to the U.N. Security Council indicated that 2,728 intentional killings were recorded between October 2022 and June 2023, including 247 women, 58 boys, and 20 girls.  Bwa Kalé is blamed partially for the increase, as life in the country is described as unbearable.

Continue Reading