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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.

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Caribbean News

Barbados to Host 41st Caribbean Travel Marketplace this Spring



By Sherrica Thompson

Staff Writer



#Barbados, February 2, 2023 – Barbados has been selected to host the 41st edition of the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association’s (CHTA) Caribbean Travel Marketplace. The event will be held at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre in Bridgetown from May 9 -11, and it is expected to build on the success of the 40th staging held in Puerto Rico last fall.

CHTA President Nicola Madden-Greig, who made the announcement recently, said it’s the first time in the organization’s history that the association’s largest annual event, which brings together buyers and sellers of the region’s tourism products and services, will be staged in Barbados.

“CHTA has a very strong relationship with both public and private sector stakeholders in Barbados, and as we position the region’s top earner for robust growth this year, we are delighted to lock arms with our Bajan partners to drive business to the Caribbean,” she stated.

Noting that: “This year’s Marketplace will also provide unique access to the Eastern Caribbean for buyers and tour operators as the region places a strong focus on the revival of multi-destination travel.”

Minister of Tourism and International Transport of Barbados Ian Gooding-Edghill, said the Barbados tourism industry was undergoing a major renaissance in the post-COVID environment, and the timing could not be better to welcome Caribbean Travel Marketplace to local soil.

“We are honoured to host such a preeminent gathering of tourism stakeholders from around the world,”  Minister Gooding-Edghill said, noting that the meeting aligns with Barbados’ value offerings, which appeal, among others, to the very important MICE [Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions] market.

The launch of the first Caribbean Travel Forum & Awards, a highlight of the Puerto Rico meeting, will return for a second edition and will be held in Barbados on Tuesday, May 9, 2023, ahead of the official opening ceremony of Caribbean Travel Marketplace.

The Forum will also focus on the business of tourism, and business appointments will be conducted on Wednesday, May 10 and Thursday, May 11.

Over 150 delegates, including Ministers of Tourism and key private sector leaders, engaged in the Caribbean Travel Forum last year.

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Bahamas News

National Food Policy to be created in the Bahamas



By Shanieka Smith

Staff Writer



#TheBahamas, February 2, 2023 – A new initiative by the Ministry of Agriculture, Marine Resources and Family Island Affairs in the Bahamas will see the creation of a National Food Policy geared towards ensuring food security on the island.

“This agricultural policy would encompass a holistic approach and incorporate regulations, legislation, and other aspects to assist the farmers who have not really gotten the attention they deserve for a long time,” said the Minister of Agriculture, Marine Resources and Family Island Affairs, Hon. Clay Sweeting.

Other initiatives within the agriculture sector will also be implemented, such as the digitalization of applications and forms, which will make farming more efficient.

Clay said, “we have already digitalized for the most part the Department of Marine Resources and soon we will unveil new services such as dog licences, import permits, and other services needed for a successful agricultural sector.”

The construction of the Cultivation Centres (TCC) in Eleuthera and New Providence with produce exchange, food processing kitchens and farm stores will continue.

Sweeting said he hopes these initiatives will help to decrease the country’s yearly $1 billion food import bill.

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Caribbean News

Guyana secures cryotherapy machines to help fight cervical cancer



By Sherrica Thompson

Staff Writer



#Guyana, February 2, 2023 – Guyana will see a significant boost to its healthcare system soon as the health ministry has acquired 20 cryotherapy machines to help treat and prevent cervical cancer, the second most prevalent cancer among women in the country.

Cryotherapy, also known as cold therapy, involves cooling the body’s tissues for therapeutic purposes and removing the abnormal tissue. This type of therapy is also used to treat many skin conditions and some cancers, including prostate, cervical and liver cancer.

The Health Ministry said the machines will help clear the backlog of patients needing such treatment.

Director of the Non-Communicable Diseases Programme of the Health Ministry, Dr. Latchmie Lall, said the equipment will be very instrumental in providing immediate service to patients.

“We are indeed very thankful for this donation of cryotherapy machines that were brought through the IDB project; a total of 20 machines that are going to be used to improve our screening services for cervical cancer; this will come as a great measure for not only screening but to provide immediate medical treatment in that if we do find a pathological cervix, cryotherapy can be applied immediately, and we have one healthy patient going back home to her family,” Dr. Lall said.

Director of Primary Healthcare Services, Dr. Ertensia Hamilton, said the equipment comes at an opportune time when the ministry is extending its services for women of reproductive age across the country.

“We recognise that Guyana still has a high incidence of cervical cancer in our women, and so we want to be able to have services available to them as we work towards ensuring that each individual across their life course has services to meet their medical needs,” she said.

Minister of Health Dr. Frank Anthony, during his comment, revealed that Guyana is trying to develop a comprehensive programme for cervical cancer.

“One of the things that we are trying to do is to have a comprehensive cervical cancer programme. The first level will be to prevent cervical cancer. We want to do that by encouraging people to get the HPV vaccination. We have these vaccines available. We have been rolling them out to ensure that every person eligible for these vaccines gets them.”

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