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Caribbean Tourism & Health Authorities proactive on Coronavirus

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File Photo - PAHO hosts Caribbean Health Ministers meeting in Jamaica

#MIAMI (January 31, 2020) – No cases of the coronavirus have been reported in the Caribbean, assured regional tourism and health officials, who are hard at work aiming to keep the region coronavirus-free.  A partnership established five years ago between the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) and the private sector-led Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) as well as the public sector Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) is helping to drive a concerted effort by the region’s health and tourism stakeholders to help prevent and mitigate any impact from the spread of the virus, which has been declared by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a global public health emergency of international concern.

The three organizations quickly mobilized over a week ago, with CARPHA playing a key role in gathering facts and preparing briefs and tools for the region’s largest industry, tourism, based upon its consultations with global health authorities, including WHO and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“We see CARPHA as a key intermediary between global and local health authorities in brokering information and sharing intelligence essential to monitoring the situation with the Novel Coronavirus and preventing its spread into our region. This is important to the health of our residents and visitors and also important to the Caribbean’s economic well-being, as tourism is the region’s most important contributor to employment and revenue,” stated CARPHA’s Executive Director Dr. Joy St. John.  

“CARPHA is recommending that Caribbean Member States be proactive and vigilant. They must step up surveillance measures at points of entry, communication strategies which emphasize good hand hygiene, and measures targeted at reducing the importation of this new virus to our shores,” stated Dr. St. John, who underscored that currently, there are no restrictions to travel to the Caribbean. While the risk to the Caribbean from the coronavirus is low, health authorities and tourism stakeholders are being vigilant, activating cautionary measures, monitoring and reporting procedures.

CARPHA established the world’s first Tourism Health Program (THP) nearly five years ago to work collaboratively with CHTA and CTO to address health and safety threats. Over 200 hotels throughout the region are also part of a Tourism Health Information System (THiS), and with the coronavirus threat, CHTA is encouraging every hotel in the region to be part of the THP and THiS. CARPHA offers a range of online support materials and videos to guide the tourism industry.  

Frank Comito, CEO and CHTA Director General

Frank Comito, CEO and Director General of CHTA, advises that the organization is working with its federation of 33 national hotel and tourism associations throughout the region, advising them to be vigilant with sanitary precautions, monitoring of guest and employee illnesses, and prompt reporting to local health authorities any questionable illnesses.  

“The Caribbean is one of the world’s great escapes, affording the traveler with the opportunity to be refreshed and renewed as they enjoy our incredible natural beauty, people and cultures. We want to safeguard our guests and employees and provide assurances that they will continue to enjoy all that we offer. CARPHA is an invaluable partner in helping us to do this,” said Comito.

CHTA and CARPHA are also planning a webinar, scheduled for Tuesday, February 4, to brief the industry on the latest developments and offer additional advice on cautionary measures that can be taken to mitigate the spread of coronavirus, notwithstanding bolstering existing influenza preparedness plans and implementing measures to protect the most vulnerable in the Caribbean.

About the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA)The Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) is the Caribbean’s leading association representing the interests of national hotel and tourism associations. For more than 55 years, CHTA has been the backbone of the Caribbean hospitality industry. Working with some 1,000 hotel and allied members, and 33 National Hotel Associations, CHTA is shaping the Caribbean’s future and helping members to grow their businesses.

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Whether helping to navigate critical issues in sales and marketing, sustainability, legislative issues, emerging technologies, climate change, data and intelligence or, looking for avenues and ideas to better market and manage businesses, CHTA is helping members on issues which matter most.
For further information, visit www.caribbeanhotelandtourism.com.

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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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