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Miss Jamaica Festival Queen initiates ‘Nourish & Flourish’ campaign



#Jamaica – January 16, 2019 — Miss Jamaica Festival Queen 2019, Khamara Wright, has embarked on a project, dubbed ‘Nourish and Flourish’, which is focused on facilitating high-school students with healthy meals.

            Key among the initiative’s objectives are encouraging creative cooking lessons; fostering and heightening awareness of the need for healthy living and eating practices; and showcasing the versatility of Jamaican foods, while promoting what she describes as the “Jamaican culinary heritage”.

            “What we eat impacts our performance and our well-being, hence that project is geared towards educating persons about preparing such meals, going into the schools and speaking to the relevant persons, so that we can prepare those meals for the children and they can be educated on how to prepare the meals for themselves,” Miss Wright tells JIS News.


            The Festival Queen, who is a chef and an alumnus of the University of Technology (UTech), says she is passionate about Jamaican cuisine.

She notes that on countless occasions, she is asked to share her food-preparation skills with other persons, adding that this and her interest in health fuelled the birth of the healthy meals project.

            Miss Wright points out that by educating individuals about food preparation and healthy eating practices, the project aims to achieve the goal of enabling Jamaicans to realise their full potential through the promotion of healthier lifestyles.

“It is geared towards health, wellness, and nutrition. I would like to see more persons empowered to eat the things that are good for us, and know how to prepare it,” she states of the project to be launched this month.

            Miss Wright informs that the project also represents an effort to ensure a sustained reduction of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and will provide an educational opportunity and hands-on approach to encourage healthier meal consumption, purchasing methods as well as an understanding of food from the seed to the plate.

“My mission, as the facilitator and chef, is to inspire, motivate and educate, so that our communities can make more informed decisions about their diets and wellness,” she points out, adding that the food and nutrition classes will be organised for participating schools islandwide.

            After each session, students will be allowed to taste the prepared meals, and ask questions. Two students from each school will participate in the Nourish and Flourish Competition, to be held at the end of March, at the Chinese Benevolent Association in St. Andrew. 

            The Festival Queen expresses the hope that the project will help to stem the generational cycle of lifestyle choices that lead to preventable illnesses, and that nutrition awareness will be taken to a higher level.

“If these objectives are met, the holistic performance of the participants will be positively geared in the right direction,” she argues.

            Miss Wright contends that the project is intended to ensure that Jamaicans are healthier, because “we have to be heathier to fulfil our potential”, as outlined in the long-term National Development Plan – Vision 2030 Jamaica.

 “The project is aligned with that. So in that, I play many parts in educating persons, and ensuring that they are living their best lives,” she says.

Miss Wright, who is also the parish festival queen for St. Catherine, ended a 29-year drought for the parish, when she copped the national crown in 2019.

With a degree in Food Services Management, she is preparing to advance her career by becoming a Wellness Chef, so that she can heighten the campaign for healthier consumption.


            The 23-year-old queen has, so far, been conferred with the Marcella Blake Award for Leadership, Commitment and Resilience by UTech, and nominated twice for the Omni Hotel Service Champion Award, while working at the Resort in Texas, USA.

            A firm believer in serving her community, Miss Wright is a member of the Greater Portmore Joint Council, the New Kingston Rotaract Club, and the Council of Voluntary and Social Services.

She encourages well thinking, civic-minded Jamaicans to become positive role models for the nation’s youth.

            Miss Wright tells JIS News that at age nine she was positively impacted by her school teacher, Tanya Ewers-Clarke, at the Kensington Primary School in St. Catherine.

“I saw her as the woman I would love to [emulate]; she embodied grace and passion,” she notes.

            The young social advocate also wants to channel her energy into recycling initiatives, and educating community members about the dangers of pollution.

She says winning the Festival Queen title has served to bolster her motivation for community service.

The Miss Jamaica Festival Queen Competition, which began as the Miss Jamaica Beauty Contest in 1963, is organised by the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC).

The need for a greater emphasis on cultural awareness prompted a shift in the competition’s focus in 1975.

The event has grown over the years to become the premier forum for intelligent, culturally aware and poised young ladies seeking a platform for their contribution to nation building.

It is one of the highlights of the Emancipation and Independence celebrations in August.

The contestants at the national coronation are the parish queens who have been crowned during the 13 parish coronations (Kingston and St. Andrew being represented by one queen), held annually across the island.

Several Miss Jamaica Festival Queens have gone on to serve as cultural ambassadors and nation builders in their respective careers and areas of endeavour.

Press Release, JIS, story by GARFIELD L. ANGUS

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Bahamas News

CARPHA Team undertakes Assessment of Guyana’s National Surveillance System for Non-communicable Diseases



October 14, 2021 – The Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) conducted a technical mission to Guyana from September 22nd – 25th, 2021 to undertake site visits as a part of an ongoing assessment of six (6) Member States’ systems for the national surveillance of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and their risk factors. This activity was implemented in collaboration with the Ministry of Health Guyana through an Agence Française de Développement (AFD) – funded project.

The aim of the assessment s to provide evidence in support of the development of a Regional Surveillance System for NCDs, a priority under the regional health framework Caribbean Cooperation in Health IV (2016-2025).

During the mission, the CARPHA technical team reviewed the capacity of existing surveillance mechanisms in Guyana to collect, analyse and report on the NCDs and risk factor indicators proposed for the regional surveillance system. These indicators were recommended by a multi-stakeholder meeting series convened in 2020 under the AFD project, which reviewed global, regional, and sub-regional mandates, targets and practices in surveillance for the prevention and control of NCDs.

The CARPHA Team along with senior officials from the Ministry of Health conducted visits to two (2) health centres, the National Cancer Registry, Ministry of Health Surveillance, and Statistics Unit.  The results from the overall assessment will be presented to the Ministry of Health Guyana and will also be reviewed alongside results from similar assessments in Anguilla, Aruba, Jamaica, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Suriname to inform the finalisation of the regional surveillance system design through a regional stakeholder meeting.

The regional NCDs surveillance system would facilitate the reporting and availability of data to inform policy development, planning, and tracking of progress towards meeting for targets NCDs at Regional and National levels.

Through funding from the Agence Française de Développement (AFD), CARPHA is leading the Region in Strengthening Strategic Intelligence and Partnership Approaches to prevent and control NCDs and Strengthen Regional Health Security in the Caribbean. This project, signed in 2019 with a value of €1,500,000.00, demonstrates the commitment of the Government of France and the French people to supporting the public health priorities of the Caribbean Community through CARPHA.

More information on the Project can be found at:

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Bahamas News

World Sight Day: Love Your Eyes



Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago.  14 October, 2021.  In the Caribbean, the leading causes of blindness are glaucoma, cataract and diabetic retinopathy (a complication of diabetes).  According to the Vision Atlas, 6.2 million persons in the Caribbean were reported to have vision loss, with an estimated 260,000 persons reported to be blind in 2020.

Information gathered from eighteen (18) Caribbean countries (Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Bermuda, Belize, Cuba, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago) with a population of 44 million, showed that the crude prevalence of blindness was 0.60%, and the prevalence of all vision loss was 13.20%. Many of the persons affected were females at 52%.

Global statistics reveal that for 2020, a total of 596 million persons had distance vision impairment worldwide, of this number 43 million were blind.  Projections for 2050, indicate that an estimated 885 million persons may be affected by distance vision impairment with 61 million expected to experience  blindness.

CARPHA’s vision for the Caribbean is a region where the health and wellness of the people are promoted and protected from disease, injury and disability, thereby enabling human development in keeping with the belief that the health of the Region is the wealth of the Region.

Although there are no projects that directly address vision impairment, CARPHA in collaboration with its public health partners is implementing initiatives to address risk factors such as unhealthy diets, use of harmful substances and poor physical activities. This in turn, will help reduce the risk of disability due to complications associated with poor blood sugar and blood pressure management.

Efforts to improve the standards of care for diabetes through the implementation of the CARPHA Guidelines on the Management of Diabetes in Primary Care in the Caribbean, and training of health care workers from the CARPHA Member States will also contribute to the prevention of vision impairment and blindness due to diabetes.

Access to eye care services can reduce visual impairment.  CARPHA urges Member States to strengthen health systems to improve eye health services with emphasis on reaching the vulnerable and those most in need.  Governments should commit to integrating eye care into the universal health care system.

World Sight Day is celebrated annually on the second Thursday in October.  The focus of the day is to bring awareness to blindness and vision impairment as a major public health issue and blindness prevention.

The 2021 commemoration observed on 14th October, seeks to encourage persons to think about the ‘importance of their own eye health.’

Our eyes are working hard during the COVID-19 pandemic. We have been indoors, in front of our screens, and probably missed our eye test appointments. Now more than ever, we need to protect and prioritize our eyesight. There are simple things you can do for yourself to prevent the development of serious eye issues:

  • Take screen breaks for at least five minutes every hour
  • Spend time outside.  Increased outdoor time can reduce the risk of myopia (near-sightedness)[3]
  • Get an eye test. A complete eye exam can detect eye conditions such as glaucoma before it has an effect on your sight. The earlier an eye condition is identified, the easier it is to treat.
  • Eat a healthy balanced diet and engage in physical activity. These are crucial steps in maintaining a healthy weight, controlling obesity, and preventing diseases such as diabetes, all of which can impact eye health.
  • If you have diabetes, you should have your eyes checked every year

Your sight cannot be taken for granted.  It is time to LOVE YOUR EYES!

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Bahamas News

TCI Premier and Tourism Minister lead delegation  at NABHOOD Summit



#TurksandCaicos, October 13, 2021 – The Hon. Premier, Charles Washington Missick and Hon. Josephine Connolly Minister for tourism attended the 8th Annual International Multicultural & Heritage Tourism Summit and Trade Show. This summit was held at the Miami Marriott Biscayne Bay Hotel from October 8th to 10th. The theme of this year’s Summit was ‘Gaining Economic Powers Through Multicultural Tourism’. The summit was held by the National Association of Black Hotel Owners, Operators & Developers (NABHOOD)

Both the Hon. Premier and Minister for tourism were key panelist at the summit. The Premier sat with interviewer Vincent Vanderpool Wallace, former Minister of Tourism & Aviation of the Bahamas on a one on one interview entitled A conversation on The Turks and Caicos Islands. This discussion was extremely well received and allowed for the Premier to discuss factors attributing to the success of the Tourism industry in the islands and his vision for the sector.

Hon. Connolly joined a high caliber panel with three other industry experts on Saturday morning. Their discussion centered around Diversity in Tourism and the impact to the Destination. The Minister expanded on where Turks and Caicos’ industry was heading post pandemic, how it performed over the past months and insight into the future of Tourism in the Turks and Caicos Islands including the setting up of a Regulatory Authority and a Destination Management Organization.

Among others participating from the Turks and Caicos Islands were students and a chaperone from the Turks and Caicos Islands Community College Hospitality Program. The students had the opportunity to network with other US and Caribbean students at the summit.

It is clear that the growth of the Tourism sector in the TCI and the fact that we continue to perform well despite the challenges of COVID 19, is of interest to many. Also of note is the vision articulated by the Premier as he noted; ‘it is imperative that we provide opportunities within the Tourism sector for the growth of investment and local ownership. Turks and Caicos Islanders must benefit directly from the growth of this sector’. The Premier noted that much of his efforts will be to promote investment and ownership by Turks and Caicos Islanders as much as possible.

The Hon. Minister of Tourism stated her pride in representing the country and sector at this summit; ‘This is the first opportunity I have had to present our island on a panel for some time. This year despite COVID 19, we saw arrival numbers that even exceeded pre-COVID 19 during the summer months. I can say that our protocols, our partnerships, our pre-screening program and our COVID 19 marketing strategy all contributed to this success.’



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