#KINGSTON, Jan. 24 (JIS): The European Union (EU)-funded Poverty Reduction Programme (PRP) will be carrying out rehabilitation works at six police stations across the island, at a cost of approximately $235 million.
They include Denham Town (Kingston) at a cost of $36.81 million; Franklyn Town (Kingston), $42.48 million; Lionel Town (Clarendon), $36.87 million; Mount Salem (St. James), $42.53 million; Four Paths (Clarendon), $37.86 million; and Adelphi (St. James), $38.44 million.
Details were provided at Thursday’s (January 23) launch of the PRP police station rehabilitation project, at the Courtyard by Marriott hotel in New Kingston.
The project will be implemented by the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF), which undertakes activities of the PRP, and will take place during the next four months.
Work will be carried out on bathroom facilities, training rooms, kitchens, lunch areas, cell blocks, fences and driveways of some of the stations.
Minister of National Security, Hon. Dr. Horace Chang, said two of the projects will be undertaken at police stations located in the Zones of Special Operations (ZOSOs) – Denham Town and Mount Salem – and should significantly contribute to the development of these areas.
“They are communities which have challenges. In fact, the very definition of the programme, the Poverty Reduction Programme, indicates that the Jamaica Social Investment Fund moves into areas which have serious socio-economic challenges,” Dr. Chang said.
“When we go in with the Zones of Special Operations and with JSIF, which seeks to not only provide jobs but also seeks to improve the environment and bring safety, that is a fundamental shift in what happens,” he added.
The Minister emphasised that one major objective of these rehabilitation activities is to strengthen the police force, which is the primary law-enforcement agency, and guarantee citizen safety in those communities.
He thanked the EU for being one of Jamaica’s principal partners in many areas, such as the social services sector, and for its funding.
Meanwhile, Managing Director, JSIF, Omar Sweeney, said the projects will help with safety and security in the communities located near the police stations, adding that more than 200 police personnel will benefit from these upgrades.
For her part, Head of Delegation of the European Union in Jamaica, Ambassador Malgorzata Wasilewska, said the need to provide safer environments is one of the reasons the police stations were chosen for rehabilitation.
“It is with this in mind that we at the European Union, along with our Jamaicans partners, designed the Poverty Reduction Programme, to support specific elements of Jamaica’s own strategies to achieve a secure, cohesive and just society,” Ms. Wasilewska said.
“The men and women who work at the police stations that are planned to be rehabilitated or constructed during this period of the Poverty Reduction Programme, collectively serve some 50,000 residents. I am particularly happy about this fact,” she added.
Ms. Wasilewska said police officers deserve decent working conditions, because they are highly relied on to improve the security in the country.
She said although funding from the programme will be coming to an end this year, partnerships between Jamaica and the EU will continue.
Cruising should slow down says PAHO
By Dana Malcolm
‘Slow down on Cruising’, that’s the word from the Pan American Health Organization, PAHO in their latest recent press conference.
“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.
Cayman gets its second ‘Sir’; former Premier Alden McLaughlin knighted on Jan 1
By Dana Malcolm
#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.
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.
Understanding Sargassum with help from the TCI’s Department of Environment & Coastal Resources
By Sherrica Thompson
#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.
“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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