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Jamaican Gov’t gets disaster response equipment from United States



#KINGSTON, Feb. 24 (JIS):  The Government has received a donation of heavy-duty equipment from the United States (US) Embassy in Kingston, and the Department of Defence, US Southern Command, to boost local disaster relief capacity.

Minister of Local Government and Community Development, Hon. Desmond McKenzie, mounts the Bobcat Skid Loader, while Defence Attaché at the United States Embassy, Lieutenant Colonel Robert Ramsay, observes. The Bobcat Skid Loader and CASE Front-End Scoop Loader were donated to the Ministry by the United States Embassy, at the Ministry’s Hagley Park Road offices on February 24.

The presentation was made at the Ministry of Local Government and Community Development in Kingston on Monday (February 24), with portfolio Minister, Hon. Desmond McKenzie and other Ministry officials accepting the equipment.

In his address, Mr. McKenzie noted that the gift resulted from discussions he had more than a year ago with then Chargé d’Affaires, Eric Khant.


“We discussed a number of issues, including the United States assisting us in terms of our disaster mitigation programme and we did indicate the need for heavy-duty equipment of this sort. These added equipment could not have come at a better time, considering that we are approaching the new hurricane season,” the Minister said.

He expressed appreciation for the support on behalf of the Government and people of Jamaica.

The 195 Horse Power CASE 712F Series Front-End Scoop Loader and Bobcat Skid Loader were handed over by Defence Attaché at the US Embassy, Lieutenant Colonel Robert Ramsay. Both pieces of equipment are valued at over US$250,000.

Minister of Local Government and Community Development, Hon. Desmond McKenzie (left), and Defence Attaché at the United States Embassy, Lieutenant Colonel Robert Ramsay, examine the controls of the CASE Front-End Scoop Loader donated to the Ministry by the United States Embassy. The heavy-duty equipment and a Bobcat Skid Loader were handed over on February 24, at the Ministry, in Kingston.

“Both the CASE and Bobcat can be used for debris removal, clearing roads and just about anything. You can also load humanitarian assistance commodities on an aircraft with them. The Bobcat is very versatile and deployable to other parts of the island,” Lieutenant Colonel Ramsay said.

“This is really for humanitarian assistance in disaster relief and to show a strong partnership in continuously improving the capacity of the Jamaican Government to respond to disasters. This is the second donation we have made following discussions (between the Ministry and US Embassy),” he added.


This handover comes on the heels of the US Embassy’s donation of first responder equipment valued at over $30 million to the Jamaica Fire Brigade last July.

Lieutenant Colonel Ramsay said that through the Department of Defence and other US agencies, such as the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the United States remains ready to assist Jamaica in exercises, training, planning and the donation of equipment where needed.

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Bahamas News

Polio is back; 65 million missed shots in another COVID fall out



By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer


#USA, August 4, 2022 – For the first time in almost a decade a new case of polio was recorded in the United States. The case which ended in paralysis emphasizes the danger the region faces as vaccination levels drop to 30-year lows.

The World Health Organization warned in early July explained that vaccination in the region of the Americas and the rest of world was dropping rapidly because of various spin off effects precipitated by the Coronavirus Pandemic.

Over 65 million infants missed out on basic vaccines in the last three years thanks to disruptions in routine healthcare, lockdowns and other circumstances. The effects are already being felt as once eradicated disease like measles and polio are once again emerging.

The Pan American Health Organization announced earlier this year the Americas are now facing another measles outbreak after having been declared free of the disease in 2016.

Dr. Jarvis Barbosa, Assistant director of PAHO said vaccination levels are now as low as they were in 1994 for measles and polio and Brazil has had several outbreaks of measles.

In the case of the United States an unvaccinated young adult developed the disease after contact with another individual vaccinated with a live version of the vaccine.

The breakout polio case in the US sent shockwaves across the country because of the severe nature of the disease. Polio is an extremely dangerous disease with no known cure. It causes paralysis in as many as 1 in 200 infected and that paralysis is permanent.

Normally very few school age children would be at risk in the Americas as the vaccine is required to start school but with the gap in vaccinations many more children are now at risk.

Polio was one of the most feared diseases of the 20th century, paralyzing and killing hundreds of thousands, especially children. Thankfully vaccinated individuals are not at risk and as such the WHO is advising that the best way to protect against polio is vaccination.


Photo Caption:  Child in Benin takes Polio vaccine, UNSDG

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Caribbean News

Dunn’s River Offers Special Summer Package



#Jamaica, August 5, 2022 – Persons looking for an adventurous activity to do this summer are being encouraged to take advantage of the ‘Summa Thrills’ promotion, being offered by the world-famous Dunn’s River Falls and Park.

The promotion, which ends September 15, includes paying one cost to climb the Falls, ‘Tek-A-Hike’ and Zip over the Falls via the Chukka Falls Flyer. In addition, persons will also have access to the beach, splash pad, and other amenities.

The cost for residents is $5,000 per person and US$75 per person for non-residents. A photo identification is required to access the resident rate.

“We have partnered with CHUKKA to create this five-star experience,” Marketing Manager, Urban Development Corporation (UDC), Kereen Cole-Ivey, told JIS News.

She further informed that ‘Tek-A-Hike’ is the newest product offering at Dunn’s River Falls and Park and that the promotion provides an opportunity to build awareness and renew interest in the falls and park.

‘Tek-a-Hike’ is a guided, one-hour-and-a-half hike that starts at the Tranquility Gardens and ends in the Dunn’s River Falls & Park Nursery. Here guests can purchase plants or adopt a tree as part of the park’s Reforestation and Conservation Programme.

The hike is approximately two miles and is an experience that the entire family can enjoy. Along the trail, guests will learn about the flora and fauna on the entire property, which is called the Belmont property, as well as the general history of Dunn’s River Falls and Park. They will also get a chance to visit the Belmont Great House ruins.

“Coming out of COVID-19, we thought that this (Summa Thrills) would have been a very great adventure for the family and for everyone to enjoy and have a good time,” said Mrs. Cole-Ivey, adding that the UDC has other plans in place for Dunn’s River.

Dunn’s River Falls and Park is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily. Persons are being encouraged to book ahead via the Dunn’s River website at, otherwise tickets can be purchased on location.

You may also visit @dunnsriver.jamaica and @udcjamaica on Instagram or call 876 618-6052 for additional information.

The Dunn’s River Falls and Park is managed and operated by St. Ann Development Corporation (SADCO), a subsidiary of the UDC.


Contact: Shanna K. Salmon

Release: JIS

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Caribbean News

Carnival Cruise ordered to pay $10.2 million for passenger claiming rape by staff



By Sherrica Thompson

Staff Writer


#USA, August 5, 2022 – A Miami-based Federal Court returned a more than $10.2 million verdict against Carnival Cruise Line in favour of a passenger who claims a former crew member raped her in a storage closet aboard the Carnival Miracle in 2018.

A jury issued the verdict recently in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida finding Carnival liable for damages to the plaintiff, for false imprisonment and sexual assault by a crew member, in December 2018.

The jury separately found that Carnival was not negligent and that the former crew member did not intentionally inflict emotional distress on Plaintiff.

According to a statement issued last week Tuesday, Carnival Cruise Line said the incident between the plaintiff and the former crew member was consensual and plans to appeal the court’s decision.

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