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National Children’s Mashramani Competition launched; Guyana celebrates 50 Years as Republic



#Guyana, February 13, 2020 — The Ministry of Education launched the National Children’s Mashramani Competition today at the National Cultural Centre (NCC) signalling the start of the final leg of the Children’s Mashramani Competition that will take place on February 13 and 14, 2020 at the NCC. On Saturday February 15, 2020, the Children’s Mashramani Costume and Float Parade will be held starting from Parade Ground and ending at the National Park.

Delivering the feature address, Minister of Education Dr. the Hon. Nicolette Henry said that the competition will contribute to Guyana’s Republican Jubilee Celebration.

She said that the National Theme for this year’s Mashramani which states: Guyana Together: Reflect, Celebrate, Transform, underscores the importance of all Guyanese to unite as one people, in pursuit of a prosperous destiny for this great nation.

Minister Henry hands over Steel pans

According to Minister Henry, the theme also asks of Guyanese to reflect and acknowledge the struggles and sacrifices our ancestors made. She said, “This reflection should build our determination to validate those sacrifices by enhancing our national state of identity with class and dignity that is above and beyond international standards.”

Moreover, Minister Henry reminded those in attendance that Guyana is in its decade of development. She said that this developmental phase should instil in Guyanese the need to take Guyana to the next level.

Nevertheless, Minister Henry noted that 2020 is a year of transformation, restoration and socio-economic evolution, so there is much to celebrate.

Speaking to the students, the Education Minister said, “As you showcase your talents allow your festivity, performance and spectacle to educate the public about what this republican status means, or even that it exists. Your role is to display that brilliant transformation through your heartened performances.”

The Children’s Mashramani Competition began in 1992 and is organised by the Unit of Allied Arts. The administrator of the Unit of Allied Arts, Ms. Lorraine Barker-King said that due to the interest, vision and contribution of Minister Henry in the schools, there have been improvements in many ways regarding the arts.

She said that the arts have become more visible and physical education is now being done in most if not all schools across Guyana.

She said that this improvement could not have been possible either without the support from the officers within the Ministry, teachers, parents and members of the community.

“We have to ensure that the arts progress and take its rightful place at the centre of the curriculum”, Ms. Barker-King noted.

Lorraine Barker-King, Unit of Allied Arts

She added that the opening ceremony was intended to reflect on the history and beauty of Guyana and its people through the arts.

Supporting the Ministry to ensure the competition and costume parade is a success are three corporate sponsors. Banks DIH Ltd will be sponsoring the Children’s Mashramani Costume and Float Parade to be held on Saturday, February 15, 2020, under the Malta Supreme, Rainforest Water and Igloo Ice Cream brands. Ansa McAL Trading Limited through its Smalta Brand will be sponsoring the National Children’s Mashramani Competition at the National Cultural Centre while the Guyana Bank for Trade and Industry (GBTI) will be sponsoring the trophies.

Corporate Communications Officer at Ansa McAL, Mr. Treiston Joseph said that his company is happy to be a part of the event. He said that it is an important opportunity for students to display their talents and that Ansa McAL wants to play a role in the advancement and development of Guyanese.

Communications Manager of Banks DIH Ltd, Mr. Troy Peters said that the Children’s Mashramani activities are significant as Guyana celebrates its 50th Republic Anniversary. He said that the Costume and Float Parade will bring colour, creativity, teamwork and enjoyment to the children and spectators come Saturday.


Following the opening ceremony, steel pans were handed-over to the Mahdia Secondary School which represented the continuation of an exercise by the Ministry of Education to distribute steel pans to schools across Guyana to enhance the music programme.

Additionally, there was an exhibition held in the foyer of the NCC where various departments of the Ministry of Education showcased the services they offer and what developments have been taking place.


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Bahamas News

Mobile App brings unprecedented access & opportunity to Persons with Disabilities in The Bahamas



#TheBahamas, December 8, 2022 – Opportunities and services previously out of reach for many Persons with Disabilities (PWD’s) in The Bahamas are now easier to access with groundbreaking upgrades to the ‘AccessAbility’ mobile app innovated by the National Commission of Persons with Disabilities (NCPD), through a Bahamian APP developer.

As of January 2023, PWD’s registered on the App will be able to book accessible transportation, allowing unprecedented freedom of movement.

For now, services available on the App include free interpreter services for the deaf and hard of hearing; disaster alerts from NEMA; free registration with NCPD which includes mapped location of registered PWD’s in times of disaster; complaints mechanism; bus routes showing street by street movement ; request for adaptive equipment and other services; business directory for organizations compliant with the Disabilities Act; Career/job listings; as well as trending local and international news and resources.

Financing for the App and the related public education programme was contributed by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) through its Multi Country Office located in Jamaica which serves The Bahamas among five English-speaking countries in the northern Caribbean. The App is available for free download from Google Play and the App Store and is also preloaded on all new devices purchased from local telecommunications provider Aliv in partnership with NCPD.

At the launch event on Sunday (4 December), Prime Minister, the Rt. Hon.  Philip Davis said that The Bahamas aimed to achieve inclusion and accessibility on a level playing field for persons with disabilities and that the App was one of the means through which this could be achieved. He lauded the services provided through the app and highlighted the accessible transportation, one touch access to emergency services and sign language interpretation.

The Prime Minister announced that the Department of Labour will enable job listings in the AccessAbility app, and further reminded employers of provisions in the Disability Act for the employment of one person with a disability for every 100 employees. “I am asking corporate Bahamas to join the Government in recognizing the potential in persons with disabilities and providing employment opportunities that may never have been considered before,” he said.

Other major disclosures made by the Prime Minister included The Bahamas’ ratification of ILO Convention 159 establishing the right of PWD to vocational rehabilitation and employment opportunities, and the successful implementation of the Nassau Airports Development’s Sunflower Laynard programme offering empathetic and specialized service to travelling PWD’s

Minister of Social Services and Urban Development, the Hon. Obediah Wilchcombe, said exclusion of PWD’s over the years has been troubling, but the mobile app will help bring the community closer to realizing inclusion and becoming part of the normalcy of the country. “We are elated and moved. PWD’s are celebrating because we have come a long way and UNDP is helping to make a difference” Minister Wilchcombe stated.

UNDP Resident Representative Denise E Antonio said recognizing that Disability Inclusion is a development issue requires continued attention and investment, UNDP supported the Government’s mission to expand digital inclusion to marginalized groups through the Digital Access for All (DAFA) Bahamas Project, specifically focusing on the AccessAbility Mobile App and public education.

She reiterated UNDP’s commitment to improving ICT infrastructure and digital access with and for PWD’s in The Bahamas; advancing gender equality and the empowerment of PWD’s in The Bahamas and forging partnerships to identify challenges and potential solutions to reduce inequalities against Persons with Disabilities.  “It is crucial for governments, public and private sectors, to collaboratively find innovative solutions with and for persons with disabilities, to make the world a more accessible and equitable place,” the Resident Representative noted.

She encouraged Persons with Disabilities to register with the NCPD through the App to ensure they benefit from a wide array of services.

The launch of the AccessAbility mobile app will be immediately followed by a multimedia public education campaign to encourage awareness, downloads, and usage among PWDs.

Technology and digitalization are considered enablers in UNDP’s global service offer of six signature solutions focusing on leaving no one behind. To this end, UNDP partners with countries to develop appropriate digital solutions which help advance poverty eradication, inclusion, equality and crisis resilience.  UNDP Multi Country Office in Jamaica serves Jamaica, Bermuda, Cayman Islands, The Bahamas and Turks and Caicos Islands.


Release: UNDP

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Bahamas News

Tropical Storm Owen in December?



By Shanieka Smith

Staff Writer


December 8, 2022 – A low-pressure system observed in the Central Atlantic Ocean has led the National Hurricane Center to believe there is a 50 per cent chance a subtropical or tropical storm will develop. They reported on Tuesday,  the system was 800 miles northeast of the Leeward Islands.

NHC said that by Thursday or Friday, the system should move northeastward, where it will interact with a mid-latitude trough, thereby limiting the chances of development.

The potential subtropical or tropical storm would become the 15th named storm of 2022 and will be called Owen.

Here is the very latest forecast:

Central Subtropical Atlantic

Showers and thunderstorms have increased since last evening near a

large non-tropical area of low pressure located over the central

subtropical Atlantic about 850 miles east-southeast of Bermuda.

However, the system remains embedded within a frontal zone, which is

expected to become more pronounced later today as the low begins to

move east-northeastward at 20 to 25 mph toward colder waters and

interact with a mid-latitude trough.  Therefore, while the system

could show some subtropical characteristics today, its chances to

fully transition to a subtropical or tropical cyclone appear to be

decreasing.  Nevertheless, significant non-tropical development of

this low is expected during the next couple of days, and additional

information, including hurricane-force wind warnings, can be found

in High Seas Forecasts issued by the National Weather Service.  The

next Special Tropical Weather Outlook on this system will be issued

by 9 AM EST Thursday.


* Formation chance through 48 hours…low…30 percent.

* Formation chance through 5 days…low…30 percent.



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Caribbean News

Jamaica’s PM Andrew Holness goes to Washington to discuss matters to help with crime



By Shanieka Smith

Staff Writer


#Jamaica, December 8, 2022 – The Prime Minister of Jamaica, Andrew Holness, travelled to Washington on Tuesday to discuss security matters with various US State Agencies, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Justice Department. 

Holness said the aim of the meetings is to cut ties between local and overseas criminals and in turn strengthen the country’s crime-fighting efforts.

“I’m serious. If you are overseas and you are sponsoring, directing, and soliciting; if you are financing crime in Jamaica we’re going to get you,” he said.

In a press briefing in early November, the prime minister announced that a State of Emergency (SOE) was issued in seven parishes across the island. Meanwhile, Opposition Leader, Mark Golding has requested that the SOE be extended through to January 14, 2023.

However, a recommendation was made by the non-governmental human rights and justice organization Jamaicans for Justice (JFJ) to reject Golding’s extension request.

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