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Caribbean Tourism and Health Stakeholders forge alliance to safeguard from COVID-19

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#MIAMI (March 5, 2020) – The leaders of the Caribbean tourism and health sectors, who are working together to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus throughout the region, are implementing readiness and response measures to prevent and contain the virus.

While there has been no local spread of the virus in the Caribbean, community transmission is now reported in many other countries than China, some of which have nonstop flights to Caribbean States. 

Therefore, due to the current increased risk of importation of COVID-19 to the region, the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) has upgraded the risk of Coronavirus disease transmission from “low” to “moderate to high”. 
In light of this, CARPHA Executive Director Dr. Joy St. John is urging health authorities of CARPHA Member States to shift their mindset from preparedness to readiness and rapid response and continue to do all that is necessary to strengthen their capacity to respond to possible importation of cases.  The recently established COVID-19 Caribbean Tourism Task Force comprises representatives from CARPHA, the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA), the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), and the Global Tourism Resilience & Crisis Management Centre (GTRCMC). In a statement issued by the leaders of the task force member organizations, they indicated that a Memorandum of Understanding has been agreed upon by the organizations to foster closer collaboration.  

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“Recognizing the essential need to safeguard the health and safety of residents and visitors to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 threat to the Caribbean; and further recognizing the importance of building upon the collaborative efforts which are already underway, and the need to pool organizational resources to do so; we have agreed to formalize our efforts and messaging through the establishment of the COVID-19 Caribbean Tourism Task Force (CCTTF),” the MOU reads.

The organizations acknowledged concerns about the high level of misunderstanding about the virus which has elevated the panic at the global level and resulted in the dissemination of a high level of misinformation. The CCTTF will focus on raising awareness and sharing accurate information; strengthening monitoring at airports, seaports, and hotels and accommodations; improving coordination among stakeholder organizations and locally between tourism and health officials; sharing best practices; training, education and capacity building; and conducting tourism impact research.

“Tourism is the lifeblood of the Caribbean so we’ve come together as organizations already engaged in readiness programs to pool resources so we can ensure the people of our region, and our visitors, remain safe from this viral threat,” read the task force’s statement, which adds “our ability to quickly contain any outbreak will be determined by how efficiently we can pool information and capacities – this agreement allows us to plan for an emergency and move our resources rapidly.”

Dr. Lisa Indar, CARPHA’s Assistant Director for the Surveillance, Disease Prevention & Control Division, explained that the organizations already collaborate, but in view of the spread of the virus in other regions, CARPHA and other task force organizations wanted to proactively solidify cooperation and ensure the task force had what it needed to keep COVID-19 from threatening the health of residents and visitors and the economies of the Caribbean.

The establishment of the Caribbean COVID-19 Tourism Task Force follows a Special Emergency Meeting of the CARICOM Heads of Government with health and tourism officials and cruise associations in Barbados last weekend, where they agreed to set up a regional protocol with the cruise industry. As an immediate proactive measure to help fight the importation and spread of this novel viral illness, the CCTTF is urging hotel and tourism accommodation providers to register for CARPHA’s Tourism Health Information System (THiS), which was developed several years ago to provide support information, and to help identify and confidentially manage early warning symptoms by employees and guests in a rapid manner.

From Bahamas Ministry of Health

Since January, over 50 additional hotels have joined THiS. To register, visit http://this.carpha.org or https://tinyurl.com/txjo7al. Visitors are also encouraged to self-report at http://this.carpha.org, and click on the self-reporting tab to the bottom left of the screen.

CARPHA advises residents and visitors that the best preventative measures are individual ones they can take by exercising hand hygiene, respiratory etiquette, social distancing (staying one meter away from persons with flu) as well as avoiding eating raw and under-cooked meats. 

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Bob Marley – One Love Actor Endorses Black River Film Festival

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#MontegoBay, May 27, 2024 – The inaugural staging of the Black River Film Festival (BRFF), set for June 28 to 30, is being welcomed by local actor, Cornelius Orlando Grant, who sees the potential of the event in unearthing local talent and attracting investment from the international film industry.

Addressing a recent JIS Think Tank held at the agency’s Montego Bay Regional Office, Mr. Grant, who stars as gangster Bucky Marshall in the Bob Marley – One Love biopic, said the BRFF could leverage the interest and attention being generated towards Jamaica and its film industry following the premiere of the movie.

“Look at it this way, the Prince (Harry) came to the premiere and his presence attracted extra attention to [the film industry]. The Bob Marley movie is creating and breaking more records… . Just recently it opened in Japan [where]… reggae music and Bob Marley have a big fan base. Furthermore, people in the [diaspora] that I spoke to are saying that when they view the movie, it brought them vibes of home,” he noted.

Mr. Grant said that with Jamaica being positioned as the hub of the Caribbean film industry and with the increasing number of young persons emerging as content creators, “I think now is the time that we can capitalise on this. The Black River Film Festival is doing just that because it is not only incorporating new content creators but also showing students new career possibilities”.

Young content creators, 14 to 18 years old, who wish to enter or are already practitioners in the field of filmmaking will benefit from masterclass sessions during the Festival.

Mr. Grant will be among the speakers during these sessions.

The Ministry of Education, Region 5 will be partnering with the Festival producers at a workshop to be held at St. Elizabeth Technical High School (STETHS) in Santa Cruz on June 28.

 

Photo Caption: Jamaican actor, Cornelus Orlando Grant, gives his support to the Black River Film Festival (BRFF), while addressing a recent Think Tank at the Jamaica Information Service Montego Bay Regional Office in St. James.

Okoye Henry Photo

 

Contact: Sharon Earle

Release: JIS

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NATIONAL SECURITY SECRETARIAT INFORMATION NOTE ISSUED MAY 17, 2024

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May 21, 2024 – The Turks and Caicos Islands have clear laws prohibiting the possession of firearms and or ammunition without a licence and strict penalties in order to serve and protect the community. Our Firearms Ordinance, which was amended in 2022, states that:

No person (other than a licensed gunsmith in the course of his trade) shall have in his possession, discharge or use any firearm or ammunition unless he is the holder of a firearm licence with respect to such firearm, or in case of ammunition he is the holder of a licence for a firearm which takes that ammunition.

Firearm and/or ammunition offences carry a mandatory minimum custodial sentence of twelve years plus a fine. Where a court finds there are exceptional circumstances, the sentencing judge has discretion, under the law, to impose a custodial sentence and a fine that are fair and just in the circumstances of each case rather than impose the mandatory minimum.

The Chief Justice is advancing sentencing guidelines in respect of the application of exceptional circumstances. Wider work is also ongoing with criminal justice partners to review the efficiency and effectiveness of case progression, in driving justice outcomes.

It is the traveller’s responsibility to ensure their baggage is free of firearms and/or ammunition. Permission from an airline carrier does not constitute permission to bring firearms or ammunition into the Turks and Caicos Islands. Travellers are also strongly advised to search their luggage before they travel to the Turks and Caicos Islands to ensure they do not bring in forbidden items inadvertently. Such offences will result in arrest.

The Turks and Caicos Islands is a British Overseas Territory with a common law legal system, and reserves the right to enforce its laws. All persons, including visitors, must follow lawful process.

The Turks and Caicos Islands welcomes all visitors but reminds travellers that persons in the Turks and Caicos Islands do not have a constitutional right to carry firearms. Equally, the importation of firearms, ammunition (including stray bullets), and other weapons is strictly forbidden, unless licence to do so has been issued by the Commissioner of Police.

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CTO to Focus on Aviation at Caribbean Week in New York

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New York (May 16, 2024) – Celebrating its 35th anniversary, the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) is set to spotlight the future of Caribbean aviation during Caribbean Week in New York, scheduled for June 16-21, 2024, at the InterContinental Times Square in midtown Manhattan.

Under CTO’s annual theme “Connecting the Globe, Celebrating Diversity”, the week promises a diverse lineup of activities emphasizing innovation and connectivity.

A key feature of the premier event for travel industry professionals, journalists and members of the Caribbean Diaspora will be the Caribbean Airlift Forum.

Rosa Harris, Chairman of the CTO Board of Directors and Spokesperson for Caribbean Week, will moderate the forum. She emphasized the importance of this session as a critical platform for discussing the challenges and opportunities in Caribbean air transportation.

The session will cover topics including route development, aviation competitiveness, partnerships, infrastructure investment, regulatory frameworks, and market demand strategies. It aims to foster dialogue among airlines, airports, tourism authorities, and aviation ministries, enhancing connectivity and optimizing access to Caribbean destinations.

“In the wake of the pandemic, Caribbean aviation has shown remarkable resilience and adaptability, rebounding strongly in key areas. However, as we celebrate these gains during our Caribbean Week in New York, it’s crucial that we don’t become complacent,” stated Harris.

“We must continue to innovate and address the persistent challenges within intra-regional tourism, which, while recovering, remains a challenge for many of our destinations,” she continued. “Our focus at the Caribbean Airlift Forum is not only on celebrating our successes but also on critically analyzing our challenges to strengthen and diversify our connections to, from and across the region, ensuring a more robust and connected Caribbean.”

The week also features a Business and Tourism Marketing Symposium, the Caribbean Media Awards, and sessions focused on artificial intelligence, crisis communications, and multicultural marketing.

With the support of headline sponsor, the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism, Investments & Aviation; gold sponsors Cayman Islands Department of Tourism and the United States Virgin Islands Department of Tourism; and Diamonds International and the Caribbean Media Exchange, Caribbean Week in New York 2024 is poised to be a pivotal meeting for tourism professionals and stakeholders in the region and the Diaspora.

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