#KINGSTON, March 12 (JIS): Jamaican schools will not be participating in this year’s staging of the Penn Relays track and field competition in the United States (US).
Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr. the Hon Christopher Tufton, made the announcement during a press conference at his New Kingston offices on Tuesday (March 10) where he reported Jamaica’s first imported case of the coronavirus (COVID-19).
“Cabinet took a decision last evening for the Ministry of Education [Youth and Information] to advise as it relates to Penn Relays, and schools, by now, should have been advised that the Government is taking a position to not participate in the Penn Relays this year. The travel and the location could involve levels of risk that we would like to discourage,” he said.
The Penn Relays are scheduled for April 23 to 25 in Philadelphia in the United States.
Dr. Tufton noted that as it relates to the Boys and Girls’ Championships, a meeting is scheduled among the organisers, sponsors, and the Ministers with responsibility for education, sports and health “where a decision will be taken and that decision should be taken within 24 hours”.
The Boys and Girls’ Championships are scheduled for March 24 to 28 at the National Stadium in St Andrew.
Meanwhile, Dr. Tufton is discouraging against public gatherings and non-essential travel in light of the country recording its first case of COVID-19.
He said certain decisions will be communicated regarding public gatherings and events that are on the national calendar.
Additionally, Dr. Tufton said that the country continues to track irregular border crossings, and sensitisation of key personnel at all air and sea ports will continue.
“We have designated four quarantine facilities and others will be identified, and those are being used or being prepared to be used. We are finalising the retrofitting of isolation facilities in each of the island’s public hospitals,” he noted further.
Dr. Tufton further urged the public to adhere to infection prevention and control measures, noting that “this is more important now than ever”.
These include maintaining a distance of at least one metre from persons who are coughing or sneezing; frequent and thorough washing of hands using soap and water or using a hand sanitiser; covering the mouth and nose with tissue when coughing or sneezing and then discarding it; and resisting the urge to touch the face.
For additional information, the public is encouraged to contact 888-ONE-LOVE (663-5683).
JIS NEWS by CHRIS PATTERSON
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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