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Jamaican Gov’t partners with UWI for Sexual Harassment research

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#KINGSTON, March 5, 2020 (JIS): The Government will be partnering with the University of the West Indies (UWI), Open Campus, over the next three years, to provide training and research on sexual harassment in the workplace and related matters.

Specifically, the collaboration is between the Bureau of Gender Affairs (BGA), under the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, and the Hugh Shearer Labour Studies Institute.

The partnership will see the Institute providing special training through seminars, lectures and workshops coordinated by the Bureau. Training will cover the areas of sexual harassment, workplace bullying, emotional intelligence, labour laws, grievance handling and good industrial relations practices.

 Both parties signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to formalise this partnership during a ceremony at the UWI Regional Headquarters on February 28.

The emphasis will be on providing support to combat the stigma of sexual harassment through research and the areas of training identified. It is expected to contribute to an appreciation among public sector workers of the importance of promoting an environment free of sexual harassment, in which all categories of workers are treated with respect and dignity.

Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Hon. Olivia Grange, who participated in the signing, said the MOU has been entered into at an opportune time, in light of “the increasing incidents of violence and abuse of our women.”

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She noted that through the MoU, the intent is to explore the impact on productivity of sexual harassment and the implications for workplace competitiveness.

“We would also want to examine the link between sexual harassment and the society; the existing and potential costs in legal related terms; the cost associated with the re-orientation of victims back into the society; the loss of skilled workers; and the psychologically-related costs that are often associated with these abuses,” she said.

She pointed out that the Ministry’s collaboration with the UWI Open Campus will assist in defining the scope of the research agenda, “and to better prepare us for the challenges in combatting sexual harassment in the workplace.”

Ms. Grange said an important benefit from this collaboration is in the area of training, which will focus on prevention of sexual harassment.

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“In that regard, we must create a vision of a new Jamaica where respect, tolerance and dignity and a high self-esteem are seen as the norm for workplace behaviours, and that organisations take the time and make the effort to offer mentorship and specialised training for persons who have been socialised to show disrespect for women,” she said.

In her remarks, Pro Vice-Chancellor and Principal, UWI Open Campus, Dr. Luz Longsworth, said through ongoing training, the Institute has been working to address the issue of sexual harassment.

“Over the last year or two, the Institute has been at the forefront of training and sensitisation in over 30 orgnisations in Jamaica and the region in both the public and private sectors and they have dealt with not only sexual harassment, but also workplace bullying, and in guiding policy development and implementation in the workforce,” she said.

Dr.  Longsworth argued that knowing what is happening in the workplace is important to ensuring the improvement of labour relations in Jamaica.

She noted that Jamaica’s “own culturally nuanced approach to gender interactions in the workplace needs to be explored. They need to be scrutinised and most importantly, they need to be researched in order to guide our policy development.”

“We know that there is a dearth of that type of research in the Caribbean which will guide policy and practice is some of our major industries,” she said.

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 She noted for instance, that research needs to be done on the local hospitality industry, pointing to research from the United Kingdom (UK) which revealed that nine out of every 10 workers in the sector have experienced some form of sexual harassment.

  Dr. Longsworth also pointed to the need to explore the situation of domestic workers as well as call centre employees. 

She said that sexual harassment is not only about human rights and social justice, but it makes good business sense for organisations to invest in eliminating sexual harassment, citing research in the United States (US) which has shown that the effects of sexual harassment on productivity and health, as well as the cost of litigation, can go up to US$22,000 per employee in the company that is affected.

JIS NEWS by ALECIA SMITH

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Caribbean News

ScotiaBank Turks & Caicos Awarded Best Consumer Digital Bank 2021

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Providenciales, Turks & Caicos Island – September 24, 2021 – Scotiabank TCI has been named the “Best Consumer Digital Bank 2021” by Global Finance (New York), which regularly selects the top performers amongst banks and financial services and is a trusted standard of excellence for the global financial community.

In commenting on the award, Patricia Adams, Managing Director (Acting), Scotiabank TCI said, “Supporting our customers during the ongoing uncertainties remains our top priority and we are thrilled that our significant focus and investments in our digital banking platforms continue to yield positive results.”

“During this period, we have continuously relied on feedback from our customers about their specific personal or business needs and we remain committed to further improvements as we aim to make it easier and safer for them to conduct their banking” Adams concluded.

Some of the most recent investments include the expansion of the capabilities of the Scotiabank Mobile App, upgrades made to the Bank’s ABM network to include intelligent deposit machines and the use of digital analytics to anticipate customer needs and deliver personalized financial solutions.

Winning banks were selected based on the following criteria: strength of strategy  for attracting and servicing digital customers, success in getting clients to use digital  offerings, growth of digital customers, breadth of product offerings, evidence of tangible benefits gained from digital initiatives, and web/mobile site design and functionality. Read more about the awards here.

Scotiabank TCI’s award for “Best Consumer Digital Bank” follows another recent global recognition for innovation in financial services by The Banker’s Global Innovation in Digital Banking Awards 2021. The ‘Most Innovative in Data’ award acknowledges the Bank’s investments in data and analytics, as well as its commitment to delivering a more personalized customer experience.

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Bahamas News

Over 68,000 STAYED HOME in Bahamas Elections; We have BEST and WORST for Voter Participation

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#TheBahamas, September 21, 2021 – The just-concluded General Election in Bahamas has presented a new shift in governance.  The former ruling part, Free National Movement, lost nearly all the electoral seats it secured in the 2017 general elections.  However, this seems a swap of the Progressive Liberal party’s score in the 2017 general elections in which the former ruling party (FNM) won nearly all the parliamentary seats.

68,000 STAYED AWAY

While the FNM secured 35 out of 39 seats in the 2017 ballot, leaving only four slots for the Opposition, the 2021 elections presented “new day” with the Opposition clinching 32 parliamentary seats, leaving the former ruling party FNM with only seven slots.

However, the election results showed a significant drop in voter turnout compared to the 2017 election results. Out of 194,494 registered voters in The Bahamas, only 126,414 voted, translating to 65 per cent voter turnout.

PREVIOUS ELECTION HIGHER

This was different from the previous election in which 160,407 out of 181,543 registered voters cast their ballots, translating to a remarkable 88.36 per cent voter turnout.

Being the first election in the island nation since the Covid-19 struck the Caribbean; the dismal voter turnout could be attributed to the severe impact of the Covid-19 pandemic in The Bahamas and the current countermeasures taken by individuals to avoid contracting the deadly virus.

It could also be voter apathy.

BEST IN SHOW

Despite coronavirus prevalence in the country, North Andros & Berry Islands, Cat Island, Rum Cay & San Salvador, and Mangrove Cay & South Andros constituencies recorded an impressive voter turnout of 77.99 per cent, 76.11 per cent and 73.06 per cent respectively.

North Andros & Berry Islands had 2,126 out of 2,569 registered voters cast their ballots, followed by 1,255 out of 1,622 in Cat Island, Rum Cay & San Salvador, and 1,706 out of 2,164 registered voters in Mangrove Cay & South Andros.

VERY LOW SHOW

The bottom three constituencies in terms of voter turnout include Bamboo Town, which had 3,436 out of 5,838 (58.63 per cent) registered voters cast their ballot, followed by Garden Hills with 3,033 out of 5,287 (57.09 per cent), and   Central & South Abaco falling at the bottom of the list with 1,844 out of 3,271 (55.96 per cent).

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Bahamas News

BAHAMAS: Nine new Cabinet ministers sworn-in

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#TheBahamas, September 21, 2021 – Prime Minister the Hon. Philip Davis today introduced the first set of new Cabinet ministers with portfolios covering the Attorney General, Foreign Affairs, Education, Works and Public Utilities, Health and Wellness, Government Affairs, Agriculture, National Security and Legal Affairs.

The nine ministers were sworn-in on Monday 20 September 2021 by Governor-General the Most Hon. Sir Cornelius A. Smith during ceremonies held at the Baha Mar Convention Center.

“They are the initial members of a Cabinet which will reflect the breadth and depth of the competencies and characteristics of our team: experience combined with innovation; expertise combined with a willingness to see things anew; integrity and a strong sense of purpose,” said Prime Minister Davis.

“They are receiving these appointments because of their determination to get things done.”

Among the new Ministers sworn-in on Monday were:

  • Senator the Hon. L. Ryan Pinder, Attorney General;
  • Hon. Fred Mitchell, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Public Service;
  • Hon. Glenys Hanna-Martin, Minister of Education, and Technical and Vocational Training;
  • Hon. Alfred Sears, Minister of Works and Utilities;
  • Dr. Hon. Michael Darville, Minister of Health and Wellness;
  • Senator the Hon. Michael Halkitis, Minister of Government Affairs and Leader of Government Business in the Senate;
  • Hon. Clay Sweeting, Minister of Agriculture, Marine Resources and Family Island Affairs;
  • Hon. Wayne Munroe, Minister of National Security; and
  • Hon. Jomo Campbell, Minister of State for Legal Affairs.

“I am confident that these first-appointed members of our Cabinet team are ready to deliver on the promise of a New Day for our Bahamas,” said the Prime Minister.

Prime Minister Davis pledged to move with urgency to address the economic and health crises that are faced by The Bahamas.

Many thousands of Bahamians are out of work, people are losing too many loved ones to the COVID-19 virus and Bahamian schoolchildren are falling behind, said Prime Minister Davis.

“I want to be clear: we are not here to tinker at the edges of these problems,” said the Prime Minister.

“We are here to meet them head on.”

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