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Caribbean News

No shortage of Jamaican produce says Minister



Image of Hi-Lo Grocery Store, Jamaica

#KINGSTON, April 1 (JIS): The Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries is assuring that there is no shortage of local agricultural produce to supply the domestic market.

Speaking at a digital press briefing on Tuesday (March 31), Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry, Hon. J.C. Hutchinson, said there are adequate supplies of meat, eggs, and fresh food, including vegetables, fruits and tubers.

“Our farmers are on the job. They have not stopped working and [as such] there are plentiful supplies,” he said.

         Mr. Hutchinson informed that egg production is approximately 22 per cent higher over last year, noting that the country is averaging approximately 15 million eggs per month, which is adequate to supply normal demand. 

He said this level of production is expected to be maintained until the end of May.

Additionally, Mr. Hutchinson said consultations with pig industry stakeholders indicate that there are adequate supplies of pork in the marketplace and sufficient animals in the system for slaughter for the next few months, pointing out that “this will be adequate to meet normal demand for this product”.

He further said chicken meat production will average approximately 2.7 million kilogrammes per week for the next nine weeks, up to early May 2020.

“At this time, the industry is not seeing any immediate factors that will cause any significant disruption in its capacity to continue production beyond this point or to prevent the conversion of the chickens now in the field and being hatched in the next three weeks from being processed,” he said.


The Minister informed that chicken represents approximately 80 per cent of the ratio meat protein supplied to and consumed by local consumers. 

Mr. Hutchinson said efforts will be made to reduce issues of bottlenecks and disruption in distribution if and when these arise.

He added that the Ministry is working with the private sector to rationalise and manage excess production of meats and eggs to ensure continued support to local industries and increased demand and movement of these products.

Mr. Hutchinson advised that the Ministry is working with stakeholders in the various value chains to ensure that food supplies are maintained and inventories are being monitored.

Additionally, he informed that the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) has conducted an assessment of the country’s supply of selected critical agricultural produce and is reporting that, by all indications, vegetables, condiments, fruits, roots and tubers are and will be in normal supply.

JC Hutchinson – Jamaica Minister

“Vegetable production remains in good supply, with the exception of the exotics (broccoli and cauliflower) and coloured bell peppers. Vegetables will remain in good supply for the period March to May. 

              “Fruits available are cantaloupe, melon, papaya, pineapple, banana, plantain, Otaheite apple, star apple and mango. Fruits will be in their usual abundance for the reporting period of March to May,” he said. 

Meanwhile, Mr. Hutchinson is urging Jamaicans to utilise local produce and products that are available and may end up being in excess supply.

           “RADA is also encouraging the public to consume these produces to boost the immune system against the COVID-19 virus and to reduce food loss and waste at this time when essential vitamins and nutrients are needed to guard against COVID-19,” he said.

                                                                       JIS News by CHRIS PATTERSON

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Bahamas News

Work of NAECOB critical in ensuring high standards in education, says Minister Hanna-Martin



By KATHRYN CAMPBELLBahamas Information Services
NASSAU, The Bahamas, March 29, 2023 – Over 100 schools in New Providence, public and private, and some 30 plus schools in Freeport have been inspected by The National Accreditation and Equivalency Council (NAECOB) to ensure high quality standards for the delivery of education.
“We will cover every island, every cay in this country to make certain that the facilities that we send our children to are adequate, conducive for learning, safe and sound for education,” said Thelma Grimes, chairperson, NAECOB.
“We are going to head to Cat Island and all the others before June.This is our announced visit. They [schools] have a chance to get things fixed that are not finished and [afterwards] we will have the unannounced.”
The Council informed the media of its progress during a briefing Monday, March 20, 2023 at its headquarters, Tonique Williams-Darling Highway.
Howard Newbold, Inspector and Council Member explained that the council’s seven inspectors are tasked with visiting every site or virtual space operating the following: primary/secondary schools, private/secondary, post-secondary, recognized, training, allied health and business institutions among others.
 Mr. Newbold said inspections include an examination of:
 -Safety and security standards-Human security which begins at the entrance to the property’-Physical security: safety mechanisms including smoke detectors, fire alarms and extinguishers (service date verification, and evacuation plan)-Primary grounds, playground equipment, swing sets and slides-Curriculum-Information management system (student records, staff schedules, registration certificate with NAECOB, business license, photos of the national leaders etc.)
The Hon. Glenys Hanna-Martin, Minister of Education and Technical and Vocational Institute thanked NAECOB for their efforts. She described their work as “critical” and a part of an overall national thrust to ensure that the quality of education in the country is at a high standard.“We’re the Ministry of Education and they’re our schools. We are accountable to NAECOB. They ensure that what is happening on the campuses throughout the nation meets the physical standards and the qualitative standards of education. You would have heard classroom size and teacher/student ratio. We may have challenges, and we do at the Ministry of Education but when these issues are brought to our attention we are obliged and compelled to seek resolution to ensure that the standards are met.
“This is a quality assurance measure for the Ministry itself and our schools to ensure that public and private and public schools meet these standards. We value that. Because the objective of the Ministry is to ensure that we meet the standards so that our young people who enter these institutions are afforded the best opportunity possible.
 “Education is a cultural value; a norm. We submit ourselves to the work of NAECOB to ensuring what happens is done at least to make the acceptable standards of the delivery of education in our schools,” she said.
Cassia Minnis, registration officer, said “registration” certifies that a local educational institution/provider has met the criteria to offer an educational service in The Bahamas as outlined in the Education Act. She said it is mandatory that all educational institutions/provider offering/proposing to offer an educational service in the Bahamas must be registered according to the NAECOB Act and the Education Act.
 She said NAECOB is aware of “small” schools operating within residential homes and warned that this is in contravention of the law.
She encouraged the public to view listings of all registered institutions on the website at
NAECOB is responsible for registering and accrediting primary schools, secondary schools, post-secondary schools, and any institution that offers training in The Bahamas.

BIS Photos/Mark Ford

Header: Seated at the table, from left: – Lorraine Armbrister, Permanent Secretary; Minister Glenys Hanna-Martin; Dominique McCartney Russell, Acting Director; Cassia Minnis, Registration Officer; Thelma Grimes, Council Chairperson; Howard Newbold, Inspector, Council Member; Shena Williams, Council and Inspector; Dorothy Anderson, Inspector; T. Nicola McKay, Deputy Chairperson;  (seated behind) Willard Barr, Council and Inspector.

1st insert: Thelma Grimes, Council Chairperson

2nd insert: Howard Newbold, Inspector and Council Member

3rd insert: The Hon. Glenys Hanna-Martin, Minister of Education and Technical and Vocational Training

4th insert: Cassia Minnis, Registration Officer

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Bahamas News

Bahamas Golden Jubilee Events Announced, Celebrations Across 33 Islands & Cays



#TheBahamas, March 27, 2023 – As the 50th anniversary of our nation’s independence approaches, Bahamians everywhere are teeming with excitement and expectancy around the year-long celebrations set by The National Independence Secretariat.

Yesterday, the Prime Minister joined H.E Leslia Miller Brice, Chair of The National Independence Secretariat to unveil the Calendar of Events for the 50th Independence celebrations.

The calendar comprises a host of events, initiatives and recommendations for celebrations throughout all 33 islands of The Bahamas.

At this jubilant occasion the PM stated, “Celebrating independence is about acknowledging the greatness around us, the greatness within us, and the greatness ahead of us.

We are Bahamians. That identity is special.”

View the newly released calendar of events here:…

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Caribbean News

JAMAICA: 12,362 Seniors Registered Under New Social Pension Programme



#Kingston, March 28, 2023 – There are currently 12,362 seniors registered under the Government’s new Social Pension Programme.

Minister of Labour and Social Security, Hon. Karl Samuda, made the disclosure during the sitting of the Standing Finance Committee of the House on March 2, at Gordon House.

The initiative targets all Jamaican citizens 75 years and older who are not currently in receipt of a pension (overseas or local) or any other retirement, old-age or disability benefit or regular income, and are not living in a government institutionalised care facility.

“We are evaluating the manner in which we qualify persons to go on the programme. This is a discussion we will have to have, as some people fall through the cracks simply because they might have a refrigerator, or they might be lucky enough to have a television at home,” Mr. Samuda said.

“The direction in which we are heading, to have those things, does not move you from poverty to prosperity. So, the Government has an obligation to do everything possible to improve their quality of life, and so we will be looking at that,” the Minister added.

Mr. Samuda said between March 2022 and January 2023, the programme disbursed $446 million.

To register for the social pension programme, persons may visit any of the Ministry’s parish offices islandwide.

They will be required to complete a social pension application form, accompanied by their Tax Registration Number (TRN), National Insurance Scheme (NIS) card, and proof of age in the form of a birth certificate or a valid passport.

They should also take along a valid identification (ID), such as a driver’s licence, passport or voter’s ID, proof of bank account and any other document that may be required to process the application, for example, proof of citizenship.

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