#MIAMI (April 22, 2020) – The Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) and The Nature Conservancy (TNC) joined together for Earth Day (April 22) to share their collaborative intent to emerge from the current Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) crisis and help rebuild a stronger, more resilient Caribbean for the environment and the people that depend on it.
Patricia Affonso-Dass, President of CHTA, the leading association of private sector tourism companies in the Caribbean, said the reopening of the region’s shuttered tourism sector is an important opportunity to address head-on the challenges posed by climate change, which she described as “the biggest challenge to the future of the Caribbean and the life-support systems which make our region habitable for our people and so attractive for visitors from all over the world.”
Affonso-Dass endorsed the call for action on climate change issued by the organizers to mark the 50th anniversary of Earth Day by noting the hospitality and tourism sectors’ contributions to the climate problem as well as actions Caribbean destinations can take to neutralize climate changing damage. “Earth Day’s message of ‘climate action’ is a reminder to us individually, as companies, organizations and governments of our need to act responsibly. There is ample opportunity to more than counter and reduce any negative environmental impact from travel,” she said.
Caribbean islands are among the world’s most vulnerable to impacts from climate change, with storm frequency and intensity, flooding, wind damage and sea level rise all predicted to worsen. This increases threats to islands’ infrastructures and people who call the Caribbean home. TNC has long been working towards protecting the Caribbean from the impacts of climate change by promoting the protection and restoration of coastal habitats (such as mangroves and coral reefs) to reduce risks, and by helping governments, partners and communities implement sustainable development initiatives that prioritize nature.
Rob Brumbaugh, Executive Director for TNC’s Caribbean Division, commented that this Earth Day presents an excellent opportunity for the two organizations to renew their commitments to produce actions which enable nature and people to thrive together. “The Caribbean region is more dependent on tourism than anywhere else in the world, and the tourism industry relies on healthy, thriving natural ecosystems to sustain it. By working together, we can advance towards building a more climate-smart Caribbean and protecting the natural beauty the region is known for,” he said.
Affonso-Dass contended that dangerous carbon emissions, neglect of natural resources, and poverty were major contributors to environmental degradation and pointed out that sustainable tourism education and effective communications were powerful anti-poverty and conservation tools. These tools, she said, give communities the resources needed to improve their lives and their environments which, in turn, attract visitors and the revenue they bring.
“Our collaboration with TNC, and its impressive science-based conservation track-record, has enabled us to more strategically develop our approaches to ensure the natural resources of our Caribbean destinations can be enhanced – because we recognize that tourism, our region’s major earner, can only thrive if our coasts, our beaches, our seas, our forests, our fauna and flora, and our people, also thrive,” she said.
Brumbagh stated: “In order to create a climate-resilient Caribbean, we need to take steps to mitigate climate change both through better technology and business practices as well as through nature-based solutions. We need to better recognize the role that nature can play in absorbing excess carbon as well as helping communities adapt to a changing climate. Both of these are of prime importance for responsible tourism development.”
Affonso-Dass lamented that the emissions from air and sea travel were significant but was encouraged by the advances being made in the aviation industry to reduce emissions through more fuel-efficient aircraft and a diminished reliance on fossil fuels: “We in the hotel sector are making great strides in reducing our carbon footprint through efficiencies which are welcomed by our guests and by our members, who see how these measures, which mitigate climate change, can also increase efficiency and revenue.”
Both organizations concurred that Earth Day awareness in the Caribbean should extend far beyond April 22, and urged the taking of active roles in raising awareness of the need for climate action while there was still time.
The organizations declared: “We rejoice in the clean air, pristine waters and glistening forests so, together, we will do our part in conserving these natural jewels, on Earth Day, and beyond. Through our collaboration we are determined to ensure that our tourism-friendly Caribbean is also a climate-friendly Caribbean.”
About The Nature Conservancy (TNC) The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world’s toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. We are tackling climate change, conserving lands, waters and oceans at an unprecedented scale, providing food and water sustainably and helping make cities more sustainable. Working in 79 countries and territories, we use a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit www.nature.org/Caribbean or follow @CaribbeanTNC on Facebook.
Jamaica Rum Festival Endorsed
#Jamaica, June 27, 2022 – Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Hon. Olivia Grange, endorsed this year’s fourth staging of the Jamaica Rum Festival at the Aqueduct in Rose Hall, St. James, on Saturday (June 25).
Ms. Grange, who officially opened the event, noted that rum, and spirits in general, has deep cultural significance in Jamaica, spanning centuries.
“From the cane fields, where our enslaved ancestors worked, through to today, where we have the best rum in the world… we have a lot to be proud of,” she added.
For his part, Tourism Director, Donovan White, commended the organisers of the festival, which attracted a significant number of patrons, including visitors from overseas. He said the Ministry of Tourism, through the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) and Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF), was pleased to be a partner in the event that showcased top quality products by local rum purveyors.
Minister Grange, representatives from the Tourism Ministry’s agencies, and Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of National Security, Hon. Dr. Horace Chang, were presented with limited edition Wray and Nephew White Overproof Rum.
Contact; Okoye Henry
Education Ministry Recommits to Expanding Uniformed Groups in Schools
#Jamaica, June 27, 2022 – The Ministry of Education and Youth remains committed to increasing the number of uniformed groups in schools. This is in keeping with its thrust to fulfill this mission under the Safety and Security in Schools Programme, Portfolio Minister, Hon. Fayval Williams, has said. She further noted that “it is a part of our series of measures to improve discipline among students.”
Mrs. Williams was speaking during the Council of Voluntary Social Services’ (CVSS) uniformed groups church service on Sunday (June 26). The service was held at St. Luke’s Anglican Church in Cross Roads, Kingston.
Mrs. Williams remarks came against the background of what she said were “heightened concerns” in recent months over incidents of violence in schools across Jamaica and calls for a more concerted effort to provide civic and character education for students. She noted that several initiatives within the Ministry to address these concerns were being expanded, among them support for uniformed groups in schools.
“The Ministry has been supporting uniformed youth groups in the development of a Three-Year Strategic Plan and [Memoranda of Understanding] with individual groups which will, at one and the same time, advance the missions of the groups and the mandate of the Ministry to these groups,” Mrs. Williams added.
The Minister pointed out that these cohorts, including Girl Guides, Brownies, Boys Brigade, Cub Scouts, Cadets and Pathfinders, “have played an invaluable role in shaping the character and awakening the social conscience of our young people for decades.”
“It has been well-established that students who participate in clubs are more out-going as they are engaged in activities that support socialisation with their peers. These students tend to be more comfortable in group settings where communication and team-work are necessary. This is a valuable asset as it will also benefit these students outside of the school setting,” she stated.
Additionally, she said they provide opportunities for informal learning and life experiences.
“Uniformed youth groups represent a cohort of the nation’s youth that is organised around a set of core values, such as honour, discipline, service, loyalty, commitment, integrity, perseverance, industry and spiritual fortitude,” the Minister emphasised.
She noted that while most are based in schools, units may also be organised at church and community levels.
“Indeed, we know that the church has been a main source through which many new members are recruited. There is a challenge, however, and that is, over the past few years, there has not been as robust an interest in these groups as in previous decades,” Mrs. Williams indicated.
She said it was acknowledged that the society’s youth now have many more interests and distractions, “but we should still try to encourage them to see the value in participating in groups such as these”, while citing an “urgent need” for volunteer adult leaders.
The Minister also noted that older and more traditional groups, such as Boys Scouts and Girl Guides, are international in scope and maintain linkages with the worldwide movements.
“Support from these fraternal organisations has, however, diminished over the years, and local organisations must find the resources to sustain operations and pay the required affiliation fees. So once again, it is important that we, in the local community, pitch in to provide the needed support,” she added.
In this regard, the Minister commended members of the uniformed groups and CVSS for ongoing efforts to forge long-term alliances that facilitate mutual support and joint action.
Further, she said, for representing the concerns of the social sector, including disadvantaged and vulnerable groups, at the regional and international levels.
“We, as a collective, continue to dedicate ourselves to creating a supportive and safe environment for our students to learn and experience as much as possible to become productive members of society,” Mrs. Williams stated.
Contact: Douglas McIntosh
Anguilla Economic Affairs Minister Quits; calling it a conscience move
By Shanieka Smith
#Anquilla, June 27, 2022 – After penning a three-page resignation letter to Premier Ellis Lorenzo Webster, the Minister of Economic Development, Commerce, Information Technology and Natural Resources, Kyle Hodge has officially resigned from the Anguilla Progressive Movement (APM).
“I am submitting this letter of resignation because my conscience and commitments to the people of Anguilla no longer permit me to serve as a member of the Anguilla Progressive Movement and minister of government in your administration,” he wrote.
Included in his letter are his reasons for resigning and that entails his concerns on Goods and Services Tax (GST) which is scheduled to come into Force on July 1, the lack of organised leadership, and the lack of party structure.
“I believe that my dissenting vote on the Good and Services Tax (GST) marked the initial fraying of our relationship; since then we have not been on the same page. There is a mutual lack of trust and understanding and most importantly, our goals for the Anguillan people have fully diverged and there is little common ground,” said the resigned minister.
He also shared his concern regarding the approach and tone of the government towards Anguillans.
“Politics in Anguilla must change and it actually started when the people demanded more of use and I am very comfortable with that demand. You deserve nothing less,” said Hodge in a Facebook post. He also thanked the people who have supported him in his decision to resign.
Hodge added that he will continue to serve the people who elected him since he will still be a member of the House of Assembly.
He said, “my resignation today does not mean GST disappears, so let us continue to unite our efforts to either make it more palatable or find other ways to collect the revenue that is needed to run the country. I wish the entire government a healthy and prosperous term in office. I also take this time to commend you for the relief package granted to the people of Anguilla as we deal with hyperinflation in Anguilla.
Thank you for allowing me to serve as Minister of Economic Development, Investment, Commerce, Natural Resources and Information Technology. I wish you the very best politically and otherwise.”
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