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CDEMA’s Executive Director, Ronald Jackson bids farewell

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Ronald Jackson, outgoing Executive Director of CDEMA

#Barbados, April 27, 2020 (CDEMA) – Following seven (7) years of unwavering and exemplary service to the region, Executive Director of the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA), Mr. Ronald Jackson bids farewell to the Agency as of Thursday April 30, 2020.

Mr. Ronald Jackson was appointed Executive Director of CDEMA on April 3, 2013 and has since provided outstanding leadership to the CDEMA Coordinating Unit and in the implementation of the Agency’s policies and programmes. Mr. Jackson has also provided sterling leadership of the regional coordination and responses to Dominica, St. Lucia and St. Vincent after the Christmas Trough in 2013, Tropical Storm Erika in Dominica in 2015, Hurricanes Irma and Maria (impacting 9 of CDEMA Participating States) in 2017, Hurricane Dorian in the Commonwealth of The Bahamas in 2019 and in the current COVID-19 Pandemic now affecting the region.

Under his stewardship, the Agency gained further recognition and prominence throughout the Caribbean and globally as one of the foremost regional disaster risk management institutions and a preferred partner for a safe and more resilient Caribbean. He has forged relationships and cultivated several strategic partnerships with a broad-based and diverse range of regional and international development partners, donors, governments, private sector entities and non-governmental organisations.

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His commitment and advocacy in promoting and advancing the implementation of the Comprehensive Disaster Management Strategy and Framework for the Region, has captivated many audiences across the globe, resulting in a significant increase of resources through donor financing support to the implementation of Disaster Risk Management programmes in Participating States. He led the development of the Caribbean Pathway to Resilience and spearheaded its socialization within the region and among the Americas. Mr. Jackson was also instrumental in the strengthening of cooperative arrangements with the Disaster Management Organization in the Dominican Republic, with the French Overseas Territories and the Dutch Caribbean. CDEMA’s Membership also increased from 18 to 19 under his stewardship.

“This is a bitter sweat moment for me. I am excited at the opportunity to be able to practice in a global capacity but I feel a sense of duty to the Caribbean Community and as such a part of me will miss working in a context that inspires innovation. However, I feel that I am leaving behind a wonderful platform for the continued advancement of the Region’s Integrated Risk Management Agenda and the continued growth of the Agency”, said Jackson.

Mr. Jackson has been extensively involved in disaster management at the national, regional and international level in various capacities. He served as the Director General of the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM) in Jamaica, a position he held between August 2006 and March 2013. He also currently lectures on Disaster Risk Management in the Tourism and Occupational Health and Safety Masters Programme at the University of the West Indies Cave Hill and Mona.

CDEMA is extremely appreciative of Mr. Jackson’s service and the legacy he leaves in building a culture of safety and a disaster resilient region.

CDEMA also takes this opportunity to wish Mr. Jackson the very best in his future endeavours.

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Bahamas News

Cruising should slow down says PAHO

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

‘Slow down on Cruising’, that’s the word from the Pan American Health Organization, PAHO in their latest recent press conference.

Dr. Ciro Ugarte Director of Health Emergencies at the PAHO was referring to the Bahamas but made sure to note that the advice was highly relevant to many countries in the times of omicron.

“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.

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Caribbean News

Cayman gets its second ‘Sir’; former Premier Alden McLaughlin knighted on Jan 1

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#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.

Sir Vassel Johnson, received the honour in 1994; he was Cayman’s first Financial Secretary; he died in November 2008 at the age of 86.

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.

 

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Caribbean News

Understanding Sargassum with help from the TCI’s Department of Environment & Coastal Resources  

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By Sherrica Thompson

Staff Writer

 

#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.

Environmental Outreach Coordinator at the Department of Environmental and Coastal Resources for TCI, Amy Avenant, says the Turks and Caicos Islands has not seen the worst of the overgrowth.

“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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