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ECLAC explores role of Caribbean Ministries of Social Development during COVID 19

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#Caribbean – April 22, 2020 — Social protection systems are coming under considerable pressure with the implementation of mitigation strategies to control the spread of COVID-19 in the Caribbean.  Efforts to mitigate the negative effect of the pandemic on the well-being of those most at risk are now underway across the Caribbean. Attention is being given in particular to those most economically vulnerable, notably women, youth, older persons, persons with disabilities and migrant populations. 

The Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), as part of its outreach under the auspices of the Presiding Officers of the Regional Conference on Social Development in Latin America and the Caribbean, convened a virtual meeting on 21 April 2020 to offer countries an opportunity to share information on the actions being taken to meet this challenge, and on potential areas for collaboration and support. Representatives of Caribbean regional organizations and UN Resident Coordinators of the subregion attended as well as heads of UN agencies, funds and programmes.

Addressing the ministers of Social Development of the Caribbean, ECLAC Executive Secretary, Alicia Bárcena, underscored that “in urgent circumstances such as those we now face, it is you, the leaders responsible for social welfare, who are charged with finding solutions to the needs of those living on the street, persons with disabilities, migrants, and senior citizens”.

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The meeting recognized that the crisis will affect several social sectors, including health, labour and education, with a disproportionate impact on vulnerable people with underlying health conditions, older people, unemployed youth, underemployed, women, unprotected workers and migrant workers.

In the Caribbean, medical and health facilities are insufficient for the level of potential demand and are heavily dependent on imports of equipment and inputs. This is a major problem because, to date, 24 countries around the world have restricted exports of medical equipment, medicines or their ingredients.

It is expected that COVID-19 will affect the job market by increasing unemployment and underemployment, and impact the quality of work, by reducing wages and access to social protection for the most vulnerable groups, such as informal sector workers. The loss of labour income will translate into lower consumption of goods and services, and could drive many workers into poverty.

The novel coronavirus will also disrupt activities in educational establishments, and will have a significant impact on learning, especially for children in rural areas in light of existing disparities in access to digital devices and broadband Internet. More generally, the limited access to ICT implies a low level of readiness in the subregion to operate in a virtual environment in the current crisis.

Ian Allen/PhotographerRecently refurbished Hilo Barbican branch.

High dependency on food imports creates additional challenges in terms of food security; challenges  that are further aggravated by the specific vulnerability of the Caribbean to climate-related natural disasters. Moreover, the looming 2020 hurricane season, which starts in less than three months, places the subregion and its people at greater risk, even as it grapples with the impacts of the pandemic. 

In this context, it was considered urgent that policies be fully coordinated to address the health crisis, which has brought grave socio-economic impacts.  ECLAC called for regional coordination and cooperation in the face of the pandemic, taking into account the Regional Agenda for Inclusive Social Development (RAISD) agreed by the member countries of the Conference in Mexico City, in October 2019.

The meeting, which was held online, was attended by ministers and senior decision makers from Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, The Bahamas, Barbados, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Curaçao, Dominica, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Montserrat, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Sint Maarten, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos Islands, and the United States Virgin Islands. 

Following an introduction and presentation of the social and economic situation of the region by ECLAC Executive Secretary, Alicia Bárcena, each country representatives had the opportunity to briefly present the actions being taken by their respective governments.

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Caribbean News

NATIONAL SECURITY SECRETARIAT INFORMATION NOTE ISSUED MAY 17, 2024

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May 21, 2024 – The Turks and Caicos Islands have clear laws prohibiting the possession of firearms and or ammunition without a licence and strict penalties in order to serve and protect the community. Our Firearms Ordinance, which was amended in 2022, states that:

No person (other than a licensed gunsmith in the course of his trade) shall have in his possession, discharge or use any firearm or ammunition unless he is the holder of a firearm licence with respect to such firearm, or in case of ammunition he is the holder of a licence for a firearm which takes that ammunition.

Firearm and/or ammunition offences carry a mandatory minimum custodial sentence of twelve years plus a fine. Where a court finds there are exceptional circumstances, the sentencing judge has discretion, under the law, to impose a custodial sentence and a fine that are fair and just in the circumstances of each case rather than impose the mandatory minimum.

The Chief Justice is advancing sentencing guidelines in respect of the application of exceptional circumstances. Wider work is also ongoing with criminal justice partners to review the efficiency and effectiveness of case progression, in driving justice outcomes.

It is the traveller’s responsibility to ensure their baggage is free of firearms and/or ammunition. Permission from an airline carrier does not constitute permission to bring firearms or ammunition into the Turks and Caicos Islands. Travellers are also strongly advised to search their luggage before they travel to the Turks and Caicos Islands to ensure they do not bring in forbidden items inadvertently. Such offences will result in arrest.

The Turks and Caicos Islands is a British Overseas Territory with a common law legal system, and reserves the right to enforce its laws. All persons, including visitors, must follow lawful process.

The Turks and Caicos Islands welcomes all visitors but reminds travellers that persons in the Turks and Caicos Islands do not have a constitutional right to carry firearms. Equally, the importation of firearms, ammunition (including stray bullets), and other weapons is strictly forbidden, unless licence to do so has been issued by the Commissioner of Police.

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CTO to Focus on Aviation at Caribbean Week in New York

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New York (May 16, 2024) – Celebrating its 35th anniversary, the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) is set to spotlight the future of Caribbean aviation during Caribbean Week in New York, scheduled for June 16-21, 2024, at the InterContinental Times Square in midtown Manhattan.

Under CTO’s annual theme “Connecting the Globe, Celebrating Diversity”, the week promises a diverse lineup of activities emphasizing innovation and connectivity.

A key feature of the premier event for travel industry professionals, journalists and members of the Caribbean Diaspora will be the Caribbean Airlift Forum.

Rosa Harris, Chairman of the CTO Board of Directors and Spokesperson for Caribbean Week, will moderate the forum. She emphasized the importance of this session as a critical platform for discussing the challenges and opportunities in Caribbean air transportation.

The session will cover topics including route development, aviation competitiveness, partnerships, infrastructure investment, regulatory frameworks, and market demand strategies. It aims to foster dialogue among airlines, airports, tourism authorities, and aviation ministries, enhancing connectivity and optimizing access to Caribbean destinations.

“In the wake of the pandemic, Caribbean aviation has shown remarkable resilience and adaptability, rebounding strongly in key areas. However, as we celebrate these gains during our Caribbean Week in New York, it’s crucial that we don’t become complacent,” stated Harris.

“We must continue to innovate and address the persistent challenges within intra-regional tourism, which, while recovering, remains a challenge for many of our destinations,” she continued. “Our focus at the Caribbean Airlift Forum is not only on celebrating our successes but also on critically analyzing our challenges to strengthen and diversify our connections to, from and across the region, ensuring a more robust and connected Caribbean.”

The week also features a Business and Tourism Marketing Symposium, the Caribbean Media Awards, and sessions focused on artificial intelligence, crisis communications, and multicultural marketing.

With the support of headline sponsor, the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism, Investments & Aviation; gold sponsors Cayman Islands Department of Tourism and the United States Virgin Islands Department of Tourism; and Diamonds International and the Caribbean Media Exchange, Caribbean Week in New York 2024 is poised to be a pivotal meeting for tourism professionals and stakeholders in the region and the Diaspora.

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CHTA Launches Multi-Destination Media Trip to Showcase Caribbean Interconnectivity and Diversity

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May 21, 2024

 

The Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) is gearing up for its first multi-destination media trip, designed to illuminate the interconnectedness and diversity across the Caribbean. Scheduled from May 17 to 27, this initiative will showcase the vibrant cultures, breathtaking landscapes, and unique experiences spanning St. Lucia, Barbados, Jamaica and the Cayman Islands.

Nicola Madden-Greig, President of CHTA, expressed enthusiasm for the program and stressed its significance: “This initiative is a testament to the collaborative spirit and interconnected nature that define Caribbean tourism. Our goal is to showcase the diverse offerings of St. Lucia, Barbados, Jamaica and the Cayman Islands, inspiring travelers to explore the myriad experiences our region has to offer.” Although the Dominican Republic had to withdraw due to unforeseen circumstances, there are plans to include the nation in future endeavors of this nature.

Madden-Greig reiterated, “The Caribbean is often thought of as one homogenous place, so if you have seen one island you have seen the Caribbean. This trip will debunk that myth and truly showcase the diversity, mystique, and cultural prowess of our distinct islands. Just like you can explore many destinations in Europe having totally diverse experiences, the Caribbean offers the same opportunity.”

Developed in collaboration with the Jamaica Tourist Board, Jamaica Hotel & Tourist Association, Saint Lucia Tourism Authority, Cayman Islands Department of Tourism, and Cayman Islands Tourism Association, the itinerary promises an immersive experience. Participants will enjoy the stunning landscapes and beaches of St. Lucia, indulge in an exciting layover in Barbados, discover the culture and radiant beauty of Jamaica, and experience the iconic sites of the Cayman Islands.

Strategically timed to coincide with Caribbean Travel Marketplace from May 21 to 23 in Jamaica, the media trip aims to maximize the event’s networking opportunities. Journalists can enrich their coverage of the multi-destination experience with insights and connections from the region’s premier tourism conference.

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