Connect with us

Caribbean News

Jamaica among countries to receive more test kits from PAHO

Published

on

KINGSTON, April 22 (JIS): Jamaica is expected to be among the regional countries to receive coronavirus (COVID-19) test kits from the latest batch being provided by the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO).

Director of PAHO, Dr.  Carissa Etienne, said 4.5 million additional Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test kits are being dispatched to member states across North, Central and South America, and the Caribbean.

“This week, we are dispatching 1.5 million more test kits throughout the region followed by another three million next week, to strengthen [the] laboratory surveillance networks in our member states,” she outlined.

Presentation in April 2020 to Jamaica

These will be in addition to more than 500,000 already supplied to some 34 countries, the Director indicated during a digital media briefing on Tuesday (April 21). 

PAHO indicated that between February 13 and April 15, Jamaica was provided with approximately 19,000 PCR reactions (primers and probes) along with additional material necessary for detecting COVID-19 in samples tested.

The organisation has also provided COVID-19 test training for personnel at the National Influenza Centre, situated at the University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona Campus, and the National Public Health Laboratory.

The PCR technique is used to amplify trace amounts of DNA located in or on almost any fluid or surface where such may be deposited.

The amplified segments are then compared with those from known sources for verification of the specific pathogen for which testing is being conducted.

Dr. Etienne said PAHO’s provisions form part of efforts to assist member countries and territories, totalling about 52, in accelerating and expanding COVID-19 testing, based on the rapid extent to which the disease has spread regionally and globally.

Advertisement

She informed that as at April 20, the total number of confirmed cases across the region totalled 893,120, of which 42,686 persons have died.

She informed that as at April 20, the total number of confirmed cases across the region totalled 893,120, of which 42,686 persons have died.

The Ministry of Health and Wellness reports that Jamaica’s confirmed cases rose to 233, as at April 21, of which six persons have died, with 27 recovering.

Dr. Etienne argued that as the pandemic continues to impact the region, “it is vital for all countries to actively embrace preventative measures, while preparing for more cases, hospitalisations, and even deaths”.

 “We need a clearer view of where the virus is circulating and how many people have been infected, in order to guide our actions. It is important to accelerate and expand testing to track the spread of COVID-19 in the Americas,” the Director further stressed.

Dr. Etienne said expanded and decentralised testing will enable regional stakeholders to better monitor the pandemic’s trends within each country.

 “Expanded testing will also allow local health authorities to implement and strengthen contact tracing, to quickly isolate suspected cases and break the chain of transmission in communities. When combined with other basic public health measures, testing can be a powerful tool to manage the pandemic and save lives,” the PAHO Director pointed out.

She cited the Republic of Korea (South Korea) and Germany where this approach has been successful, and encouraged PAHO member states to “follow their example and expand their existing testing capacities”.

Dr. Etienne said prior to the COVID-19 pandemic declaration, many regional countries were prepared to test and detect cases of the virus.

Advertisement

She pointed out that by the end of February, PAHO had distributed reagents that were required for PCR testing and provided training for the appropriate use to more than 30 member states.

The Director emphasised that PCR testing remains “the gold standard for diagnosing cases and isolating them”, adding that the application is affordable and highly accurate when performed by well-trained personnel in public health laboratories.

Dr. Etienne said while PAHO continues to provide critical material to maintain this core detection capacity within the region’s public health laboratory network, several countries have found it “increasingly difficult” to sustain this undertaking as the number of cases has increased.

“We fully recognise that ramping up testing capacity for COVID-19 is a challenge for many countries in our region, which limits effective public health measures and the timely access to healthcare. This is partly due to the uneven capacity of health systems to quickly process a large volume of tests,” she indicated.

Advertisement

Another challenge, Dr. Etienne noted, relates to manufacturers who, she said, “are not providing enough tests as quickly as we need”.

“Even sophisticated companies in our region have been forced to exponentially scale up their supply chains, output capacity, and distribution, in just a couple of months. That level of scale-up is unprecedented. However, we are seeing encouraging signs that the market is starting to catch up,” she said.

Equally important, the Director added, is the need to ensure that these emerging tests are reliable and efficacious.

“The landscape is changing fast and PAHO will continue to help quickly evaluate new tests as they become available. PAHO is providing guidance; therefore, that will support national regulatory authorities and Ministries of Health in making sound decisions. Our platforms and expert teams are available to all member states as a resource to guide and support you,” she added.

Dr. Etienne also underscored the need for equitable access by all member states to the test kits, and encourages manufacturers to work closely with PAHO to ensure this.

She lamented that each death from COVID-19, “represents a life cut short, a family in mourning, and wasted potential for the people of the Americas”.

Against this background, Dr. Etienne said PAHO “sincerely hopes that the measures that have been implemented in many member states, thus far, are sufficient in flattening the curve significantly”.

JIS News by DOUGLAS McINTOSH

Magnetic Media is a Telly Award winning multi-media company specializing in creating compelling and socially uplifting TV and Radio broadcast programming as a means for advertising and public relations exposure for its clients.

Caribbean News

North Caicos man beheaded in what could be TCIs most bizarre murder case yet

Published

on

#TurksandCaicos, September 18, 2021 – Explosive talk show host Courtney Misick lost his brother last weekend in a bizarre killing which raised alarm and left residents flabbergasted at the extreme violence, which pointed to a heinous killer being at large in North Caicos.

While police have now made two arrests; giving one suspect bail and holding another on suspicion in the gruesome killing, the pastor, farmer and former election candidate publically questioned the time it took for investigators to arrive at the scene.

He said, in a string of Facebook posts, that it was some six hours before police got there.

Royal TCI Police confirmed the body of the male found in a home in Kew North Caicos; that they got the call at 5:45pm.

“The Police can confirm that the body of a man was found inside a house in Kew, North Caicos and that the body was decapitated. Although formal identification procedures have not yet taken place, the body is believed to be that of 57-year-old old Isaac Missick. The Police are in contact with the next of kin at this difficult time,” informed a Thursday press release.

Rev Misick, at 11:30pm on Saturday posted that investigators from Provo had finally arrived; another team got in on Sunday morning.

Family was disappointed with North Caicos police manpower “wasting hours guarding the crime scene” instead of “looking for Mack-B’s killer.”

Isaac “Mack-B” Missick was beheaded and worst of all, his head could not be found at the scene of the crime.  People were dumbfounded by the monstrous nature of the killing and the family was activated to mount their own hunt for the body part.

There was no success, however, for the family and friends of Mack-B.  Relatives spent the day on Wednesday in Kew battling heat, the blazing sun and swarming mosquitoes in an effort to find the head.

Mack-B’s sister, niece, cousins and eldest son travelled to North from Providenciales determined to give it a try, said Orville Selver, a cousin of the deceased who also described the scope of the search: West of the victim’s house, in the bush from Hall town, to Henfield town, near the house of Mack Bs mother, who died in May this year; on Forbes road and near all the old wells.

The search party which began at 9am fanned out in two groups;” some went on the north side and others went the south side into the deep woods,” he said.

Meanwhile police were questioning two suspects in the case, now ruled a murder.  It is the TCI’s sixth homicide for 2021.

“Today, the Police made an application to the court to seek an extension to the time Officers can keep the arrested man in custody. The court case was adjourned until September 23rd, 2021, during which time the man will be held in police custody. The man arrested on Suspicion of Murder on Sunday, September 12th, 2021, has been released on police bail pending further investigation.”

It will most likely go down as the most gruesome killing in Turks and Caicos history; the beheading of this beloved North Caicos construction worker on Friday or Saturday at his home in Kew.

Our interview of his brother, Rev Missick, unearthed that Mack-B said he had to go home, he did so but never returned to work on Friday September 10.  Upon being missed by some relatives, his cousin set out to check on him and the discovery was gut-wrenching.

Said to be a gory scene as the man, lay on the ground with no head.  While relatives believed the head was at the scene, they later learned that it was missing.

From Police: “This is a very distressing and complex murder that will take time to investigate. However, many specialist Officers are involved in this case, and they are doing everything possible to fully understand the events leading up to this horrific attack. North Caicos is a very close community, and the Police seek their assistance in providing vital information to progress the investigation.”

Isaac Missick, leaves behind a wife and two sons.

Continue Reading

Bahamas News

PRESS RELEASE: Prime Minister Minnis Thanks Bahamians for the Last Four Years

Published

on

#TheBahamas, September 18, 2021 – Free National Movement (FNM) Party Leader, Hubert A. Minnis thanked Bahamians for the last four years in tonight’s concession speech:

“Tonight I spoke with Leader of the Progressive Liberal Party Philip Davis and offered my congratulations to him and his party on their victory at the polls.  I offered him my best wishes as his Government now faces the continued fight against COVID-19, and the restoration of our economy.

I would like to thank the tens of thousands of Bahamians from across The Bahamas who voted for Free National Movement candidates.  I also congratulate the FNM candidates who won seats in the House of Assembly.  I am in that number, and again my gratitude goes out to the people of Killarney for making me their representative for the fourth consecutive time.

I will lead the Free National Movement into the House as the leader of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition.  The Bahamas has a proud democratic tradition.  The people decide who serves as government.  Our party presented its vision for the future to Bahamians from the northern islands of Grand Bahama and Abaco, all the way to the southern islands of MICAL.

The people determined that they preferred the Progressive Liberal Party.  My party and I accept that result.  We are proud of our record the past four-plus years.

During our term we faced the most difficult times in Bahamian history.  In September 2019, Abaco, the Abaco Cays and Grand Bahama were struck by the strongest storm to hit The Bahamas.  Hurricane Dorian was one of the strongest storms recorded on our planet.  It caused generational destruction to our northern islands.  Six months later, we were in the COVID-19 pandemic.

Throughout each crisis my Government worked hard to assist the Bahamian people.  On the northern islands we have had to rebuild roads, water systems, schools, docks, bridges and other critical infrastructure.

In the pandemic, we provided tens of millions of dollars per month in food and unemployment benefits to citizens, along with tax credits to businesses.  We fought hard to secure more than half a million doses of three of the best vaccines in the world.

The FNM has a proud legacy.  We have governed The Bahamas over four terms.  Our philosophy is to use the resources of government to provide opportunity to those who have historically been without.  That is why we invested in free preschool, providing early education to thousands of children. That is why we invested in free tertiary education at the University of The Bahamas and BTVI.

That is why we created the Over-the-Hill initiative to benefit people in grassroots communities with tax concessions and development assistance.  That is why we invested record amounts in Family Island infrastructure.  That is why we created the Small Business Development Centre, extending millions of dollars to help Bahamians realize their dreams.

Our belief in the Bahamian people was also evidenced in the manifesto we ran on in this election.  We pledged a Universal School Meals Program, expanded access to afterschool programs, $250 million to Bahamian small businesses over five years, expanded access to Crown Land, support for the arts and agriculture and fisheries, along with many more policies for the people.

We did not win this time.   But I say to the next generation of FNMs that you should stay firm to this party’s founding ideals.  Always put the people first, and be honest in government.

The people have asked us to be the opposition.  We will ensure the people’s resources are spent properly. We will ensure there is accountability.  We will oppose when necessary. We will agree when the Government’s plans are in the best interests of the people.

I thank my wife Patricia and my family for supporting me during this term, and throughout my life.  I also thank the officers, members and supporters of the Free National Movement for their assistance and encouragement during my time as leader.

And to the Bahamian people, I say a warm and heartfelt thank you for my time being your Prime Minister.  You are a strong, hardworking and resilient people.  Hurricane Dorian did not break you. The pandemic has not broken you.

You trust in the God who has brought us this far.  Trust that He will bring us further to brighter times.  Again, thank you. And may God bless the Commonwealth of The Bahamas.

 

Continue Reading

Bahamas News

BAHAMAS: PM Philip Davis Swearing In Speech

Published

on

REMARKS BY

THE HON. PHILIP DAVIS,  M.P., QC,

PRIME MINISTER

ON THE OCCASION OF

HIS CEREMONIAL SWEARING-IN AS

PRIME MINISTER OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF THE BAHAMAS

SATURDAY SEPTEMBER 19TH, 2021

BAHA MAR BALLROOM

 

 

Your Excellency, the Governor-General; First

Lady, Ann Marie Davis, Deputy Prime Minister

Elect, I. Chester Cooper and Mrs. Cooper, Honourable and Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen.

 

I wish to thank the Bahamian people who turned out and voted resoundingly for change.

As I said on Thursday night, you voted with brave hearts, and you voted with hearts full of hope for our country.

It was unfortunate that many Bahamians who wished to participate in this election were not able to do so. It was the first time in modern Bahamian history that so many voters were disenfranchised – and I hope it is the last. The right to vote is the essential right in a democracy.

Our new administration comes into office at a time when the Bahamian people are hurting as never before.

In recent months, as I travelled the length and breadth of our beautiful country, many people shared with me their stories of hardship and need and despair.

Against that backdrop, we face the many crises borne out of the Covid-19 pandemic: tragic numbers of our people are becoming ill and dying; our hospitals in a state of collapse; our doctors and nurses and other frontline workers pleading for support to shore up our healthcare system.

The economy is also in decline, as we face an historically high deficit and debt. The news of the downgrade yesterday underscores the severity of the fiscal crisis and the urgency of moving quickly to address it.

The challenges in education also deeply concern me. Thousands of young Bahamians have missed out on their education during the past few years, first because of the displacement caused by Hurricane Dorian, then because of the way the Covid-19 crisis has been managed.  These are indeed big challenges.

Some have questioned why we want to serve when the problems are so difficult.  But my team and I offered ourselves for public service precisely because these problems are so difficult – and precisely because we believe that we have the right vision, the right policies, and the right team to take this country forward.  We will not fail if we keep the best interests of the Bahamian people as our guiding north star.

As a young boy growing up in Cat Island, I faced many hardships and obstacles.  I know what it is to be poor.

As a young man trying to find his first job, I faced doors that seemed always slammed shut.  I know what it is to feel disappointment.  As a lawyer trying to build a practice, I missed out on many opportunities because I didnt have the right connections.

I know what its like to be on the outside looking in.  In my family life, I know the ups and downs of raising children and sending them out into the world.  I am determined to take the wisdom gained from these experiences and use it to help others.  It is possible to overcome.  It is possible to work hard and succeed.  It is possible to forgive.  And it is possible to bring about the changes you wish to see.

These are the values that will inform my decisions in office.  In just under two years time, we will celebrate fifty years of The Bahamas being a fully independent, sovereign nation.  We must begin to deliver more purposefully the promise of Independence.   Independence is more than freedom from rule by others.  It is the defining purpose of our country, which says that every one of us is entitled to reach our fullest potential.

And so each day we will ask ourselves: What can we do to ensure that the aspirations and hopes of the Bahamian people are translated into opportunities and paths to success?  Deep in my heart I know that with God, all things are possible”.

If we work together, towards a common purpose, in the common interest and for the common good, great things are indeed possible for our country and our people.  But no government can do great things on its own.  I am sure that my government can only succeed if we partner with the Bahamian people.

We are going to listen.

We are going to consult widely.

And we are going to bring people together.

That is the best way to make progress as a nation.  No leader and no government should be isolated from the people.

I also commit to lifting the veil of secrecy on that which has gone before us, so that all of the arrangements under which we have to live are transparent, and those who authored them are accountable.  We will govern in the interests of all Bahamians, not just the privileged few.  We will act in ways that rebuild trust between the government and the Bahamian people.  We will uphold the constitution and the rule of law, and ensure that everyone is treated fairly, so that its not one rule for one set of people, and another for another set of people.

There is much work to be done; but I know that by working together, we can succeed and build the kind of prosperous, independent Bahamas that our founding fathers dreamed for us.  It will not happen overnight, but with steady progress, we will get there.

I pray God’s blessings and guidance upon us all, and in the words of St. Francis, “make us instruments of your peace; where there is discord, let me bring union; where there is doubt, let me bring faith; where there is despair, let me bring hope; where there is sadness, let me bring joy.”

I thank God for having blessed us with this beautiful country, and the bountiful birthright which we have inherited.

I thank the many people over the years who have supported me to this moment, where I am able to step into servant leadership for the benefit of the Bahamian people.

I thank my family, especially my wife Ann, and my children, my siblings, Alvin, Don, Craig and Trevor, my one and only sister, Diane, who every day continue to give me so much love and support.

And I thank the Bahamian people who have placed their faith and confidence in me and my team.

 

Continue Reading

FIND US ON FACEBOOK

TRENDING