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Jamaica COVID-19 Economic Recovery Task Force Established



#KINGSTON, April 28 (JIS): Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, has announced the establishment of a Cabinet-approved multisectoral task force to oversee Jamaica’s economic recovery from the coronavirus (COVID-19).

Speaking at a digital media briefing at the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) on Monday (April 27), Mr. Holness said the COVID-19 Economic Recovery Task Force will be chaired by Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Dr. the Hon. Nigel Clarke, who is one of several Cabinet members on the team.

Dr. Nigel Clarke, Minister of Finance and the Public Service

The others are Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Audley Shaw; Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett; Minister of Science, Energy and Technology, Hon. Fayval Williams; and Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Hon. Daryl Vaz.    


Other stakeholder members are Port Authority of Jamaica (PAJ) President and Chief Executive Officer, Professor Gordon Shirley; National Road Operating and Constructing Company Chief Executive Officer, Ivan Anderson; Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ) President, Keith Duncan; Jamaica Chamber of Commerce (JCC) President, Lloyd Distant Jr.; Jamaica Manufacturers and Exporters’ Association (JMEA) President, Richard Pandohie; and Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA) President, Omar Robinson.

Also on the Task Force are MSME Alliance President, Donovan Wignall; Jamaica Confederation of Trade Unions (JCTU) President, Helene Davis-White; Jamaica Agricultural Society (JAS) President, Lenworth Fulton; Business Process Industry Association of Jamaica (BPIAJ) President, Gloria Henry; former PSOJ Presidents, Joseph M. Matalon, Christopher Zacca, and William Mahfood; gender activist, Nadine Spence; hotelier, Adam Stewart; tourism attractions operator, John Byles; and member of Partnership for Jamaica, Professor Alvin Wint.

Mr. Holness said the Task Force’s establishment follows Cabinet deliberations over the past two weeks on Jamaica’s recovery from the prevailing and projected economic fallout from COVID-19.   


This, he noted, has become imperative in light of the fact that “every measure that the Government has put in place to slow down movement [and further spread of the virus]… every curfew measure, every stay-at-home measure… slows down our economy”.

“It means that people will be out of work and out of a job [and] out of income…. frustration grows and then people [will eventually] say [that] the medicine is worse than the illness,” the Prime Minister said.

 As such, Mr. Holness emphasised that “we have to figure out how to put in place measures that slow and control the [COVID-19] spread… whilst, at the same time, not doing irreparable damage to our economy”.

Against this background, he praised the private sector for being “an outstanding partner” and “very forthcoming” in wanting to be a part of the national recovery planning and efforts.

This, Mr. Holness noted, through the provision of resources and other forms of support to many Jamaicans, citing their involvement and pivotal role in the national partnership mechanism, Partnership for Jamaica.

“Last week, I had a discussion with the Partnership for Jamaica… and they too have said that they would want to play a critical role. So, the Cabinet has decided to put that mechanism together… now [that] we’re going to be shifting some attention to the economic recovery,” the Prime Minister said.

Mr. Holness said, however, that the Task Force’s engagements will have to be done in conjunction with the Ministry of Health and Wellness.

This, he indicated, “because all the economic activities that we are going to do should be viewed through the prism of the Ministry”.

Doctor’s Cave Beach, Montego Bay, Jamaica

In his remarks, Dr. Clarke said he is “highly confident” that the Task Force “will be able to put together the contours around Jamaica’s economic recovery”.

Reiterating the health and economic impact and implications associated with COVID-19, he emphasised that “we want to make sure that the decisions that are made… don’t have long-term or permanent economic damage”.

“We want to ensure that we can always recover economically… even [as] we [are instituting measures] to deal with the health effect of the crisis,” the Minister said.

Additionally, Dr. Clarke said “we want to position ourselves to be able to take advantage of the opportunities that a post-covid-19 global economy offers as well as to ensure that we take account of the realities of post-covid-19”.


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Caribbean News

Barbados to Host 41st Caribbean Travel Marketplace this Spring



By Sherrica Thompson

Staff Writer



#Barbados, February 2, 2023 – Barbados has been selected to host the 41st edition of the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association’s (CHTA) Caribbean Travel Marketplace. The event will be held at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre in Bridgetown from May 9 -11, and it is expected to build on the success of the 40th staging held in Puerto Rico last fall.

CHTA President Nicola Madden-Greig, who made the announcement recently, said it’s the first time in the organization’s history that the association’s largest annual event, which brings together buyers and sellers of the region’s tourism products and services, will be staged in Barbados.

“CHTA has a very strong relationship with both public and private sector stakeholders in Barbados, and as we position the region’s top earner for robust growth this year, we are delighted to lock arms with our Bajan partners to drive business to the Caribbean,” she stated.

Noting that: “This year’s Marketplace will also provide unique access to the Eastern Caribbean for buyers and tour operators as the region places a strong focus on the revival of multi-destination travel.”

Minister of Tourism and International Transport of Barbados Ian Gooding-Edghill, said the Barbados tourism industry was undergoing a major renaissance in the post-COVID environment, and the timing could not be better to welcome Caribbean Travel Marketplace to local soil.

“We are honoured to host such a preeminent gathering of tourism stakeholders from around the world,”  Minister Gooding-Edghill said, noting that the meeting aligns with Barbados’ value offerings, which appeal, among others, to the very important MICE [Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions] market.

The launch of the first Caribbean Travel Forum & Awards, a highlight of the Puerto Rico meeting, will return for a second edition and will be held in Barbados on Tuesday, May 9, 2023, ahead of the official opening ceremony of Caribbean Travel Marketplace.

The Forum will also focus on the business of tourism, and business appointments will be conducted on Wednesday, May 10 and Thursday, May 11.

Over 150 delegates, including Ministers of Tourism and key private sector leaders, engaged in the Caribbean Travel Forum last year.

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Bahamas News

National Food Policy to be created in the Bahamas



By Shanieka Smith

Staff Writer



#TheBahamas, February 2, 2023 – A new initiative by the Ministry of Agriculture, Marine Resources and Family Island Affairs in the Bahamas will see the creation of a National Food Policy geared towards ensuring food security on the island.

“This agricultural policy would encompass a holistic approach and incorporate regulations, legislation, and other aspects to assist the farmers who have not really gotten the attention they deserve for a long time,” said the Minister of Agriculture, Marine Resources and Family Island Affairs, Hon. Clay Sweeting.

Other initiatives within the agriculture sector will also be implemented, such as the digitalization of applications and forms, which will make farming more efficient.

Clay said, “we have already digitalized for the most part the Department of Marine Resources and soon we will unveil new services such as dog licences, import permits, and other services needed for a successful agricultural sector.”

The construction of the Cultivation Centres (TCC) in Eleuthera and New Providence with produce exchange, food processing kitchens and farm stores will continue.

Sweeting said he hopes these initiatives will help to decrease the country’s yearly $1 billion food import bill.

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Caribbean News

Guyana secures cryotherapy machines to help fight cervical cancer



By Sherrica Thompson

Staff Writer



#Guyana, February 2, 2023 – Guyana will see a significant boost to its healthcare system soon as the health ministry has acquired 20 cryotherapy machines to help treat and prevent cervical cancer, the second most prevalent cancer among women in the country.

Cryotherapy, also known as cold therapy, involves cooling the body’s tissues for therapeutic purposes and removing the abnormal tissue. This type of therapy is also used to treat many skin conditions and some cancers, including prostate, cervical and liver cancer.

The Health Ministry said the machines will help clear the backlog of patients needing such treatment.

Director of the Non-Communicable Diseases Programme of the Health Ministry, Dr. Latchmie Lall, said the equipment will be very instrumental in providing immediate service to patients.

“We are indeed very thankful for this donation of cryotherapy machines that were brought through the IDB project; a total of 20 machines that are going to be used to improve our screening services for cervical cancer; this will come as a great measure for not only screening but to provide immediate medical treatment in that if we do find a pathological cervix, cryotherapy can be applied immediately, and we have one healthy patient going back home to her family,” Dr. Lall said.

Director of Primary Healthcare Services, Dr. Ertensia Hamilton, said the equipment comes at an opportune time when the ministry is extending its services for women of reproductive age across the country.

“We recognise that Guyana still has a high incidence of cervical cancer in our women, and so we want to be able to have services available to them as we work towards ensuring that each individual across their life course has services to meet their medical needs,” she said.

Minister of Health Dr. Frank Anthony, during his comment, revealed that Guyana is trying to develop a comprehensive programme for cervical cancer.

“One of the things that we are trying to do is to have a comprehensive cervical cancer programme. The first level will be to prevent cervical cancer. We want to do that by encouraging people to get the HPV vaccination. We have these vaccines available. We have been rolling them out to ensure that every person eligible for these vaccines gets them.”

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