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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

CARPHA Remembers Former PAHO Director Emeritus – Dr. Carissa Etienne as a “Tireless Advocate for Regional Solidarity”



Port of Spain, Trinidad. 01 December, 2023: It is with profound sadness and shock that I extend my deepest condolences to the family and friends, people of Dominica, the Caribbean Community and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), on the untimely passing of PAHO Director Emeritus, Dr. Carissa Etienne.

Dr. Etienne’s contributions to public health in the Americas were not only significant, but also transformative.  Her leadership and unwavering commitment to our Caribbean Community’s collective pursuit of healthier people, healthier spaces and a healthier Caribbean were a source of inspiration to many.  Dr. Etienne was a tireless advocate for The Americas’ regional solidarity, for she knew that was the only way to address the glaring inequalities that exist here.

She was the Director at PAHO for most of the life of the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), and under her leadership, CARPHA graduated from the PAHO Biennial Work Programme (BWP) arrangement to having framework agreements.

PAHO funded many of the programmes that are difficult to attract support, like the Caribbean Regulatory System (CRS) and the Medicines Quality Control and Surveillance Department (MQCSD), which are important services for the Region to ensure the quality of medicines.  Under Dr. Etienne’s leadership, PAHO also funded non-communicable disease interventions, another area that does not attract large pots of funding, although the number one cause of deaths in the Caribbean region. 

During the Pandemic, CARPHA worked with PAHO to fund the downpayments to give 12 Member States access to COVID-19 vaccines through COVAX to the tune of US$2.6 million.

Dr. Etienne will be remembered as a true Caribbean lady who worked with great dedication and focus throughout the horrible COVID-19 period and right up to her last working day at PAHO.

During this challenging time, we pray that God will give strength to Dr. Etienne’s family, friends, and colleagues.  CARPHA cherishes the memories of her remarkable contributions to the well-being of individuals and communities throughout the Americas, but especially the Caribbean.

The CARPHA Executive Management and staff stand in solidarity with our Caribbean Community as we mourn the loss of a visionary leader. 


Dr. Joy St. John

Executive Director, CARPHA

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Caribbean News

CANARI outlines climate priorities ahead of Cop28



Rashaed Esson

Staff Writer


The Caribbean Natural Resources Institute (CANARI) informed that the Caribbean Climate Justice Alliance, in preparation for the upcoming annual COP28 in 2023, launched its “Caribbean Climate Justice and Resilience Agenda,” outlining the priorities for climate justice and resilience in vulnerable Caribbean small island developing states (SIDS).


In a press release, CANARI highlighted that the agenda recognizes the major threat of climate change to the region as well as aims to louden the voices of the at-risk groups “on the frontlines of the climate crisis and catalyze actions for climate justice and local resilience in the Caribbean SIDS.”


The priorities stated under the agenda are:


  1. Curbing emissions to limit global temperature

increase to 1.5 ̊C


  1. Scaling up locally-led solutions for adaptation and

loss and damage


  1. Improving access to and delivery of climate finance

for frontline communities, small and micro enterprises, and civil society organizations as part of a ‘whole of society’ approach


  1. Scaling up just, nature-based solutions for resilience


  1. Supporting a just transition for pro-poor, inclusive,

sustainable and resilient development


  1. Promoting gender equity and social inclusion

approaches to climate action


  1. Promoting youth and intergenerational equity as

core to the climate response


  1. Integrating a rights-based and earth-centered

approach in addressing all these priorities and ensuring climate justice


The at-risk groups referred to in the release include small-scale farmers and fisherfolk, rural women producers, income-poor people, elderly and disabled people, Indigenous and Afro-descendant communities, migrants, and LGBTQIA+ people.


Being cognizant of the severity of the effects of climate change on the Caribbean, CANARI referred to the fact that the very existence of the region is on the line.


“If greenhouse gas emissions continue unabated and global temperature exceeds 1.5 ̊C, the impacts of rising sea levels, more intense hurricanes, rainfall variability, ocean acidification, and other changes threaten the very existence of our way of life in the Caribbean and other SIDS that have contributed the least to global emissions.”


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Bahamas News

CARICOM Sec Gen speaks on Gender Based Violence



Rashaed Esson


Staff Writer 


“Everyone must continue to invest in preventing violence against our women and girls (VAWG). It is an investment in our shared future,” were the words of Dr. Carla N. Barnett, CARICOM Secretary-General, as she reiterated the need for solutions against VAWG.


She called attention to VAWG as she gave a speech surrounding the annual campaign “16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence,” which runs from November 25 to December 10, 2023.


Barnett expresses the well-known fact that VAWG is one of the most prevalent issues affecting all corners of society.


“VAWG remains one of the most pervasive forms of human rights violations in the world and cuts across all races, cultures, genders, and educational backgrounds,” she maintained, as she continued to point out the sad reality that this is still a major issue despite regional and global policies.


“Despite the existence of regional and global policies and legislation to combat VAWG, weak enforcement and discriminatory practices remain significant barriers to ending VAWG.”


The Secretary-General highlighted statistics for VAWG, bringing attention to how serious and embedded this issue is in society.


She said that globally, 736 million women—nearly one in three—have experienced violence—physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence, non-partner sexual violence, or even both.


For the Caribbean region, she said surveys conducted between 2016 and 2019 inform us that one in two women experience intimate partner violence, which is higher than the global average. 


In continuation, Barnett expressed that the campaign calls everyone to action against VAWG, including “development partners, civil society organizations, women’s organizations, youth, the private sector, and the media.”  Also, world governments are being asked to share how they are investing in gender-based violence prevention.


Ending her address, the Secretary-General urged everyone to wear the color orange for the duration of the campaign, as well as on the 25th of each month, “as a symbol of hope for a brighter future where women and girls live free from violence.”

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